Today, know that Love handles resistance: your own resistance to doing the work you know you need to do, to making changes or taking actions you know are best for you. You don't have to exhaust yourself with the fight with your own motivation. Let Love be your effortless and powerful source of inspiration and energy and will. Love also - with great power and gentleness - handles the resistance of others and institutions. Know Love as a great power, a great communicator.
Today, your most important task is to pause and feel Love revealing to you your own nature, with great gentleness and appreciation. God gives you the ability to pause. God gives you the ability to hear. God gives you the ability to understand, hold to that truth, and let go of whatever is holding you back. This is more important than anything else you have to do today.
In my mindfulness class last night, we breathed in compassion for ourselves - and when we could feel that fully, we added breathing out compassion for others.
Today, begin with step one. Imagine yourself surrounded by Love and compassion. Breathe it in. It surrounds you and is part of you. It is a hug. It is assurance. It is comfort. It is here and now. Find moments throughout the day to do this consciously.
Inspired by my mindfulness class:
Today, allow more space around your emotions. You can recognize your emotions as normal, human experiences. If you have a challenging emotion, know that it is fleeting and will pass. Every emotion doesn't need to be analyzed for its cause or worried over. You can just hold it with compassion, non-reactivity, and a sense of solid care - like an effective parent with an emotional toddler - and let it pass.
(Of course, there are times to look carefully at your feelings for their causes and messages - they have important wisdom - but because I can be overattentive to every little movement of feeling, I need to hold some of the daily ups and downs a little more gently, a little less seriously.)
Today, pause throughout the day to notice where in your body you are holding tension: your forehead, your chest, your bottom, your thighs, your stomach, your jaw - and release. Love teaches you how to let go and trust - and rest in Presence. If you are not able to fully feel Presence, you can at least begin to recognize that the tension isn't keeping you safe and prepared. It's wasted energy.
Perfectionism lies. It tells you that if you can get every human detail right, you will be happy. It tells you that if you are in perfect control of yourself and your life, you will feel safe, calm, and worthy. But if you look honestly at your life, you can see that those moments in which you felt deep joy or connectedness or worthiness had nothing to do with the perfection of your human circumstances. God shined through anyway.
Focus more on feeling the dynamic, alive, embracing presence of Love with an open-hearted way - and a willingness to be surprised - and less on a deadening sense of duty and need to control or perfect. Look for evidence of Love's humor and affection and beauty. This is what will sustain you.
If you have been feeling trapped inside your mind, with it's spinning, repetitive thoughts, fears, obsessions, criticisms, and planning, pause. Feel the Mind bigger than your mind. It is the consciousness-of-all-things. It is bigger than thought. It is knowing. It is wise. It is present in your molecules. It is pulsing all around you. Even if you can't fully hear it, even if you don't know how to fully escape your small-mind, lean into it. Trust. Be held by it.
Teacher educator Angela Watson's Fewer Things Better, encourages us to let go of our martyr complex, which doesn't serve us or others: "A savior or hero's identity is wrapped up in saving the victims, nothing else matters - it must get done at any physical, emotional, or financial cost . . . .A supporter takes responsibility only for the factors within their control. A supporter derives a sense of self-worth from their inherent value which is not measured by how hard they work. Therefore, a supporter has nothing to prove to themselves or others."
Jungian Psychologist James Hollis in Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life says we "flee into our work to avoid our real job." Our real job is listening for what our soul wants and shedding old patterns and impulses which don't serve us and can cause suffering to others. It requires taking responsibility for this journey and not blaming others or looking to experts.
Paul's letter to the Thessolonians includes this: "We beseech you . . . that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands . . . that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without and that ye may have lack of nothing."
Today, humbly take responsibility for yourself and let your service to others spring from wisdom and love instead of any warped need to define yourself or avoid your own work.
Here is a lovely passage from Isaiah, from the poetic King James Version of the Bible:
"The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned."
This morning, Love is speaking wisdom to me and has given me the ears to hear and understand. Love also gives me the wisdom and words and courage to offer comfort, at the right time and in a wise way, to those who might be suffering.
Here is a quote from a handout I received in a mindfulness class:
"Why is a true sense of self-compassion so difficult to access even though we could all find ways to genuinely empathize with a good friend? Self-compassion may be mistaken for self-pity . . . Self-compassion is a purposeful, honest, and gentle look at ourselves. It nurtures without pity or false promises. It attends to our needs instead of dismissing them. It motivates instead of harshly criticizing. Self-compassion depends on the ability to bring potential discomfort, pain, and suffering into awareness and hold them with affection, humor, and acceptance."
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.