Do you want to feel alright? This powerful question I read the other day, and it didnt take long for the reasons and excuses for not feeling alright to arise.
The process of allowing more ‘alrightness’ is taking me into new lands where everything feels different, and a bit strange too. I apply a lot of tenderness towards myself as I journey into this unknown territory. Once you accept that bits of anxiety can arise in response to this unknown, and allow them, it can become quite a fun experience. It is truly fascinating to watch the resistance in all its many forms arise! And wow, how that resistance pops up in unexpected and usually unconscious ways too. Usually on hindsight I see this or that little event was self sabotage at work.
‘Is it safe to feel this okay?!’ was a first major response to the increasing ease I experience. Somehow the mind thinks that the fears it endlessly comes up with protect us from danger. It has taken a while for me to realise that the sky doesn’t fall down if I relax.
What right have I got to feel alright when so many in the world are suffering terribly? is another that comes up for me. Well actually allowing myself to feel alright puts me in a stronger position to help to relieve the suffering of others by exuding wellbeing to those who I meet and also gives me the headspace to allow inspiration of new ways I can be beneficial in the world.
Self compassion helps a LOT, and has been a vital tool for me to learn to remember and use, and I even give myself a little hug in times of pain/stress/suffering.
Now I am gradually raising the glass ceiling. There is no rushing this, as years of addiction to angst, to being on alert to danger and being used to a level of stress hormones in my body (such as cortisol) are being unravelled and I am being very gentle with myself, and allowing time for it.
In learning to welcome it all, and noticing the preferences, the complaint thoughts, the nasty and cruel thoughts, the nice and kind ones, they all come and go, I see how random they are…and so less and less judgement on myself for them all. Such a relief.
Mindfulness has allowed me to connect with a part of myself that holds it all, is unmoved by it all. Yes I can feel the pain, but if I remember the still part that exists all the time, the pain does not seem as though it ‘becomes’ or consumes me, it is embraced by that still unmoved part. And I feel it fully and I am safe. It is allowed and I survive it. No need to seek antidotes or ameliorations, just a return to silent stillness.
Let’s be kinder to ourselves. How we do this will be different for everyone as we all deprive ourselves of kindness and compassion in various ways.
How can I be kind to myself today? I love to think of new ways I can consciously do this. Here’s my list for today. I will –
- eat just as much as my body needs and not more, and I will make sure its healthy nutritious food that preferably doesn’t need a slaughterhouse to arrive on my plate! I’m not vegetarian but thanks to a new vegetarian Sikh restaurant nearby, I’m really enjoying meat not being necessary.
- wear really comfy clothes
- start a new design project and reduce my to do list
- take as much rest as I feel the need for
- spend time in the nurturing presence of nature in the woods
- tidy my desk and enjoy the relief that order brings
- be kind to others (they are me!)
- allow all the good, bad and ugly thoughts to come and go as they do. They are random and continuous, and I don’t have to feel guilty, scared, angry in response to them. They disappear from where they came if I leave them alone.
- encourage myself with positive feelings and thoughts about by life, such as remembering what I am thankful for and congratulating myself on success with the little challenges I set for myself (e.g. got my weight down to my target this month)
- if I find I have allowed a stressful thought to take me off into the further discomfort of having stress hormones such as cortisol be generated in my body, I will bring myself back to the present, and what is real right now this moment, where everything is alright and I feel safe.
- remember to breathe consciously
- change my bed sheets and enjoy getting into a fresh newly made up bed
- notice the beauty around wherever I can find it
- and not reading too much news in the media today
Life can be hard, lets go easy on ourselves 🙂
I really liked what you said about self-compassion and feeling alright while other people are still suffering. It reminds me of the whole airplane emergency scenario: always put your own mask on first before you help someone else put on theirs. Loving ourselves is what gives us the strength to give love to others. Thanks for sharing!
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Great post, thanks for the question. Love to you, barbara x
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