Tag Archives: Compassion

Open Heart Meditation

 “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” — Ho’oponopono prayer

For a long time in my morning sitting meditation, I would feel spacey, and tend to fall asleep. When I tried to go inside, it felt fuzzy, ill-defined. Like I was trying really hard to look at something through wavy glasses or trying to hear something through lots of static. I felt frustrated.  I stuck with it.

Lately I noticed that my sitting meditations have become more grounded and clearer. This morning, I found my way to a very sensitive, raw, pulsating, knotted spot about a foot away from my chest, connected to my heart. It hurt, in shimmery waves of tightness down my arms. And it was angry, in big waves of gritty intensity pushing out. Most importantly, I could FEEL it – it didn’t disappear in waves of unconscious sleepiness. I stayed connected to it in meditation long after the timer went off. And then I continued to feel connected to it through my drive to work, when I suddenly had an urge to cry. Then I was crying in big sobbing tears, and yelling big yells of pain for about 15 minutes.

What did I uncover? I can only describe it as knotted-up energy of the pain of being alive. In it, there is a deep love for all the people in my life and the raw agony of all the ways in which I hold myself back from expressing that love fully in whatever form it might take (anger, compassion, joy, frustration, hurt), and instead settling for a numb niceness that denies I am feeling anything. A numb niceness that cuts me off from you. As I allowed myself to feel this agony, it would soften and turn sweet, and turn to an aching tenderness. I felt a deep forgiving towards everyone, and towards myself, because we are all undergoing this separation together and it is not our fault.

The Ho’oponopono phrase kept coming up, and touching the exact spot that hurt: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” I don’t care if being alive hurts, I want to feel it ALL so that I can really love and live in truth.

Thank you for reading. Knowing that there are people out there who read this and connect with this feeling encourages me to open my heart more.

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Brutal Beautiful Honesty

Run away from me, baby, run away
Run away from me, baby, run away
It’s about to get crazy, why can’t she just, run away?
Baby, I got a plan, run away fast as you can
Kanye West, Runaway

‎As we learn to have compassion for ourselves, the circle of compassion for others –what and whom we can work with, and how — becomes wider.
Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Today I did four really difficult things.

I let myself see and acknowledge that I had been acting selfishly, and that I was not being who I want to be.  

I forgave myself.   

I admitted to the person involved that I was acting selfishly.  

I expressed a deep and unconditional love for that person. 

Right now, I feel at peace and also very vulnerable.   In retrospect, it amazes me how I managed to avoid seeing how I was acting before.  There is so much about ourselves that we don’t want to admit because we are not ready yet to grow.

Or maybe it is not that crazy.  Until we are ready to face up to ourselves, there are many ways to avoid inner honesty.  Maybe some of these sound familiar to you.  You can project your problems onto the other person (“If only they would . . . “)  You can fall into self-pity (“I am a bad person.”)  You can lie to yourself about who you are and your motivations.  (“I am the nice person.”)  You can pretend that you do not know what you are doing.  (“Why does this always happen to me.”)  You can stay shallow and cut your feelings and intuition short with distractions.  (Friends, TV, alcohol, books, gym, rinse, repeat.)

I have done many of these things.  And I am sure that I will do them again in my life.  But gradually, I am learning to practice honesty.  I am committing to watching myself and how I act.  I am trying to communicate with people in a genuine fashion, and owning up to things I do.

Being honest does not mean that I have any idea what to do about my imperfections.  Real honesty goes beyond a one-time, “I am sorry that will never happen again,” type thing.  It means that I am willing to dig deep and admit my deepest motivations and engrained patterns, the stuff I really do not want anyone to see.  Sometimes there are no solutions to being human.

That’s why I love Kanye’s song Runaway . . . it is so brutally candid.  He offers himself as he is.  He gets it, he sees himself, and he is willing to own up to it.  He has no answers.

But the funny thing is that at the end of the song, after he admits to being a workaholic asshole who is afraid of intimacy, he naturally shifts into a different place.  He is finally able to admit to this girl that he is singing to that he does not know what he will do without her if she leaves.  When he lets himself be vulnerable and real about who he is, he can open his heart to love.  I always feel closer to him as an artist and person after I listen to that song.

I felt that opening today too.  Once I cleared the way by owning up to my actions, and forgiving myself, I felt this deep love well up and pour out of me.  It was really beautiful to feel and express.  I am learning that true intimacy–with family, friends, lovers–requires owning up, again and again, to who we are, and letting that be okay.

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A Full Experience of Helplessness

“The only way to ease our pain is to experience it fully. Learn to stay with uneasiness, learn to stay with the tightening, so that the habitual chain reaction doesn’t continue to rule your life.” –Pema Chodron

I love discovering spiritual principles at work in the world around me.  They are unexpected and surprising, yet perfectly formed.  Like a nautilus shell, or a starfish.

Recently, I have discovered the beautiful symmetry of helplessness.

I have always hated feeling helpless.  So I make sure I am not helpless.  I am the one flagging the waiter down to get the check, making an extra call to double-check that there is really no availability, finding a way, someway somehow.  Useful, yes.  Rewarded, often.  And also, a way to escape the feeling of helplessness itself: a refusal to admit that nothing can be done, that I lost, that I am vulnerable, that I can be hurt.

In my last relationship, I often struggled with feeling helpless.  The person I was with at times chose not to listen to me, or could not hear me.  And so . . . I talked calmly, I talked loudly, I argued rationally, I made emotional pleas, I threatened, I begged.  And maybe, eventually, I got my way.  Until it all fell down and the cycle started again.  Rather than truly own up to this cycle and my part in it, I simply insisted all over again that this person would hear me.  Rather than admit that this person could not meet me, I worked hard to hold up their end of the relationship for them.  Until one day life gave me the gift of making the dysfunction so bad I could not ignore it any longer, and I paid life back by paying attention.  And so I left.

Right now, I am in the final stages of ending this relationship, wrapping up loose ends.  And this person is still repeating the same patterns of broken promises.  And I–the new, strong me, who left–what do I do?  I feel helpless.  So  I leap right into my part: “He can’t do this to me,” or “I will figure out a way to get him to listen.”  The same broken record, stuck in the same broken groove.

But this time I catch myself.  Okay: I took the big step of ending the relationship, but I find myself back here again.  What do I still need to learn?  The answer arises naturally: the very thing I am struggling with IS the answer to my question.  I am back here so I can FEEL what helpless feels like.

The more I resist feeling a certain way, the more likely it is that I will “find” myself in situations that cause that emotion to arise.   To break the cycle, I need to surrender and let myself feel.    

I am trying to wake myself up, and my feelings are my alarm clock.  

Okay.  What does it feel like to experience helplessness?  The very first thing I become aware of is how much effort I have been putting into avoiding this feeling.  I was approaching life with a big sign that says “YOU CAN’T HURT ME.”

I surrender– I take down the sign.  Life can hurt!  It is life!  And people disappoint you and accidents happen and sometimes you lose.   Surprisingly, this admission feels like cool relief.  It feels sweet to be human.  It feels sweet to be capable of being hurt.  This IS life.  I can feel life touching me, because I am not trying to hold it at a distance.

Emotions are like a knot that only tightens the more I pull against it, and then as I relax it slips free.

I let the messy, vibrant energy of LIFE sweep into this vulnerable place I have been trying so hard to protect.  My heart relaxes as I release my grip.  And as I relax, light and space and movement rush in and blow away the last shred of my resistance.

And I laugh because I suddenly understand why I have been trying so hard to not let down my guard.  I thought that if I experienced pain, if I “lost,” if a situation got messy . . . that it was my fault.  More than my fault: it meant I was not good enough to get it right.   I have compassion for the part of me that believed this.   I send love to myself, and gently let go of this belief.   Encountering obstacles does not mean I am a failure.  It is just part of being human.

Opening wide to the uncomfortable experience lets it become just that: an experience–a bird flapping through my sky.  I can experience it without identifying with it, without confusing it with who I a fundamentally am. 

Having reconnected with my own basic worthiness, I regain my true power.  Deep, full, expansive breath.   Suddenly, I have many choices before me.  YES I have the power to enter into this situation holding the highest intentions for both me and him.  YES I have the power to protect and honor my own needs–or, to give up the fight if that ultimately brings me greater peace and joy.  YES I have the power to forgive him.  YES I have the power to refuse to get drawn into a negative cycle.

Ultimately, I replace the illusion of control I tried so hard to maintain with a much more profound power.  Although I can not stop painful experiences from arising in my life, I always have the choice to meet them with love and integrity.

So what does all this mean?  Externally, nothing has changed.  I still have a tough situation on my plate.  But now I accept that it may not turn out perfectly–and that is okay.   I am no longer struggling with myself.

The symmetry is complete:  by experiencing ‘helplessness’  fully, I can let it go.

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How to Have Difficult Conversations

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
-Albert Einstein

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”  -Lao Tzu

Familiar Scenario #1: You pore your heart out on the phone to a friend about someone who is causing you pain.  You really want to heal the difficult situation, but you have no idea how to communicate these difficult feelings to the person that is actually involved.   So you ignore the situation, and pretend that nothing is wrong (even though part of you knows you are not being real or authentic about how you feel).  [Note:  Or, just start at the word “Ignore.”]

Familiar Scenario #2: Ditto heart-to-heart with close friend.  But this time you decide that you will not be stopped!  You march over to the other person, tell them exactly. how. you feel.   And what they did to make you feel this way.  This confrontation freaks them out enough that they now avoid you.

How do you tell someone when they have caused you anger or pain . . . and be heard?

This is a tough question that can take strength to even ask.  Ultimately, it comes down to a simple question.  Either you are coming from a place of truth and love–for yourself and the other person, or you are not.  If you are not, Familiar Scenarios One and Two are the common results.  You do not honor yourself.  Or you do not honor the other person.

So how do you honor both?

To have an authentic conversation with someone about a difficult topic,  stand strong in your light and lovingly speak your truth. 

But wait you say!  How can I possibly do that when the other person is NOT operating from a place of love?  The other person is completely contracted and acting in a crappy, selfish, judgmental way.  Okay.  Fine.  Now let it go.  Stop worrying about what they did to you.  Stop worrying about whether or not they can hear you.

The first step is to realize this is really not about them.  This is about you.  This is about you getting strong enough to hold a loving, open space so you can speak from your heart to people who you think can’t hear you.  

So how do you begin….

First, listen to your mind and the stories you are telling yourself about why they did what they did.  Recognize that they are just that.  Stories.  Those stories tell a lot more about your own unexamined crap and fears and hurts than they actually tell you about the other person.  They are often called projections.  Whatever name you use, see that they are not truth.  Ultimately, the other person’s motivations are a black box.  You have no idea why the other person is acting the way they are.

One way to shake yourself loose of your projections is to try and come up with different stories about why the other person is acting a certain way.  Try and see if you can find a nice story about why that person was mean to you (they had a difficult day themselves).  Then find a story that makes you angry (they are jerks used to getting their way).   Play around with it.  After a while, you can see that while your own fears may draw you to one story, you actually do not know which one is true.

Second, as you recognize your stories are actually about YOU not THEM, you free up energy that you were using to try and figure out the other person.  Stop running those mental loops trying to figure them out.  You can’t. 

Now reclaim that energy and refocus in your own body.  (Literally, this is taking energy you were putting out there and bringing it back here, and now.)  Welcome back.  How do YOU FEEL in your BODY?

Try getting down to the level of body sensations.  Tingly?  Hard to breath?  Weak?  Strong urge to hide?  Chances are you have been running around telling yourself stories precisely as a way to avoid feeling these feelings.. to avoid feeling hurt and weak.

But this is exactly what you need to do.  You need to own your feelings.  You need to be a soft, real, human capable of being hurt.  Do not judge whatever comes up.  Instead, love these emotions.  Be there for them. Give them your attention and compassion.  Let them be.

As you do this, you can feel yourself relax.  Breath.  Expand.  Let those walls come down.

As you relax back into your body and accept whatever is coming up, you naturally reconnect with your light (you might literally feel lighter).  If you already have a sense of being grounded and spiritually connected, then you will know what it feels like to be present and radiating light.

If this sounds totally abstract and confusing, then just ask yourself: “Even if I feel sad/angry/hurt/frustrated right now, do I feel generally at peace with myself?  Can I offer love to someone else?  Can I even, maybe, laugh?”  These questions are a good way to gauge if you are connected to your own power.

Third, as you reconnect with your own physical body and spiritual light, you can turn your attention back to the other person.  Now you have enough strength to open your heart to them. 

Wow!  All of a sudden they are not so scary/mean/bad anymore, are they?  Maybe they are just another human soul, trying to do the best that they can.  Just like you.

Focus on loving them for who they are, no matter what issues may separate the two of you.  Phew, that feels good.  No need to go on the attack.  Maybe, you can even start to see some ways in which the other person might have been acting out of fear or hurt that you caused them (oooo! own that!), and have compassion for that.

Sit with this love for a while.  You may have to go through this process a number of times, as new stories pop up that you need to work through and release.

You are now in a tender and open space.  You feel your feelings, you are connected to your body and light, and you have compassion for the other person.  Now you are ready to talk. 

This is the tough part.  Because now you need to remain firm in your truth and light and love while you are talking face to face with this person who triggers these difficult feelings in you.  I find that visualizations can really help you get through this.  Imagine that you are physically enclosed in golden light.  Imagine that your heart is actually opening to the other person and sending them love.  Imagine the other person’s face as soft and open and loving.  Whatever it takes to keep your feet firmly planted in YOUR light and your heart OPEN.

In terms of timing–no need to force it.  Obviously, you need to set up some time in a quiet environment to speak with them alone, but allow the moment to speak to arise naturally, when you feel comfortable and open to share.

As you speak, all the work that you did beforehand should affect the manner in which you speak and the energy you emit.  Speak slowly.  Speak simply.  Speak honestly.  Speak from your heart.  And most importantly, remember to listen to what the other person shares with you.   Be open to RECEIVE their energy and words . . . do not get caught up in getting your message across.  Because what you are really looking for, more than anything else, is an exchange.  To be seen and heard by each other.

Also, it is okay if you feel fear or anger or other tough emotions.  Let yourself feel them, but do not fall into them.  Let them pass through you.  Do not let them knock you off center.  Stay connected to your light.

In terms of content–in plain but vivid language, communicate how you feel.  Remember not to mistake your stories for the truth.   You can share your stories, but communicate them as your fears (“I was afraid that maybe you were avoiding me because of X.”)  If you make it about what you are feeling, not what the other person did, even sharing difficult emotions (hurt, anger, fear) can be non-threatening.  Be surprisingly vulnerable.  Offer insights into ways that you might have harmed the other.

Finally, remember you do not need to have answers.  Maybe you do not know exactly how you are feeling, or are feeling two contradicting things.  Maybe you do not know what the next step should be.  Share that.  Wherever you are at, let that be enough.  You are just a real person, trying to connect.

Ultimately, what you are looking to do is to be so open and free and authentic that the other person is naturally drawn to  responding in the same manner. 

If you are really operating from your heart, most people (unless they are really closed) will naturally raise their own level of energy to meet yours.  Because they feel safe and recognize that you are coming from an honest place, and do not want anything except to have a true exchange.   But if they don’t meet you, you have to accept that too.  You will be able to see clearly that it is about them, not about you.  You have honored yourself, and that is enough.

It feels good to write this.  Slowly, I am learning to practice a new way of communicating.  It is a gorgeous feeling to know that I can remain open and loving even in the face of some things that really scare me or hurt me.   It feels like a victory to take a stand for a better way of being, rather than give in to fear and pettiness.   And it brings me peace  to realize that I can bring that open and loving energy to a difficult exchange with someone else.

Practicing love and honesty is not idealistic.  It just takes a commitment to being open, rather than closed.  And there is a domino effect.  Every person who commits to authenticity can help raise another person up, and let them see there is another way to relate. 

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We Are All Stuck Being Human, Together

“If we begin to surrender to ourselves—begin to drop the story line and experience what all this messy stuff behind the story line feels like—we begin to find bodhichitta, the tenderness that’s underneath all the harshness.  By being kind to ourselves, we become kind to others. By being kind to others—if it’s done properly, with proper understanding—we benefit as well.  So the first point is that we are completely interrelated. What you do to others, you do to yourself. What you do to yourself, you do to others.”

— Pema Chodron

Sometimes, when you learn a really Big Lesson you have to learn it again and again, in smaller and softer ways.  Until you can recognize that lesson like a welcome old friend.

My Big Lesson came when I left my relationship/non-legalized marriage last September.  To get clear about what was actually in the relationship, I stopped trying to help, do, fix, argue, convince, plead, support.  All that mental and emotional chatter just had me going  in circles searching for an answer.   I was exhausted.  At that moment, a Buddhist teacher told me to get real about my life.  Stop spinning my wheels.  I took his advice and stopped focusing on trying to help the other person (who really did not want to be helped) or fix the situation.  In that space and silence,  I began to feel my pain, instead of avoiding it.   Instead of being destroyed by those intense feelings, I gained clarity and resolve.

Lesson learned right?  Not so fast.

Fast-forward to this week.  I was in a Facebook discussion group with some people, where some pretty heavy sharing was going down.  Everyone was being totally unconditionally supportive of each other.  You are so brave!  Way to show up and be real!  I was being very supportive too.  But–I was also offering some thoughts.  Okay, some advice.  Some solicited.  And some not.

I started to hear a Small Voice in my head, saying “Hmm, maybe you should just listen and not say anything else.”  Oh, that is silly I told the Small Voice.  This is an open discussion.  I am just offering thoughts.  And they are good thoughts!  Really, I just want to help.

Small Voice didn’t buy it.  So, I decided to stop the mental back-and-forth chatter about what I “should” be doing.  Get quiet, and see what was up.   How did I really feel?  What I saw was that sometimes my efforts to help were genuine and open and warm.  But sometimes my efforts to help were a bit . . . hmmm . . . anxious? forced?  In those cases, I saw that I offered help as a way to avoid MY OWN strong discomfort when I witnessed people I cared about “stuck” in pain.  I got uncomfortable for two reasons.  One, I did not want to see my friends stuck.  Second, I was quietly afraid that if they could not get free, then they would somehow drag me down too.  Oh.

And then I saw it.  This lesson-learning that it is not my job to help-is the exact same one I learned from my break-up.  And one I know goes back to childhood too.  Damn it.   My worst fears are true–I AM “stuck” with me and all the crap of being human and in pain.  This whole time I am so worried about the other person getting trapped in their habitual behavior, I failed to notice I am completely caught up in mine.  And I got there completely on my own!  This realization, ironically, makes me feel sort-of free and light and prone to laughing at myself.  My mind cracks me up.

So, hello again to my lesson.  It does not need to hit me over the head this time, but I appreciate it showing up in this small way.  It is letting me know that I need to go back to focusing on my own heart.

And of course, when I center myself in love, I stop fearing other people’s pain.   It will not eat me alive.  I am strong enough to stay firm in my open heart.  And I am weak and human enough to completely, totally relate.  I can see a bit more clearly that what I feared from other people is really my own deep worries reflecting back at me.  Once I can see that, the thought of others struggling to deal with their own stuff makes me feel warm and loving.  Like when you watch a great romantic comedy, and at the end you get teary-eyed at how everyone is just incredibly themselves and imperfect, but perfect at the same time.

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the story of his life

across the worn lunch table,
divided by a thin line of skin,
i witness this defeated man
he has fooled into being.(but i still see him)he tells me his favorite stories
the ones that explain why
he is allowed be so scared.about the high school girl who left his love letter closed,
and the opera singer that married another man,
the lesbians who fill him with food,
with his old joke about moses and the promised land.

today, he says
he only buys love
and pretends that he tries to please them
while he softly whispers
that he never can.

when his words run out
he waits for me to reassure him
and agree that he has no choice
about what comes out of his mouth.

instead i thank him for sharing
all i can do is listen
hoping that one day he hears
what he is telling himself.

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GETTING UNSTUCK

Today is a gorgeous, sunny start to 2012.  As I type this, I am sitting in a comfy leather chair overlooking the ocean from the balcony of my apartment. I got my slippers on, and some reggae playing.  Perfecto.  A great way to bring in the New Year.  (For the full effect, you can listen to some reggae jams along with me here  and here.)  Looking back, 2011 was a pretty wild year.  To put it mildly.  Some of you have asked me if I was going to write about some of the things that happened this past year.  I have been waiting for the right time, and today feels like the day.  Here it goes…

2011 was the year I got married.  It was a full-on, save-the-date, seating-chart, welcome-cocktail party, three-day affair in Tulum, Mexico.  It was a beautiful three days.  I had been together with my partner for five years.  We met in law school, and had a lot of mutual friends.  Eighty-five people celebrated our union in bare feet on the sand.  I truly believed I was committing to a lifetime with this person.  I loved him.

Four months later, I left him.

That still sounds crazy to me.  But it is real.  Out of respect for my former parter (we never legalized the marriage, so I struggle with the correct term… my ex?  my former symbolic husband?), I will not go into the details of why I found it necessary to leave.  I’ll simply say that he was not ready to get married, even though he wanted to be.  Were there warning signs?  In hindsight, yes.  Like the fact that he impulsively proposed to me in Greece, without buying a ring first.  Or that at the wedding, he went around telling everyone that he felt “more responsible already.”  And the fact that I spent a lot of energy in our relationship helping him to grow (yes, obviously that does not work).

Because he was not ready to get married, some pretty self-destructive behavior emerged about two months after the ceremony.  Front-line report from the trenches: it is entirely possible to love someone and also realize that your relationship is not healthy.  During the two months or so when things were really going downhill, I was living those two truths.  The only thing I could do was leave him, but I was not yet willing to do that.  I felt helpless, because I was.  I was stuck.

When I was in that helpless phase, this great thing happened.  I got a Buddhist meditation instructor.  I love how totally cheesy that sounds, but it is true–although not for the reason you might think.  We actually did no work on my meditation technique or practice. Our very first session, he simply asked me what was going on in my life.  I told him.  He said, “Holy shit, your life is a mess.”  And then he cracked up.  I laughed with him.  Holy shit, my life was a mess.

The homework he gave me was to pay attention to my life and get real about what was happening.  So I took all the energy I was using to worry, to plan, to hope, to argue…and I put it into bearing witness.  Sounds simple, but this was an amazing and deep practice.  Rather than trying to control a very difficult situation, I just let. it. be.  And I watched very carefully what was going on both externally, and internally.  I listened hard to what life was saying, instead of just nodding along and secretly thinking about what I wanted to do next.  You get a lot of clarity when you shut up.

I learned that his choices were not my fault.  I learned that I could not change him.   I learned that as much as he told me he wanted to change, his actions said a different thing.  And I learned that I was not crazy to feel sad, or scared.  Instead of running from these truths, or trying to make them be something else, I just felt the pain.  But it was a refreshing, simple pain, free from the tiresome and idiotic delusion that everything was my responsibility.  Along with the pain, I also felt more compassionate and tender, for both myself and him.

What came out of all of this listening was that I finally, truly accepted the fact that I might have to leave the relationship. I got unstuck.  Acceptance is a beautiful thing.  It is like this thing you have been fighting so hard against turns out to NOT be the end of the world.  When you stop fighting fear, you discover your own strength.

But feeling free to leave and actually leaving are two different things.  I still wondered whether the situation might get better.  So I consciously, and clearly, told Spirit:  “Look, if I am supposed to leave, just give me a sign.  I am ready to accept whatever is the right thing to do.”  I think when you ask from that completely surrendered space, Spirit will respond because it know you are ready to hear the truth.  I definitely got my answer.  More on that, how I handled it, and what else I learned, in the next post.

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you have a beautiful start to your year.

N

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Thieves in the Night

Going to see Black Star tonight, so I figured I would riff off of Thieves in the Night (which they drew from a Toni Morrison novel).

Not strong, only aggressive/Not free, we only licensed/Not compassionate, only polite (now who the nicest?)/Not good but well-behaved/Chasin’ after death so we could call ourselves brave, still livin’ like mental slaves/Hiding like thieves in the night from life/Illusions of oasis making you look twice.

What is the difference between strength and aggression?  Between compassion and being polite?  Sometimes the truly strong move might look weak.  Or compassion will require not giving someone something that they think they need.  When we act from our minds, we force situations to fit expectations.  When we act from our center, we give up appearances to find a larger, deeper truth.

One of the most compassionate things I have done lately–for both myself and the other person involved–was leave someone I loved (yes, there will be more posts on this…)  It would have been safer and maybe more comfortable to cling to the life I thought we were building together.  But it wasn’t real.  There was a part of me saying, Wow Nicole, that was cold that you could just leave like that.  Maybe you do not know how to love.  But the truth was that the most caring move I could make was to be strong for both of us and speak the truth.  My decision didn’t come from a cold place at all…it did not come from anger…it did not come from fear.  It came from a place of deep sorrow and tenderness.  True compassion blows your mind’s idea of compassion out of the water.  And to get there, you have to stop hiding from life and own up to some uncomfortable truths.

P.S. Shout out to people who have obvious integrity but embody it in a way that challenges expectations about what it means to be good.  Good does not always mean well-behaved or polite. 🙂

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