Authentically Mindful #MondayMusings

Authentically Mindful #MondayMusings

I remember my Spiritual Director talking of mindfulness, without actually using the word, over 20 years ago. A wise old Catholic priest, he called it the Sacrament of the Present Moment. He advised me to read a book by the same name by a Jesuit Priest, Jean-Pierre de Caussade. In Catechism we learnt that a sacrament is ‘an outward sign of inward grace’. And truly the present moment can be a sacrament – because grace abounds, we just have to plug in to it.

I never did get my hands on the book, but I did attempt to understand what my Spiritual Director advised me to do. Learn to focus on the present moment and let it speak to me.

Called To Be Authentically Mindful

With mindfulness being the buzzword today, I often see that it is easy to confuse it with some feel-good, positive mumbo-jumbo.

Mindfulness is not some wonderful calm state of mind with piped music playing in the background. I wish it was.

No. Mindfulness is all about being aware. And awareness is all about being authentic.

indfulness is not trying to wish away what is going on in your life.

No. Mindfulness is about being present to all that going on in life.

The present moment is likely to be bring pain, confusion, uncertainty and dark emotions.

Mindfulness helps you to focus on these and deal with them.

It helps you ask the difficult questions. What part of me needs to be healed? Am I using being busy as an escape from what I really need to deal with in my life?

Mindfulness is not some facile ‘happiness potion’. It’s pretty darn hard work, like anything else in life that matters. It demands courage.

Do you agree with my idea of mindfulness?

authentically-mindful

 

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Seeking The Light

Seeking The Light

The festival of Diwali seems like such an appropriate time to write about seeking the light.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Washington Post experiment, for which Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinists in the world played for free, for 45 minutes, on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station. Over a thousand people passed by Bell, only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person recognized him.

Makes me think of how often, we’re so caught up with what we’re doing, so absorbed in the ordinary, that we don’t see the extraordinary – that spot of blue in a background of greens.

We can get so focused on all the bad stuff going on around us that we forget there’s so much good in the world too.

So caught up in the darkness that we don’t see the light.

But must just now see the light. We must consciously seek it.

Have you noticed how a cats will find that one spot of sunlight coming in and soak it up?

I want to be like that cat – consciously seeking the light.

The light of love. The light of truth.

Even when it’s easier to choose what masks itself as the light. Because the light doesn’t necessarily show up what’s ‘nice’. More often than not it shows up things that we try to hide. Our pretensions. All those hurts and wounds we’ve tried to put band-aid up and hope that they will heal.

Healing often takes more than band-aid – it is blo*** hard work that needs courage and persistence.

I ask myself if I’m bold enough to seek the light.Like the say goes, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train! Am I  prepared to board it? Am I prepared to continue the journey of healing? Am I ready to tear those band-aids off and look beyond to see where the real wounds are.

I wish you light today. May you seek it too.

 

shine on

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Finding The Blue In The Greens

Finding The Blue In The Greens

I love how my walk down the road with our dog brings me all sorts of surprises. I told you already about the snail I met. Today it was a kingfisher – the only dash of blue, high up on the tree. Yes, I found a spot of blue in the greens…. I had to snap a picture – slightly distorted because I had to make sure that Lucky didn’t get away while I took it.

Finding The Blue In The Greens

 I love  how we can find the extraordinary in the every day ordinary events of our lives. There’s always something special to find if we look. If we are mindful.

Even when life is at its hardest, it’s possible to find that little ray of light. That small thread of hope. Grace shining through when we feel we’ve messed up our lives.

A dash of blue in the green. #trees #bird #kingfisher

A photo posted by Corinne Rodrigues (@everyday_gyaan) on

What is required to make a place holy?
The ordinary becoming extraordinary,
The common interrupted for a moment
that we wish would last forever,
God coming into our forest, decorating our trees,
Inviting us to remove our shoes.
– Rev. Robin Ringland

This Is Bravery #MondayMusings #DaringGreatly

This Is Bravery #MondayMusings #DaringGreatly

This is Bravery?

There are days
That you don’t want to wake up
Knowing full well what
The day ahead will bring.

Deadlines and chores
You can deal with
Projects and planning
Seem a breeze.

It’s the inner work
That can sap you
Of energy and leave you
Feeling weak and vulnerable.

Facing reality of your past
Admitting that it
Affects your present
More than you’ve realized.

Owning those feelings
Of inadequacy
Facing those demons
That haunt you.

Sleepless nights
Restless thoughts
Self-doubt
Fear and anger.

This is bravery

Yet you press on
Going further inward
Daring to face
Your own vulnerability.

Owning your story
Acknowledging the part
You played in deeply
Hurting your soul.

Speaking of your hurt
And learning to let
The light shine on
Those dark places within.

Authenticity is hard
But then so is
Living a life
Of never daring.
this-is-bravery

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown

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Thanks to Mac for selecting me as a featured writer for my post last week.

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The Value of Self Reliance #MondayMusings

The Value of Self Reliance #MondayMusings

Continuing my ‘reminder to self‘ series this week, I remind myself of something that I’ve only recently begun to appreciate.

The Value Of Self Reliance

I’m a literature student – even if I came late to the party, doing my MA in Literature, several years after I got my Bachelors in Commerce and worked in a bank. But my love for language, drew me back to studying and reinventing myself career-wise.

But I digress.

I’m attempting to tell you how I discovered Ralph Waldo Emerson and his wonderfully wise works. One of these is Self-Reliance. In it he pushes the idea of every one thinking for themselves.

But he also talks of something which seems so relevant and urgent to our times and is a great reminder to me. Let me share this with you.

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I must be myself. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love all those words. But the last sentence just pops out to remind me once again that I don’t need to work on being popular – I just need to be myself.

There was a time that I had a hard time being alone. Solitude made me uncomfortable. These days, I consciously seek it. I’ve discovered and learned to love my introverted self. I’ve learned to motivate myself and not wait for others to make me feel good about me.

Associate with the noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty. But learn to be happy alone. Rely upon your own energies, and so not wait for, or depend on other people. -Thomas Davidson

Do you value self-reliance?
the-value-of-self-reliance

 

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Watch Who You Surround Yourself With #WeekendCoffeeShare

Watch Who You Surround Yourself With #WeekendCoffeeShare

As someone who is still struggles to shake off some of the demons of the past, and move forward with gratitude and freedom, I need to constantly remind myself of certain life lessons.

This week, I want to focus on these ‘reminders to self’.

Today’s reminder to self is : Watch Who You Surround Yourself With

If I was having coffee with you today, I’d tell you that I’m further down the road to realizing that for too long I have seen myself is the way other (certain significant) people have told me I am. For example, I learned to school my responses; to present a picture of being in control even when I was dying inside; to smile when I had scant reason to; to be nice to people who were downright mean to me.

As I began to focus on loving myself, I learned not to take be so mindful of what other people told me. I began to assert myself a lot more.

But every once in a while, I’ll revert to thinking less of myself, because of a stray remark from someone significant who doesn’t really know me after a lifetime.  Even though my husband would point out how badly this person treated me, I would make excuses for her. I guess it was a defense mechanism of sorts – my refusal to admit that I had allowed someone to control and use me for so long. Finally, I have seen the light, but like I said, every so often, I’ll still allow this person’s behavior to affect me. I still have to learn to trust my gut feeling that tells me what they’re say is not true.

So today, I borrow the words of someone else to remind myself to watch who I surround myself with:

Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are. ~ Jo Blackwell-Preston

Watch Who You Surround Yourself With

 

Linking with the Part Time Monster for #WeekendCoffeeShare

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Feeling At Home In The Now

Feeling At Home In The Now

Last month I met a snail – a big, seemingly clumsy fellow (let’s assume he’s a ‘fellow’) who was wandering down the road right into the path of a cars and vehicles. Thinking I would ‘save’ him I attempted to push him off the road and onto the flower beds. Later that day, I found him wandering on the road again. I decided to leave him to his own devices and am happy to report that I found no snail corpse to prove my fears were right. So apparently he knew what he was up to.

Feeling At Home In The Now

Mr Snail caused me to stop and think of several things about h

  • He knew where he was going.
  • He set his own pace and was happy in it
  • When he was put off the path, he found his way back again…

Most of all, I realized he was at home. Because for him, literally home is where he was at the present.

Today, I saw this lovely cartoon from Francois Lange ,thought of my snail friend again and realized what an apt choice he was to give meaning to the words of Eckhart Tolle.

When you make friends with the present moment, you feel at home no matter where you are.

 

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Image via : http://www.sketchesinstillness.com/

Home is a space where we can most be ourselves. It needn’t be a physical space, it could be a physical state. I’m drawn to think of what Tara Brach in her book Radical Acceptance describes ‘querencia‘ to be a great description for ‘home’.

“In bullfighting there is an interesting parallel to the pause as a place of refuge and renewal. It is believed that in the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own particular area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his querencia. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds his querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.”

Feeling at home in the now is to be the most fearless we can be.

feeling-at-home-in-the-now

Do you feel at home in the now? 

 

Image credit for snail on the dirt track – Shutterstock

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