Radical Empathy

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What if we all practiced radical empathy? What if we could understand and share the feelings of another on an organic, fundamental level and we allowed ourselves to show profound appreciation, compassion and kindness in every way possible? What if we could take that extreme level of compassion and apply it to our lives? Three ways of manifesting and expressing this kindness would be toward yourself, kindness to others and kindness to the earth. How closely could you align to this idea? Keep in mind that part of this process would be showing kindness to yourself, so there is no need to be perfect. “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Oscar Wilde

With a deep acceptance of the state of the world in general and the ability to have sage perspective of concepts like ego, we can achieve kindness to the self. On so many levels, kindness expressed to yourself can liberate feelings of anxiety, guilt or obligation and beyond. Enjoying self empathy is so much more than taking a break, a vacation or even getting a massage. At so many points we get in our own way of feeling calm and enjoying a feeling of peace. We convince ourselves that we are not strong enough or capable enough and opportunities to be happy or enjoy life simply slip by. Being kind to yourself includes accepting things the way they are and letting go of the outcome. The tighter we cling to controlling an outcome, the further away it seems to slip. If we can learn to truly let go, we can show ourselves the most organic, radical kindness. At the same time, inserting the radical part of this equation means understanding how to create a foundation of love for yourself and getting primal about satisfying your needs and desires. When you marry these ideas, you can reach a deep level of self-care.

Kindness is the act of showing the love you feel. Showing kindness to others becomes easier when you lay a strong foundation of self love. When you genuinely feel good and can let go of the guilt often attached to enjoying a calm state, you can begin to show kindness more easily to the people around you. Showing kindness is elemental really. We are how we treat each other. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

Are you always as kind as possible? If you express kindness in even the most basic everyday interactions, it not only feels better and helps you enjoy a flow state of calm, but it gets passed forward to those on the other end of your gentle kindness. But, I don’t practice kindness so it will come back to me, I enjoy the gentle look on people’s faces when they receive it. Seeing people happy and relaxed makes me happy and gives me hope. Try making your everyday acts a bit more kind and see how it effects you maybe even more than others.

It’s amazing how many times during each day we have the opportunity to be kind to the earth. So many of the choices we make throughout the day a chance to express your values. From the products you put on your body to what you chose to put on your plate three times each day, we have so many chances to show our morality. We have so much power over our actions which is ever present in the compassionate activism related to our food, our practices, and our world. “The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” – Michael Pollen  The choices we make demonstrate how we exist within our environment. Imagine what else is possible with kindness. 

Practice kindness, make mindful choices, own your journey. What if radical empathy was the new black? 

children know radical empathy, thank you Tori for showing me what it looks like in the photo above

A Quest To Discover

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A strong identity emerges not only from conscious contemplation of your life’s purpose, but also from successfully resolving the developmental challenges that characterize your formative years. Identity may emerge in it’s own time. It may show itself to you while you’re busy following your heart, creating opportunities to enjoy life and manifesting positivity.

So how do you begin the process of understanding who you are and what will ultimately make you happy? Celebrate what you do know about who you are and who you want to become while excavating deeper to discover more that you may not understand yet.

If you are strong enough to be asking these questions, then chances are you have developed a deep rooted belief that you are worth this time and effort. For that, I applaud you. Go easy on yourself as you learn, absorb each discovery and be ready to accept what you find. Use your findings to spring forward and be open to the beautiful things possible when you continue to grow.

The meaning of life is to live. Finding your identity means you can live it in a way that allows your soul to align with every moment. Defining your identity successfully means feeling complete. Feeling complete means strength of character and spirit.

The person who I have been in recent years is having a tough time being completely happy. I’ve learned a lot about what was making me unhappy and I seem to enjoy more peaceful moments these days. I’ve explored my spiritual existence and I’ve learned to meditate. I enjoy journaling and I have a better idea of what kind of mother I want to be. These are all big wins.  But I still feel slammed against a glass ceiling and trapped inside an identity that feels tight and restrictive. Maybe I’ve been focusing and working on the wrong parts.  Maybe it’s my worn out, misfitting identity that needs adjusting. I’ve moved forward, learned lessons and felt significant growth, but I haven’t redefined myself. I haven’t considered how all of this will inevitably change my identity.

Who am I anyway?

I am what I do.

I am who I love.

I am what I think.

I’ve slowly changed a lot about what I do and how I spend my time so maybe I’m growing out of my identity and should be shopping for a shiny new one. If I redefine who I am, some of these changes and all of this hard work may settle better into place. If conquering an identity crisis is difficult for you, remember that you are possibly doing work that involves resolving deep prior issues of trust, confidence and self-sufficiency. Go easy on yourself and be kind during this consuming process.

For some, the idea of having an identity crisis will denote negativity simply because it’s called an identity CRISIS.  However, I think the quest to uncover who you truly are in an effort to align your body, mind and spirit is a noble task and should be commended.

GMOs and EMOs

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I am a voice in the crowd.  As I learn more about the world around me and issues that effect my family and loved ones, I see more of the big picture and I am connecting certain issues to try and gain a better, more thorough understanding of our general wellbeing.  Most recently I have been thinking a lot about what I am feeding my family and whether their nutritional needs are being met.  Keeping my family healthy is very high on my “To Do List”.  It was almost 3 years ago that I started to take a longer, harder look at my nutrition, my body and what I was putting in the mouths of my children.  I started with myself.  Just like being on an airplane when the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting the children with their masks, I had to make sure I was healthy and had a healthy understanding of all of this before I started doing the same with my children. I needed to be healthy and strong to make them healthy and strong.

What I found was that everything I didn’t know about food was keeping me unhealthy.  I had been unable to lose the lingering weight after I had my children and despite my best efforts using the information that I had, nothing was working and I was getting more unhealthy instead of closer to my goal of getting myself and my family more healthy.  I was so busy with my life and the details that needed attention that getting truly educated about this never made my “To Do List”. It wasn’t until I began learning about nutritional cleansing, the true nutritional value of our food and the dangers of many of the foods on the market that I took for granted as being healthy that I started down the path of educating myself to a healthier state.

One of the scariest topics I have come across is the debate over GMOs in our food and the political battle over labeling them in our products here in the US.  I’ve come to learn that the powers-that-be are profiting from people growing and consuming food that has been genetically modified to the point that it resembles something closer to poison than food.  People are working hard at their jobs to earn money to be able to visit the grocery store and mindlessly fill their cart with food that is either poisonous or contains little to no nutritional value.  It’s fair to say that a significant amount of people have no idea that the food we have been eating for well over the last decade has been significantly altered by science.

Who are we to decide the direction of evolution in this way?  For a race of people that like to make their own choices and act on their own volition, this issue seems like a giant step backwards.  So, as a member of the collective, the biggest piece of this puzzle for me is that I am not being given the choice of whether or not to consume this altered food.  My power, in this regard, has been stripped from me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m also pretty upset about the whole process of how this all came to fruition from bullying farmers to get on board to thinking about the long term effects on our precious soil, environment and the integrity of our water supply….. It all has me riled up and has called me to action in many, many ways.

But, as I look at the giant companies involved in this happening and evaluate their obsession with money and securing that money for the future, I see a dangerous trend toward greed, born naturally from our emotional range as people.  This greed has become genetically altered to fit the world we live in.  This form of emotional evolution is just as frightening and unsettling to me as the issue of GMOs.  People are becoming emotionally modified as a result of the world we live in and the experiences we have to navigate through.  Our emotions and visceral responses to our environment have been altered through technology and evolution just the same as that first pea’s genetic makeup was altered by the hands of an Austrian Monk.  The masses of children desensitized to things like violence because of technology, television, movies and video games is to me as much of a threat as the GMOs that are infiltrating their bodies.  Is this modern world nurturing our children’s gentle and kind natures or are they being emotionally modified by the world around them?

Although I am scared for the future health situation because of the missing regulation, sensitivity and outrage in the world of GMOs, I am equally terrified by the omission of sensitivity to violence and the overwhelming inability for people to feel happily engaged in their life.  There is an epidemic of EMOs (Emotionally Modified Organisms) and we are the Organisms.  This seemingly pandemic disengagement terrifies and saddens me.  Put the two initiatives together and you get a world wide epidemic threatening health, wellbeing and wellness in general.

What will you do to balance all of the fears presented by this life we lead, start creating more time for fun, and at the same time act responsibly for the benefit of the next generation? It’s a lot to do, we all have a lot on our plate these days.

Well, I know what I’m going to do.  I’m going to learn all that I can while keeping a healthy perspective about the amount of power I have over how I live.  I will continue to take a look at my own emotions and understand what the world and my immediate environment has done to modify me.  Armed with that information and understanding I can become a better version of myself.

You are strong!  You have power!  You can make change!  You have as much power over your actions and emotions as you do over the food you put in your body and the bodies of those you love.  “Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside” -Unknown

I believe these concerns are all connected and deserve the same amount of respect and attention.  Do your part to make the world a better place for our children, but don’t forget that all of those changes start with you….. every part of you.

 

picture courtesy of morgue file.com

Join The Mindful Revolution

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First we saw a rise in society’s belief in physical fitness and we are now seeing a rise in the attention paid to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Just as you began to see variation in attendees of exercise classes and gyms, now you see a complete mixed bag of people who attend yoga and meditation classes.  Even science is standing behind the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  Just as people are encouraged to exercise, the trend is moving also toward people incorporating mindfulness and meditation practice into their daily life for the benefit of their overall wellbeing.  You can spend hours, days, and years exercising to attain the body you want, but in 30 minutes of meditation you can be leaps and bounds closer to a calm, peaceful mind.

We live in an age of RIGHT NOW and sometimes change takes time, so I’m not surprised to hear frustration from people wanting to see changes from their effort right away.  But, like a beautiful garden, these things take time.  Plant the seeds, nurture them and be patient for what is to come, it will be worth it.  Consider being open to what is available and abundant around you instead of fighting against your circumstance and constantly looking for what you WANT.  Many of us already have what we need, but we have to learn to need it.  Feel gratitude for what you have, the lessons you’ve learned and for what is to come that is still unknown.  The power to manifest the things that you desire is true.  It all begins with exercising your ability to calm your mind and listen to your truth.

One way to begin your path to emotional and spiritual wellbeing is to start practicing mindfulness.  The goal of being mindful is to be present without judgement.

Challenge: Pick an activity that you do regularly and make a commitment to perform it mindfully.  That means make an intention to be present in the activity and only focus on the actual act of performing that task.  If thoughts begin coming in, gently acknowledge them and then swiftly escort them out.  Some possible activities are showering, doing the dishes, taking a walk, riding a horse, driving a well traveled route, putting on your makeup, shaving.  Breathe, connect with the present moment and keep that moment real and free of external static.  This can be considered a first step toward a meditation practice.  Meditation would be doing this same mindful act without the activity.  So, begin with practicing mindfulness during an activity and move forward from there.

“Mindfulness is like that—it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

photo courtesy of jade from morguefile.com

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