“Attachment is the source of all suffering.” Buddha
As autumn approaches, and deciduous trees begin to drop their leaves creating a carpet of golds and browns, I have chosen a biggie for our word this week – Non-Attachment!
Reflecting on the word, for me it means being willing to release, and not to control or hold onto something/someone. It means not resisting, but allowing, and coming to an acceptance of what is.
Tolle maintains: “Non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom, and enlightened living.”
So what are we attached to? What do we want to keep control over?
(Perhaps you could reflect on whether any of these exist for you?)
“Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It is about what you can give others because you’re already full.” Yasmin Mogahed
What does attachment provide for us?
“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha
What then would be available to us if we practised non-attachment?
As Yoda says: “Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
So what stops us from letting go of attachment?
Personally, I feel that on a deeper level, once we can release our fear of death (our attachment to Life) we are set free to LIVE FULLY, and not come from a place of fear, but instead surrendering to what might be – perhaps this is what FAITH is?
So how can we get better at non-attachment?
Firstly, be aware of where it has influence in our lives – be a witness to our own behaviour, and the motivations behind it where the attachments outlined above might be heightened.
Consciously set an intention to allow time to reflect and respond, rather than react, so that we are not feeding the attachment and reinforcing it, but making way for another outcome.
Practice consciously, mindfully, letting go – giving away – objects that have served their purpose, and that we have valued for a time.
The de-cluttering movement is really based on the principle of creating space to BE, through removing those things which we are attached to, and deferring making decisions about…worth exploring if you think it might be of value to you.
Non-attachment – to use the deciduous tree analogy – is like bringing our energy back into ourselves after letting go of what no longer serves us, strengthening our core – our trunk – drawing up nutrients through our roots – the depth of who we are, before we grow new branches and new leaves to reach back out into the world…
This is where a retreat, or time / space to reflect on our attachments can provide us with some perspective.
Breathing – we can use the breath to begin non-attachment, to let go – in fact it is a great first port of call – breath awareness. Being mindful of our breathing patterns can provide us with a clue to our level of attachment…if we are holding our breath, controlling the exhale, or breathing shallowly, there is a chance we are engaging in thoughts or behaviours that indicate we are attached, anxious or controlling the outcome.
Begin right now, by allowing the next exhale to be a complete ‘letting go’, an audible sigh…ahhhhhhhhhhh. Then take 2-3 more deep inhales, each time letting go with that same release. As you do this, you may wish to affirm, “As I breathe out, I willingly release that which no longer serves me.”
And so it is…your non-attachment journey is underway!
In the words of philosopher Jackson Kiddard: “Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.”
I wish you all the best on your journey, and look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts on non-attachment!
What is Love?
This is a much pondered and sometimes vexing question! Much has been written about Love – and in light of the commercial celebration of Valentine’s Day I thought this week’s blog would attend to the question of Love – ‘a many splendid thing’!!
I love apple pie.
I love my dog.
I love my job.
I love being in nature.
I love my kids.
I Love You!
This same word used so liberally has many meanings, depending on the context. Love has many forms – romantic love, caring and cherishing, appreciation and enjoyment, to name a few. The confusion can come when it is misunderstood, based on what it means to each of us to LOVE.
To know Unconditional Love – that love without judgement – is what we all desire.
When we are very small babies and children – we long for love, and validation – it is like oxygen to us – when love is withheld or blocked from human children, they die – emotionally, and they may even die physically. As we grow older, this intertwining of love and survival can have us ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’ – seeking love & validation externally from others, rather than from within. Trying to work out what we need to do to deserve love. Today I will explore briefly some of the ways love can be expressed, and especially I want to explore self-love – it has been one of my life lessons – to learn to be ok with self-love and less co-dependent on the love and validation from others.
Love is connection – the kind of connection that lifts our spirits, when we walk away feeling uplifted.
Is Hate the opposite of Love? I don’t think so…it is still possible to love someone, even when they might be doing things that we don’t like – we can love them for who they are – not what they are doing. We can take responsibility for ourselves, and our response to their behaviour, and keep ourselves safe, without making them wrong. I don’t need to hate someone just to get away from them, or to take a different path. Love can be a constant, whether we share a path or not is a choice.
We can choose who we surround ourselves with – those who we feel are our tribe – and from that place of belonging, still allow others to be themselves without judgement. Accepting ourselves and accepting others allows for the love to still exist between us.
Wayne and I always emphasised to our two sons that we would ‘always love you, even if we might not like what you are doing at the time’. By saying this we hoped to allow them to become themselves, explore various behaviours and ways of being, and that there would always be a soft place to fall, regardless of their achievements or the consequences of their actions. An expression of Unconditional Love.
[Who they are being is more important than what they are doing.]
Only fear, and the absence of forgiveness can obstruct love.
A Course in Miracles states that the opposite of Love is Fear, and that when we don’t choose love, we allow the fear to dominate, to direct our thoughts, words and actions. “Fear arises from lack of love. The only remedy for lack of love is Perfect Love.” To me this means tapping into the Source of Perfect Love: God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Self – in the way that is meaningful to you. It is our disconnection from this Source of Perfect Love that allows fear to take hold, and lead to further disconnection from those around us.
NB Perfect Love transcends Human Thought – it needs to come from beyond the ego!
Expressing Love to Others
The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman is one of my all-time favourite resource books!
It explains 5 main languages that people use to convey their love (validation) to another. We may have a preference for 1 or 2 of these languages, and the person from whom we are seeking validation, or wanting to express it towards may have a different preference – or default setting. If we are desiring to communicate love or validation to another, (or indeed to give to ourselves!), it can help to be aware of these and be intentional in our communication.
Sometimes we can be busy topping up the tanks of others and in the process of doing that find ourselves running on empty in the love tank! (Speaking from experience!) This co-dependant love can leave us resenting the very people we have been caring for – feeling unappreciated and cranky – waiting for them to give back to us! What I have come to realise (and am still on the learning path with this one) is that this leads to projection of our needs onto another, and can lead to disappointment. When I have topped up my own tank, then I am in a better position to love those around me (just like the oxygen mask in the plane needs to go on the parents first before the kids).
Some great teachers have reiterated this principle of self-love in their messages:
The 2nd Great Commandment of Jesus was “love your neighbour as yourself”. To the degree that we are able to love ourselves, we are free and present to truly and unconditionally love another.
Thich Nhat Hanh – Zen teacher and renowned writer states “your capacity for loving another person depends entirely on your capacity for loving yourself, for taking care of yourself.”
Stephanie Dowrick (Choosing Happiness) says “we cannot love other people and truly love this glorious gift of life if we have forgotten how to love ourselves. If you have forgotten how to love yourself, you will probably ask (or demand) too much of other people. Love from other people can be immensely healing, uplifting, and sustaining. But it is never enough. To reclaim our inheritance of love, we need to bring love (vitality, engagement, freshness) or perhaps gentleness and faithfulness, to everything we do. And we must dare to love ourselves.”
Love is a Choice – every day we choose to give (and receive) love and validation to those who journey through life alongside us. Every day we choose acts of self-love, or self-neglect. May we think, speak and act out of love, not fear!
Some years ago I heard a statement from Bishop Spong from the US…it has become a mantra for me:
Have the Courage to Be All You Can Be!
With Love, Gabrielle
Choosing Happiness ~ Stephanie Dowrick
Five Love Languages ~ Gary Chapman
A Course in Miracle
Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Danke, Arigato, Obrigado…
I am so grateful for...(take a moment right now with your eyes closed to think of something you are grateful for in this very moment...feel it in your body...then read on).
Through GRATITUDE, we honour and acknowledge the gifts that have been bestowed upon us. These may come in the form of actual material things; people – their kindness or acts of service towards us; or events/moments that have shaped us on our life journey.
When we have an “attitude of gratitude” we are more likely to see the best in others, and it’s easier to live a life of non-judgement and inner peace too.
There is much evidence to support the positive impact on our psychological and physical wellbeing of practising gratitude. Evidence has shown that a regular practice of gratitude can make us happier, increase psychological well-being, enhance our positive emotions, develop resilience, increase our self-esteem, and make us more optimistic, reducing depressive symptoms. Physiologically, reduced blood pressure and improved sleep quality are just a couple of the benefits of living with gratitude as one of our deepest values.
The power of gratitude in our relationships, be they our more intimate ones, or our interactions with ‘strangers’ is significant too. Beyond ‘thinking’ gratitude, taking the time to express our gratitude at every opportunity, with sincerity, can really lift the spirits of the other, and in this age where we can find ourselves doing so much in isolation, online, or with ‘virtual assistance’, making connection with other human beings is essential to the survival of humanity.
A recent example of this – over the holiday period I was thinking about our local take away chicken, fish and chips shop. It struck me that they are there, everyday (except Xmas Day) with delicious and convenient food for our sustenance. [Yes, I know they are running a business, and yes, I also know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to eat from their menu daily!] The next time I went up to see them I took some time to express my gratitude to them for being there (for about 20 years I reckon) daily, reliably – they were chuffed! I’m certain that the small but intentional expression of gratitude helped them to know they make a difference to people in addition to running a business. They work their butts off, always have a great attitude, and I am so grateful they remain at the service of us locals.
It’s worth remembering that expressing Gratitude can be done in a variety of ways, as for expressions of Love (see next week’s blog!). Perhaps showing up for a family function is a way of acknowledging, being grateful for our family’s support and presence in our lives. Donating our time is a way of giving back, of actioning our gratitude for our blessings.
As a meditative practice – thinking or listing all the things we are grateful for is a sure-fire way of feeling better, reducing sadness and anxiety – bringing us into present time awareness, and creating connection.
You may wish to experiment with this by doing a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge – using a notebook and recording 3 things at the end of each day that you are grateful for! You will find yourself looking out for those three things during the day, rather than focussing on what may not be working out for you that day! It will change your perceptual filter, and improve your well-being. Some people choose to do this in a more visual way – choosing one thing to take a picture of each day, resulting in a visual gratitude journal!
There might also be a specific place you can go to where you can focus your gratitude – while we were in a botanic garden recently we came upon a sign prompting us to practice gratitude while we were sitting on the Bench of Gratitude!! It may be under a particular tree, or in a special place in the garden or elsewhere that you can tune into the character strength of Gratitude!
Saying “Grace” is a ritual that, although it seems old-fashioned and perhaps a purely religious ritual, is actually simply a way of acknowledging, saying ‘thanks’ to those people who have prepared the food and being mindful of the source of the food, and in doing so, taking the nourishment from that food so that we can fulfil our tasks/purpose this day. Some might even say it raises the vibrational and healing energy of the food!
It costs nothing, and gives so much to carry an intention to practice GRATITUDE wherever we go…I wish you well on your journey forward, and am grateful to you for listening!
Infinite Love and Gratitude, Gabrielle
“If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.”
Written across the top of my grade 7 classroom were the words “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This Golden Rule is the essence of Compassion, the attitude of seeing others through the eyes of compassion, enabling us to be truly present for what is going on for them, without judgement, and to think, say and do no harm to them – either consciously or unconsciously.
‘The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat ALL others as we wish to be treated ourselves’ from The Charter for Compassion. Instigated by Karen Armstrong (12 Steps to a Compassionate Life) this Charter for Compassion was crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is based on a fundamental principle of universal justice and respect. It encourages us to extend compassion towards ourselves, and to others, and to learn, reflect and act according to the way of compassion.
“Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama
Reflecting on this 5th of the 52 WORDS we are exploring together this year has challenged me this week. I have become aware of how much internal work remains to be done!! ARGH!! I have reflected on how, when I am being unkind, or critical towards myself, there can be a tendency to blame the others around me for the choices I have made, and that I need to forgive myself for those choices (see week 4/52) and begin again with an attitude of compassion, an open heart towards myself, in order to relieve the internal suffering that is going on, (commonly called ‘beating myself up’) and consequent collateral damage, or external suffering. In other words, we can project onto others that which we haven’t addressed within ourselves.
Perhaps another level of understanding around the Golden Rule applies here – Don’t treat yourself the way you wouldn’t want others to treat you! For me: Lighten Up!
Confucius put it this way – Do not do to others what you would not like yourself!
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Mud, No Lotus) a Zen Buddhism Teacher states “Understanding our own hurt allows us to see and understand the suffering of others. Looking without judgement, we can understand, and compassion is born.” He recommends ‘metta meditation’ a practice of cultivating understanding, love and compassion by looking deeply, first for ourselves, and then for others. (Metta means loving kindness in Pali.)
A simple, yet profound statement made by a friend of mine last weekend sums up the ‘verb’ of Compassion beautifully “First Do No Harm”. She applies this principle to daily life as her mantra – it applies everywhere – and I have come to believe – even to self!
Compassion is a DOING WORD, and it could become overwhelming for us as we open our eyes and awaken our hearts further in compassion. (Perhaps this overwhelm has us keeping our eyes and hearts closed as it’s too painful to see it all?!) We are surrounded by people and places who are in need. Inherent in compassion is ACTION. What can I think, say, or do differently today towards myself or others, which is Living Compassion?
‘Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships, and to a fulfilled humanity.’ From The Charter of Compassion
I set my intention each day, to act with compassion, towards myself and others, and I invite you to join with me, and moment by moment, action by action, we can make a difference.
Just as the parable of the starfish goes:
One day an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”
Compassionately yours, Gab
12 Steps to a Compassionate Life: Karen Armstrong
The Compassion Book: Pema Chodron
No Mud, No Lotus: Thich Nhat Hanh
This can be a tricky one. When we’ve been hurt by someone or a situation it is sometimes tempting and even comforting in some way to blame, or hold them responsible, holding onto that painful moment as a scar in our innermost being. It can feel somehow that the only way to administer justice is to hold back forgiveness, to make them pay for hurting us.
Unfortunately the main person who is disadvantaged in this circumstance is US… the pain and anger we are holding towards those who have wronged us gets inverted onto us, embodied by us, and can make us bitter and even unwell physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Having suffered many hurts in this lifetime, including sexual abuse, there have been ample opportunities for me to practice forgiveness (or not!).
What I have come to understand after much reading, reflecting and counselling, is that there is greater personal power in being willing to let go, to release the strings that bind us, the attachment to the perpetrators of hurt. I want to be clear here…this process of letting go does not make the actions of that person ok, it does liberate us from continued damage or trauma caused by hanging onto the event or loss.
As I have reflected on this word this week, I have had somewhat of a lightbulb moment! Perhaps the FORGIVENESS stage is a part of the Grief Cycle? Sitting somewhere between depression and resolution/understanding might lie forgiveness. Forgiveness of the one who hurt us, the system, even ourselves for the decisions we might have made. Grief occurs often in our lives, in many and varied ways – and is relative to the one experiencing it – the most obvious experience being the loss of a significant person – and also at times of change – either forced or planned, anytime when circumstances don’t work out as we expected them to. The journey to healing and wholeness will at some stage require of us an attitude of forgiveness if we are to truly move forward.
I really like Edith Stauffer’s (Unconditional Love and Forgiveness) description…
“Forgiveness is a willingness to hold a certain attitude. It is a willingness to move forward. It is a willingness to be more comfortable and suffer less. It is a willingness to take responsibility for oneself and to allow others to take responsibility for themselves. Forgiveness is a decision not to punish ourselves for the wrongs of others or other circumstances. It is a decision to re-enter the flow of love and life.”
We need to be first ‘willing’ to forgive – and this can only come when we are ready to untether ourselves from the origin of the pain/hurt, in order to re-enter the flow of love and life. We might begin… “I am willing to be willing to forgive…..” Finish with your own words.
The traditional concept of forgiveness as taught to me never quite rang true. It felt a bit high and mighty that I could ‘bestow’ forgiveness upon another – it felt somehow separate and judgemental, and my internal voices were saying ‘who am I to forgive you – I don’t even understand you!’
I really enjoy Colin Tipping’s (Radical Forgiveness) take on a more contemporary attitude towards Forgiveness – where there is no blame or judgment, there is instead an acceptance that human beings are imperfect, that we are all connected, and that we are responsible for what we create and we can make meaning out of our suffering and grow and learn from it. (This is an idea closely aligned with the Positive Psychology component of meaning making.). It has a certain Grace about it and has helped me greatly to continue to swim back into the flow of love and life regardless of the hurts experienced along my life journey.
I write this as we approach Australia Day. Perhaps we could reflect on the concept of Forgiveness, as we reconcile the events of the past which birthed our nation of Australia, and seek forgiveness for the injustices and suffering caused by our ancestors to our indigenous peoples – our brothers and sisters on this land? May we be mindful not to perpetuate the pain of the past by our actions and attitudes in the present, so that unconditional love and gratitude can flow once more for the greater good.
Infinite love and gratitude to you all, Gabrielle
Unconditional Love and Forgiveness ~ Edith Stauffer
Radical Forgiveness ~ Colin Tipping
The Wisdom of the Enneagram ~ Riso & Hudson
What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?
This question for me is a liberating question to ponder…it helps me to consider the possibilities that lay beyond what I have considered myself capable of up until now!
There’s a fabulous song by Jana Stanfield which contains the words “I’d never lose faith, even when losing my way…What step would I take today, if I were brave?”
We seem to have been trained to fear failure – in fact it’s one of our main fears, up there with fear of rejection and fear of death! It’s ridiculous to expect that in life we will always be 100% successful in everything we undertake. Yet we put pressure on ourselves to ‘get it right’ to make sure everything’s perfect…and this creates so much anxiety within the ego mind, which is focused on survival, and will do whatever it takes to support ‘success’ as it defines it…
I can remember doing an exercise once at a workshop on fear – having to state in front of a large group of women what I was most afraid of. I can remember hearing all of the fears – flying, spiders, heights etc and thinking to myself… ‘those things don’t scare me – perhaps I’m not afraid of anything’…and then it hit me ‘I’m afraid that if people knew who I really was they wouldn’t like me’! Realising this with such clarity was huge, and somewhat disintegrating, (and there were a few tears!!) yet it paved the way for me to put myself back together in a new way, with a new understanding of what it is to be me…
I realised that much of my life up until then I had invested in saying what I needed to say, doing what I needed to do, and achieving what I needed to achieve for others, sometimes at the expense of my own well-being, not allowing myself to tell the truth about how I felt (even to myself at times). I kept myself small, believing that it wasn’t my place to speak up. I was afraid of them finding out who I really was! I was hiding, and neither I nor the world would get to see what was there, my authentic self.
Today I am posting this note to encourage everyone to be Brave – whatever that means to you – because I have learned that the world needs what we have to share when we are being our brave selves – our authentic selves – this is how we truly connect, and consequently how we build trust and unity as humanity.
Brené Brown, author of Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone states ‘To brave the wilderness…we must learn how to trust ourselves and trust others.’ In order to do this we need to be willing to be vulnerable, to share our truth – without fear. Speaking the truth takes courage. Living our lives with integrity to our values takes courage sometimes too.
There’s a banner hanging on our pergola in our backyard which has various words and descriptions of them on it – one reads Courage: not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them.
So…it seems that in order to be brave we need to be able to trust, and reveal ourselves, yet in order to do that most people need to know that they can trust those to whom they are revealing themselves! A Paradox!
Following my revelation at the workshop I was guided to read a book by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This was just the book I needed, and I recommend it to anyone grappling with overcoming any fears in their life. The most profound part for me was when she spoke about the inner chatterbox in our minds which is the voice of fear – the voice of the ego. When I tune into this voice: I doubt myself; I am tense; I try to control; I am blocked; I am in inner turmoil.
Susan reminded me to instead listen to the voice of my Brave Self, my inner cheerleader – my Higher Self. When I tune into this voice: I am confident; I relax; I trust; I let go and let come; I am creative, and I am at peace.
I actually put those statements up as affirmations in my bedroom at the time to remind me of the truth…and to allow the chatterbox to fade into the background as white noise!
[For those of you who are familiar with ANTs and PETs – Automatic Negative Thoughts and Positive Enhancing Thoughts this is a similar approach – to deal with an ANT infestation we need the PETS!]
I had to choose my thoughts, and continue to need to choose thoughts which encourage me to be Brave, each day of my life.
Being Brave, as I have said earlier, is relative. It depends what your own comfort zone looks like. It might include speaking up more regularly when it would be easier to be quiet and stay under the radar. It might include taking action on things which you can’t control the outcome of. It might include choosing to learn something new, to change jobs, or relationships – change can induce fear for some.
I have a beautiful friend who I know will be reading this, who is dealing with change that has been thrust onto her by the passing of her husband…she expressed that she has patches where anxiety seems to rule the emotions. This is completely natural – she has found herself in a new situation with unknown outcomes, requiring a new set of skills and a reframing of life as a whole. We spoke about acknowledging the fear/anxiety, and coming back to present time, in order to maintain constructive thoughts and responses to each moment. I honour her honesty in this new and confronting place she finds herself, and her ability to reach out as we all do from time to time. That willingness to be vulnerable keeps her connected, as opposed to isolated in her grief, which will help the healing process. She will indeed need to find her Brave Self.
So, the need to find our Brave Self may vary from person to person…it is important to encourage each other to find it though…as it is this part of ourselves which will help us to connect with others and live our authentic lives, our Real Self will shine through.
It may not always seem the most popular move – it may be met with disapproval initially! As Oprah said: Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.
This is when the best stuff comes out to play! And the world has the most to gain from it!
Tibetan Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron: The Places that Scare You – a Guide to Fearlessness challenges us to live our lives beyond fear. ‘All too frequently we relate like timid birds who don’t dare to leave the nest. Here we sit in a nest that’s getting pretty smelly and that hasn’t served its function for a very long time. We could do ourselves the ultimate favour and finally get out of that nest. We can ask ourselves the question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly or do I choose to live and die in fear?”’
Even choosing to write this blog and post it publicly each week feels brave for me – to share my innermost thoughts, and risk rejection, or whatever my ego thinks will happen feels out of my comfort zone to some extent. But the discomfort of sitting with my thoughts, afraid to reveal them out of fear is greater than the discomfort of imagined negative repercussions, and the belief that we are all teachers in each other’s lives encourages me to share.
Thank you for listening – I acknowledge the Brave in You!
What would I do today, if I were brave? Jana Stanfield
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Susan Jeffers
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone: Brené Brown
The Places that Scare You – A Guide to Fearlessness: Pema Chodron
“In the universe there in an un-measurable and indescribable force which those who live ‘of the source’ call intention – and that absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to by intent by a connecting link.” Carlos Castaneda
The second word in our series, Intention, has been described as an aim, objective or plan…for me in this conversation/reflection it is stronger than that…
When I live my life with intention, I am living on Purpose, living a life guided by those Beliefs and Values that are Meaningful for me, and my be-ing and my behaviours are aligned with my deeper self, rather than my ego self.
I have set goals, and achieved them, and yet I feel more deeply connected to my intentions – they seem to be things that I am drawn towards, rather than driven by…perhaps the goal setting is more related to my ego’s desires, and comes more from the head, whereas having an intention comes from a heart-centred space?
For me, living with intention is a Mindful way of living, where I can ask myself “what is my intention here” before I react to an event or a conversation as the day unfolds. Simply asking myself this question seems to create a space between the event and my response to the event, and allows for a different response as opposed to an ego reaction or defensiveness.
When I reflect on this question…possible answers are “to be right” “to be heard” “to win” “to make sure they know that I know stuff” and these answers come from an ego which is hungry to be fed. An alternative response could be “to seek understanding” “to be curious about why that person has responded that way” “to hear first what the other has said before presenting my thoughts” and these answers pave the way for greater harmony and peace in the long run, and actually are more aligned with my core values.
Living with Intention also means there are no accidents – only opportunities to learn, grow and find out more about myself and the world. Rather than seeing life as a haphazard series of happenings, I have always felt that life is unfolding as it’s supposed to, even when it doesn’t appear to be, and that I can either jump in and swim in the flow of life, or resist the flow and feel the drama.
Setting an intention for each day provides us with a sense that we can steer ourselves towards those places and people we are attracted to, trimming the sails mindfully with intention. It is an intention to be present, centred, and allow the space to connect with the others around us.
It is Be-ing the Change we wish to see around us.
It is non-judgement, acceptance.
It is practising gratitude.
It represents the possibilities that exist when we can re-frame the events of life, and develop a trust in the flow, in the Universe, God, or Source Energy (insert your own word here if you wish).
It is activating our life beyond the ego (E.G.O. could be shown as Edging God Out!) and aligning ourselves with our Sacred Self.
What do we do on a practical level to live with intention?
That depends on your preferred mode of re-connecting…
Perhaps allowing space in your day for imagining / visualising / contemplation
Others may wish to write / draw / speak their intentions
Sometimes it can help to look for examples in the role-modelling of how others live their lives – reading autobiographies or watching movies/docos of people we are inspired by can help.
I have found it helpful to do the Values In Action character strengths survey (see below) to help me to become clearer on what values are important and strong for me, and where I can strengthen some of the areas that are not my default areas, so that I can more easily respond than react to life, and accept the diversity of priorities. Consequently I become less in judgement of the way others respond to their lives according to their priorities.
Our intentions are deeply personal – they cannot be set by someone else – they are something we need to tune into and then act out in our daily life.
To intend, is to create – to co-create with the Universe and realise the power we have to make a difference by how we are Be-ing in our daily life, every moment of every day.
Intention is important when we are wanting to manifest things in our life – our Reticular Activating System in our brain will help us to see/perceive life with a certain openness to that which we are focussed on – and consequently if we are constantly complaining about a set of circumstances we will continue to perceive only that evidence which reinforces those circumstances – we need to be mindful of our mental habits and be willing to see other possibilities. “As a person thinketh, so they are”.
I embrace a broad philosophy, and draw from many of the great Teachers of the Ages…I believe it is important to draw upon the Wisdom gained by those who have lived before us, and I am inspired by the words of Job 22:28 from the Old Testament “When you make a decision on something, it will be established for you, and light will brighten your way.”
Wayne Dyer quotes in his book The Power of Intention a message from Jesus of Nazareth about having a healing intention:
“If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you.
If you don’t bring forth what is inside you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.”
This is a very powerful statement on how important it is that we all sing our inner song, and live our life with intention.
Intention is also commitment – what is it that I am most committed to today?
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred…unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
You and I can access the power that comes from Living with Intention, if we choose to use it.
Let us begin again, with intention and co-create an amazing world!
Yours in gratitude, Gabrielle
VIA Character Strengths Survey: www.viacharacter.org
The Power of Intention: Dr Wayne W Dyer
As a part of my own spiritual and personal practise, I have chosen 52 words to reflect on over the course of the year.
I offer these weekly musings to you.
I am not presenting my thoughts as an authority of the topics presented, simply sharing my perspective and reflections within my community.
One of my key intentions is to contribute to Peace, within and without, so this is my first word.
What does this word really mean?
What does it mean to be at peace?
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All
Is it achievable, or does it simply feel like a pipedream in our current world?
Is inner peace something we can only achieve when the world around us is quiet?
What if I can keep the peace around me but it’s at the expense of my inner peace?
More than simply the absence of conflict, Peace, in my opinion and experience, is mostly an inner state of BE-ING, a way to see and interpret the world. Peace is a CHOICE, in each moment, to meet each moment for what it is, not based on the past, or on judgement.
As Gill Hicks says, “Peace is a VERB” …it is how we respond to life’s events. Creating the space to BE STILL and reducing our tendency for fight/flight is one step we can each take towards greater peace, internally and externally.
Mindfulness practices are designed largely to assist us to come from a place of CHOICE, to respond rather than to react. Being conscious of our BREATHING, being in PRESENT time, in the NOW, practising GRATITUDE and practising NON-JUDGEMENT are all contributors towards inner and outer peace.
Rituals can be of great benefit too…lighting a candle, some essential oils, or incense can also evoke a peaceful space.
Clearing our physical environment, in our bedroom, or living areas at home can contribute to greater peace. Creating a restful environment could mean allowing silence, or setting boundaries in our lives relating to technology, or it may include using music to evoke a sense of peace.
Peace in our relationships means being present to and really hearing the voices of others without judgement, and being CURIOUS rather than defensive. Perhaps we have allowed our inner peace to elude us in favour of keeping the peace with others – and perhaps it is time to gently express our needs calmly and assertively whilst acknowledging those of others around us.
There is a peace which passes all understanding …a deep river of peace which is available to us when we take the time to be still and connect with the deepest sense of who we are, when our SPIRIT can speak to us through the noise of life. For some, this connection can be felt when out in nature, for others during prayer or meditation, and for others whilst looking deeply into the eyes of a baby, or a pet/animal.
Recognising that we cannot control, and are not in control of everything (anything!?) in our life and around us can also lead to inner peace (eventually!) once we choose to surrender – easier said than done sometimes – our ego would rather believe it’s got this all handled!
Take a deep breath with me, and let it go! (More to come on this in subsequent posts.)
Thank you for musing with me this week! I will leave this Irish Blessing with you:
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Peace be with you…Shalom…Namaste…Mahalo…Salaam, Gabrielle
May Peace Prevail on Earth www.worldpeace.org
M.A.D. (Making A Difference): Gill Hicks http://www.gilltalks.com
Power of Now: Eckhart Tolle https://www.eckharttolle.com/power-of-now-excerpt/
As a part of my own spiritual and personal practice, I chose 52 words to reflect on over the course of a year.