Sunday, 29 March 2015

Thoughts are like snowballs

Today's post is more like a morning thought captured and with a bit of imagination turned into a playful inspiration, rather than a fully developed blog. Of course, this last thought in the previous sentence ''a fully developed blog'' can lend itself to a whole new discussion on what my idea of blog is, what other people's opinions on that are, what blog should or should not be, etc. I am, however, choosing to stay focused and to store the thought on the blog, maybe for another discussion for another time.

So, thoughts are like snowballs. If you do not pay attention to a snowball when it is still small and on top of the hill it might soon start rolling down the hill becoming bigger, faster and more forceful. Once the snowball gets the momentum going it is likely to create an avalanche and in the process it will destroy many beautiful things that find themselves in its way. However, if you catch that small snowball when it is still on the top of the hill, if you take it into your hands, you get playful and creative with it you can roll it into any shape you like. You can make a beautiful snowman out of it, or if you take more time, get even more involved with it and apply more skills to it, starting from that small snowball you can develop it into a wonderful and safe igloo house that can shelter you from a snow storm.

It is similar with thoughts, if you leave them unchecked they will get a momentum and start running through your mind one after the other with increasing speed. Before you know it you'll be spinning around with worry and feeling out of control. If, however, you capture that first thought and you inquire into it with awareness and you stay open to whatever comes you can awaken your playful creativity and joy.

So, next time you notice a thought, stop for a moment and look at it with awareness. Capture that thought, make a friend and a playful companion of it, before it gets the momentum of its own and starts running wild, avalanching through your mind, creating chaos and devastation in the process.

Thank you for reading and please forward it to those who you think would enjoy reading it.
Please leave a comment, if this post has touched you in any way.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Self-acceptance and self-love

These two concepts go hand in hand with each other. You cannot truly and fully love yourself if you do not accept yourself fully, and you cannot accept yourself fully if you do not love yourself. It is a little bit like with the chicken and the egg, no one can really answer what comes first and it does not even matter which one comes first. What actually matters is that you cannot have one without the other and what is even more important is that in order to be a healthy, thriving, fulfilled, loving and loveable individual you have to both accept and love yourself as you are. 

In our modern societies, however, where the emphasis is often put on perfection and where self-love is often misunderstood for selfishness it is not easy to accept and love ourselves just as we are. It is even more counter culture to nurture ourselves with love and acceptance rather than to reproach ourselves with shame and guilt, especially when we and our actions are less than perfect. It is not easy, but it is essential. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the Nonviolent Communication approach used to say often ''anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.'' At first we might be puzzled by his statement. However, if we just stop for a moment and ask ourselves what message Marshall might wish to convey to us with such a statement we might discover that perhaps he is saying: give yourself a permission to do what you believe in, what you are passionate about, allow yourself to give what you have to give in this moment however much or little it may be, and give to others the gift of yourself, just as you are. Do not wait with doing things until you can do them perfectly, or even more importantly do not wait until you are ''perfect'' (if such thing even exist), because if you wait for that perfection you might end up never doing what actually is worth doing. Even more sadly you may miss sharing with others that what is so unique and precious about you, your humanity – yourself as you really are.

In order to share myself as I really am I need to be at that point where I love myself as I am, so I need to see and accept that I, as I am, have worth and intrinsic value of just being a human with all my qualities, even those that are often seen as ''shortcomings'' rather than ''qualities.'' This also includes acceptance of and loving myself in the moments when I feel angry, grumpy, disappointed, annoyed or frustrated. It seems easy to accept and love yourself when you feel positive, when you feel as if you are effortlessly flying, everything seems to flow smoothly and you feel like you are on top of the world. What about the moments or even days when you feel stuck, when you cannot quite concentrate on anything, the more you try to do something the more it feels like pushing stones up the steep hill. In those moments it takes mindful presence to stay in touch with yourself just as you are, to accept that you are just a bit out of sync with yourself and even more so with the rest of the world. It is in those moments that we need to love ourselves the most. These are certainly kind of moments when we need to allow that love to be practised through gentle and kind acceptance of ourselves just as we are. Through staying present with our own feelings of anger, unease, sadness, and groundlessness of not knowing, but just bearing a witness to what is, without attaching to it as good or bad, without trying to fix it or make it better.

Since getting the inspiration to write this post two days ago I had a personal experience with and realisation related to the very subjects I am writing about so I wish to share that personal part as well.

Two days ago I woke up with this kind of feeling of unease, bordering on tears and not quite knowing why. I went for a walk in the beautiful sierra behind the set of houses where I live. Once I started walking among the pine trees with the sunshine on my face I just relaxed into those feeling of unease and sadness I realised that they were connected to my need for meaning and purpose as well as my need for inspiration and creativity.
I realised that I had been wanting inspiration for several days, however instead of tuning in with myself, I had been playing a ''good soldier.'' For a couple of days prior to that morning I had been diligently sitting in front of the computer trying (read ''ordering'' myself) to write a blog. I decided that writing a blog would be meaningful, as well as a useful activity to do. You see, my mind took over and decided that apart from being meaningful and useful, it will give me something to do, and anyway it was the high time I posted another blog, and on and on my mind went...

Yes, I probably was already trying to fulfil my needs for meaning, purpose, even creativity (after all writing is a creative activity). However the problem was that I was not even connected to those needs from my heart I just went head on (the pun is unintentional but I like it *:D big grin) with a strategy – blog writing - that I decided would give me a chance to creatively express myself and would give me a chance to use my free time meaningfully! From this perspective now, I can see I was showing no respect for where I was at emotionally or mentally. I was not paying attention to what my feelings and needs were. That really means I was acting very unloving towards myself, not accepting where I was and how I was feeling which was rather uninspired and unproductive. I was following a recipe for complete misalignment with myself. 

It comes, therefore, as no surprise that I started writing a blog on one subject without much flow, so another idea popped up so I tried that one. I managed to write approximately half a page on each subject in space of two days switching between writing and checking my e-mail accounts, distracting myself with Facebook, making coffee, looking for something sweet to eat... Clearly this diligent sitting and making myself write was contributing neither to my need for inspiration nor creativity and it was moving me even further from bringing any meaning to my life whatsoever.
Two days went by and I had two blogs started but not finished and not even knowing where I was going with them. Despite several other little jobs done in those two days, I woke up two days ago feeling empty and sad. I did not try to cheer myself up or to push those feelings away I paid attention to them and just accepted them as they were. As I already mentioned above I recognised that these uncomfortable feelings were just messages trying to call my attention. I had enough awareness and enough self-love to say ''wait a second I need some time and solitude here to just be with myself and to allow space for any feelings, and especially needs that are being unacknowledged to come up.''
My acknowledging my feelings and needs and accepting them just as they were and my loving act of just taking time for me have already open up the flow. In addition, I got inspired as well. While I was walking through the forest I got an idea to write about acceptance and then the word love sneaked in as if to say ''hey how can you talk about acceptance especially self-acceptance without mentioning me!” So that afternoon I started this very blog about self-love and self-acceptance. This time I enjoyed putting words down and experiencing the flow. Even though I started writing this post from true inspiration and I had some passion about it I noticed that I was staying on the subject in general terms, I did not seem to be touching it up close and personal. However, in the evening when I was sharing with my partner some of the feelings and needs that I experienced earlier in the day, a little light went on and it became clear to me; the inspiration to write about these two subjects: self-acceptance and self-love, came to me because that is exactly what I was needing to give to myself, exactly what I missed in previous days.
Once I started accepting me as I was I allowed the flow of love (which is always inside of us) to emerge, which in turn was enabling the beauty of needs for meaning, purpose and inspiration to be fully alive, acknowledged and consequently fulfilled in the process.

I could not help but smile at yet another realisation of how perfect the life always is and how all that we ever need is right there inside of us waiting to be discovered and ''allowed'' to flow.

Thank you for reading and please forward it to those who you think can benefit from it.
Please leave a comment, if this article has touched you in any way.