It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Shocking Truth About Compassion

An alcoholic demanded to return home from a treatment center. His wife felt that being home where she could take care of him was a good thing even though the staff at the center strongly advised otherwise. Once she had assisted with his return, she did her best, as she had over their years together, to love him with tenderness, encourage him to stop drinking, create distractions, and generally try to make him feel good about himself, or at least better. She appealed to his reason (this didn’t work when he was drunk), and addressed the needs of the most frightened parts of his personality when they were active. For example, he would say, “No one cares for me,” and she would say, “Of course people love you.” He would say “I am washed up,” and she would say, “You have so much to give.” He would say, “I can’t start again,” and she would say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

He feared experiencing the emotional pain that years of drinking no longer masked (which is what the center would have required him to do). His wife feared his rage, mood swings, irrationality, and drinking. Three months after his return home, he drowned in his vomit in bed, too incoherent or weak to prevent his death. There was no compassion in this picture. Neighbors may have thought the wife was compassionate, but what would they think if they realized that her choices assisted his death? Her fears and his fears prevented them from listening to professionals who know about alcoholism.

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Becoming a Vessel

“In order for me to become a vessel, to be used, I had to have my attachments broken. You can’t be a true vessel if you’re attached. You have to be emptied out.”—Julia Butterfly Hill


The idea of becoming a vessel, or conduit, for selfless love to flow through you into the world is part of many spiritual teachings. To be of service in this way can become one of the highest aspirations for those on a deeply committed spiritual path. Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent two years living in the branches of a 1500-year-old redwood tree to prevent it from being cut down, has described her own preparation for this dedicated act of service. She let go of all physical attachments in terms of possessions, but then Mother Nature emptied her of everything else in a fierce wind/rain storm that brought her face to face with the possibility of her own death. She was “emptied out” for the task ahead.

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The Meaning of Resurrection Especially in These Times

First you must realize you are asleep, then you wake up, then you die so you may be born. You cannot be born until you die and you cannot die until you wake up.
  -  
Jungian psychology


There are traditions across the world which celebrate Easter and the joy of Christ being risen. Storytelling is one of the most ancient natural medicines we have for the healing of our hearts and our soul. The Easter story is so powerful yet it deepens who we are in our humanity when we allow the story to be personal for ourselves. How can we allow the Christ consciousness to be born within us? 

During these unpredictable and uncertain times we are living in, we are all called to rise up. We have a profound, once in a lifetime moment to seize this window of a universal time out to quiet the noise in our minds and allow a greater connection of God to be experienced in our lives. 

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Compassion And Connection: Fulfilling Our Divine Purpose!

As spiritual souls having a human experience, our Divine purpose on earth is to actualize into the best version of ourselves. We do this through service to others. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a healer, we are all here to support the world’s healing. We do so by focusing on our own alignment. When we personally are aligned with the Universe, we are bringing more harmony to the world and helping to heal the collective whole. 

Compassion refers to the desire to reduce the suffering of others, and we are acting to benefit others consciously. Just as healing the world begins with healing ourselves, compassion for others is easier when we also have compassion for ourselves. We are inextricable from the whole! 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Two Forms of Compassion

What is compassion but drifting in the immensity of life with an open heart? We bump into and pass by so many torn and budding lives along the way. Some are like us, many are not—on the surface, but under it all, we remain the same ounce of spirit carried in skin and bone. One of our jobs, then, is to learn how to relate to the cascade of others that rise and fall around us. The practice of compassion is how we learn that we are each other. And the practice of expression is how the heart knows itself.

Early on in life, there is an initiation into the practice of compassion through the commonality of our experience with others. If I have suffered and healed from a broken heart, then when I witness your heart breaking, I can easily identify with what you’re going through. If you’ve lost your job and come into my life when I’m laid off, we can easily meet in our common struggle through adversity. If I’ve felt betrayed by a friend or loved one and I’m with you when you are betrayed, we can quickly form a bond that will help each other through. This sort of compassion, based on our common experience, is an ongoing apprenticeship that never ends.

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Repairing our Hearts – Healing with the RAIN of Compassion

Living in a fear-based society fuels the trance of separation and unworthiness. This talk explores how we can bring an engaged compassionate presence to the suffering of this trance—in our inner work, and more broadly, in healing our culture (from the 2020 IMCW 7-day Silent New Year Retreat).

I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane to sneak in to my own house and steal money, to climb over the fence and take my own vegetables.  But no more.  I’ve gotten free of that ignorant fist that was pinching and twisting my secret self.

The universe and the light of the stars come through me.  I am the crescent moon put up over the gate to the festival.

Rumi
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The One New Year's Resolution I Hope You Make...And Keep

One of the most important aspects of Inner Bonding is opening to a compassionate intention to learn. I think a lot about love and compassion. Compassion is often more than people think it is.

Compassion does include the standard definition: the ability to feel empathy with another or others who are suffering, to be moved by the suffering and to want to help alleviate it.

 

But compassion is so much more…

It’s my experience that like love, we don’t generate it within ourselves; we open to it. Compassion, like love, peace, joy, grace and true wisdom, are gifts of spirit that we experience when we are open to learning about loving ourselves and others. These gifts are what the universe is. Compassion is a bright, light, loving energy that deeply connects you with yourself, others, animals and the planet.

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I don’t care how spiritual you are

Do you want to know what makes me swoon?

Beautiful, insightful, profound writing.

I recently discovered this essay on Facebook, written by Taylor Rose Godfrey and have gotten her permission to share it with all of you. She really dives deep into the heart of true spirituality.

“I don’t care how spiritual you are. How long you can melt in the sweat lodge. How many peyote journeys that have blown your mind, or how well you can hold crow pose. Honestly. I don’t. I don’t care what planets fall in what houses on your birth chart, how many crystals you have or how vegan your diet is.

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Caretakers of Consciousness

We have a responsibility, those of us born on Earth at this key transitional moment in the planet’s history. A powerful and sacred responsibility. And that is to hold the dream of a harmonious world and a loving human species in our hearts at all times and to act accordingly: with love, with kindness. To keep our minds clear of fearful thought forms and influences, which are becoming more and more prevalent and strident now. Conspiracy theories of all kinds are beginning to dominate social media, and hatred of “other” is growing. Divisiveness is encroaching on compassion in the human experience. When we separate off into smaller and smaller groups, suspicious of one another, we are falling further and further away from our purpose in being here.

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Sitting Shiva for America

I woke up this morning feeling a sense of great loss, loss for so many things…the loss of civility in our country, the loss of life from Covid, and cancer, and guns, and innocent black men and women being killed, innocent protesters being gunned down, the violence in our streets.

The seemingly impossible divide between left and right.

The loss of stability and security.

The loss of freedom to hug our friends, and so much more.

Later, when I looked at my Facebook feed I found more loss.

Friends mourning the loss of loved ones, beloved pets, careers that were once promising that have disappeared.

Grief. Mourning. Fear. Uncertainty.

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Meeting Racism, Homophobia and Close-Mindedness With Love and Compassion

Hate, negativity, close-mindedness — none of this is new. Being heavily tattooed with big holes in my earlobes, a skateboarder and a fan of punk/hardcore music since my teenage years has left me all too familiar with judgmental people, especially growing up in a small town before these things started to become somewhat socially acceptable.

Disapproving looks, comments under the breath, or, in some cases, blatantly to my face, have been commonplace throughout my life and have led me time and again to contemplate why people feel the need, or, that they have the right to cast judgments and write someone off based solely on outer appearances or personal lifestyle choices.

There’s really no simple answer. Each person is a unique individual with a unique set of circumstances that has led them to become the person that they are today. One thing I’ve learned about myself however, and my own judgments (because yes, I too am human and have no shortage of them), is that they’re almost always rooted in fear.

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Broken Open and Broken

It is impossible to know why some of us are broken open while some of us are just broken. If we knew how to invoke the difference, we could change the course of history. Even within one life, we can experience transformative moments of being broken open and, at other times, we just suffer being broken. More than staying in the unanswerable tangle of why some of us grow while some of us stay stuck, it is more important to move from one to the other. When broken open, we grow. When just broken, we endure. And the crucial calling of all relationship is to inhabit what we learn from being broken open to help us endure those times when we are just broken. Essential to the practice of compassion is that, when broken open, we find a way to help those who are broken, and to be humble enough when broken to ask for the help of those who are broken open. In this ongoing way, the light of kindness fills the hole of every pain. We must resist the trial of fairness and the comparison of suffering and devote ourselves to completing each other as we tumble through time.

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The Life of Christ is Now

There is one way, and one way only, that any of us will ever know the real meaning behind the life of Christ, and that is... to share in his death. And by this, I do not mean symbolically, or by any other allegory. If our wish is to know the truth behind his seemingly incomprehensible, incomparable act of self-sacrifice -- and the rebirth that crowns this surrender -- there's but one thing to do: we must stop thinking about it... and get down to the business of actually dying to our own lower nature.

Spending one's time wondering why this god-man agreed to lay down his life for the sake of the immortal Self that he embodied... is like hoping to be healed by a medicine that you give someone else to take for you.
 

Let me be clear: it doesn't matter what we say we believe in, or otherwise profess to be true. Belief alone amounts to nothing. To paraphrase and enhance a timeless idea: faith without acts is not only fruitless, but along with being the dangerous root of fanaticism, it is one of the dark seeds from out of which grows the evil of religious intolerance. Comparing the value of our ideals to those of others is not what it means to act truly, anymore than the act of judging someone proves the worthiness of the judge.

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How to Successfully Persevere Through A Crisis

These are unprecedented times that we are all living through. There is fear and uncertainty so heavy in the air, you can certainly feel it and even almost taste it. We are all having this very real and shared experience of what it means to live as one people under the Sun. There's a shared sense of oneness because we are all in this together. It does not matter what creed, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation that you are, we are all managing, dealing and surviving this pandemic together.

This pandemic is shifting the way of life for all of us. And am I getting tired of sheltering in place? Absolutely… Anybody else? Is it frustrating? Absolutely…Are you tired of being patient and sheltering in place? YES! Trust and believe that even before all of this…I was not the most patient person and practicing patience is not one of my strong qualities. Yet, somehow, we must keep trusting. We must keep being patient, we must continue to persevere and move confidently forward.

And as I started meditating on what this time means in our lives, Divine Inspiration revealed that we all need a message grounded in how to have patience, how to persevere through difficulties, and how to have unshakable faith in God’s Promises during a season of frustration.

They say patience is truly a virtue and patience in God’s Timing is much different than the patience that we put on ourselves. I grew up believing that the Bible is our story. This Holy book like many Holy books can be used as our blueprint on how we navigate and govern our lives. It contains many stories of overcoming and can give us hope on how we not only survive but thrive through this thing that we call life.

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A New Perspective - Life without hope may be our best chance for peace

Are you, like John Mayer sings, “waiting on the world to change?” Or are you trying, as Gandhi advised to “be the change that you wish to see in the world?” Maybe, like too many of us you’re humming that old Dusty Springfield song, “just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying. Planning and dreaming …”In her poem “Hope” is the Thing with Feathers, Emily Dickinson’s creates a metaphor of hope through a little bird “that perches in the soul” and “never stops—at all.” It’s always there inside. It never asks for anything and it never takes flight. It never reacts or participates. That’s the thing about hope. It just hangs out with us, especially during dark nights. Although hope offers encouragement, it rarely mobilizes our energy or our actions.

Woody Allen parodied this metaphor in his book Without Feathers, about his neurotic sense of hopelessness especially in regard to God and death. It’s funny. It’s counter intuitive and it made me wonder is the opposite of hope really despair? Or is it participation?

As a young girl growing up in the heart of the Bible belt, hope was affiliated with the concept of victim. “I hope that God will hear me.” It actually lowered expectations and consciousness because hope became something that was always delayed or put on the shelf. It was about waiting for the knight in shining armor or some magical evangelical leader to be the change. In my early life experience, it taught me to give my power away. It put the responsibility on someone else—to live a life in the fading light of day.

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Living Peace, Allowing Grief

Yesterday just before sunrise I was overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, grief, and mourning. Tears streamed down my face. The unfathomable loss of life around the world from the coronavirus hit me like an avalanche. The number of cases is continuing to rise here in Florida and throughout the U.S. My thoughts turned to Boston friends who had died of cancer in the last year and the trip home to Massachusetts in May that Anne and I had to cancel. My own and the world’s sorrow and pain rushed through my body in waves as I wept. Gradually, after a time, it subsided, tear by tear, and I sat quietly in the half-darkness, breathing in the silence. The sky began to lighten. Then, as if in answer to my heart’s call for comfort, a mockingbird began to sing its morning song, a medley of every possible birdcall it had ever heard. My heart lifted, as it always does when I hear a mockingbird.
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One Earth—Peace Within Crisis

We have used language to separate ourselves from each other through a litany of pronouns—you, he, she, it, they—which together mean “other.” Yes, we say “we,” but it is usually used in a sense that cordons off “us” from “them.” The greater “we” that encompasses all of humanity is rarely part of our vocabulary. World events in the form of a deadly virus are now compelling us to open our hearts to that inclusiveness. We can no longer separate ourselves from one another, and that includes all of Nature as well. Our survival depends on seeing “we” everywhere. We are being radically schooled in oneness.

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2020: Your Year of Mindful Self-Compassion

Just for a moment, forget about all your standard New Year’s resolutions. It goes without saying that most of us want to be healthier, wealthier, and wiser – but what if we’re going about it all wrong? Have we ever really stopped to wonder whether it’s possible to shame and “should” ourselves into going to the gym more or eating better?

Luckily, there’s another solution. Allow me to introduce you to a lovely practice called Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Mindfulness is the foundation of MSC. Why? Because we need to become aware of and acknowledge our suffering in order to respond to our discomfort with kindness. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would act towards a dear friend when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself.

Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “tough it out” mentality, you can stop to tell yourself, “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?” Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, you are kind and understanding towards yourself when confronted with personal failings. After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be healthier and happier, but when you are mindfully showing yourself compassion, you change because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means you honor and accept your humanness.

Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, and losses will occur; you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, and fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

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How to Create Compassionate Holidays

Compassionate Holidays require that you act consciously each moment. Unconscious caretaking and pleasing others (giving gifts because it is the “season”) are NOT compassionate deeds. They ignore the humanity of the recipient because the recipient is being exploited by frightened parts of your personality. This type of interaction multiplied billions of time each “Holiday Season” makes the experience much less than it could be.

Compassion is being moved to and by acts of the heart. I am not speaking of the sentimental “heart,” the “heart” that feels pity and need to fix other’s problems (these are experiences of frightened parts of the personality). I am speaking of the most healthy, inclusive, grounded, and loving part of yourself. If this heart is not involved, no compassion is present. Therefore a compassionate Holiday, like a compassionate family dinner or a compassionate country requires you to replace the experiences of frightened parts of your personality (which also include anger, impatience, frustration, and judging) with the experiences of loving parts (gratitude, appreciation, patience, caring). This creates authentic power.

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How can we stay open to both the suffering and the joy of life?

You and I are in training to be free. We’re in training to be so present, so spacious, so embracing, we’re in training to not look away, deny or close our hearts when we can’t bear something. The statement, “I can’t bear it,” is what burns you out in social action. When you’re in the presence of suffering and contracting, it’s the contraction that starves you to death.


When you close your heart down to protect yourself from suffering, you also close yourself off from being fed by that same life situation.


If you can stay open to both the suffering and the joys and the stuff of life, all of it, then it’s like a living spirit. It just connects to your living spirit and there’s a tremendous feeding going on.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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