Resilience Warrior {from Dec 2016 “One Moment Shifts”}

Resilience Warrior

Life is going to be tough sometimes. Life is also going to be beautiful and full of happy times. Nonetheless, life is also going to test us: unexpected inconveniences, losses, changes, even making choices that we know will be met with resistance or choosing personal growth over staying comfortable. The mosaic of life is going to include some unpleasant stuff. It’s how we meet that unpleasantness, pain, and difficulty that can make our life full of stress and suffering or ease, peace, and happiness.

What keeps us going? What guarantees ease, peace, and happiness in the face of our challenges? Resilience. (I know, you saw that coming!) Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. We all have an internal Resilience Warrior. Think about it, we’ve all survived 100% of the tough stuff in our lives. That’s a pretty darn great success rate! We are all more capable, strong, and powerful than we realize.

Continue reading “Resilience Warrior {from Dec 2016 “One Moment Shifts”}”

Stillness & Inspiration: Vlog (from Jan 2015 Athena’s Circle Course)

In preparation of the Jan-June 2017 Miracle Warriors course (formerly known as the Athena’s Circle Course), I’m reviewing the topics and making the best 6 month course yet.  In celebration, here is a vlog blast from the past. Enjoy!

Stillness & Inspiration Vlog

https://goo.gl/photos/hwUeQrdXVUX5Ur5NA

 

Interested in registering for the course? Check out the information and link to register HERE or www.tinyurl.com/omcMiracleWarriors

Skeletons and Demons – from November 2016 “One Moment Shifts”

“Skeletons and Demons”

It doesn’t take much to get me babbling about how awesome Mindfulness is and how it can literally change the brain, help us make wise decisions, realize our authentic self, get still enough to find our passions and purposes, and help us to create our happiest lives. I can give you a list of dozens of ways to start practicing Mindfulness and start changing your brain. You don’t even have to add time in your day to do it; just focusing on a task at hand and being fully present with it is a great start.

There’s this thing about being human, as it turns out, that we tend to desire self-growth and discovery. Not only do we want to be successful (whatever that means to you), we also want to be more loving, more creative, learn more, give back to the world. This is beautiful! It can also be scary.

Why scary? Because we have demons and skeletons along with us for the ride. We don’t get to adulthood years without having made mistakes, having regrets and/or resentments. Further, most of us have not been guided or taught the tools needed to confront these in a way that actually helps us heal and move forward wiser and more prepared for whatever life is going to throw at us. So, we tend to take our demons (fears) and skeletons (the things from our pas that we don’t want anyone else to know about, and we even deny them ourselves) into our friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, and decisions about how we spend our free time. When something in life pokes at a demon or skeleton we aren’t wanting to look at, we get defensive, take the edge off (sometimes in unhealthy ways), and continue our ostrich approach (if I stick my head in the sand, maybe it won’t see me).

I’ve tried the ostrich approach for years. It worked to a certain degree for some time, though eventually made things a lot worse. I didn’t want to even acknowledge that something from my past was still haunting me, even when it was staring me in the face. So I did a lot of the denial thing, blaming other people thing, and hiding behind other “positive” things (i.e., being busy, focused on the next achievement, etc.) thing. As the Universe has it, the skeletons and demons just kept coming back.

At some point, the skeletons and demons were so in my face that there wasn’t a door to close or a place to hide. I somehow reached deep inside to find a willingness to see them and feel them. And oh boy did I feel them! The emotions were strong, my mind and body seemed to almost be detached from each other.  I remember recalling stories I’ve read about Buddha inviting Mara (essentially the representative of our fears, urges, etc.) in instead of pushing her away.  I realized I was tired of carrying around baggage and could really see how it was impacting me, my approach to life, and even those around me.

Since then, it’s been a practice of Mindfulness with my skeletons and demons. Being gentle and understanding with myself about how those skeletons and demons got there was a difficult, though necessary first step. My negative-biased brain wanted to go to a place of loathing and shame at first. I was able to use a witnessing awareness and gently guide myself back to a place of understanding and compassion.
The next step was wanting to learn. Using your skeletons, demons, and baggage as your teachers can be an invaluable approach to finding the path toward healing. I found it comforting knowing that there was purpose in these skeletons and demons; such as guiding me to be who I want to be, being more emphatic, creating more compassion for myself, understanding how I can help give more love to the world.
We all have skeletons and demons. The journey of acknowledging them, allowing them to be our teachers, and finding a path of healing is at times scary, though the most rewarding and liberating work you will ever do.

Peace and love on your self-discover journey!
The time has come to be your happiest self!
-Kathleen

“What the heck is Maitri?!” — from the October 2016 “One Moment Shifts”

“What the heck is Maitri?!”

In several OMC practices, seminars, and retreats, there has been a focus on Maitri. I get the question often, “What the heck is Maitri?!” Maitri (pronounced my-tree) is a Sanskrit word that basically translated means loving-kindness, good will, or friendliness, including (and at times especially) towards oneself.

Not only is the word “Maitri” not well-known, but I get the sense that the concept of having loving-kindness towards oneself isn’t common (at least in the Western culture, specifically the U.S.). I will try to not get on my soap box here, though marketing in this culture is based on the idea that we aren’t enough and should not feel good enough or okay with ourselves until we have obtained _________(fill in the blank). This message has been internalized since before we could read. Most of us grew up in homes with adults who wanted us to be happy and have easy lives, and with the best of intentions continued this message.

 
In some of his speeches and writings, His Holiness the Dalai Llama even expresses this strange phenomena in Western cultures to criticize ourselves and feel this thing called shame. This concept of, “Don’t you dare feel good enough,” is not taught, or even recognized, around the world.
 
When it comes down to it, it feels bad to not be friendly to ourselves. Shame and self-hatred is painful and it’s suffering. It’s fighting with the reality that we are basically good and it separates us from what connects us all, the desire to be happy and at ease.

Some of us use the self-critical and self-loathing “voice” to keep us in line, stay productive, to self-manage. Unfortunately, this punishing voice also keeps us feeling small and never accepted (by ourselves and the world) or deserving of love, attention, or belonging. This feels bad as we’re genetically wired to want belonging and love. When we can’t unconditionally love ourselves, we also see a world that can’t accept us (not that it’s reality, but it’s the filter through which we see). This is a life of pain.

Having an internal voice that keeps us in check with our morals, values and virtues, is of course helpful. Though we can do this lovingly. Thinking back to a time when you did something you’re not so proud of, what would it be like if you talked to yourself about that with a soft voice of understanding and gentleness? Not convincing yourself that you did nothing out of line of your values, that it was someone else’s fault, or that you shouldn’t take accountability and make amends; just factually reviewing the circumstances, the decisions, and understanding your attempts to keep yourself safe. Less painful? You’ll get the same outcome; bringing yourself back to your true essence. One method is just less damaging than the other.

Practicing Maitri, or the attitude of friendliness and good will towards oneself, helps us get through life with more ease. Over time, we even build more resilience to normal life stress and start to love others more authentically and deeply. No matter what life throws us, we can handle it with minimal stress and pain. This, to me, is happiness.

There are many ways to start bringing Maitri into your life. From how you to talk to yourself throughout the day to formal sitting practices, the methods to build loving-kindness towards yourself are numerous. For specific ways to practice Maitri, formally or informally, check out the follow-up blog, Creating a Maitri Pracitice, on the OMC website: www.onemomentcenter.com. (Note: look for this October 9th!)

Want to here more? Here’s a great explanation from one of my favorites, Pema Chodran: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s-rRMUl04I

Peace and love on your self-discover journey!
The time has come to be your happiest self!
-Kathleen