Practice doesn’t make perfect.
Practice makes permanent.
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Let’s face it; waking up and living a truly heart-centered life is hard to do.
It’s harder than leaving that rancid relationship, asking for a raise or admitting to your 7-year old that he’s right about Santa.
The question is why?
As with all new relationships, when we’re first introduced to the idea of spiritual awakening we become infatuated.
We read books, go to workshops, learn how to meditate, and finally find that long sought after sense of peace. Generally this lasts until we walk through the door of our in laws house for Sunday dinner, read the newspaper, or witness our kids coming home stoned for the first time.
That’s usually when the smell of burning rubber signals our high speed reversal back to the familiar land of judgement, blame, competition, worry, and overall dissatisfaction.
So what happened? How could we feel so at ease and balanced in one minute and then swing from the chandelier of us vs. them in the next?
It’s simple. Our well-practiced habits took over and redirected our focus like a traffic cop at the scene of an accident. The only difference being that the so-called accident only happened in our minds.
Sure, in-laws can make us crazy but so can gaining ten pounds or losing our wallets. News is designed to deliver the suffering of the world to our living rooms and make it seem like that’s what the planet is made of. As for our children, I won’t get into what can happen with our minds, emotions, and hearts when they’re involved in anything that pushes the borders of what we deem appropriate.
But aren’t these very things the reason we decided to flirt with spirituality in the first place?
Didn’t we wake up one day and decide that we were fed up with feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and depressed?
Isn’t that why we started meditating, inquiring, journaling and appreciating?
For some of us there was a clear choice point at the fork in the road where the signs pointed to either a bottle of pills or a new way of living. I, for one, am glad I choose the latter and I bet you are too — most of the time.
Staying centered and peaceful amidst turmoil is an art and it takes practice. You don’t think that the few salsa lessons you took at the all-inclusive resort in Mexico makes you a pro do you? No, of course not. The same holds true for walking a consciously loving path. It takes practice to Masterfully dance with some of the crap that happens outside of your personal consciousness raising practice but you can do it and remain fairly clean and fragrant.
Here are a few tricks of the trade:
Keep going – That’s right, keep swimming my friend. I promise it gets easier. Soon you’ll be surfing the waves of the outside world like an old pro and you’ll giggle your open hearted butt off while saying, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to anyone who tries to pull you off of your peace train or kill your joy buzz with their trauma or drama.
Say No – “No”, is a complete sentence so use it.
A lot of well meaning people step into spirituality and get trampled. This is due to misunderstanding what being loving is, and what it is not. Oddly, saying no to a relationship, behaviour or pattern that you feel drained, disrespected or dishonoured by is the most loving thing you can do for you, and them. But only do it for you because the moment you start putting what you believe to be best for someone else’s first, you can watch your hard won actualization out the window.
Say Yes – Start saying “Hell yah”, to your dreams.
OK, so you’re 45-years-old and that burning desire to be an NBA all star is well past it’s sell by date but you can still play ball, baby. And what about that Audi you’ve always wanted but still can’t fit into the budget? So what. Go test drive that puppy and enjoy every minute. Say yes to you and I promise you’ll feel like you discovered the fountain of youthful bliss, and just between you and I, you will have.
Emote – Oh goody, we can practice using our new “say yes to you” mantra with this one. I know expressing emotion can be tough, but think of it like changing the oil in your car. You wouldn’t dream of driving with the same oil in your engine for 20 years so why would you walk around with the same, old unchanged emotional energy stuck in your body?
I’m not suggesting you stand in the middle of your office and weep, unless you feel compelled to do so, but taking some private space and time to let it out does wonders for the body, mind, spirit and libido.
By the way, crying isn’t the only way to emote. Laughing, screaming and chanting count too, and sometimes a really loud curse fest works wonders for the soul. Be certain to emote for you, not for another, or, most specifically, at another.
Remember: Practice doesn’t make perfect, Practice makes permanent.
What will you choose to practice today?
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Photo: Flickr/Nagesh Jayaraman