I’m back from my holiday break and while it allowed me a good amount of happy family and personal time, like so many of us, I feel deeply grieved by the tragedies in Sandy Hook and around the world leaving me with questions about how to effect positive change in the caring for our children and other vulnerable people and being part of turning the tide toward compassionate action (at times with fierce compassion) and away from fear based protectionism.
While I was already in the process of fine-tuning my intentions and goals for the year, these tragic events served to impressed on me more deeply how important each of our voices are in speaking up and living out Loving Action and Response-Ability in the ever widening circles of our personal relationships and cultural lives. A few decades ago, I was given the following lines to consider as guides for decision making and action taking:
What we live with we learn,
what we learn we practice,
what we practice we become.
I’ve used them many times for my own guidance and offering to others. One of the marvelous gifts about being human is that we have the capacity to know who we are and to choose the path for our life. Circumstances can make that difficult, but we have that possibility none the less. So we are learning in every moment by what and with whom we surround ourselves. Whatever we’re practicing, we’re learning and reinforcing. And what we’re practicing we’re becoming.
One prime example in our cultural life is that we’re learning from our media and marketing every time we expose ourselves to it. It seems to me that it is important to consider what we’re exposing ourselves to and what the take away lessons are that our commercial world wants for us.
Here’s an example for using the above wisdom:
When I establish an intention to meet life with acceptance and I commit to lovingly accept the people in my life, I’m much more likely to remind myself to meet another more softly and with openness. As I practice this, I become an open, loving, accepting person who uses her energy to respond to the circumstances of her life with wholehearted acceptance rather than react with resistance and judgment. These two paths have very different results and effects on our well- being. Openness and acceptance produces a vibrant ease and flow through our bodymind system and between self and other. Resistance and judgment causes contraction and tension in body and mind and lack of connection with others.
Here are some simple moves to make to support learning, practicing and becoming.
- Breathe, Move, and Love. Breath is the most important nutrient for bodymind health and well-being. Do a few minutes of conscious breathing practice daily to nourish your intentions and action steps. Moving in creative ways will loosen any stuck place in your body, and emotional numbness, and any stagnant thinking in your mind. Walk, run, swim, dance, wiggle, giggle, or jiggle. Make it fun and let it happen. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Give yourself and the others in your life plenty of it. Tasso (an eastern mystic) says, “Anytime not spent on love is wasted.” Could this mean that we could do everything with love? I wonder what our lives and culture would be like J!
- Remember that everything is practice for something so it’s a good idea to be aware of what you are practicing. And ask yourself if what you are doing is consistent with what you want to be?
- Recognize that each day is an opportunity for you to be what and who you most want to be. Name 3 or 4 characteristics that describe how you want to be then live into them. For example, 3 of mine are kind, loving, and vibrant. My daily intention is to express myself in these ways. If I find I’ve drifted from them, I remind myself of what I want and head back to where I want to be.
As this first month of the New Year unfolds ask yourself,
“What am I learning from what I’m practicing?”
And “Am I becoming what I truly want to be and what to offer to life?”
May your learning be rich, your practice be enjoyable, and your becoming be delightful!