This quote from Ram Dass expresses how the body, mind and spirit must all be nurtured in order to create optimal circumstancesnot only for ourselves, but for those around us.
My understanding of the way a child grows is that you create the garden, you don’t grow the flower. You can merely fertilize the earth and keep it soft and moist, and then the flower grows as best it can. It’s an interesting one, because people get guilty that they’re not doing enough about their children, and they tend to get caught in this sort of predicament.
You don’t change your wife or your child. You just keep working on yourself until you are such a clean mirror reflection, such a supportive rock of love for all those beings that everybody is free to give up their stuff when they want to give it up – your wife, her anxiety; your child, that habit. You keep creating a space in which people can grow when they’re ready to grow. – RAM DASS
Recently, Margo, Stephanie and I have been asking each other the same questions, and guiding each other through the same processes, we will offer participants during our upcoming retreat.
I’ve looked at my own experiences of fear versus love. I’ve asked myself “Who am I that is not my fears or my ego?” And I’ve discovered how following my heart opens up vistas and possibilities unimaginable to my mind.
Doing these practices with such gifted women has altered my understanding of the work I do and the difference it can make. It has also revealed to me how dramatically I cut myself off from relationships and possibilities when I let my mind do all my thinking for me.
One evening, in the midst of this process, I opened up to my husband in a way I rarely have. I’m 45 and, I told him, I’m noticing myself age. In our culture, there’s very little to “look forward to” as a woman who is not youthful, thin or sexy. And yet, I said, I feel these very things approaching: as if the woman I have been is going to be replaced by someone I don’t yet know.
It was surprising enough that I shared these thoughts. But what was even more surprising was how much more authentic and real he became in the following days. As if my own opened heart made it easier for him to explore his own.
It’s not always true that the people in our lives follow our lead as we grow and expand. But by taking the first steps, at least we give them the opportunity. By taking the risk to open our own hearts, we can show others the way and create a ripple effect that touches the entire world.
If that’s not a good enough reason to open your heart, I don’t know what is.
We have two spaces left for next week’s retreat. Is it your time to Come Home To Your Heart? Register online nowor email email@example.com for more information.
A number of years ago, I was seeing a therapist who would regularly bring up the fact that I was sensitive. Every time she said it, I would squirm because it sounded like she was insulting me and calling me weak.
Needless to say, if there was anything I didn’t want to be called, it was sensitive.
Girl poets who put their heads in ovens were sensitive. Boys who cried on the playground were sensitive. People who didn’t speak up for themselves, who wouldn’t pursue their dreams and who couldn’t succeed were sensitive. And that wasn’t me.
Over time, however, I grew to love my sensitivity and regard it as a gift rather than a liability. Along the way, I also transformed my entire notion of what it means to be a sensitive person in an insensitive world. I discovered that when we try to hide our sensitivity and function like other people (the “insensitives”?) our best results often DO end up flawed and, as our constitutions wear down from neglect, we often DO end up weak (or addicted or depressed).
But, I also learned that when we embrace sensitivity as a precious gift and the source of our greatest contributions, we can surprise ourselves with who we really are and carve out a powerful existence based on our true selves and our authentic strengths.
If you are a person who has ever been called oversensitive or has thought that about yourself, consider looking at the term differently from now on – not as an insult but as a clue to your deeper nature – and try asking yourself some questions:
If you spent more time alone and less time forcing yourself to be social, what would happen and how would you feel?
If you stopped trying to be like other people and surrendered to being exactly who you are, who would you be?
What if the thoughts and images of your imagination were projected outside yourself? What if you shared your experience of the world? What would be possible? Not just for yourself but for others?
And lastly, what if you cherished your sensitivity and designed a life to nurture and care for it? What then?