In Tara Brach’s most recent set of talks she explores the topic of finding shelter in love. (I highly recommend all her talks, and especially this series during the pandemic, Sheltering in Love. You can listen to these talks in a variety of ways; YouTube, Spotify, or her Website.) Her talks are always so inspiring and she is my most treasured teacher. There is a depth and realness to her work that is always so healing.
I have been sitting in the question recently of how best to serve. My community, myself, my loved ones. What is it that this world really needs (besides toilet paper, hospital support, and universal basic income) and how we can come together to create this new world?
In my eyes, how things were going before the pandemic was not sustainable, and there were a lot of problems. Now, as the ground we stood on crumbles and everything rearranges, what do we want to create from it?
What hit me most in this first talk was this idea that this pandemic has become in many ways a mirror for how we relate to our own mortality, to loss, and to change. There is the death of how life was before, the death of our identity, our job, and of course the very real, terrible, and present death of so many lives. Faced with this death and fragility of life we either one, react from fear or two, respond from presence. And what lit my heart up was when she said, “If a good number of people of the collective respond from presence and love we are directly seeding the world that we long for.”
There is potential for a more compassionate, loving world.
I have been feeling into the power and possibility of this time, of how I want to show up, of what I want to create with my life, how I want to impact and serve the world, my family, my community and clients. I believe that everything that is happening right now is a calling for love, compassion, and belonging. To ourselves, to each other, to this world. To deepen our presence and awareness. To TRUST in the belonging and interconnectedness of us all and of our planet.
There is possibility, power, growth, and potential in uncertainty. In the death of one thing there is the birth of another. When I relax my reflex for control (you know what I'm talking about:) in this uncertainty and give time and space to what desires to emerge, I have found real healing and transformation. A returning home to me, to what matters most, to how I want to live my life. I believe that with this global suffering, there is potential for a more compassionate loving world to be birthed.
But it takes us deepening our individual capacity to respond from love and presence rather than react from fear. It takes us coming together as a collective and saying this matters. It really does. You matter, I matter, we matter, this fu*cking matters.
I know for me this time has really been a call to deepen my embodiment practices. I find each day a real lifeline and foundation in my practices. Being able to sound and move my body when I feel the deep loneliness and grief. To meet myself and hold myself in compassion when I feel so overwhelmed and lost. To shake my body and yell and move the energy when I feel deep rage. I am so grateful for my personal practices.
This is a powerful time to deepen into your practices, or pick up some new ones! Want some
guidance, community and support in this? I have 3 affordable membership options on my website for deepening your most important relationship, you with you. All on zoom, and you have access to the recordings if you can't make it live. There is an Embodiment Practice Membership that meets twice a month for a 90-minute live practice call where I guide us in using breathe, movement, sound, and visualization to reclaim, befriend and embody the wholeness and fullness of YOU. Super powerful stuff and so incredibly important to have a safe, sacred container to practice in. The other membership is weekly Heart Power Meditations, where I lead a guided meditation, or you can do both for even a cheaper rate. More details and to sign up, here.
I believe that how we show up for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our community, and for our world right now will determine how life is transformed on this earth.
You really have the power. In a time when so much feels out of our control and we feel powerless to so much in our world, take shelter in love. Know that one person really can change the tide.
“When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
I invite you to begin to investigate your responses and reactions to the events and experiences in your life. To sense when and how you are reacting from fear rather than responding from presence and love. To notice how that shows up in your body, in your relationship with you.
It's important to know that it's our primal knee jerk reaction is to react from fear, to grasp after control in the uncertainty. And so the practice becomes first becoming aware of how we react and choosing to deepen our capacity, our awareness, and our practices around our ability to respond.
First reaction By Danna Faulds
Being only human my first reaction to the out of control nature of this moment is fear
Or the low grade gut clench of anxiety
My practice now is turning towards fear, not away,
I’m with you in this, together we can face what’s to come.
If I can summon up a second reaction of love, clear seeing, acceptance or compassion
That’s how I grow, right in the midst of the unknown.
So let’s explore how can we deepen our capacity to respond from loving presence rather than reacting from fear?
Tara Brach suggests RAIN. Which I have found to be a truly healing, supportive, and illuminating practice.
Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture.
As with almost all practices, it starts with the willingness to PAUSE. Where we interrupt our habitual patterns and come into beingness. I cannot stress the importance of pausing enough, which is why I created an entire Guidebook for The Sacred Pause Journey, you can download on the Empowerment page. Because the thing is, we need to be intimate with our own inner life. To have practices that strengthen our capacity to meet ourselves in truth, to process what’s there, to kindly and gently integrate, alchemize, and be with our waves. Why? Well the big reason is, that if we don’t have that intention, those practices, that willingness to be intimate with our own inner life, we then feel disconnected from ourselves and we can’t connect with others. That to me, feels like reason enough to practice and deepen into my relationship with me. What about you?
The other reason I'll touch on briefly because I see it so often with my clients is that we don't have control over much, but we do have control over how we choose to respond. There's a handy little equation out there in the world: E+R=O. The events and or experiences in my life plus my reaction or response to them equals the outcome. It's powerful stuff. AND, most of the time people want help with changing the events or experiences or they want to change the outcomes........but where does the power lie my friend? In cultivating our ability to respond.
So for me, it starts with a PAUSE and then with a gently inquire of, can I recognize and allow what is happening with compassion and kindness?
The first step in RAIN is to recognize, and the second is to allow. To name what we are experiencing, to recognize the current waves with kindness. Then to allow, to see if we can let it be, with kindness and compassion. These waves belong. It’s ok that they are here.
I really dive into this practice of allowing and letting be in The YES Journey Guidebook as well, free to download right here! So check out that for more support and resources in this.
The last two steps in RAIN are, investigate and nurture. Sometimes simply recognizing and allowing is enough for me to come back to presence and my ability to respond from love, other times I need to really investigate and touch that deep vulnerability and offer nurturing.
Investigating is mostly somatic, it’s in the body, and it needs to be gentle. Where am I feeling this? And how does it feel? Focusing more on the HOW and WHAT, rather than the WHY.
It helps to put your hand on where you feel it the strongest. This allows you to keep your attention and focus there and also begins to offer some nurturing. The more connected and in tune we can be with this vulnerable place the more we can begin to sense and ask, what does this place need? I find for me so many times it just needs love, or safety, or to simply be told that it’s ok to be there. I offer words such as, “It’s ok that you’re here. I’m listening. I'm here. I love you. I’m not going anywhere.”
By really contacting the vulnerability compassion can arise.
Tara describes it as a tree, that when we root deep into the earthiness of our feelings and emotions and really touch them, then the branches of the tree can really reach to the heavens and take in the healing light and love. We have to be rooted in our bodies and in the vulnerability.
So, what happens when we feel so stuck that we can't offer compassion to ourselves? Because you may find, as I have, sometimes compassion feels out of reach. We may feel too small, to regressed, too young to offer love or nurturing, we may feel that we just can’t. In those times explore reaching out to something larger. Can you call out for compassion?
Especially in fear, because the root of the suffering of fear is a sense of separation and so by reaching out for what you long for you may begin to feel that sense of belonging, that reconnecting.
We can imagine an archetype figure, or perhaps someone in our life. We can see their face and imagine their compassion and love holding us. We can connect with nature, and feel mother earth bearing us. John O'Donohue said, "Prayer is the bridge between longing and belonging." In those moments where you cannot find compassion within you, call out for it, let your longing for love fill you, and be with what unfolds.
And after the RAIN it’s important to take your time and notice. To really be present to what is. Notice what has shifted, feel it in your body. Explore this more expanded sense of self, the presence, and love that is here. Tara says that here after the rain, “You can start to trust that the presence and the love is more the truth of who you are than any of the stories, any of the changing waves of experience, and that’s where the freedom comes.”
We can trust and live from that.
The last thing I will offer is to intentionally turn towards the goodness, towards what we love. We have a preconditioned tendency to focus on what’s wrong, on what didn’t go the way we wanted, on how we or others are falling short. This negativity bias is wired into us, and so having practices and the deep intention to take in the good is important in our overall happiness and well being. You can have a gratitude practice, check out the free gratitude package on the Empowerment page to get resources in that area! You can also focus on the goodness in your life, inside you and in others. To choose to bring your attention to what you love, to what brings you joy, to the beauty. Gladdening the mind. Savoring.
Tara’s talk Shelter In Love part 3 really dives into these pathways back to love.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9zT4XAI9x4
Check out all those resources and I am sending you all the love and light during this time!
Comment and let me know how you're doing during this time, what's coming up for you, where you are at and what's true for you, wild one?
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