Monthly Archives: June 2017

Loving Yourself by Taking The Sacred Pause

All of us have ‘triggers’ that set off our fear or anxiety and may lead to our reactivity – anger, defensiveness, withdrawal, compliance or resistance. We are especially triggered in our important relationships.

Take a moment right now to think about what, in your relationships, triggers you into your fear or anxiety.

Are you triggered by:

  • Another’s anger, annoyance, criticism, judgment or rejection?
  • Another’s withdrawal or resistance?
  • Another’s unhappiness, whining or complaining?
  • A partner leaving on a trip?
  • A partner coming home late and not calling?
  • A partner looking at another attractive person?
  • Another’s lack of consideration?
  • Another’s messiness?
  • Another’s forgetfulness?
  • Someone always being late?
  • When you feel unseen or invisible to someone who is important to you?
  • When you feel unjustly accused?
  • (Add your own)

While you might not be aware of it, we all have at least a second to choose how we want to respond to the trigger – and most times more than a second. We often go on automatic pilot and unconsciously choose our standard protective behavior, but we have the choice to love ourselves by taking a second or two to breathe, tune in, and become conscious of this moment of choice. This is the sacred pause – the old “count to 10” before responding.

If you choose to take a breath and tune in, you are giving yourself a chance to respond as a loving adult rather than reacting from your wounded ego self. You have a chance to love yourself by bringing compassion to yourself; by choosing the intent to learn, or disengage from the situation. You have the chance to love yourself by speaking your truth if that is appropriate, and asking your higher self about the loving action toward yourself and the other in this situation. With practice, you can learn to do all of this in the time it takes to take a deep breath.

The challenge is remembering to love yourself by taking the sacred pause and remembering to tune in to yourself and your higher guidance. It is hard to remember to do this when your fight or flight reaction is triggered. However, when it is very important to you to love yourself, you will remember to respond as a loving adult rather than from your wounded self, and you will practice and practice until you remember more and more of the time.

When you forget, accept it rather than criticizing yourself. It is VERY hard to remember to consciously choose your response when your body is in the stress response of fight or flight. Each time you do remember, notice how wonderful you feel – regardless of what the other person is doing. Notice that your painful feelings come more from your reactivity than from the other person’s behavior. Notice how free and empowered you feel when you respond as a loving adult, loving yourself rather than abandoning yourself in reaction to your fear and anxiety.

Healing Family Relationships

Bringing healing to family relationships can be one of the most difficult aspects of the spiritual healing process. The reason for this is that we choose to incarnate within our specific families for the purpose of healing and growth, which often challenges us deeply to the core of our being. For many of us it may feel as though healing is exactly the opposite of what we are receiving with our families, as we endure the difficulties and limitations of our relationships with our parents and siblings.

Before incarnating, we choose families which can bring to the surface specific issues and themes that our soul wishes to explore, learn about and heal. Often these issues are challenging and bring to the surface discomfort that we would prefer go avoid rather than face. Some people deal with this discomfort by placing blame on their parents or the situation they were born into, which provides a temporary outlet for the emotional pain they have experienced, but ultimately prevents the free flow of love, light and healing in the heart.

As we grow personally and spiritually, there comes a time when we are called to release ourselves from the emotional pain we have carried from our childhood. There are steps in this process, which may taker a shorter or longer time, or which may involve many lifetimes of learning.

The first step we take is to become conscious of the pain we are carrying. If we have repressed these feelings, they will emerge when we are ready to face them. Sometimes an event such as an illness or a loss can illuminate feelings we have buried or forgotten. Once we become conscious of the pain and allow ourselves to simply feel it, healing can begin. Being with the pain, and bringing it before God is an essential part of the process. In this way we are not alone, as the divine Creator who is All sees, hears and feels with us. This can be done with prayer, intention, meditation, creative expression, or any way that resonates.

Once we have become more conscious of the pain we carry, the next step involves the willingness to let go of our pain. Though on the surface it may seem strange to want to hold onto pain, there are many deep emotions that can become entrenched within us, and wrapped around our sense of self. We unconsciously hold on to the pain, because it is all we have ever known. For example, if we are carrying anger, hurt or betrayal, we are asked to forgive and to move on. If we were the victim of abuse or neglect, we are asked to let go of our anger, and our entitlement to be angry. This part of the process cannot be rushed, which is why it is so important to be willing to feel our emotions fully first. Once this happens, the next step of healing naturally unfolds.

Once we have traversed these steps of becoming conscious, feeling our pain, and being willing to let it go, then we are fully available to receive a deep and complete healing. As we voluntarily empty ourselves of those things we’ve been holding onto, more of God’s love and light can enter our heart, mind and body. The pathways of life begin to open up and reveal new directions, new possibilities, and new choices. Our hearts begin to open and love blossoms, forgiveness becomes a way of being, and spiritual awareness awakens within us. These are the gifts that come through healing family relationships, a heart full of love and trust, unencumbered by the pain of the past.

Love and Respect Yourself First

How do you create love and respect in a relationship when the other person isn’t supporting the process? If you’re like most people, you care a great deal about the people you’re in some kind of relationship with. You might want to be compassionate and be able to listen to them in a caring way, but it might seem like the other person isn’t trying to help the situation or that they’re being negative or interacting in less than productive ways. Does any of this sound familiar? If so you’re probably feeling confused, frustrated, and perhaps even guilty about not being able to be nicer to this person you care about.

Misunderstanding compassion

We believe these feelings come from misunderstanding the true meanings of compassion and caring. Here’s what we mean: in many people’s minds empathy and compassion are often associated with self-sacrifice or selflessness. People think that if you are a compassionate person you ALWAYS behave compassionately and are able to listen caringly – no matter how you feel. This can be especially difficult when embroiled in a relationship that is creating hurt feelings and other kinds of emotional pain.

The notion that one should be selfless and just sacrifice their feelings for the sake of getting along is far from the truth as we see it. Most people want to cultivate compassion and learn empathic listening to enhance their relationships, to create closeness and understanding. This can only happen when you actually want to do this, when empathizing with the other person is the most wonderful thing you can imagine doing in that moment.

Also, empathy is not just something we offer other people. We find that many people don’t understand how to use self-empathy – listening caringly to yourself. Yet it’s a vital ingredient in learning to understand yourself in order to stay true to what’s most important to you. And these are essential building blocks for creating closeness and understanding with others.

Empathy is not always beneficial

If you attempt to listen empathically to another person when you would much rather be doing something else, two things are likely to happen. First, you’ll probably feel resentment and become judgmental about that person and their behavior. This happens because you’re not being honest with yourself; you’d rather be doing something else but because of some idea that you should listen compassionately to this person no matter what, you go against your own desires.

When this happens, it is easy to begin blaming them for the lack of happiness you feel with thoughts such as, if they would only … stop complaining, think positively, get a different job, stop being so negative, get some friends … or any number of other ideas you believe would help the relationship.

Second, whenever you listen to someone with these kinds of negative thoughts running around in your head, they are sure to detect the resentment and judgmental attitude sooner or later. This will create just the opposite of the understanding and closeness you hope for and will continue to tear down any hope of a healthy, happy relationship.

Following, NOT sacrificing, your feelings

In dealing with a situation like this start by giving yourself permission NOT to empathize, not to just throw your emotional pain out the window in the spirit of self sacrifice. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and what’s most important to you in each moment. Never attempt to be empathetic unless it’s the most wonderful thing you can imagine doing in that moment.

We suggest you start using your emotions as your guide in knowing when to empathize and when to step away. Being true to what would give you joy in the moment is one of the most important first steps you can take not only to get along, but to create the closeness and understanding you want.

When you begin to be more honest with yourself about how you are and what you want, it’s easier to accept others as they are. This is the key to saving your relationship if it’s lacking love and respect. Practicing this requires many more understandings and skills than we can go into here. However, we would like to offer you two practical exercises we believe will improve a situation in which one party is not able to cooperate in the way you want them to.

Exercise One:
Since we’re positive that what you focus your attention on grows, we recommend you begin making lists of the other party’s positive qualities, the things you enjoy about them, what you are grateful for about them. These can be things from the past or present, and nothing is too small to include.

When you’ve completed the initial list, any time you feel uncomfortable or hear yourself beginning to judge the other person, take out your list and read it. When you’re done reading it, add at least one more thing to the list.

Exercise Two:
Cultivate more joy in your life. To do this you must be very clear about what is most important to you–what you value most deeply in specific situations–what qualities bring joy to your life. Once you do this investigation, narrowed your list of values down to the three qualities that would bring you the most joy in your current situation, come up with at least two things that you can start doing right now that will help you experience more of these qualities in your life.

For example, if you do the values investigation and find that connection with people brings you a lot of joy, you might come up with a list of friends you can call when you’re not able to get the quality of connection you want from the troubling relationship. If you find that play and exercise are important, plan ways you can have more play or exercise with your children or friends.

This shift in your relationship starts when you realize that your happiness does not depend on others’ actions and that you can stay true to yourself and find alternative ways to experience what you value. We are confident that this shift will help you have less resentment and dissatisfaction, will greatly improve your ability to be compassionate and listen empathically, and boost the love and respect of experience in all your relationships.

So let’s recap:
1. Pay more attention to how you are and what you want most (Practice Self Empathy).
2. Focus more on what you can be grateful for about the other party.
3. Take responsibility for bringing the qualities that cultivate joy into your life.