My husband and I got to go on a “day date” last weekend. It was his idea, and a good one. We got a babysitter to come over from 10AM-2PM on Saturday and took off to the arts district.
We walked around downtown: visited an exhibit, ate lunch and bumped into these beautiful sculptures of sweeping monks by the Asian art collection. And along the way I felt my knots from the busy week begin to unravel.
One of the most wonderful parts of the day was the chance to have a real conversation. (Walking & talking at the same time, especially in nature, is one of my all time favorite things. When I think back over my best conversations in life, they often have happened in this context.)
And through our chat I was able to identify a shift which is happening in my life. When I was younger (especially teenage years) I used to look around our world and what jumped out at me was what was wrong with it. I had a bit of a righteous do-gooder attitude and a serious passion of social justice. And all of this energy was rooted in a lived experience of often feeling bowled over by the poignancy of life: by the pain on the face of a homeless man, by the stories I heard on the radio about suffering in other parts of the world, by the struggles of classmates or my own pains and frustrations.
My do-gooder attitude led me into some powerful communities: volunteering at the Aids Resource Center when I was in college, working with homeless mothers leaving abusive partners after I graduated, the Peace Corps.
In a way I think all of those experiences were really an effort on my part to make the world safe: safe for my heart and for everyone else’s.
Yet in my righteous mode I would feel like it was my responsibility to help others wake up to the work that we all needed to do to get things moving in the right direction. Recycle, already!
Now, and this is the shift, I am beginning to attune more to the good, rather than focusing on the pain. And life keeps reminding me that it is more magical than I give it credit for being. As evidenced by the monks we bumped into Saturday playing hacky sack in the park.
There are likely multiple gifts which have greased the wheels for this shift, but out of all of them it is meditation which I know helps me to feel like I have room to breathe. And space to respond rather than to react to life.
I still notice and feel my heart touched by the pain in our world (in addition to walking through my own share of hard feelings and challenges) but I no longer assume it is my job to feel everything so acutely (or more pressure still, to fix it!) Instead the pain invites me simply to slow down and to be present. This is a lot less exhausting.
And when I am able to bear witness to both the beauty and the pain, but still have space to breathe, something interesting happens.
Compassion bubbles up in that gap.
Compassion for all of us, lost in our own ways, but found too. Wanting the same things: to be happy, healthy, peaceful and to live with ease. And held together in a tender connection, this hard to describe space of the loving-kindness force field.
I’ve started doing a loving-kindness practice most days (after learning more about it at recent meditation workshop) and am finding it very powerful.
Here is a gift for you, my Birder. A Loving_Kindness Meditation you can try today. Grab a quiet moment in your car, after the kids are asleep, tomorrow upon waking. And give it a try. It is my hope that it helps you have more space to hold the both/andedness of our world. And for compassion to bubble up all-around.
PS Did you hear about my Spring Coaching Special? I have two spots remaining. Ready to get clear, to orient more around the good, to find peace of mind in everyday life? Lets connect. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to set up a free conversation. xxo
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How to Be Your Child’s Soul Teacher Series. Thursdayevenings in April and May 1, 6:45-8pm. $35 drop-in per class at Oil & Cotton Creative Exchange. 837 W. 7th Street. Dallas, Texas 75208
Join Courtney and other conscious parents for this special series. Each week includes an experiential lesson, written guide with specific tips and practices for the home as well as a creative take-away.
Join me next week,Thursday May 1st for the final class in the series: Your Family Culture. Learn strategies for crafting life-giving birthday and holiday celebrations which together create a sacred calendar in which you and your child can live the whole year round. Create paper crowns and ankle bells for our May Pole Celebration (Which we are planning for Twelve Hills Nature Preserve!)