Posts Tagged ‘practice’

How Do You Wake Up?

April 18, 2013

waking up cranky

Sometimes we are rudely awakened.  I had a spiritual teacher once who told me that the way people wake up from a deep sleep is generally the way they react in life.  She said that people who wake up angry are really pissed off, and people who wake up so sleepy they can barely awaken go through life half asleep or unconscious. Others who have a sunny disposition wake up happily.  Some people even wake up quickly and get to task, and some are so busy doing that they’re always sleepwalking.  Through the years I’ve remembered this and pondered it.  I don’t know if I believe it’s a hard and fast rule, and I certainly don’t believe that people never change, but there is some seed of truth to it that keeps bringing it back to consciousness.

In the past few days I’ve been watching all of the beautiful and ugly ways in which people awaken to tragedy.  For the most part, we are fortunate in the west for the ways in which we thrive, the privilege of creature comforts and enough to eat.  Wars don’t generally happen here in our yards.  At least not the obvious types of war.

There are other wars we engage in, though.  Another spiritual teacher I had for ten years had travelled extensively and done relief work in war-torn countries. In one place she was trying to teach and feed young children in a poverty-stricken preschool while they were  bombed daily.  She had lived through more than I could imagine.  I expressed to her how fortunate we were here and how I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t seem to get my act together in such seemingly privileged conditions.

I will never forget what she told me.  She said that the suffering in other countries was tangible, palpable, able to be seen with the eyes.  In the west, she said, she had never seen people this tormented mentally.  The suffering was hidden, and people can’t help what they cannot see. For her, the mental suffering of the people in the west was just as terrible as anything she had witnessed anywhere else.  The aspect of it that she felt was worse was that it was,  as she put it, a deep and invisible suffering that left a terrible void of spiritual despair.

This made such a deep impression on me that I have devoted my life to alleviating this kind of suffering.  Sometimes, I catch people in mid-suffering mode, and I make them laugh so hard that they don’t notice me injecting them with heavy doses of compassion and love. I do my best to teach people to love themselves, and I show them new places where they can perch mentally in order to see their own magnificence.  Other times I tiptoe around sleeping folks so as not to wake them up, because awakening them would surely bring on a worse suffering.  There are times when sleeping is, after all, better medicine.

In times like these, I just pour love straight onto wounds.  I don’t need to wake anyone because they’ve all heard the alarm, and I stand here praying while the universe reorganizes everything in a big scary blender of total chaos.  I pray for us to remember that deep inside we are all love no matter what the appearances will have us believe. I pray mostly for a world of compassion and peace, and that those waking up angry, confused, hurt, tortured, or insane will be held and rocked in such a safe blanket of love that their suffering melts completely and is replaced with wholeness and joy.  You may be thinking right now that I’m dreaming because this is a fantasy, but I’m actually wide awake and just plain stubborn. I refuse to hold any other vision than a world of peace and love.

~Oceana LeBlanc is a women’s empowerment coach, tantric yogini, and shaman.

http://www.goddessoceana.com

Appreciate Your Flaws

July 3, 2012

Self care and self love require practice and willingness.  I’ve become better and better at taking time for myself, admitting that it’s necessary, and really enjoying it when I do.  Getting to this place is hard for many people, especially in our acquisition focused culture.  Do more, get more, and you earn the right to be more.  In truth, they have this backwards.  It all starts with being, and in order to just be, we require a certain amount of self love.  Without it, being is impossibly uncomfortable.

I notice that loving myself is easier when I’m more relaxed, feeling more pleasure in my life, and taking time to care for myself.  Having a daily spiritual practice is also another way of connecting to my center, loving myself, and filling up so that I am giving from a full place rather than a needy one.  Still, lately it felt like I wasn’t completely full, and was very surprised to notice some negative self talk I was hearing.

What I realized today is that I’m great at acknowledging what my gifts and skills are because I’ve consciously practiced doing so for years.  The place where I get caught up is in appreciating and loving the ways in which I’m not so skilled, not so perfect, not so talented.  There’s a difference here, where I saw that I could accentuate the positive and love myself up, while subtly avoiding what I deemed negative.

I think the real healing begins when we are able to love and adore the parts of ourselves that we fear others will find repulsive, the awkward parts, the places where we hold judgment about who we are.

My new self care practice is to find something about myself each and every day that my mind tells me is ugly, not good enough, lazy, stupid, silly, embarrassing, or bad…and then focus all of my love on that thing with all my heart.  I’m on a flaw finding mission, to love and embrace the ones I locate until they’re just more beautiful flowers in the garden of all that is me.


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