compassion

Personal Responsibility and Spirituality: Ho'oponopono

everyday_enlightenment.jpg

The ancient Hawaiian Kahuna culture has been teaching and living a spiritual practice known as Ho'oponopono since, according to their tradition, the beginning of time. And it is a timeless, universal practice. Combining compassion, forgiveness and love, the practice of Ho'oponopono (translating to: I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you) is self-directed for healing old wounds which create suffering in our present lives. It's another tool in our tool box for turning our gaze inward to heal both what's inside as well as manifest our soul's calling in our lives today.

When life presents us with situations that are challenging, creating suffering, it is asking us to turn to the root cause of the pain--the moment in your life, usually as a child, when we made a connection to believing in something limiting, hurtful, fearful and victimizing. As we practice true compassion, or other practices like Ho'oponopono, we begin to unravel those beliefs deeply, inside our brains, and our world literally transforms around us. 

For some of us, when we come across teachings such as compassion that are so powerful and true, we are excited and may try them a little, but deep down don't really believe they will work for us. As someone who completely understands this and went through similar blocks, I encourage and urge you to keep trying with a self-compassion practice. Next podcast I'll be giving a step-by-step of how I send compassion to myself that has worked deeply. In the meantime, he practice of Ho'oponopono is a great place to start (and continue with) on our journey to connecting with and living from our soul's purpose. 

Everyday Enlightenment, Episode 3: Am I an empath?

everyday_enlightenment

In this week's episode, we explore what it means to be an empath. No longer considered as "out there," emapths are finding their voice and power in today's society. We look at the attributes of an empath, the differences between highly sensitive people and empaths, rekindling or cultivating our empathic abilities, and the importance of loving kindness and compassion in specifically an empath's life. 

The Truth About Limitlessness

we_are_limitless_quote

Within the spiritual community, there is a belief for many of us that we need to work extremely hard in order to break through our limits in order to reach the goal of awakening. We need to push beyond our present selves and beliefs, and become someone...different, more, better. If only I was more compassionate, served more, got rid of all my triggers, was a better person, understood love, heard and saw my spirit guides, became enlightened, and saved the whales!!! 

Folks, this is a lot of pressure.

When we pursue spirituality with the drive of a sports coach, it quickly becomes painful and overwhelming.

It also has the potential to set up spirituality as a kind of self-competitive sport, giving serious (and precious) air time to our inner critic. 

It's one thing to become mindful in situations where we may be unnecessarily holding ourselves back due to old habits and fears. It's quite another to push ourselves in a way that can become self-flagellating, literally harming our selves with our loving intention to heal. 

Breathe. 

The truth is, we already are limitless. Each and every one of us. We all have the seed of infinite possibility within us, waiting to be nurtured (even a tiny bit) to let blossom. The key word here is nurture--to provide sustenance in the physical (good, clean food/water, enough rest), the emotional (supportive relationships in our lives, space), mental (space, mindfulness) and spiritual (meditation, a spiritual practice, connection with our inner Self). 

When we drive ourselves to be "better" in a spiritual sense, we actually limit our infinite potential and true divine nature.

When we breathe into our lives--the joys, the pain, the confusion (especially the confusion), we give space to our thoughts and emotions. The weight of the yoke of "being good enough" lessens and eventually falls away completely. 

We come to this conclusion quite naturally, though. We feel we must conquer something within us that seems to "take over" at the least opportune moments. Our fears, anxieties, triggers all can easily overwhelm; so why wouldn't we want to conquer them? Wouldn't that mean finally finding peace? We want peace! So we are going to go and get some PEACE! (whip cracking in the background)

Except the more we attack these aspects of our selves, the more they embed within us. The more they are fed, the more we give them affirmation that yes, they are definitely needed. Until we learn to train our minds (mindfulness) and hear the truth in our hearts, they will continue to do what they believe their job is: protecting us. 

How can we truly become limitless?

When we connect with our limitlessness through kindness, right action, and love. Especially with our selves. When we approach our pain, suffering and arduous striving with openness, allowing for there to be space (to be mindful, to come back to center, to objectively think things through). That space then allows for love, compassion, patience, and forgiveness to enter our hearts.

The more we push the hurt within, the more it will push back. The practice, then, is to not push back so much as observe. Observing then leads to openness which leads to kindness. Kindness leads to healing which leads to compassion and love. We live limitlessly through our choices in thought, action and speech. We are the creators of our limits--with the same power to release them. It's truly up to us. 

Heart-Centered Activism

heart centered activism

Thomas Jefferson famously said, a democracy cannot survive without the "spirit of rebellion." The United States is a country of extreme contradictions: glory and shame equally a part of our journey as a nation.

How do we participate in the current "spirit of rebellion", while holding love as our primary focus? Perhaps even our main goal and outcome? We tap into our passion for the human race--of which we are inextricably linked--and move forward as our hearts call us to. 

There are so many issues bombarding all of us in the U.S. at the moment. There are so many huge changes being proposed and legalized, that many of us have moments of overwhelm, confusion, despair. Our hearts are more than heavy, they're breaking over and over. 

However, it's through this steady breaking open of our hearts that we're rediscovering our inherent power as individuals and a society. As Lenard Cohen reminds us with his timeless lyric, "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." We're tapping into one of our greatest strengths as a nation, a founding principle--the "spirit of rebellion"--and standing up for what we believe, for what's right for humanity. 

What is heart-centered activism? It is connecting heaven and earth, soul and country, body and spirit through love-driven action. This activism allows our bodies and minds to do what needs to be done (which is why we have them) in order to create effective, compassionate change. It's only through love that fear is banished. Love will take our overwhelm and turn it into practical, applicable action items. Those action items may be part of a collective effort or inspiring an individual to new depths and strength to share with the world. The heart has many surprises. 

Heart-centered activism could take on so many forms: peaceful protest, calling/emailing/snail-mailing your representatives, making food for the homeless or families who need our help, organizing donations for folks who need help, donating your expertise (medical, legal, spiritual, therapeutic, childcare, tutoring, mentoring...), raising money to help others, speaking up, washing the feet of Muslim immigrants, or simply teaching/modeling to your kids about compassion and kindness to all. 

We are waking up to what needs to be done. This generation, like each generation before, is facing it's most critical moment in our democratic history. We're understanding on a profound level what it means to be responsible for our freedoms. The moment overwhelm or fear take their icy grip around your heart, try sitting with it. There it is. Now breathe into it for five deep breaths. As you're breathing, ask: how can I help? how can I serve? The answer may not appear right away, but keep it at the back of your mind for a day or two. Love will guide you. You'll know it's love when you feel at peace with your decision for next steps forward. 

Marianne Williams writes our founding father's were not "geniuses who just happened to care about the human race; they were people who cared passionately about the human race, and out of that passion their genius emerged. Love is its own brand of genus. Our only true enemy is neither people or institutions, but fear-laden thoughts that cling to our insides and sap us of our strength...Our greatest political power now is to fear nothing and love everything; then all things will heal." 

 

Love is a Choice

love_is_a_choice

Love is a knowing, an unwavering solidarity deep down inside ourselves amidst the unpredictability of everyday life. 

For most of us, getting to this place of solidarity is a process, and a practice, we must continually choose as our lives unfold. For some, awakening happens overnight and their inherent sense of connectedness is fully realized. They are few and far between, however.  In our information-at-our-fingertips age, our practice of coming back to love, choosing love over and over again, can seem daunting and unnatural. It can feel like so much work in the beginning! Especially if we have known love at some point, yet it comes and goes seemingly at it's own will. But is love uncontrollable, vague and impossibly out of reach, especially in the hum-drum of our everyday lives? 

Love is a choice. 

Love is a choice. It's a moment-by-moment choice in how we are choosing to act. It's a practice and it's a path. For those of us who have experienced trauma--where our ego's did an excellent job of protecting and guiding us through those painful times and experiences--this "choice" can feel threatening. Our ego's only concern is protection of itself. After all, it did a pretty great job keeping us safe. It believes we are separate, isolated, and alone--and it wants to keep it that way. This is precisely how the ego protects itself, inside a hard shell where we're unreachable and untouchable. 

Hey, I deal with my stuff and you deal with yours. Your feelings are not my concern. Go get help.

Have you ever felt or heard this or something like it from someone? Perhaps you've even said something like this. There's no judgment here if you have. I lived by this ideology for my young-adult life. It feels terrible. Empty. Hollow. Closing our selves off--to our feelings and the power they have to help us grow--and to each other, is painful. How can we begin to ease the pain? Communicate: to friends for support, to a therapist for tools, to loved ones for the container of love they hold to be completely, utterly you within. 

Communication is an act of union. 

Communication is an act of union. It literally and figuratively brings us together. Separation (isolation, keeping others at a distance because their feelings make us uncomfortable) is an act of violence. It's painful. Interestingly, we can learn to live with this pain for a long, long time. It becomes the norm in our lives until we're woken up to experiencing a new way of feeling and living. 

Once we've begun to open up more, we can begin to communicate with our own hearts. For some reason, that is the scariest place to go when mired in the story of our ego. Going inside feels like certain death, because (according to ego's story) everything we need to be aware of, ahead of, on top of is outside of us, coming at us as potential dangers. Why would I go in when it's already so dark and painful in there? 

When our ego feels angry, it is masking fear. Fear masks hurt and hurt is a very scary thing for an ego to confront because it means being vulnerable. Vulnerability, unless modeled to us in our first families or as children, generally conjures up beliefs of personal weakness. None of us have been completely immune to those experiences, especially as children--a vulnerable time for us all--when we first felt what deep betrayal was from a friend or loved one. 

So how do we get to this place of living in this unwavering solidarity and knowing--or living through love--in our Selves and with life? 

Choosing, again and again, love. Understanding that other's reactions are not a reflection of you, but of themselves. Once we begin to choose love, oftentimes the scariest part is that those around us begin to rebel. They're uncomfortable because what you're doing is upsetting the status quo. This is interesting and something to be aware of, just so you can understand what's happening.

The more you choose love, the easier it becomes. The more you choose to look strangers in the eye and smile, to accept the compliment, to receive a hug, to confront that judgment as it repeatedly arises, the easier it is to do. At first, it can feel excruciatingly hard--that's the ego trying to defend itself. But isn't it harder to harbor anger, resentment and judgment for a lifetime?  

The Daily Practice of Letting Go

we_must_be_willing_to_let_go_of_the_life_weve_planned_so_as_to_have_the_life_that_is_waiting_for_us_web

we_must_be_willing_to_let_go_of_the_life_weve_planned_so_as_to_have_the_life_that_is_waiting_for_us_web

“Letting go” can oftentimes feel like a loaded term. Used extensively in the personal development world (hello!), sometimes it can have subtle, condescending undertones.

Like, just do it already and get your awesome on!

I mean really, if we could just let go, we would. Trust me, I get this. And honestly, I run into this dilemma often---actually, pretty much daily.

So I’ve been thinking about this idea of letting go quite a bit. I’ve also been feeling through it.

“Feeling through” means leaning in, pushing into our sore spots and cracking open tightly shut doors. For me, it also means creating boundaries where barriers used to stand. All of this generally ignites feelings of fear, uncertainty and oh-my-god-am-I-going-to-die-now-because-I’m-letting-my-guard-down?-and-shit!-they-could-really-hurt-me-because-I-love-them!!!, kind of thing. My inner critic definitely has a flare for the dramatic.

As this is something I’ve been working on, I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered letting go means. And what I’ve found it doesn’t mean.

Letting go means: softening (as opposed to puffing up or feeling like you’re putting on your armor) allowingopeningbeing (as opposed to doing) putting our heartfelt intentions out there, then letting what may, happen (and not worrying or obsessing about the outcome) facing our fears and moving forward anyway (letting go of the past, our stories, or whatever we’ve been telling ourselves that’s held us back all these years…) finding real, deep intimacy with our partners wearing what you REALLY want to wear getting that tattoo (or getting that one removed) praying meditating moving your body trying the new thing saying no to things that make you feel heavy following your joyline, step by tiny step counting on the people in your life who remind you of who you really are (because sometimes, being in the thick of our own lives, we easily lose sight of our beautiful, authentic selves) forgiveness

Letting go does not mean: being lazy that we’re not taking accountability for our own lives becoming a victim of circumstance allowing all hell to break loose because we aren’t in control of our own lives being passive aggressive---saying one thing because it’s “right,” but really feeling another denying what we really feel and shoving it down/away allowing our lives to be ruled by “should’s”

Letting go, I’ve discovered, is a practice. Not unlike meditation. Not unlike yoga. Not even unlike any other practice you may hold near and dear to you---like running, that saturday morning ritual, writing, or creating. It’s like anything that takes perseverance, lots of failing, and picking ourselves back up to try and try again. Every day.

Let go.

Try again.

Keep going.

Rinse. Repeat.

Watch your life expand. Open. Allow. Things you never imagined possible will start showing up and taking hold. Let it happen. Let go.

Facing Your Fears And Discovering Joy. And Why It's Just As Scary.

fear_of_the_dark_that_casts_our_joy_to_the_shadows I’ve been thinking a lot about joy recently. I’ve also been feeling it. Knowing it. Experiencing it regularly.

These little bursts of joy aren’t necessarily from big, momentous occasions or occurrences. They are generally just here and there throughout the day.

Joy-bursts for me are: moments with my son, with Andrew, with a friend. A noteworthy passage in a book. A cuddle from my dog. Writing. A bite of dark chocolate. Holding a pose in yoga. Simple and very regular things.

Interestingly, it’s at night, before I go to bed, that I feel the most difference now that joy is showing back up regularly. It’s a subtle glow, as if those little joy-bursts throughout the day are helping keep my inner light stoked and alight all day long.

And into the next day.

It’s…wonderful.

But what I’ve come to realize is this: real joy is just as intense and vulnerable as fear.

Expressing our joys and successes is a vulnerable and courageous act.

Because, sharing our joy with others is an act of opening up. It’s again, showing up and being real. Criticism, apathy, or just blank stares could result just as easily as shared joy, happiness, celebration, and understanding.

Recently, I’ve been trying this out. When asked, I’ll share about how good things have been going. That I’m in a really good place. And all the toughness that I’ve worked through has ultimately become a springboard.

And it’s been such a relief to feel genuinely, overall good! This doesn’t mean that I don’t have frustrating moments or bad days---because I do. But I feel more elastic---resilient---with an easier bounce back than before. Hope!

This is a direct result of practicing a few things regularly:

kindness with myself (which then more easily extends to others from a heartfelt instead of dutiful place)

mindfulness (which I can only do if I’m in a headspace of kindness otherwise I get really really annoyed at just being aware that I’m feeling like shit in that moment) and

interconnectedness (girl, you are not alone in feeling this way)

Self compassion.

And it’s been a ridiculously wonderful perk to have these joy-bursts throughout the day!

Yet, there are times when I do share how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been doing that’s working or the genuinely good aspects of my life---and in return I’ve received defensiveness, shutting down, snark, or passive aggressive criticism.

And it’s these precise instances that scare the hell out of me.

Because it’s in these instances where I can so easily crawl right back into old habits. Worrying about if I said something that hurt someone or was too uncomfortable for someone.

Or, just going down the rabbit hole of trash talking myself until the initial joy I felt has been squelched.

Good bye, joy.

The internal trash talking is precisely what keeps us from having real, honest connection.

For me, it’s been my first-line-of-defense mechanism for making sure outside criticism doesn’t happen, since I can remember.

And yet, whether or not I trash talk myself, the external criticism can and does occur. Me putting myself down or hiding myself does not stop external criticism one hundred percent. How could it? We don’t control what’s outside of us. So it’s a double whammy when the criticism does pour forth.

This is why being kind to ourselves gets us so much further. You are your first ally and friend. How empowering!

You can always count on kindness from yourself. And when you feel that support from yourself, moving forward in a positive direction is much, much easier.

In the past, if I felt like someone was shutting down because of my happiness, I would have played down how happy I was, skirted the edges of it or simply not shared those parts of myself. All for the sake of making sure everyone around me was comfortable.

In the present, however, I’m feeling the fear and sharing anyway. This doesn’t mean I don’t get hurt or bruised. Because I do. Often.

But the immediate self defeating talk, the worrying about what other’s will think (as an initial motivator) has stopped.

On the flip side, truly sharing in another’s joy takes courage, too. When we feel the twinge of jealousy or irritation at someone else’s joy or success, that is our inner selves asking us to take notice and do some work around those very things in our own hearts.

This has also become a practice for me---allowing someone else’s success to open my heart to possibility. As opposed to shutting it down out of jealousy or fear---because I want those same things.

Surprisingly, this has been easier than I thought. Past lessons and old learned family habits taught me that scarcity was king and there wasn’t enough. So when someone else got something great, it meant that that thing was no longer available to anyone else.

Except, I now know this is backwards.

When we share in each other’s joy, more joy is created. More love is shared. More kindness is activated. Community is strengthened. Abundance.

It’s just up to us to notice. And participate.

Sure, it’s scary to not know what kind of reaction you’ll get when you put yourself out there.

If an unsavory reaction does happen, all it does is help us redirect our energy towards people who do share these concepts. Hello, community! People who share in the value of living life from the heart and believe in the power of kindness and community. Love.

So, who are we to hold back our joy?

Your joy is needed. For you. For us.

You are needed.

How To Get There: Start Where You Are And Take One Step At A Time

what_you_do_is_who_you_become Living in a city like Washington DC, it can be challenging to not get sucked into it’s overall cultural structure. Like a giant fishing net of anxiety blanketed over the entire beltway, people live here mainly to work. The majority are here because of career---as a stepping stone in politics, lifers in the Federal Government, or working with one of the many many private companies or nonprofits, all of which directly profit from the government in some way.

The energy here is heavy. Fast, but heavy. Like a very wet blanket that won’t shake off easily.

So naturally, it can be challenging to see (and feel) beyond what life feels like without a wet blanket weighing things down.

Imagine! What freedom!

Yet, it’s possible. There are enclaves and pockets of wonderful people doing wonderful things sprinkled throughout the city.

They just don’t make headline news. That’s saved for the politicos.

As a mother who is taking care of her son full time, that constant high strung energy can be stressful. It’s a practice in and of itself to keep focusing my attention back to the present moment, what’s important right now. Otherwise, it would be easy to get swept up in the frenzy.

Recently, I’ve had more conversations about career and work than usual. Which is a lot because it comes up fairly frequently. These conversations have been with friends from every area of my life, completely separate from each other. And it’s usually broached with the same question, in varying degrees:

“What are you going to do about work?”

I have the same thoughts. Constantly. Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing?

We tend to express our inner anxieties as external questions to those around us. When we ask: what are YOU going to do about X, it really implies that we are thinking about the same X in our own life’s context.

With that in mind, and my own questions about this topic, my girlfriends inquiries have given me pause.

It’s a really vulnerable place to be---unsure, exploring, understanding. Doing incredible amounts of inner work. With nothing tangible (physical) to show for on the outside.

Except, for me at least, through this work I am discovering more happiness. Greater ease. Fulfillment. Joy, even. (!!)

Striving for more on the outside isn't always the answer.

What if we were to let go a bit?

Yeah, that idea scares me, too.

What if we were to let our explorations take us where they may? Our interests open new doors of insight or delight? Our questions lead to more questions...and then to more questions?

Maybe we’d find what we’d love---and that we love ourselves in the whole messy process. Self compassion. Digging deep. Going in.

Letting go doesn’t imply giving up. It doesn’t mean we stop exploring.

It means taking one step at a time.

Letting go of the whole, huge outcome while still moving forward.

The other night I started researching self-compassion courses and trainings. How can I GET this even more? Really understand it? You know, how can I use this as my tool of service to help others?

The more I searched, the more my hut started feeling like a big cold lump in my gut. Hey, it said, slow down. One step at a time. Relax. You have a job right now (Little Mister) and it’s not going to last forever. Enjoy! And, trust. You’ll get where you’re meant to be going. One step at a time.

So, what can we do about that new career (relationship, life issue, insert-major-life-category-here)?

Start where you are.

Then, trust.

Trust yourself.

Striving for more on the outside is not the answer.

Go within.

Trust what you find there.

And take one. step. at. a. time.

Onward.

----

My dear 12 friends who read this: this is my last post on The Pinecone Baker! But don’t worry, I’m migrating everything over to triciamartinowen.com and the next post will be coming from there. It’s still in infancy stages---very simple, no about page or logo (gasp!) yet---but, I figured I need to walk my talk about the perfectionism thing. It’s not perfect and I’ll be working on it little by little. Speaking of walking the talk, I also felt like I needed to do this concerning vulnerability, too---which is why I’m switching to writing under my name, instead of using a really cute domain. Changes! Eeek!

So much love to you and gratitude for you. Each of you. Many, many, many thanks for being witness to my journey back to center.

Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance

true_belonging_happens “Why do I have emotions at all?? They just get in the way. I just wish they’d go away!” I chastised myself, out loud, under the huge fluorescent light of our rented kitchen in the concrete jungle of the DC metropolitan area (aka: Crystal City). Literally, I said this. I know, I can hardly believe it either.

This was 4 years ago, soon after we moved here from the emerald city of roses, Portland, Oregon. It had been a particularly rough day where I had been butting up against what I really wanted and what I thought I should be doing.

Alone. Scared. Back to where I never wanted to be again. Looking back, this moment was pivotal. It was the moment I decided to try to escape and evade my true feelings at all costs.

And cost it did.

I was in a pretty good place at that time too---a book deal was under way, my blog (Eating Is Art) was getting good readership, I was doing some photography and styling work for Food52. Things were going well.

Except they weren’t. None of it felt right in my hut (my heart and my gut).

So I shut down the hut. CLOSED.

I felt like a failure and I criticized myself endlessly. Some of the regular commentary was: you need a REAL job now that you’re back here. Who do you think you are? A creative? Come on. You have responsibility now.

It was no wonder I couldn’t go on with Eating Is Art or any creative pursuits. And no wonder I took several soul-sucking contractor design jobs,

One of the last contractor jobs I had ended with me smack dab in the middle between two warring departments. As each became more enraged at the other, I knew my time was near when I would show up for work and my desk had been moved, again. The last time was into the temp space in the basement (Milton, anyone?).

Then, without further ado, it just ended. No goodbye, no thank you, nada. Turn in your badge and leave. As I saw things moving in this direction, I had arranged it so I was off site 80% of the time, working from the comfort of home. It was an attempt to disconnect from the drama, to just focus on the work. Never the less, it still stung when my contract wasn’t renewed.

The funny thing was I felt like I had deserved it. Like I had done something wrong---or rather, like I hadn’t done enough---to bring peace between two groups of people who had a very difficult time relating. Us against them. Toxic. Totally dysfunctional.

Of course I didn’t do anything wrong. There were several instances where things could have taken a much different course, though.

Like the moment I was told that I was going to be the point designer for another group in the organization who needed “a lot of help because they’re a bunch of idiots.” Yeah, that might have been a good time to ask more questions. It was a very important job, they said, and the perfect fit for me. Diplomatic, was how they put it. You’re a nice person so you can find out for us what that department is REALLY up to. Then we’ll have them and can finally control them (seriously). Huh?

My ego took hold, I was buttered up. Oh, oh! They NEED me! How cool! Wow, someone needs me. They value my skills! And they think I’m NICE!

It was also perfect fodder to keep on keepin’ on with my personal stonewalling practice. Keep those real emotions at bay, girl, THIS is what you should be doing (said in a John Wayne drawl). Forget your creative expression, you can get some of that satisfied here. Then it switched to mocking: it is DESIGN, afterall.

My gut said “this seems weird,” but my head said “go for it. Who cares if they’re all a bit nutty and dysfunctional. What office environment isn’t? This could be big stuff for you!” I’m not sure what “big stuff” meant, but I bought it just the same.

My hut was closed, my heart shut off.

A sign hung on it saying: Do Not Feel.

And eventually, instead of ending up with “big stuff,” I ended up frustrated, alone and ashamed. Trying to “disconnect” from the drama, the group actually helped exacerbate my heightened sense of isolation---as in, I’m not okay.

Our brain’s attachment system is activated by feelings of connectedness and kindness (the two feelings I was disengaging from!). Our tendency as humans is to come together in groups---to be part of a tribe---in order to feel safe and secure.

It turns out, people who actually feel connected---like they belong---are not as frightened of difficult situations. They are also less likely to have intense self criticism prompting even more shame and disconnection.

Looking back, I’d have had a sit down with myself. I’d begin by giving myself a hug and reassurance. You don’t HAVE to do this, I’d tell myself. Or anything for that matter. Who are you trying to prove yourself to? You are loved just as you are, for who you are. You don’t have to BE anyone, other than you. Also, you don’t have to keep participating in this dysfunction. This is their issue. It’s not your place to “fix” anything or anyone, or be a martyr.

A little bit of kindness shown towards myself would have gone a long way.

A fraction of understanding about connectedness---how we’re all in this human life, feeling all the same feelings---would have embraced me in feeling understood, a part of something, maybe even forgiven myself for being so completely off center.

It was a good lesson to learn. Being there for ourselves---even retrospectively---while in the throes of feeling incredibly ashamed about something, creates a huge inner shift of perspective as well as feeling safe and able.

It’s never too late to be kind to yourself about something. Or someone. It’s also never too late to take a moment to realize, hey, I’m not the only one who’s gone through something like this.

There is power in literally feeling yourself connected to the millions of other people who have felt what you are feeling right now.

And those feelings that I wished would just go away? They’ve turned out to be my biggest asset, my literal guidepost for knowing what’s true for me. And what’s not.

My hut is back and open to life.

Turns out, it’s where I make all the best decisions.

I’m still sorting through it, clearing out some cobwebs, tending to a few gremlins who took up occupancy there while it was abandoned---their immediate evacuation notice has been given. Looking around, I’m stunned by it’s beautiful location. Overlooking a beautiful, aqua blue sea with a soft ocean breeze, there’s a hammock on the front porch that was just mended. I think I’ll spend a little time there in quiet contemplation---resting my head on the colorful pillow made from a bright pink, orange and gold sari---while I let those gremlins get their things together and get on out.

What’s going on in your hut?