Forgiveness and self-acceptance, to Sympathetic Joy…

Hello and welcome,

I’d love to share another cuppa together while we ponder sympathetic joy through the art of self-acceptance through forgiveness…

I’m contributing this piece to Debbie, of Forgiving Connects and her ForgivingFridays initiative, where she kindly invites us to ponder the steps we can take towards self-forgiveness, a huge leap towards self-acceptance and love.

 

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Accepting ourselves involves all the traits we deem unworthy of our acceptance.
We cannot begin to see ourselves as whole until we acknowledge those parts of us we are hoping no one notices….

Take jealousy for example…

I’ve been the worst at being jealous of everyone and everything they’ve achieved.
It’s only recently I’m beginning to get a grip on this.

I can see where these intense feelings were coming from now….
I wasn’t happy with myself. It was like life had become one huge race, where there was one set of rules on how to be successful, how to live a happy life…

I was living according to everyone else’s idea of what that should look like.

As a result, I’d allow myself to gravitate towards traits, experiences, material things that I associated with a successful life.

Perhaps I was running away from being myself?

This realisation began through the critical journey towards self-acceptance…

Learning to explore what those intense feelings were trying to teach me, began the journey to accept it as part of me.
And like a naughty child, once some attention is given to them, they don’t feel as desperate to create havoc…

Becoming more comfortable with myself enabled me to reach a point where I can now be happy for others’ successes. Any residual feelings means there are more lessons for me to learn.

As part of this acceptance, I discovered there is a term in Buddhism for this…the wonderful world of Sympathetic Joy.

Once I discovered I could cultivate this by focusing less on ‘eradicating’ jealousy, and focusing on learning how to be truly happy for others, it became a new way of thinking, like a mindful mental workout.

That doesn’t mean that little ‘green eyed monster’ won’t rear its little head any more.

But I’ve made peace with who I am, what I believe are my strengths and can laugh at the ‘rest’ of me now. Believe me, there are plenty of those occasions….

It helps negate the desire for the worst kind of comparison…the type that originates from those feelings of unworthiness, as opposed to being inspired to reach a level we wish to attain, coming from a place of love, or simply just being happy within ourselves for no particular reason.

The act of self-acceptance means when we have our buttons pushed by others, we have a greater capacity for seeing that person with compassion and understanding, knowing where they are coming from….after all, at any given moment we can also be in that place of discomfort and need to lash out in our own way.

In our wholeness, we can also at times be belligerent, jealous, thoughtless…

I forgive myself for feeling inadequate when I compare myself unfavourably against others, or display emotions that I have deemed ‘unworthy’.

A spiritual journey isn’t so much about ignoring  or attempting to ‘mend’ all those parts of us.
It’s about diving deep into our messiness, understanding ourselves, going ‘within’ in order to have greater capacity to emerge, with greater awareness of the impact we have on others.

In a way, it can become the essence of our purpose…

It begs us to ask the question, ‘How can I be more loving in this situation?’

We learn to respond rather than react.

When we return to the world in a state of non-judgement towards ourselves, we can offer this gift of peace, of being fully present and compassionate towards everyone we meet, including revelling in their joyful moments.
In other words, we see ‘us’ in everyone….

Everyone becomes our teacher, helping us forge deeper roots to anchor our growth…

It embraces the power of connection, and is my new interpretation of the expression ‘we are all connected’…

…when we can delight in the joy of others, because we too understand joy,
and also…

…when we can sit with them in their pain, because we have also known pain.

That’s when the beautiful magic between us and others begins…

The quote by Teal Swan is from the link I’m including here, titled ‘Self Love – The great Shortcut to Enlightenment.’
If you have a desire to listen in your own time, I hope you enjoy it too. There are some amazing pearls of wisdom in her teachings.

As always, I thank you for being here,
Much love from Di 💜

 

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A precious moment in time…

 

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“Kindnesses, in the form of ‘micro-moments’, wait patiently…
Wishing to release their seeds… 
Knowing they will be planting love…
far and wide.” Di

 

 

(The term ‘micro-moments’ courtesy of Barbara Fredrickson from her beautiful book, LOVE 2.0 …..Review in a forthcoming post).

Hello there,

You may remember from last week’s post about Love, thanks to Nikki’s weekly prompt, I made mention that it can be found in the dabbing of tears using the corner of a tissue…well, I’d love to share the reason behind that thought.

I hope you enjoy my story…

I was sitting at a café recently, writing a draft for a post, when a message came through on my phone…

You see, my best friend, Jo, from school days, had been to visit with her unwell mum…
Jo and I met on day one of first year of secondary school and were inseparable for all of those six years.

Jo moved to Queensland from Melbourne within a few weeks after that final year. We haven’t seen each other frequently in the ensuing years, as life took a different path for each of us.

I remembered her dear mum fondly, as often you may with the parents of your school friends…watching how other parents ‘parented’ was always a fascination for me, and Jo’s mum, Helen was forthright in offering advice about shaving our legs, plucking our eyebrows, and had in fact, shown me how to hang socks on the clothesline to maximise their drying capacity!! These little things I’ll never forget…

Jo was bringing her mum to Melbourne for a visit and we were going to spend one precious afternoon in the city.
We simply loved our fleeting time together.

We laughed, shared a meal, walked around the city, mindful of the delicate nature of Helen’s health, and generally knew that the passing years had removed none of the affection we had for each other. We fell into ourselves as comfortably as if it were yesterday again.

We created many happy memories and to be totally yourself with someone you don’t see very often is a real privilege. The sense of connectedness, sharing of our past, remembering all the silly things we did as teenage girls…such as forgetting we were walking undercover while we huddled under an umbrella…brought pure joy at the reminiscing.

So, as with all things, it came to an end, and we reluctantly left each other later that evening, before new commitments took control of their final couple of days here.

 

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Jo and myself on an earlier visit last year

The message that came through while I sat at the café on my own?

It was a photo Jo had sent of the aeroplane they were about to board…they were now at Melbourne airport, about to board to return to Queensland.

It had a huge emotional impact on me and tears welled up as I was sitting in the café, my tissue stained with mascara.

…I was embarrassed to go and pay for coffee, with what I imagined were rivers of black streaks down my cheeks. Even walking to the bathroom would have created a visual stir for others, I was sure!

There was a lady sitting in front of me by herself too.

I had a thought….

And may I add that it would have been easy to talk myself out of reaching out to this lady…
‘I don’t want to bother her,’ ‘she may be busy,’ she may tell me to leave her alone’…

Something compelled me to proceed.

I excused myself and asked her if I was obviously mascara-stained because I’d had a few tears. Her beautiful response was this:

She turned to me, lightly put her finger under my chin to lift my face, reached for a clean serviette and began dabbing at my face. I can feel a welling of emotion just typing these words.

It was, at that moment, as if we were the only two people in the café-
we were so in tune and in the moment. I felt very seen and accepted as I presented my raw self to her. She didn’t ask the reason for my tears, but simply wished me well and said she hoped my day improved.

I could offer nothing but a heartfelt thank you in return.

I will never forget this moment of ‘love’ and it’s also a lesson for me that people like to show kindness, if we just give them half a chance. We often prefer to give than to humbly receive. I often wonder why this is?

Perhaps its due to those messages we have all heard many times…’It’s better to give that to receive’…

Maybe it should say, ‘In giving, we receive’, which I believe to be true if we offer without expecting anything in return.

But I see another way…

Perhaps in receiving, we are giving…

 I’ve never seen this kind lady again and chances are I never will.
She may never know what this seemingly simple act of kindness meant to me…

And now we all understand…

So, ‘just for today,’ let’s allow someone the chance to offer this to us… and just receive graciously.

It really can make the world go ’round.

Thank you for being here,

Di❤️

“What is love, mummy?” A children’s story…❤️

 Hello to you,

This post is a contribution for Nikki’s inspiring blog, Flying Through Water and her creative weekly prompt. This week it was about Love.

I could have written about this in a million ways, but this is the piece I was called to create. It became my magical carpet on which to lay out my thoughts on this beautiful word, LOVE.

I do hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed producing it…🌹

 

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Love is kindness and compassion for all

 

 

       “There was once a sensitive little girl who always wondered about what love really meant.
Sure, she was part of a family and they existed under the one roof, but always with dinner on the table and some clean clothes to wear…

        She assumed she was loved, although no-one had ever really made a fuss about her or told her they loved her.
So she just went about her life, doing what she was told, hoping to be a good girl, wanting to make people feel happy. Happy meant more to her than love. And helping people. She knew what both of those things looked like.

        She would attend weddings of her older sisters and aunts and uncles, and at the back of her mind she was searching, watching, quietly observing for any hint of what love should look like.
It had a colour, didn’t it? She tried hard to find it. Was it more about a whirling in their hearts that she couldn’t see with her own eyes?

       Did the couple being married have a new sense of something being different? Was there a puff of pink sparkly mist that should accompany them like their own little cloud of joy? And so, love meant pink for her…

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And what about that phrase she heard about for so long…’being in love…’

She wondered what that felt like. Would she know when it was her time to be in it? In what exactly?

And so her time was spent pondering these questions.

She said she ‘loved’ chocolate… and climbing trees. Was that the same thing?

        She learnt at school that Jesus had taught us to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’
It was hard to make sense of it. ‘Don’t we just LOVE our family? And aren’t they just supposed to LOVE us?

How can you love other people that aren’t your family? What would that look like?

         One day, when she hadn’t quite finished school, she met a boy. He was at the school next door. They accidentally met on the train on the way home. He seemed to really like her even though she had no idea who or what she was about. But she knew he was something pretty special.

        As time went on she would assume she loved him too  because she discovered she couldn’t imagine life without him, and she really liked who she was when she was with him.

Did that mean ‘love’, she pondered?

       She felt very ‘loved’ by him because he thought she was beautiful whatever her mood, through her tears, through her times of fear, doubt, her self imposed thoughts of ugliness, her happy times, the times she was so frustrated that she would upset him… and always he would say he loved her. He never attempted to change her or ask why she couldn’t be stronger or less emotional.

He didn’t judge her either…

     This very quiet little girl became a nurse, simply because she wanted to make people feel better, to feel they mattered, to show compassion for them in their suffering. That idea had kept her going all those years when she felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere, when the world seemed too big for someone who just wanted to hold a person’s hand in their time of suffering.

So gradually, things began to make sense…

     Perhaps she was doing what Jesus was teaching when she was simply sitting with someone when they were sad or broken.

    Perhaps it was being loving to others when we can imagine what they are going through.

     She remembered the time she was still little and owned a pet bird that had died one day. It was possible to remember what sadness felt like when one of her school friends said they had lost a pet… or even their Nana or Pa..

    She never laughed when somebody tripped over or did something silly because she could feel how embarrassing that would be to have someone see you do that.

Was all of this ‘showing love?’

      Was it found in just being kind, imagining what it’s like to be someone else and feeling what they could be feeling, not laughing at others, being helpful?
She began to discover that it was…

She could feel a little flutter in her heart when she felt she was being ‘loving’ towards someone.

Was that what it felt like?

     Did she have to feel it every day with the boy she met on the train for the rest of her life? Does that feeling stay forever? Or does it change and grow to mean something different?

     She had three little babies with that boy who became her husband. They have all grown up now.
She learnt about love from watching them and accepting them when they were difficult, when they had a tantrum, and yet every day, she couldn’t wait to pick them up out of their cot and see them, as if for the first time…
They all had their own little personalities and one was not better than the other. She thought they were all beautiful. They didn’t have to be perfect for her. They were just being themselves.

Surely that was love?

      Gradually as the years passed, she realised that she could be even better if she learnt to love herself. That didn’t mean going around and telling everybody how good she was.
It was about accepting herself for all the things that make her the person she is.

Some days she was upset, some days she was happy, some days she forgot things, some days she said something accidentally to make someone sad. These were all the parts that made her whole and she was beginning to be alright with that.

     This little girl who grew up learnt that there is love to be found in a kind word to someone she didn’t even know. It could be a person in a shop, or someone she met on the way to somewhere else.
It’s giving someone a flower from the garden, hugging someone, writing to say ‘thank you’ when someone had shown love to her by bringing a flower or sending a tiny metal Angel in the post, wiping someone’s tears with the corner of a tissue, sitting next to someone who is sad, doing some fun things together and laughing, saying nothing at all, just listening…

…saying ‘I love you…’

      She came to discover it’s really a special word that means very simple but beautiful things and can be different for everyone…and we need to be shown love in our own special ways too. Ways that speak our language…

     Some of us like to be told we are loved, some of us like to be shown we are loved through gifts or spending time together, some of us just need a big bear hug to feel loved.

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 When we wish that someone can be as happy as us,

or we wish to say or do something that can make them feel better,

when we just want the best for them…without expecting anything in return…

when we don’t make someone feel bad about being who they are…

    That’s love, actually…”

 

….I also realise love can present itself as a little heart enclosing our written words, it can come draped around encouragement, as an extra ingredient baked into a cake, it can be buying a magazine from a homeless person, it can be many things, but what we do know is…

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******Song embedded for you… sung by Dionne Warwick, ‘What the World Needs Now’ 

 

I’d love to make mention of a book I bought quite a few years ago upon which some of this philosophy here is based…
‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman. It appeared at a time I was questioning what it all was supposed to be about. I thought you may enjoy seeing this too.

Thank you for reading…I wish you much love in your life and some from me too…
Di 💕