I am a recovering control-freak. And, though, I am not sure you can recover from this condition, I take minuscule, almost non-noticeable baby-steps in the direction of Trust. The other day, I was in a tough situation. I am sure you can relate to this, needing to be in two places at the same time. The place where you want to be and the place where you need to be in order to keep all havoc from breaking loose, or at least, being able to quickly get things back on track when they go off track. I was anxious. I was nervous. I had to trust someone to handle something who had a so-so track record.
As I drove away from one event, leaving it in, let's say, less-than-capable hands (I really felt that way... sorry, not sorry) and drove to the other event, I felt the anxiety kick up a notch. All of a sudden, I remembered something someone had said to me. "Amina, when you trust, who do you really trust?" This is one of those obvious questions, that when you are muddled, seem impossible to answer. I have answered it numerous ways, "Myself" is the one I say the most. Since, I think that is what society expects me to say. I am supposed to be independent, I got this, I don't need anyone. I NEVER feel this way, but part of me thinks I am supposed to feel this way. And, it hit me, in the moment of hearing that question what the "right" answer is. So, I ask you to think about it for a moment. When you trust, who are you really trusting? Is it the other person? Is it yourself?
I realized, who I am really trusting is God. Even if I were to stay at the first event, there is no guarantee, that with me there, monitoring everything and having a plan B for every.single.thing, that something would not go wrong. There is no guarantee that I would do better than or be more successful than the person who was running the event, having nothing to do with our individual skills, but to do with fate, life, things happening, basically, everything that none of us can control. The person I am truly trusting is God. That is the power I put my trust in.
I have heard this numerous times. I have probably said it even more times, but until that moment, I don't think I truly got it. There is only one Source that any of us can completely, totally, utterly rely upon. It is not ourselves, we know that. We know the number of times, we swore we would not do something and 5 minutes later did it. We know how many times we have made mistakes. And, it is not other people, we know what it is like to be disappointed by counting on, expecting, other people to do something and they, for whatever reason, could not, did not, or chose not to. And, the times others let us down and the times we let ourselves down, hurt. They left a mark. Yes, they made us stronger, but for many of us, they also put another brick up on the impenetrable wall we have been building. They lead to us trusting less. However, when we realize, that each of us, ourselves and others, were just doing the best we could with the knowledge, awareness and resources we had at the time, we see, that is not a strong enough place to put full trust. Human are fallible. Its just a fact. We need to put our trust in something that is completely solid.
This brought me such peace. I offer this to you as a way to bring you peace. The next time you have a big meeting, a tough conversation, a negotiation, an apology, or have to leave the execution of an event to someone else, try shifting your trust from the other person or the outcome to the Source of all. Trust, that whatever is in your highest good is what will occur. Trust, that there is a power, so much greater than you, that has got all of this under control. Trust, that there is nothing for you "'to do".
When I got to event #2, I realized, I could put my phone on silent and I did not need to check it. I was sure, confident, that event #1 was going well. In fact, I knew it was. How could it not? I had left God in charge of it!
For the past few years, each time I hit a bump in the road, it was suggested I go to a Vipassana. A vipassana is a very specific 10 day silent meditation. Each time, I agreed. And, yet, I found the idea of being still and quiet for 10 days as a form of torture. In A Course in Miracles, it talks about the healing to your disease being the one thing you think would kill you. In this case, I am pretty sure I would not survive no talking, no texting, no writing and no reading for 10 days... what would I do? I would have to sit with myself for 10 whole days and get to see that I am whole and complete, without interaction with others.
I have plenty of folks in my life who would LOVE being quiet, and uninterrupted with themselves for 10 days. I am CLEARLY not one of them. In the process of working my way up to a Vipassana (which I still have not done, even though I promised myself I would in 2018, for which there are about 40 days left...), I started doing tiny, itsy, bitsy baby steps in the right direction. Like, walking the Camino de Santiago, not alone, but for large portions of the whole day, I stayed in silence with myself. And, using the practice of WAIT - Why Am I Talking? When my mouth opened and words were tumbling over each other to fly out at lightening speeds, sometimes, I was able to catch myself, and ask if I really needed to be talking at this moment. I cannot tell you how many times I realized that the world will still turn without my two cents on the current situation. I, often times, sprinted into my bedroom and closed the door with a good book versus gave into thoughts of suffering or control or figuring out how to "manage" a situation. I decided to just disengage with the drama and engage with the drama of a good book instead. I share these because they helped build up to the latest moment.
I was sitting at a meeting at Unity, which is a spiritual group that focuses on loving and uplifting everyone, wherever they are, whatever they believe and spreading more love and acceptance in the world. Last Sunday, when we walked in, we were given a slip of paper and asked to write our first name on the paper and put it in a basket. A little later, the basket was passed around and we were asked to take a slip of paper. My paper said, "Ian". All week, we were asked to pray, thank, and send good energy to this person. Someone in the room had a piece of paper that said, "Amina". Well, Ian is in for a treat, because this activity is SO AMINA! I tucked his name into my cell phone cover and have at least 10 times a day sent him a prayer, a good thought, a hope for amazingly, good to come into his life. And, the key here is that I have NO IDEA who Ian is. I looked around to see if I could figure it out, but then I stopped myself. I do not need to know Ian to wish him all the good the world has to offer. And, that is when it hit me at another level. I love this place. I love this practice. I have found a place that fills me with peace and love and happiness. I love the practices. I love the concepts. This is SO AMINA. And, that is the big epiphany. Things being SO AMINA.
I realized, I have spent a lot of time trying to get someone else to see how cool things are and not realizing, that things are great, because I think they are great. I do not need anyone else to get it, see it, understand it, or agree with me. I love explaining and sharing my experience and what I have learned, but in that moment, I realized, I really do not need one other person to get it. All of a sudden, I flashed back to being a little girl. And, I remember KNOWING that being kind, being generous, not "protecting" yourself, even if you were attacked, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, was the best way through life. I knew, as a small child, that LOVE truly is the answer. And, as I got older, I learned things that were counter to this belief, and I worked really hard to take what I was learning about getting ahead and being successful, and combining it with what I knew to be true, you can get ahead by helping others and by being honest, and kind and authentic. And, I was tortured often. The world kept telling me that I had to defend myself and stick up for myself. When, I did. I ended up feeling better in a moment, but the guilt of "sticking it" to someone would come crashing over me.
In that moment, that I was given someone's name, who I did not know to pray for, something clicked. There are so many people in the world that would rather take the long road, the harder path, the steeper hill, to be aligned to what they believe in. To be true to themselves. Even if it is harder. Even if no one gets them. There are so many people who would pray for someone they do not know, just to add a little more love and kindness to the world. There are a lot of people who are JUST LIKE ME! Who I am and who I have always been is wonderful. I have worked hard over the past 10 years to remove the layers of guilt and the beliefs that clouded the natural light of who I am. And, I am proud that each day I move a little closer to being me. The real me with all my wonderful qualities, and all my cracks and weaknesses. I am moving to a place where I do not feel the need to hide or fix the parts that are not perfect, but fill them with love, like the ancient practice of repairing pottery with gold, so that the cracks are filled with gold and in repairing, create a new beautiful piece of artwork.
This self acceptance and self compassion starts with kindness. When you are kind to yourself, it is easier to be kind to others. And, sometimes being kind to others, helps you start your own practice of being kind to yourself. Self compassion and kindness are big for me these days. Being kind is the best gift you can give yourself. When you help another person, the impact to your own self is immeasurable. When someone wants to snap out of a bad mood, I tell them to go do something nice for someone else. It is an instant mood cure. Even though you are doing for another, what you are actually doing, is reinforcing the truth about yourself - that you have enough, that you are whole, that you are full. See, you cannot give if you are empty. The mere action of giving to another, reinforces to yourself, how full you really are. This holiday season, we are doing 30 random acts of kindness. They are small and powerful. I hope you will join us in this practice. It is a way to infuse the end of the year with powerful energy that will help you remember how amazing, wonderful, full and complete you truly are! To join us, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/kind30/
Many years ago, on a trip to Pakistan, I saw a young boy, about the age of my nephew riding a donkey cart selling oranges. I was amazed. My nephew, at the time, was 12 and this 12 year old, was by himself, on a cart, selling oranges. Through the help of my cousin, I had the opportunity to talk to him and learn his story. He was in school, but his Mom had passed away. And, now, he picked oranges from the villages orange trees, and both he and his Dad sold them on different days in different places. He got up at 4 am and road the donkey cart 2.5 hours to the big city to sell oranges. And, he would leave whenever traffic died down and no one would buy more, sometime at 11 pm at night and drive back the 2.5 hours to his village. 12 years old. It felt like I was talking to someone at least 18, but he looked 12. I wondered if he was ever scared. He definitely did not look happy, but not exactly sad either.
I felt called to help him. I bought oranges and paid a lot extra for them so he could have some extra money. And, I wanted to give him some money, but did not know how to in a way that would be kind. I ended up asking my cousin to do it for me. Over the course of my visit, I would see him often and wave and smile but we never really spoke. I would often send my cousin to check on him and get updates on his life. When I left Pakistan, I left enough money with my cousin to give him 500 Rupees a month. At the time, this was roughly $10 a month. Over the course of the year, my cousin kept me updated about him. That year, his whole family got new clothes for the religious holiday. Something they tried to do once a year (this is 1 new outfit per year) but were not able to every year. I had another visit to Pakistan and when I left, kept the money going another year. The following year, he was able to put his three little sisters in school with the extra income. Not only was it because of the money I was providing, but the stress was reduced, and their orange sales were also increasing. You all understand that, it is about expectation and vibration.
I don't remember how many years I kept this up for. I just know that when I stopped, mainly because I had not been to visit in a while, my cousin and other family members kept it going. The family continued to thrive and flourish. I tell this story because it reminds me of the man walking along the beach throwing starfish back into the water. Someone says, "look at the beach, there are millions of starfish, you can't save them all. It doesn't make a difference if you leave them here or throw them back". To which the man replied, while tossing another one into the ocean, "it made a difference to that one."
If you think back on your own life, there have probably been some moments where someone's small kind gesture really influenced you in a major way. I have a blog post about the time when someone one a stuffed snowman at our Holiday party and gave it to me and the impact of that small gesture. That is why Random Acts of Kindness work. My sister was telling me about having a hard day the other day, and the woman in line ahead of her at Starbucks was taking forever, only making my sister more irritated. But, when she pulled up to pay for her order for four people, the woman had paid for her full order! Needless to say, her bad day got turned upside down and became a great day. Good moods, happiness, joy, they are contagious. If you help one person find that, you are changing the entire world.
I hope you will join me for 30 days of Random Acts of Kindness. We start the Friday after Thanksgiving and go to the Saturday before Christmas. While I have chosen 30 activities for us to do together as a group, I have a list of over 100 activities that you can choose from, or you can create your own. The goal is to do one every day for 30 days. The result of this practice will amaze you. More joy, more peace, more resiliency to anything negative going on around you, and more of what you want flowing to you easily. I always say, what you give, comes back 10 times over. If you want something badly, give it away and you will get it. We can practice giving love, peace, hope, joy, respect, kindness to others, and in return, on those days, when life gets tough, you will get it back!
The challenge is FREE! I hope you will join and get your office place, your place of worship, your community, your family to play with you. The more kindness we can bestow, and the more people giving kindness, the more good we will ALL experience. You can sign up here and join the Kindness Rocks Facebook Group! Looking forward to being KIND together! For those of you already in Adventures with Amina, you do not need to sign up, but may want to join the Facebook Group!
One of the most transformational practices you can have is a gratitude practice. While I have always been a fan, I have never gotten into it in the "popular" way. The gratitude journal or carrying a rock and each time you touch it, remembering to be thankful. Or, one I loved, but never found myself doing, each step after getting out of bed, say one thin you are grateful for. These are all amazing ideas to remember gratitude, that I found myself never doing. In true Amina-fashion, I created my own functional gratitude practice.
I have always considered myself a Gratitude Superstar! Cognizant of complaining and blaming, being grateful for the big and small, and being generous. However, on my amazing vacation to Greece, sitting on the beautiful island of Santorini, I found myself unhappy, funk-full, complaining and a far cry from grateful. I was so ashamed. I tried to shake it. I reminded myself sitting where I am is on people's bucket list! I tried to pep talk my way out of it. I tried saying something I was grateful for with each step, which only frustrated me more. Nothing worked until I did my tried and true gratitude practice.
I heard that on an island, not too far from us, there were Syrian refugees in a refugee camp. I started to think about their experience and what they had suffered and endured. And, well, that pretty much did it. From their, I started to think of what I had and what good can I do with what I have. Funk gone. Complaining history. Joy and gratitude abound. I have found that the single best cure for the funk is being of service to another. When you think of your life as what you have and what you can give, your entire perspective shifts. There are people all over the world who have so much less than I do and are still turning around and helping someone else, with the tiny, little bit they have. We call these people Heros and Saints, and while I agree, I have also come to learn, that this practice is for their own mental salvation. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day, what is and is not working, and sometimes, remembering that what you do have, regardless of how you feel about it at the moment, is a blessing to another, can turn that "not enough" thought into "richest person on earth" thought.
I realized that day, that I do need a Gratitude Reboot. It has been a habit, but clearly one, I let slide a bit. That is why I pulled out Pam Grout's Thank and Grow Rich, with her 27 gratitude practices. I like these, because they are different every day. For me a new practice to try daily makes it fun and like a gratitude game. For this month, you can join me in the Gratitude Game in my free Facebook Group, Adventures with Amina or by downloading my Gratitude Practice Program! I made it free this month, because, well, I am grateful you are here and part of my life and my community!
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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