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/
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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