Is the word MERCY in your vocabulary? Does being merciful enter your mind on a conscious basis?

 

What does the word: MERCY mean to you?

Consider writing what words and images come to mind as you ask yourself this question. Then ask the equally important question of: How can I be merciful towards myself as a conscious outpouring of what I AM?

The truth is that you were born inherently perfect. We all have what researchers deem as an innate capacity for being merciful. In fact it is something we do as a natural outpouring of who we are. If you watch very young children, before they are taught rules around politeness and ‘socially appropriate’ kindness, these young children only know how to give compassion, mercy, and love.

A growing body of evidence suggests that, at our core, both animals and human beings have what Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley, coins a “compassionate instinct.” In other words, compassion is a natural and automatic response that has ensured our survival. Michael Tomasello and other scientists at the Max Planck Institute, in Germany, have found that infants and chimpanzees spontaneously engage in helpful behaviour and will even overcome obstacles to do so. They apparently do so from intrinsic motivation without expectation of reward. A recent study they ran indicated that infants’ pupil diameters (a measure of attention) decrease both when they help and when they see someone else helping, suggesting that they are not simply helping because helping feels rewarding. It appears to be the alleviation of suffering that brings reward — whether or not they engage in the helping behaviour themselves.

Recent research by David Rand at Harvard University shows that adults’ and children’s first impulse is to help others.

Research by Dale Miller at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests this is also the case of adults, however, worrying that others will think they are acting out of self-interest can stop them from this impulse to help.

 

We intrinsically want to help – we have the hard wiring to instinctively be merciful. As adults, showing mercy becomes a decision of our thinking brain and our deliberate choice – our free will – and at times, for various reasons, we may opt out of what is such an important human ability.

How we are and how we act with others is symbolic of how we are able to be kind and loving – and merciful to ourselves. It is much easier to show others kindness, compassion, love, and mercy when we are able to readily do this for ourselves.

Mercy may be defined as: co-existing in love, forgiveness, compassion, loving-kindness, understanding, humanity, generosity, and faith.

Wikipedia defines mercy as: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.

It’s within our power to punish or harm someone at any time in theory, and yet perhaps its in those very instances where someone has wronged us or hurt us that we need to be MOST mindful of practising an outpouring of mercy.

 

I hear my client tell me about all of the comments that she receives anytime she goes home to visit her Greek orthodox family living in Montreal. How their words impact her decisions and her everyday behaviours and yet she is a 34-yr old nurse working and thriving in Toronto. (She is told by friends that she looks better with a tan after travelling to the Caribbean on holiday so she admits to me that she is now going to a tanning salon regularly to keep up her glowing appearance; she is told by her grandmother that she is heavier than last visit and so she has now returned full force to the gym; her mother has always told her that to be beautiful she must wear makeup and high heels and so on the day of our session she isn’t feeling well and apologizes for her appearance – because she is not wearing makeup, nor heels. Her entire image of herself is tied up in what others say; she has not found herself and her true beauty that exists – enhanced perhaps by the makeup – but originates as who she already is. My client is one of many who look to others to establish their feelings of self-acceptance and positive affect in the words and remarks of others – and in doing so, can never be truly merciful towards herself. She continues to take the harsh comments and criticism of her friends and family – and does the same internally in her self talk – because it is all that she knows to do – and it has been the way in which she has defined herself. How many of us do this – or parts of this?

It doesn’t just happen with my client’s family, it happens with all of us regardless of our heritage, religious background and family of origin. What are the messages of your earlier life experiences that have set you up to judge yourself harshly, to be unmerciful, to be self-loathing, to deny, to avoid, to disavow – who you truly are?

Perhaps this is one reason why as teens we often rebel against our family – society – social mores – and instead look to our peer group for support and as a source of validation (as they too are experiencing the same kind of need to explore, to rediscover, and to take a stand in what they believe in). We don’t always acknowledge that we are all hardwired to be …who we truly are – what I call our AUTHENTIC self. If we have been stifled, denied, or told we must fit a certain stereotypical ideal, we learn from a young age to dishonour our TRUE self.

As a teenager and young adult, if we are fortunate enough to seek out answers and to decide what we believe in, what we feel passionate about, and what we want to do with our life, – and if we allow ourselves to dream and to follow what truly excites us, then we are making choices based on knowing our self best. And yet, we still hold many of the cultural and societal beliefs that have been so deeply ingrained, that say we should follow a certain practical plan for living our life, we should earn a certain income, we should wear a certain designer label, and that all of this is important – critical in fact – to being successful and happy. Some or all of this may very well be important – but as long as it is what we have chosen based on what is truly important to who we are – certainly none of this is wrong – as long as it is true to what is right for who we are – rather than what we tell ourselves we should do.

So its not surprising that much of the work that I do each day has its roots in helping people find themselves – and helping them uncover the truth about who they are so that they can live the rest of their life from a place of authenticity and self-honesty. When you can be honest and real with yourself and others, you free yourself to live with mercy. Maybe as you look over your definition for what mercy is, you most likely included such words as: honesty, deliberate kindness in action, compassion for self and others, loving and of course…truth.

When you can live with mercy directed towards yourself, it will be even easier to live it outwardly. This is because if you are overly critical, harsh, judgemental, uncertain, and insecure, this cannot help but come through as you look outwards at others. One might say that this is one of the reasons why we have constant conflict and war in the world. If we are not able to be merciful, to be kind and loving to ourselves and others, then we cultivate all of what is opposite: unkindness, impatience, judgement, intolerance, envy and hate.

Being merciful is how we embody true kindness and understanding. It is how we show others our compassionate nature.

The following visualization is best experienced if you can close your eyes for a few moments and take 3-5 deep breaths. Take even more breaths if you feel that it will help you quiet your mind as you go within to answer the following questions.

(And, if you would like a little more practice and a deeper experience in calming your mind and feeling a total body relaxation, please follow this link: to one of my guided meditations – perfect for taking you a little deeper within yourself.)

When you are ready to proceed let the following be a guide for what you then envision in your mind, allowing whatever answers that surface be what you reveal as your truth:

Think of a time either in the recent past or maybe a memory from childhood in which someone showed you mercy. Maybe there could have been a reason for you to have been punished because of what you did – whether it was something done innocently or intentionally – when the other person could have been intolerant, angry or blaming, but instead you were given compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love – in effect – you were shown mercy.

Next, recall a time when you acted with compassion and mercy when perhaps it would have been socially acceptable to chastise, correct, scold, or punish. And yet you showed only mercy – kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. Recall what your experience was as you did this? How did YOU feel as you saw the face of the person, perhaps the child, the friend, the spouse, the work colleague – that you were being merciful to? Imagine for a moment how your actions of mercy felt for them?

When we are shown mercy – when we receive compassion – or as we demonstrate compassion and mercy, we experience something much more – much like a gift. What did you receive in the exchange with another? What did you receive when you were shown mercy or in being merciful?

In so many ways we have the ability to be who we truly are. When we elicit compassion and grace towards another living being we are being merciful. When we are compassionate and merciful, something remarkable happens inside of us. Something bearing truth is awakened from within.

 

The path of mercy is our path back to finding ourselves

 

Finding ourselves begins with the mercy that we can show ourselves. From here we see how easily it is to expand upon this – to allow others the gentle freedom to make mistakes, to be human, to not always do what we would do.

All world religions share in the importance of what it means to “be love”. They also share similar definitions of “mercy”, “forgiveness”, “compassion”, and “truth”. I share this because it reminds us that across all religions and spiritual beliefs, we are reminded and taught of the importance of being merciful, loving and kind.

Regardless of our religious upbringing most of us have heard the words: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 / Luke 6:31).

Being merciful is your namesake. It is what we can offer to ourselves and one another that speaks to the truth of what are are. We are all seeking the same goodness; the same acceptance; the same attachment to one another in kindness. Showing mercy is our way to be loving – to accept others as they are – to allow for those moments when others may not always be at their best.

How you can be more deliberate in your practice of being merciful? Where in your daily life can this become a greater practice and privilege for you? The reason we consider in advance how and where we will do something is to ensure that it finds a place in our lives and a means by which we can be this – daily.

Think about the typical situations that you encounter – with your partner and spouse, your children, your parents and extended family, with siblings and friends, and with those you work with? How can you be merciful and any of the other words and descriptors of mercy as how you defined it? BOTH WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

If you are already actively mindful of showing mercy in your daily life, ask yourself, ‘What are some different ways that I can expand upon this?” Can you practice deliberate acts of mercy even when you are annoyed, offended, hurt, and when you believe strongly that you are right and someone else is wrong?

Where in your daily life can you practice mercy unto yourself – and to others? When you do so, what would it look like? What would your inner dialogue or self talk be that would help you to remember to be merciful?

Challenge yourself to find new ways of showing mercy in these tougher moments (both to others and to yourself)and when it may seem easier to do what you’ve always done. Write these and place them where you can see your list each day. This becomes a plan that will help you to make this happen.

Close your eyes once more with the intention to give yourself a few more minutes of calm, relaxed breathing. When you open your eyes again, you are ready (with a clear mind) to answer a few more questions as you journey within to experience what it means to be merciful. (At any time, you can close your eyes even momentarily, as it will likely help you call up some of your past memories and experiences).

 

Imagine who you were as a child. Maybe it’s a memory where you can go back in time and yet you can feel right now as though you are this incredible child again. Maybe its a photo or image of your younger self that you see in your mind. However you come to imagine and envision yourself as a most incredible child, begin to paint the picture in detail of who you were based on the following questions I’m going to ask. (Please remember: If you don’t have all of the answers to these questions, that’s perfectly okay, your subconscious mind may give you more answers as you continue to think about this).

As you ask yourself: “Who was I?” take a brief pause as the answers spontaneously reveal themselves. Pause after each of the following questions to give your subconscious mind the time to reveal the answers:

What did I look like?”

See yourself in action. Ask: “What activities or games did I enjoy most?” “What used to make me laugh?” “What did I enjoy doing?” “What was I naturally good at?” “What would I think or daydream about?”

What were some of my proudest moments?” “What did others compliment me for?” “What did I dream about?” “When was I happiest?”

Next, describe your personality? “What core features, characteristics, and mannerisms made you special, unique, original?” Allow the memories to flow into your conscious mind without judging whatever you remember.

Sometimes our mind will show us the difficult or negative moments of our past. Please know that this is perfectly natural. Allow all of the memories that reveal themselves be part of your experience. The difficult moments of our life teach us much about who we are. While we may not be aware of this at the time, whatever you learned from your earliest life experiences has contributed to who you are today in ways that have made you resilient and courageous even if you may not think of yourself as so. For now, if you begin to recall any difficult or painful memories, remember that they don’t make you any less incredible.

Remember all of who you were as an incredible child.

Write all of your answers to: ‘Who was I as a child?’ including the details of how you felt as you saw yourself being your authentic – carefree, happy, curious, and courageous – self.

Now here’s a BIG SECRET that I hope you will remember. When you think about any of the behaviours or mannerisms that you have that cause you discomfort or that you do not like about yourself – these are not (nor were they ever) who you innately are.

In most cases, you learned by observing others or perhaps you were taught certain ways of being. If you think about it, any of the behaviours that you might label as ‘bad’ or wrong – stem from learnings that occurred beginning in childhood. As you reflect on all of the innate goodness of who you were as a child in your answers to the earlier visualization, see if you can remember who you were before or without any of the teachings in which you were taught to dislike, to judge, to be hurtful or mean, to be boastful and show no mercy, and anything else that causes you or others – to suffer. Who you truly are is not these things. Perhaps take one more review of your “Who was I as a child?” list right now to see if you have written anything that you were taught to believe, to act, to fear, that truly wasn’t yours to begin with. Write anything else now about who your original self really is. Allow your inner child to shine through. Let yourself feel connected once again to what you once were.

When we remember who we are, we can begin to reclaim our authentic self. Your inner child is your inner navigation point. It is your truth. Before each of us were told what “not to do”, or how we “should” behave or feel because it is somehow more acceptable, we were intuitively and perfectly being – our true nature.

Finding your way back to who you are begins with acknowledging all that you once were.

Remember all of the goodness of your inner child. Close your eyes one final time as you hold the image of your incredible self – the younger version of who you were – – hold the image of the incredible child that you see in your mind. See yourself clearly, feeling proud, confident, free, strong, and happy. Sit for a few more moments with this impression – allowing it to sink in … deeper. Feel, see and imagine all of the ways that you are incredible – both as your younger self and then….. as you are now.

Consider the moments when you allowed your adult self to be: funny, playful, thoughtful, generous, kind, honest, loyal, curious, excited, happy. When you are being any of these …are you not being your true self?

When we allow our inner child to shine through – we can be childlike in ways that are both beautiful and authentic. We can speak the words of our truth rather than hold ourselves back for fear of “saying the wrong thing” or “being too emotional”. When we allow our inner child’s vulnerabilities to show through we reveal to others our true nature – and this makes us ‘approachable’, ‘honest’ and ‘real’.

And finally, I have one more question about your life as a child?

What would have been your mantra as a child? A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself either quietly or aloud to elicit the feeling state of what you are telling yourself.

Maybe your mantra as a child was: “I can do this!” or “I’m special” or “I’m smart” Think of a mantra based on the words that your inner child would have spoken.

Allow yourself to repeat this mantra silently to yourself. Envision your inner child as you do so. Feel what you feel throughout your body. Now open your eyes again. Take a final few moments to write the words of your mantra. (Hint: Make it an “I AM” statement).

Notice how you are feeling right now.

The journey back to finding ourselves begins in our childhood with the innocent and completely honest depiction of our true self. Your homework from here is to remember all of the childlike qualities that best represent the truth of who you are. As you reconnect with your adult self again, remember these qualities and allow them to come through in everyday life. Let yourself be who you once were in more ways than you have ever been. As you reveal and relax into more of your true self, you will come to feel far more connected with your inner child again and most importantly – to feel connected with the truth of who you are.

 

 

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Self-Acceptance

 Self-Acceptance: The transformational step between ‘Who you Are’ and ‘Who you are …Becoming’.

by Dorothy Ratusny, M.A., (C).OACCPP., PhD. (Candidate)

Self-acceptance is the acknowledgement of who you are. From here you use conscious intention and deliberate action to move you towards who you are willing to become.” – Dorothy Ratusny

 

After you read the blog, please check out the link at the bottom for a Guided Meditation that will allow you to experience what it means to truly accept yourself!

Self-acceptance is the ability to love and appreciate who we are even as you continue to seek change, personal growth and transformation. It is your ability to see yourself with a level of self-honesty that conveys heightened awareness and absolute truth. Self-acceptance is the antecedent to change and growth. It implies that you are aware of and able to acknowledge all of who you are even when there are aspects of yourself that you wish to change or let go of.

 

Who we are is fusing of multiple elements – all in a constant state of flux – that become (largely through our deliberate will) all of the greatness we believe is possible. Through self-acceptance we see the aspects of our self that we wish to uphold as well as those aspects we wish to become. Becoming all of who we are capable of is not possible until we are ready to admit honestly to our self, who and what we are.

Begin by acknowledging the qualities and characteristics that you admire and appreciate about yourself most. Your willingness to write these on paper brings a deeper level of awareness – a sense of ‘reality’ to what is otherwise – a grouping of ideas you hold in your mind. Self-acceptance builds esteem and self-worth whenever you are willing to acknowledge all of the good that you are.  Out of self-acceptance you acknowledge the less favourable parts of you: your intolerance for others’ differences, for judging others unfairly or for being unkind or purposely hurtful as a reaction to someone else hurting you. 

 

Self-acceptance is about willingness to see yourself as you are. Out of self-acceptance comes positive change – personal growth – knowledge – and feelings of empowerment and self-worth as you choose to embrace new thoughts, behaviours and core beliefs to replace what once was.

I teach the notion of self-acceptance with clients as a rite of passage (‘a stepping stone’) that takes them from unawareness or at times self-denial, to intentional transformation. One of the benefits of having someone you can trust mirror back to you what they are observe and witness of you, helps you to connect the dots as to ‘why’ you do what you do, and ‘how’ you can change. This allows for a greater ease to which transformation happens.  When we are able to acknowledge and understand with clarity, the significance of our thoughts, the core beliefs we hold, and how our behaviours affect us and others, we can confidently step forward into who we want to become. This of course, is helped greatly when we are given the right tools, guidance, and support for making positive change happen. 

In this way, self-acceptance is an important catalyst towards self-transformation and wholeness.

 

Use the following sentence stem exercise to help illicit the unconscious (and largely hidden) aspects of yourself that you do accept. Repeat each sentence stems at least 6-10 times, allowing yourself an opportunity to delve deeper into your psyche, and pay attention to what it feels like to acknowledge – and accept these aspects of who you are.

I accept that I am…

Next ask, “What do I not accept about myself?”

(If you don’t accept certain aspects of yourself, does this mean you are in denial of them?)

Choose to be self-accepting of the parts of you that are less likely to change and recognize that everything else is within your power to become better – if you choose.

Remember that self-acceptance is also the kindness you choose to acknowledge and speak inwardly and aloud.  When we actively practice self-acceptance as intentional kindness directed within, we further anchor our positive feelings about our self and this encourages us to continue to be this.

A final thought…

Through self-acceptance we elevate our awareness to live out of our free will choice. We can choose to act from a place of authenticity – to be loving kindness – or we can allow our ego to be in charge. Acting out of our ego-mind, our thoughts (and our reactions to our thoughts) are fear-based and do not represent who our ‘self’ truly is. ‘Self’ as defined by eastern philosophies is the core essence of who we truly are. Our core self (our soul consciousness) is pure, loving, and always truthful. Self-acceptance is one mechanism that guides us to choose how we will be.

Sat Nam everyone!

Please check out my Guided Meditation on Self-Acceptance that will transform how you feel about yourself.  It’s so very beautiful and powerful! Please give yourself some time in quiet to take it all in and feel free to do it often.

https://soundcloud.com/dorothyhelps/self-acceptance-a-guided

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Giving “Thanks” for CHALLENGES: Thanksgiving 2013

 

Recently I led a Group Meditation on the topic of ‘giving thanks‘.   I can think of no greater way to move with ease through the challenges that any of us face than to accept them with gratitude.

 

When you welcome any “challenge” (hardship, problem, etc) with acceptance and gratitude, you no longer feel powerless against it.  By choosing to embrace this ‘challenge’, and to view it as an important part of your current life journey, you begin to embrace what teachings the challenge holds for you.

 

Once you master what teachings the challenge offers, it then becomes a life lesson that you own, allowing you to draw from the expertise and knowledge you would have gained from it.  

 

Consider what other privileges and opportunities you have been seeing as problems or challenges.

See your challenge with readiness and be grateful to embrace how you will be moved to grow and change because of it.  Trust that whatever self-awareness, new behaviours, and transformation occurs is exactly what you need as you go forward in life.  

grateful

Give yourself the ‘challenge’ of seeing, visualizing, and imagining the solution to your “problem” situation.  Hold the vision of your future ideal, how you wish to be, what you want to accomplish, and how the challenge might be best ‘fixed’ or resolved.  This is how you stay focused on the positive outcome while you set in motion what actions are required to get you there.  

 

BEING THANKFUL simply allows whatever challenges you are still working on, to become manageable and possible rather than overwhelming and impossible.

 

Remember that you are only continuing to experience the same or similar challenges until you have mastered them.  This is inevitably how we evolve as human beings.

 

Namaste everyone!

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A Note about Sadness

In a world were so much focus is placed on our outer appearance, the state of what physical objects we own, how we look and appear to others, what others see; and what we wish to see of our self, there is less of a need to acknowledge and honour what is within. Working to find our unique path in life; one that allows us to feel a sense of promise, hope, and fulfillment happens only as we are aware of our heartfelt desires; those gentle and yet sometimes fierce inner urgings that tell us to take a certain path; to try this new thing, or to go in search of a particular new experience.

 

 

Feeling attuned with your inner self means being aware of this place deep within you. Your sadness, and any other inner anxst or turmoil are often visible reminders that there are things beneath the surface; inside your being that need attention.

 

Sadness can often be the result of some past life situation – perhaps unresolved.  A general low level of sadness that seems to be there whenever you find yourself in moments all by yourself, can have very different meaning for you.   The main point is to no longer attempt to cover or deflect the sadness (or any other emotion you may be feeling) and instead step in ever so further. The point of looking at any emotion to explore and uncover its root origin allows us to have information- to have knowledge about why we feel the way we do and to address the underlying root cause.

 

Sometimes you will find yourself feeling sad for no real reason. The sadness comes from your train of thoughts and whatever you were thinking in those recent past moments.  Uncover your thoughts to see how your thoughts influence your overall mood state.

 

Sadness like any other feeling has an underlying purpose. It is there to reveal what may be missing, unhealthy, unsatisfactory, or disturbingly wrong with a present life situation. Sadness also comes out of our choice to focus on a particular life situation without truly empowering ourselves to discover what we need to do with it. We remain lodged in the feelings of sadness and replay the conversation or event rather than contemplate “What can I learn from this?” or “What would I need to feel at peace (happy, content, healed, etc) from this situation instead?”

Let your heart (your intuitive source) point out some real possibilities and begin to imagine yourself following the path toward them. Contrary to any previous thought, you do not have to remain sad; sadness is a feeling that is the result of “something” and not a resting place for our state of being.

 

The next time you glimpse even a fleeting sense of the feeling of sadness, consider what you are guided to do instead. Feel the sadness but decide whether you will choose to remain here; whether you will make sadness a regular experience or whether you will acknowledge it as simply an emotion that calls on you to attend to its for purpose – it is always a feeling that requires further exploration and examination.  Likely your decision to explore sadness will allow for some positive action that moves you toward feeling an entirely different set of emotions after all.

Namaste everyone!

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Friends for LIFE

Sometimes weeks or even months pass with limited contact between myself and my closest female friends.  When we finally get together, I can then sit with them over a meal and easily catch up; any time ‘in-between’ doesn’t feel as though it is measured in clock time; we pick up right where we left off, with such ease and comfort.

 

The few female friends I hold dearly in life, share a similar yet pivotal commonality: I never feel judged by them, and they don’t hold expectations of me or of our friendship.  I would hope that they feel the same from me.

 

This means that we can truly be ourselves; blurt out our ‘truths’, say whatever is on our mind at any moment… and not be afraid to reveal anything – since we hold no judgment toward one another.

 

Lately I am reminded of the importance of BEING a friend.  Too often I see others looking, relying, depending on their friends for much.  I wonder if we look at our ‘friendship’ relationships as ways in which we might give unconditionally – trusting that when we do so, we always manage to receive exactly whatever we need in that moment even if we have no preconceived idea of what that need might be.

 

The value of a true friendship suggests that we are loved by another.  Being loved by someone outside of our family suggests that others have CHOSEN US to hold dear in their life.  The state of a true friendship is measured not by how much face time two people share, but by the quality of the moments spent with one another, and the depth of honesty that they are willing to share.

 

…And I suspect that whomever said, “You only need a few good friends in life ” truly knew what this meant.  We can’t possibly engage in the depth of quality needed to nurture such an honest and authentic relationship if we are juggling fifteen people whom we call “our closest friends”.  Like any significant relationship, a ‘true’ friendship requires nurturing and growth over time.

 

Your friendships add to the quality of your life; the friends you hold dear to your heart grow with you even if the person is going through very different life experiences than you.

 

Consider what YOU VALUE MOST IN your friendship relationship.  

 

Perhaps its the simplicity of being accepted as you are …being loved unconditionally….. or being free to talk about anything without fear of judgment.

 

I am in awe of how much love I feel from my friends; and pray that they feel my love for them.  I enjoy and cherish knowing of our ‘history’ together…of sharing in so many happy moments that we both will remember forever… and for them being my soul sisters….

xoxo

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TRUE Compatibility in LOVE

love-never-fails

Living with someone else requires a dedication to the spirit.  It requires an understanding that their soul has unique experiences it seeks to have – experiences that may be different from your own.  This doesn’t mean that two people cannot be compatible unless they share EVERYTHING – rather it is when two people share everything that they follow NEITHER of their chosen paths – for their paths must be clearly their own and not a ‘compromise’ of what they truly desire.

Honour the wisdom of your OWN HEART.  Honour the freedom to experience yourself and your path at all times.  This is the true meaning of living a full life.  Even as you honour the life choices you make, begin to see how these will shape who you become – who you wish to be.  Knowledge of the path we wish to choose is important for our lives.  We can live anything as long as we choose it first; as long as we are indebted to the process of becoming who and what our soul yearns for.

 

In a love relationship, we must experience it first through our own eyes…. and including the urging of our heart at all times.  Openly examine your deepest desires to reveal what is most important – and to live that TRUTH.  To dishonour this inner calling only means you are left feeling something is missing, something is lost, and that there is inherently more that you need to be doing and living.

 

Couples who remain together indefinitely and who remain truly fulfilled have given themselves the “permission” to pursue the activity that they truly care about – its like taking many workshops of different styles of painting as an artist, but then choosing to paint pictures with the style that is truly what you enjoy most.  To do anything different would never feel authentic nor as pleasurable.

 

Let your spirit tell you what truly makes YOU happy and LIVE IT.  Trusting in the process that both people – if their compatibility is high enough – can live an incredible ‘couplehood’ together  – each one allowing the other to pursue their deepest desires and goals while pursing their own.

TRUE COMPATIBILITY in love is not dependent on doing everything together rather it is love INCLUSIVE of what actions and choices each member of the couple might pursue.

It is also TRUST that lasting love also requires movement for growth and independence for each of the two people.

 

To love someone unconditionally IS to accept that you will allow them to follow their unique path – to enjoy as many moments and times that are available for you both to share – but to acknowledge that loving someone fully does not require that you do everything SIMILAR or TOGETHER.  This is the true definition of acceptance – of unconditional love – of ‘unselfish’ love.  This way of being is what affirms, supports, and bonds a couple infinitely.

Namaste everyone!

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Experiencing the After Life

 

What does it mean to have eternal life?  How are we immortal?

If you choose to honour life in its infinite perfection, and for the many experiences – all of which give us incredible opportunity for knowledge, growth, healing, joy (and fun), etc. – then the experience of death is yet another experience of life.

Experiencing death through the expression of life means that we see death as the ending point of ‘this’ life experience, but certainly not the end.  The majority of organized religions believe in the immortality of the soul; and of another life that follows when the embodied soul leaves our physical being.

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The soul as a densely inspired grouping of matter (energy) is what returns to Source.  In it’s divine state, our soul looks to reclaim all of its earthly ‘physical’ experiences, to acknowledge its sojourn as pureness and infinite love.  The hopeful ideal is that the soul’s earthly time in physical form has served to heal and release past karma from previous lives spent as a physical being and to become acknowledged and integrated by the “self”.  Remember the soul is both within us and a part of the universal soul (universal consciousness) and is infinite love.  Our free will determines whether we allow the soul to shine outwardly from within us – its presence to be felt and integrated wholly as the energy of love – or not.  (Free will whether experienced as conscious or unconscious choices exist in humans and in animals; and is always challenged by impulse, instinct, habit – and specifically in humans as ego, and the busy ‘thought’ distractions of the mind).

 

Does the soul consciousness know when it is “time” to leave the physical body?  Can the soul experience a sense of ‘completion’ of its “work” or “objectives” in the physical world and is this related to why some people claim they feel peacefully “ready” for death in the final stages of life?

The physical body does what it is designed to do; live (thrive in fact) until it can no longer (either by our free will choice to die and with that, a refusal to care for our physical body until its uncertain demise, or in some cases, our continued mistreatment of our physical ‘home’, and the unnecessary ‘suffering’ and eventually failure of our physical condition).

If you believe in the theory that we are all energy… that “our” soul energy never ‘dies’ with our physical body but returns to ‘Source’, then all of us are never really dying.  While our physical body does have an ultimate ending point; the soul is eternal.  Remember that the soul (as energy) will at some later time, be embodied in another physical being. Those of us who have the ability to know we are about to ‘leave’ this world have the luxury of making some final plans, of perhaps ‘making peace’ with others, or simply preparing to go.

The soul doesn’t experience physical death – only the moments just prior to death. At ‘death’ the soul consciousness if it is prepared to leave, simply moves from the physical (body) form back into the world of energy.

In the case of animal souls, it has been said that their ‘shorter’ life span has very much to do with the fact that they have completed what experiences or ‘purpose’ they set out in search of.  An animal (and most certainly a domesticated pet) is infinitely loving – something that we as humans spend a great deal of our life failing to master.

 

Do our animal pets contemplate the ending of their life?  Do they have thoughts of “wishing” they were “healthy” or “wishing to die?”  Perhaps we will never have a provable answer to these questions, although it is likely that an animal is more often than not – simply living each moment in the present – and in the best way that they can.

Animals in general… and certainly the animals I have chosen to raise, love, and care for… have always gifted me with lessons of hope, bravery, strength, and unconditional love.  They remind me of the beauty in the simplest of actions, and the perfection in being present in each moment, living intentionally, and of course loving purely and intensely.

 

If we remain observant, animals remind us of our innate nature as: peaceful, curious, vulnerable, playful and loving.  They show us the pure joy in being their innate perfection: watching, running, jumping, chasing what moves, and thriving on being alive.  Sadly it is our ‘human nature’ that creates the complexities, confusion, and angst we live with, robbing us of our pure infinite potential.  Our four legged loved ones also teach us about the simple actions of life and death and of simply moving to another place as ‘energy’.  While most of us fear death, or at the least feel unsettled about it; animals teach us how to live in the physical world until at some point they no longer do so.  They don’t contemplate the ‘ending’ of their life in the same way we do; nor do they (likely) deliberate on it.

 

Animals are instinctive by nature.  They accept whatever is and do their ‘best’ in that moment.  They do not understand labels such as ‘terminal illness’ so they continue living in whatever way possible (and as best as they can) until they can no longer do so.  In many terminal conditions such as cancer, the body slowly deteriorates and the animal’s physical abilities decline until they are just a physical ‘shell’.  The soul remains until the moment of physical death but the animal (and how it was known to be) certainly appears to be ‘gone’.

 

 

It remains to be seen whether all of the ways we attempt to hold off death are really humane after all.

If you knew that you were going to a better place; (if you were shown pictures, or able to watch a movie depicting what your experience would be), would it make it easier to pass, leaving behind this life?  If you were able to remain present and to live each moment, then you likely would not spend much time contemplating what was coming.  Your attention would remain on how you were living right now.

 

Perhaps the most significant thing death teaches us is how to live…how to free ourselves of the unneeded worry and suffering and instead – thrive, enjoy, honour the life we have been given.  Remember all of our experiences are experiences the soul yearns for.

 

Namaste!

www.dorothyratusny.com

 

An added afterthought and update:

This is what we want to hold onto; we want to enjoy the privilege of having the physical moments of: holding, hugging, touching, kissing, and feeling the kinesthetic luxury of being spirit embodied.  We absolutely want to hold onto this physical life and all of its gracious pleasures for as long as we can – even if the quality of our life has changed or deteriorated.

We can also influence a soul’s decision to leave by not wanting the physical being to go.  The idea of ‘giving permission’ for the animal or human to die is a way of energetically detaching – of gently releasing the soul from the physical body – particularly in cases where the soul energy is ‘hanging on’ for the sake of others.

 

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February 2013: Surrender and Release…

The message of February’s ‘SURRENDER AND RELEASE’ reminds us of the power in “letting go”, of shedding the parts of our self (and our life) that are no longer working, nor contributing to the good of our Highest Self.   When you surrender it means you can stop forcing something that may not be divine timing or ‘right’ for you; instead looking at what is available, what is in front of you, what is more aligned with your ‘truth’.

 

surrender

When you ‘let go’, ASK for help and Divine Guidance from your Highest Self.

Then trust that everything you surrender and release to will either be replaced by something BETTER or become HEALED.

These become powerful lessons in “faith” and “trust”; important for all of us on a spiritual path.

This month’s message comes at a perfect time when we need to consider everything that is not working in our life and make a conscious decision about what to do with it.  Holding onto (whether physically or metaphorically) the things that aren’t contributing to our quality of life, that feel like a burden or ‘difficult’, or that cause us stress and unhappiness – are the precise ‘things’ what we need to surrender to.

 

This doesn’t mean we have permission to give up on a relationship, or stop working on our goals; rather surrendering is about pausing, observing, and ASKING to be ‘shown’ the gift or blessing in what we are struggling with in order to learn something important.  What we learn always helps us! 

 

Be willing to surrender your fears; visualizing them being carried away –  and replaced with what you need instead.  (Consider what you need in any situation.  e.g. courage, confidence, patience, etc).

When you think of issues you want resolved you can ask your Highest Self to give you a “higher” or “healed” version of the issue.  

You can also ‘release’ the issue to your Highest Self and ask that it be taken care of for you.  Sit quietly, relax, and close your eyes.  Surround the issue or situation in light and release it.  For the next 5-10 minutes, see yourself receiving answers and ‘right’ guidance.  

 

Feel yourself being supported by the divine Wisdom of your Highest Self. 

Namaste everyone!

 

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International WOMEN’S DAY 2012

It is no surprise International Women’s Day falls on my Father’s birthday.  He has raised me to be my own advocate, to stand proud of my abilities and accomplishments, to seek any goal that I may choose, and to see myself as capable and equal to all of humanity.

We might choose to be reminded of any or all of the injustices that continue to exist in the world today for women.  Or we may choose to notice that inequality exists first and foremost in our mind.  We may be taught to believe that we are not good enough, not worthy, unlovable…and yet these are not gender specific beliefs. 

All of humanity struggles with issues of self-worth, confidence, and a sense of personal power that comes from trusting in their abilities and knowing their self.

Inequality exists only as you believe it exists

If you see yourself as an equal to others, you will behave as such… you will see the opportunities and possibilities that exist for you even if you aren’t always sure how to reach them without seeking help.

International Women’s Day might be a reminder to nurture the talent and esteem of all young girls – and especially those who don’t have strong role models in one or both parents …so that these future women might learn to experience their world as a place where they can explore, live freely, make choices that are right for them (especially when these choices do not reflect the majority of previous generations in their particular culture or religion), and to express their free will as an inherent right.

Today we might acknowledge the path of women…but we also serve our planet by embracing the path of humanity; and for remembering all of the ways in which we are empowered to help all others to live free and with love.

Namaste!

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Divine Guidance: Reflections for February 2012

We are all divinely guided.

We all have the capacity for greatness: of being greatness as our true nature as beings of spirit and of love.

Whether or not you believe in a higher consciousness (something we typically refer to as god): receiving divine guidance simply means that you are able to exist outside of the racing, ‘anxiety-driven’ thoughts in your mind and simply experience life – “be in it with full presence”.

When you begin to slow the incessant thoughts that fill most of your waking moments, you start to notice the gaps….the small spaces of quiet in between.  As you bring attention to those gaps they expand…even a little, offering a quiet ‘nothingness’ … and the experience of pure being.

At first, you may experience a state of being by accident, a longer moment of quiet in Shavasana at the end of a yoga class, a moment or two of QUIET between your thoughts as you walk along a snow covered path in the forest, or a moment of pure joy where you realize you were simply existing in the present moment.  Each and all of these are what you might experience -heightening your awareness of the inner quiet that is possible.

Meditation is one example of a formal practice in ‘quieting the mind’.  The objective is to experience the present moment, usually by using a focal point such as your breath, in order to maintain your attention.  Once you develop a feel for what being present is truly about, you can intentionally bring your awareness into the moment at any time knowing that to do so simply requires you decision and perhaps a deliberate “letting go” of any and all thoughts that may be in the way.

 

Perhaps you then consider integrating a regular practice: of prayer, meditation, or guided contemplation whereby you quietly observe your self in silence – simply being – giving way to your inner knowing – the version of your highest self – that quietly, yet faithfully begins to surface from its place in your unconscious mind (which typically you don’t have access to in your waking busy moments).  This inner knowing gives you “right direction” for your life.  It exists from within you as a felt sense, an intuitive feeling, or sometimes as an inner voice.  Your intuitive or higher self – this divine nature that is both within you and in all living things becomes noticeable in your conscious mind only after you have turned down the volume of your conscious mind (and all of the internal self-dialogue noise) long enough to feel and hear from within.

This is the sacred dwelling place of your inner wisdom – your divine guidance.

If you continue exploring, your intuitive nature will direct you to a spiritual path.  This is because your divine guidance is the pure energy of the universal consciousness and not of form.  Pursuing a spiritual path, you become mindful of the higher values of love, truth, and your connection to this infinite universal intelligence. 

You and every other human being has the potential (the free will) to choose an existence that supersedes the everyday aspects of life that we have been conditioned to accept with limits.  The more you actively seek out your highest self as that part of you that is also part of the infinite universal consciousness, the greater confidence you have in your ability to be divinely guided; to know what is inherently best and right for your life, and to trust in your path using your god-given talents to contribute positively in the world.  On a separate and related level, your intuitive nature inspires you to pursue your life seeking the most compassionate gifts of spirit: love, kindness, joy, faith, trust, compassion, and truth.

 

The path of love and healing begins with you.  From the mysteries (divine blessings) that you cultivate in walking a path of divine goodness, your openness to learning self-improvement, higher integrity, and loving self-care, culminates in living a life you are deeply proud of.

Remaining ‘open’ to your spiritual journey, you examine what comes into your life with curiousity rather than condemnation.  You can observe moments of irrational outbursts or vulnerable fear and be grateful for an opportunity to learn from these rather than feel defeated by them.  You can ask in moments of quiet contemplation or prayer for the ‘right’ path, for strength to live in ‘right’ ways, for the courage to make ‘right’ choices and then follow and trust what you receive.  Sometimes you will experience your divine guidance directly and other times you will receive messages in the form of signs, symbols or words “randomly” spoken to you through others.  These are all moments of divine guidance being present in your life.

As humans with free will we all have the ability to choose.  Choose a path of goodness, of right moral order, or choose to hide; deceive yourself and others, deny and condemn.  Each of us is capable of any action; we always get to choose.  Consciously or unconsciously we choose everything.

And the wondrous part of all of this is that we have the ability to continue seeking more, evolving, and becoming a greater version of ourselves…. for as long as we choose to do so.

Be open to the idea of a universal intelligence that is both responsible for manifesting what we know as our physical world as well as the infinite consciousness that is a part of everything.

This universal God force or consciousness is what reminds us of our infinite potential to be the very best version we can possibly imagine for our self.  All of the fears, insecurities, wounds, and misperceptions that we experience in our life as physical beings can be overcome by stepping out of our ego-driven self and instead bringing conscious attention to our quality as infinite beings of spirit (energy).

Divine guidance while on this journey involves a contemplation of our nature as good and a freedom for living with joy and in prosperity.

 

This month, open yourself up to the divine guidance that already exists in your life.  Seek answers, knowledge, information, as well as the courage and strength to move toward what changes you seek: both in yourself but as a being of love.  See your own path as infinite and divine and in quiet moments of spirit, ask for help; ask to be divinely guided as part of what will help you realize your biggest ideals.

 

Namaste!

 

 

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SELF-ACCEPTANCE: October 2011

Each month I encourage a different ‘inner’ focus for contemplation and study.  During October, I encourage you to examine your current state of ‘self-acceptance’.

The degree to which you are self-accepting is driven by your inner work.  Self-acceptance is something you can wholly experience in your adult life – with conscious attention and effort to your inner thoughts and beliefs, and by challenging the negative messaging you received in childhood.  It is not simply a matter of convincing yourself that you accept who you are.

 

Rather, it is through the work of honouring yourself, as you also strive to become better, for true acceptance of your whole being comes with pride of our true nature to be loving, kind beings together with work on the parts of our nature that at times, falters from this.

Likely, as you begin any kind of inner work, you may experience more self-criticism at the outset, largely because of the illumination of there being “so much work to do”.  With self-awareness, you are acutely observant of the things that need ‘work’ or changing, making true acceptance an even harder task to achieve.

 

Having high standards if fine as long as you view yourself through loving eyes.  Berating yourself simply causes your spirit to sink.  True self-acceptance means loving yourself unconditionally.  You accept who you are even as you may be making changes and challenging yourself to be more.  The idea here is that even as you already are a perfect being, your human nature (your ego, fear, and the self-doubts that are created by critical thoughts) will create both inner discomfort and outer behavior that goes against the true nature of what you are capable of.  For this reason, being observant and aware allows you to see the self-sabotage and destruction that can occur.

The idea of self-acceptance is to be kind and patient with yourself as you make changes and self-evolve.  Remember it is far easier to learn self-acceptance if you like and appreciate the person you are.

Self-acceptance becomes impossible to realize if you constantly compare yourself to others.  You cannot expect to be self-accepting if you are constantly critiquing yourself based on the qualities or life of another person.  Your standards for self-acceptance can never be something you measure up to another person.

For anyone who has been struggling with the self-acceptance, I encourage you to find the positive qualities – the things that you appreciate most about yourself.  What do you already accept and value about who you already are?  This is a huge starting place to embracing self-acceptance.

Next, ask yourself what aspects would you like to be accepting of but aren’t?  How can you let go of the “shoulds” you tell yourself and simply agree that you can find beauty / happiness / love / grace / acceptance in what you have, know, are… RIGHT NOW?

To actively choose self-acceptance in this moment means that you may still work toward becoming more, but that you continue to find the positives in yourself now.  Indeed this is how you start to accept rather than judge, critique, dislike, or loathe.

As with all inner work, you must do it for it to actually take effect.  I encourage you to focus this month on becoming self-accepting of your true nature.

Namaste!!

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Climbing Trees by Dark…

I don’t typically arrive home at night planning on unexpected adventure.  By day’s end I am usually in a reflective mode, quietly examining events of the day…looking inward … quieting my mind and pondering peaceful rest.

Alas, I recently found myself climbing a 15 yr old 70+ ft high tree to rescue two cats who had conveniently left the comfort of the ground in escape of being chased by a wandering lost dog.  I couldn’t quite sit comfortably with the comment from my neighbour that “cats can climb down by themselves” and found myself borrowing a 30 ft extension ladder to begin my ascention into the massive tree that I admire daily for its beauty.  Tonight it’s massive trunk and dense branches were wet and slippery from the day’s heavy rain.  These cats had not ever been in a tree before and certainly not higher than roof level.

I think tree climbing is easier done by daylight! 

Yet, the quiet stillness that you experience high in the air nestled against a wide trunk and looking up into the night sky might remind you of the magic and beauty of nature all around you….and of something alive, protective, and fierce that you can only experience once you become one with it. 

 

Consider when you last challenged yourself beyond your comfort zone.  Consider when you last took up a challenge that was in front of you.

(1) Any challenge you embrace is best done with the mental fortitude that you can do it Metaphorically speaking, trust that some of those lighter “branches” (in life) will hold your body weight and that your “grip” to a “new resting place” would hold you as you continue to climb.

(2) Become one with the object or nature of your challenge.  To embrace anything that may be a challenge you need to assimilate with it, while being respectful of it’s place and purpose in the world.

 

Think about the daily mental and emotional challenges that you already face: talking to someone who is angry with you; speaking honestly with a co-worker who has spoken unkindly about you; admitting you were wrong; talking yourself down from your anger toward what you perceive as someone’s disrespectful behavior.  One might say that since we have so many self-engineered psychological challenges, the last thing we need are physical ones.

 

And then I remember words like: self-esteem, empowerment, and self-actualization and I find myself smiling inwardly, knowing the importance  for creating challenge in our life.

To challenge yourself is to embrace a possibility for learning, growing, and transforming.

A challenge is a way of opening you up to overcoming fears, teaching yourself (and then knowing with certainty) that you can master what you set out to do; and for bringing into your life: a sense of accomplishment (A thought of: “WOW!  I did that!”)

To  often we let challenges go by untouched.  We shy away from speaking candidly with our boss, we let someone else convey our sentiment or true feelings, and we settle into our comfort zone (sometimes ‘hiding’ in what is safe) rather than doing what is bravely different.

Closing yourself off to discovering so much more from life by not seeking out challenges can explain why you experience  discouragement, apathy, fear, depression, and uncertainty.  It explains why you may feel a lack of motivation or interest for life.

Challenging yourself with something you’ve never done, experienced, or learned is the best way to honour life.  It says:  You are capable, you are valuable, you are important.

You may not need to climb a tree to rescue an animal…but challenge yourself in ways that move you to grow outside of your comfort zone:

Some ideas for challenging yourself:

– Say: “I’m sorry” because you were wrong, or because doing so will help heal a relationship.

– Give up a behavior that is not serving your highest good.

– Honour yourself (be kind, respectful, thoughtful, caring of YOU) for no other reason than ‘because you can’!

– Be the first one to smile 🙂

– Offer random acts of kindness that challenge you to go beyond what is expected of you, and what you might typically do.  (You will always be surprised at how good YOU feel doing this!)

– Stand up for yourself while maintaining a respectful attitude.  (What you do comes back to you tenfold…aka the Law of Karma)

– Give of yourself in a way that doesn’t necessarily come easy (something that you have to make an effort to do means more to you and also challenges you to grow)

– ALWAYS keep working on YOU.  Even as you are painfully reminded that you are not perfect, perfection is in the continual effort, and not only on the outcome.

– Try a new sport (No you won’t be playing like a professional athlete the first time out, but you will experience the ‘game’, feel a sense of exhilaration that is unmet els and what it feels like to participate!)

– Be brave enough to “let go” of a ‘friendship’ that is really not adding to the quality of your life.  Just because someone wants to be your friend doesn’t mean that they are a good friend.

– Let go of your need to solve someone’s problems or fix them.  It quickly becomes a futile effort to do for someone else what they really need to learn for themself.

 

*I’m sure you can think of several other life challenges that are worth taking!  Namaste!!

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Your Authentic SELF

Perhaps one of the most undervalued privileges of the human experience is self-knowledge. 

Beyond describing what it is that we do for a living, our preference of music genre, or our favorite ice-cream flavor, how well do we really know our self?  Much of our adolescence is spent contemplating who we would like to be (or self-loathing who we think we are) in comparison to peer groups and current media influences. As we enter adulthood and strive to be autonomous, self-knowledge is somehow less important that the perception others have of us. We decide on a vocation, a life partner and all of the other tangible items (e.g. job status, accumulation of material goods, even our decision to have children) that fulfill society’s requirement for living a meaningful existence – all without placing value on knowing our self.

Knowing your self comes from journeying within. At the core of self-knowledge is honesty and authenticity. You need to be willing to see yourself accurately, and yet with acceptance rather than judgment. Sometimes this is best achieved when a loved one can act as a mirror, reflecting back to you what they observe. More often, it is your commitment and perseverance to self-awareness that elicits insight, knowledge, and understanding. Out of the honest observation of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, it becomes intolerable to ignore the truth. Self-knowledge promotes positive action.

Out of self-knowledge you are forced to examine your vulnerabilities and imperfections. Through self-awareness and self-responsibility, you see the various events of your life as challenges to grow – and to become more. Through this process of growth, you evolve. Self-actualization (the realization of one’s true potential) is the result of the relentless pursuit of conscious awareness and personal growth.

While clients may initially seek therapy for help and guidance with a specific problem or situation, the inescapable benefit of the therapeutic process, is the opportunity for self-honesty and clarity. The net result is an understanding and authenticity that comes from being truthful. You may not always like what you see, but your commitment to self-honesty is what facilitates positive change.

Some suggestions for attaining greater self-knowledge and understanding:

Create a ‘Who am I’ list.

Use a journal to record an exhaustive list of qualities that best describe who you are. Without screening or judging your thoughts, note all of your traits, core competencies, positive attributes as well as what aspects of yourself you would like to change. The process of creating such a comprehensive list requires you to identify your self-concept (how you see yourself). The qualities that you wish to change provide you with a place for personal growth.

Practice Conscious Awareness.

Self-knowledge and understanding cannot exist without consciousness. Practice present moment awareness for bringing your attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours – particularly at times when you are not your ‘best’ self. With conscious awareness, you continue to learn about yourself. Out of self-knowledge, you choose how you want to be.

‘Live in your Truth’.

Without self-honesty, it is impossible to develop a healthy sense of self. Out of honesty and knowledge comes the ability to grow self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem requires that you value yourself and your happiness. You feel confident in your ability to express yourself with honesty and authenticity. To live in your truth means that you honour what is best and right for you and you live according to that.

With greater self-knowledge and understanding, comes increased clarity of what you want from your relationships. You look to cultivate relationships that are based on integrity and truth. Out of your desire for honest relationships, you seek others who have healthy levels of self-esteem, knowing that positive self-esteem sustains the honest expression of one’s self. You inherently move away from relationships that no longer contribute to your quality of life, largely because you are willing to recognize the limited capacity of that relationship.

Your ability to be truthful with yourself and others determines the quality of authenticity that you experience. For example, it becomes very difficult to feel authentic happiness when you have dismissed your needs in place of putting the needs of others first. When you believe that you need to sacrifice what you want in order to be loved, cared for, or desirable, you build inauthentic relationships. It becomes only a matter of time before you feel miserable. What you hoped to gain in moulding your life around another human being has become meaningless. You feel resentful and angry with yourself for being taken advantage of and yet you alone are responsible for giving away your power.

When you master the art of fulfilling your needs, not at the expense of others but certainly as an alternative to living vicariously through others, you have the tools for making your current relationships more fulfilling and complete. Cultivating personal happiness (which comes from the effort you place on knowing and valuing the person you are, and nurturing self-love) allows you to create the single most important relationship you will ever have – with your self. Enigmatically, it is the positive relationship that you have with your self that enables you to thrive in your relationships with others. Source: The Purpose of Love: A Guidebook for defining and cultivating your most significant relationship (Insomniac Press, September 2007).

In an authentic love relationship, the level of honesty (and openness) expressed is directly correlated to the depth of intimacy and closeness that is experienced. Without revealing your true thoughts and feelings to your partner, he or she can never know you. With mutual self-knowledge comes the potential for creating the highest degree of compatibility between two people. It is only out of knowing yourself intimately, that you can be selective in choosing the most suitable partner. Without self-knowledge you are more willing to tolerate qualities and characteristics that less appropriate to you.

Self-knowledge as a precursor to authentic love:

Create an ‘ideal mate’ list.

The better you know yourself, the easier it is to define the qualities and traits that are most important to you in a love relationship. Whether you are in an existing relationship, or in search of one, take the time to establish your list of ideal qualities suitable for a life partner. Prioritize the top ten ‘deal breakers’ that you absolutely require. Creating such a list helps give you clarity as to what you need to look for. Notice if your ‘ideal mate’ list changes the more self-knowledge you acquire.

Practice honesty and authenticity at all times.

Despite wanting to make a good impression and to reveal only your ‘best’ self at all times, honesty and authenticity are fundamental to a healthy love relationship. This means sharing your expectations about what you want from a life partner and what you envision for your life. Knowing that your goals and ideals won’t always match up with your partner’s is natural. That’s the purpose of dating. To convey that you are something different just to align yourself with another person begins a spiral of inauthentic behaviour. Knowing yourself means that you can readily admit when a relationship is no longer right for you.

Build healthy self-esteem.

Positive self-esteem supports your ability to be truthful and honest. Healthy levels of self-esteem are established out of self-knowledge and awareness. You demand more out of your love relationships simply because of the high value you place on yourself. (This is different from “ego” which is an inflated view of one’s self for the purpose of replacing feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt). Seeking ways of supporting and building healthy levels of self-esteem is an important life-long effort. The higher your level of self-esteem, the more willing you are to seek out for the ‘best’ partner rather than settle for someone who is ‘good enough’.

 

 *The above article was originally published in HEART Business Magazine, Spring 2009.

 

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February 2011: ‘New LOVE’

Entering into our second month of this new year, February’s inspiration is an emphasis on love, romance, and intimate relationships.  

But consider the notion of NEW love.   

   

Some ideas worth contemplating…   

Photograph by: Tanja Askani

 

Open your heart to a new infusion of divine love – with a (new or existing) partner; a different activity, hobby, or personal interest; or a new behavior or way of being. 

What in your life can you bring new love to? 

Be open to changes in your current relationships, without clinging to ideas of how you think relationships should be. 

If you flow with the current of love, you will find that old parts of your love life wash away (as well as painful or difficult memories of past relationships).  Current relationships may end, or they may act as a transition into a new phase of passion and renewed love.  If you are currently single, a new partner may enter your life. 

New LOVE may also be an inspiration for contemplating what in your life can you begin to embrace differently, or to actually love?   

What elements of your existing (love or other) relationships might you appreciate in different or new ways? 

How can you practice opening your heart …or keeping it wide open…to  l o v e  all people? 

Love and blessings this month everyone, 

Dorothy 

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Examine your Perspective…

Remember how your perspective affects how you feel, make decisions … and live life.

Case in point.  From your perspective, is this picture of daytime or nighttime? 

Remember that you see the world through your eyes.  Your reflection of the world and even those you come into contact with is muted by your assumption that others see and think in similar ways to you. 

We all exist on a single planet, yet each of us sees our world … differently. 

Important in theory, but crucial as you walk through life: for what you see and think is never exactly the same as anyone else. 

 

Imagine how different your life would be if you suddenly began to first understand another – their ideas, inner thoughts, and the beliefs they hold – BEFORE making any assumptions (or judgments!) 

Would it become easier for you to really know someone?                 

What if you did the same for yourself?

 

Examine how you perceive everything.  Are your perceptions about yourself, others, and the world truly accurate?  Or do you have unproven biases that compromise how you critique, value, and respond in the world? 

Examine your perspective…especially at times when you feel ‘wronged’, ‘frustrated’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’ or ‘annoyed’.

Doing so will help you to understand why you feel  the way you do.  CHALLENGE your thoughts.  After all, what you tell yourself isn’t the same as what is true.

When you make assumptions, decisions, and judgments about another person…rarely have you “checked out” your perceptions first.  Seek to understand by asking questions. 

My challenge to you…if you choose to accept it:

CONSIDER WHAT YOU ARE TELLING YOURSELF.  Then CHALLENGE YOUR THOUGHTS.

Ask “Where’s the evidence?” (One of the Cognitive Therapy tools I often remind clients of….) to see if your thoughts / perspective is indeed accurate and true.

It will save you a lot of unnecessary angst …and it frees you to begin asking questions of others.  Asking allows you to understand and learn about others’ perspective in a way you would never know if you continued to hold onto your bias view. 

Asking allows you to actually know.  Accepting others’ responses without judgment is then up to you!

And in case you were still wondering…

The above winter scene was photographed at 6:30am…but somewhere else in the world, under the very same sky, it was nighttime …

Namaste everyone

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