My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3

Category Archives: balance

Loving from the Inside OUT

The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. ~ Diane von Fürstenberg

The calendar tells us that today is a day for love, a day to celebrate love, specifically romantic love.  Instead of celebrating romantic love, I am choosing to celebrate self love because I truly believe that loving others starts with loving ourselves.  The more love we give to ourselves, the more love we have to give to others and the more we love from a place of abundance.

I have been conceptualizing self love through symbols.  Last weekend I was immersed in a yoga teacher training weekend.  We were discussing The Yogic Life and one of my teachers, Bianca, drew this diagram for the group to illustrate this concept.

relationship to self

relationship to self

I was feeling a wee bit troubled that that top triangle was so small in relation to the whole, that in this diagram, the life affirming practices one does to cultivate a positive relationship with oneself was small in comparison.  Sure, our relationship with ourselves is foundational and informs how our lives unfold, but if we wish to grow positive feelings toward ourselves, I think many would agree that we certainly improve how we feel about ourselves and have a better relationship with ourselves when we increase our life affirming practices.

What do life affirming practices look like?  Yoga.  Meditation.  Mindfulness.  Time in Nature.  Sacred Ritual.  Connection and Communion with others who share our values/passions/beliefs.  Therapy (mental health, physical, massage).  A slow, leisurely walk.  Gazing at the Stars.  Enjoying a cup of tea.  Lighting a candle.  Playing with kids.  Volunteering.  Gardening.  Cooking.  Sharing a meal with loved ones.  Singing.  Dancing.  Retreat. . .

I was turning Bianca’s diagram around in my mind and re-conceptualizing it when this wave of geometrical inspiration/insight flowed through me.

BALANCE

BALANCE

I continued to play from this place of balance.  What I discovered in shifting and re-framing the diagram was a symbol for sattvic love.

sattvic love

sattvic love ❤

Sattva, the “highest” of the three gunas (strands of existence, primordial energy), is one of my favorite Sanskrit words and its meanings include tranquility, peace, and happiness.  Energetically, sattva is luminous light. Here I have to pause and marvel at my own “genius” / intuitive wisdom.  Luminous light and love…this is *exactly* what I wrote about in “Maui Magic = LOVE.”   In my symbol, I saw an energetic play of sattva; I saw balance, harmony, love.

My contemplation of symbols representing love continued throughout the weekend.  I began to think about love through the symbol for infinity.  What I saw taking shape is something I call the rebound of love, the idea that the energy we send out travels back to us.

the rebound of love <3

the rebound of love ❤

I believe our inner dynamic shapes the outer dynamics of our lives.  Do we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion?  If we have difficulty offering ourselves kindness and compassion, how can we offer this to others genuinely and from a place of authenticity?  If we are impatient and irritable with ourselves, those we interact with are likely to be met with impatience and irritability.  The laws of attraction illuminate that “like attracts like.”  If we are angry and irritable inside and out, we are likely to attract angry and irritable people into our lives.  However, if we are kind, loving, giving, and caring toward ourselves (and others), we are more likely to attract kind, loving, giving, and caring people into our lives.  This is one way we experience an energetic rebound, by attracting someone into our life that mirrors our inner and outer being.

Another way we experience an energetic rebound is to use the loving energy we have cultivated within to shift an interpersonal dynamic without.  I have seen this play out in several relationships in my life.  Over time I have cultivated love and warmth in relationships that were previously difficult and because of this difficulty I suffered.  In places where I might have acted impatiently, I slowed down inside and breathed space into the moment and moved from a place of patience and equanimity.  I began to bring lightness and humor into our interactions.  I began to sprinkle expressions of care and affection, even if these expressions were as simple as “hey, I like your orange shirt.”  I began to infuse more love into these relationships in various forms, shades, and colors.  I showed up and continue to show up differently in relationships – from a place of loving presence.  I have begun to feel the changes.  More love and warmth and care is flowing back to me which affirms for me that we have the power to shape our lives and our relationships by first loving ourselves.

This 14th day of February, I invite you give yourself some love, to do something for yourself that is life affirming, to continue loving yourself throughout the year, and allow the love to flow / bounce back to you.

It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!
― Robert T. Kiosaki

“I’ve Got My Power Back!”

Power is a fickle thing.  One day following a period of feeling crappy, a period of emotional turbulence, you feel different, good again, you feel in control of your thoughts and emotions again and you say, “I’ve got my power back!”  You are on fire, on your own high, heart soaring, mind buzzing with aliveness.  On another day, just as soon as you’ve got your power back, you lose it again and find yourself saying, “I lost my power again! and I want it back!”

Trying to grab hold of our power can feel like trying to catch a fruit fly that is taunting us with its persistent presence.  You reach out a steady hand, you focus your eyes and energy on the fly’s movements, and in a quick jerk of your entire arm you close your fingers tight.  You’ve caught it, or so you think.  You slowly open your fingers and peak in to see if the lifeless fly is in your hand.  You’ve caught the fly, but it’s not lifeless.  As soon as you open your hand, the fly wriggles back to life and escapes.  And so the dance to catch the fly begins again.  In your own life you are dancing another dance, the dance to try to capture your power and hold onto it before it escapes.  This time, when you get your power back, you’re going to hold onto it long enough to unlock its secrets and figure out what it takes to not let it escape or slip through your fingers again.

This notion of power came to me through a very wise friend who told me, “don’t let _____ or your dream of _____ take all your power.”  I was having a couple of especially cruddy weeks.  I was experiencing grief, new and old, new grief and old grief all tangled together, new feeding old, old feeding new.  My heart was aching and I felt its weight, laden with sadness and pain.  More than once I crumpled up on the floor while listening to sobering, soulful music and let my pain pour out of me.  My misery was outweighing everything else in my life, weighing me down from the very top on my heart.  I couldn’t snap out of it, I couldn’t change the way I was feeling or get perspective.  The only way to get to the other side of this pain was to just let my emotions run their course, to feel what I was feeling as long as I needed to feel it.

I made it through the emotional turbulence.  The day came when the weight finally lifted from my heart.  I had found just enough clarity where I needed it.  I felt in charge of my emotions again and thereby myself.  I was finally able to reign in my runaway thoughts and give them direction, to focus and channel my energies, to put my mind back on me.  I was present again.  My mind was fully engaged in listening to and absorbing the wisdoms and insights from my yoga teachers.  I was completely focused on the efforts and experience of each yoga pose.  I could sit quietly during the seated meditation portion of my yoga practice.  The activity of my mind and inner turmoil of my heart had quieted down and with it came a mental clarity and sense of calm, of peace.  It felt good to feel good again.  I was feeling exhilarated and on fire.  I knew I had my power back.  I was determined to keep my power, to not jeopardize my power again, but after a time I lost my balance and with it my power.  My emotions took over again and I lost control of me.

It’s interesting to consider power in the context of control.  What I am learning is that the personal power struggle is indeed a battle for control over one’s emotions, of oneself, the place where two hemispheres of oneself duke it out:  one half of oneself feels and succumbs to emotion, is taken hold of by the emotion; the other half of oneself observes the emotion, holds and contains the emotion instead of letting the emotion spin out of control, instead of letting the emotion control and dominate one’s feelings and one’s life.  The battle becomes a tug of war between heart and mind.  We battle to try to maintain balance, a sense of equilibrium, the balance between powers, when opposing forces are at rest.  When the heart and mind are aligned, in harmony with each other (maybe even in unison?!), balance arises.

Have I unlocked the secret to my power?  Have I figured out how to hold onto it, to not let it slip through my fingers?  The secret, I am discovering, is tied to emotional turbulence and it is more a truth than a secret.  When I am not experiencing emotional turbulence, I experience an inner quiet, an inner peace, mental and emotional clarity; I feel more balanced and alas, feel more in control of myself and my life.  However, a life free of emotional turbulence does not exist.

Turbulence enters our lives in unwelcoming ways via many avenues:  unexpected events, painful events, unpleasant circumstances, unbalanced relationships, unhealthy relationships, moments or periods of vulnerability, unyielding or unsuccessful efforts, difficult or stressful situations, drama, conflict, commotion, crises, our own or the crises of those who are important in our lives, the actions and behavior of those with whom we interact.  Most of these things are outside of our control, are outside of ourselves – external – yet the reality is that these things affect our internal landscape, our equilibrium.  Turbulence creates a climate that weakens our defenses and as a result, we experience inner turmoil.  Turbulence jeopardizes and puts our power at risk.

We must learn to navigate the emotional turbulence, to find our way around it if we can, and when we can’t, we must journey right through it and hold on and breathe deep until we get to the other side.  We must learn to navigate the emotional battlefield and decide when to engage in the struggle and when to just let things be.  I often come back to these wise words shared by one of my yoga teachers:  “we must let go of that which does not serve us.”

Each of us has skills, strategies, and resources acquired and cultivated through life’s hardships and challenges or periods of personal growth that we draw on, with intention or instinctually, to navigate life’s turbulence.  A universal strategy for navigating turbulence and the emotional battlefield is to ground ourselves, to find the quiet within, to come back to our center, the place of inner strength, wisdom, truth, and intuition, to be present.  Along with our breathe, I like to think of our centers, our cores, as our sustaining resource.  The one secret or truth I learned through my recent power struggle:  sustained power requires mental clarity and emotional presence and it helps if you’re not in the turbulence.