A loving, nomadic friend has a blog called Honeyriot Love and Peace* where he posts quotes and musings in the Buddhist vein. On occasion, I check in there to see what's on his mind or inspiring his awesomeness. He posted the following quote this week:
“ Whatever your difficulties—a devastated heart, financial loss, feeling assaulted by the conflicts around you, or a seemingly hopeless illness—you can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions. In fact, the two things that you are always free to do—despite your circumstances—are to be present and to be willing to love."
~ Jack Kornfield
Perfect, that was just what I needed to read.
Do I set my heart's compass to my highest intention? Why and when or why not?
Yes and No.
There are certain times or ways when I am open, willing and actively operating in and with Love. Those times, life literally opens up for me and the right people and opportunities flow to me like water down a hill. It is incredibly powerful.
Yet, when fear-based issues challenge me and my faith is shaken, I easily fall into a deep depression and become immobilized. Stopping it is like asking an ant to stop a runaway train. Useless and silly, yet maybe not as impossible as we may think.
When I am in negative mode, racing thoughts and intense physical reactions take over, as I willingly let them or even encourage them to by wallowing in the panic and feeding the monkey. I have been given a wealth of tools for survival and even excellence, yet struggle with my sense of value related to a perceived goal resulting from false lack of worthiness.
Not so Zen, huh?
It is true that our foundations and upbringing effect us, but inspiring stories about Amma* or even Oprah remind me that our pasts guide us yet do not define us. We possess the power to turn the compass arrow towards beautiful, loving, successful lives where we enrich others and therefor the world at large.
My highest intention.
My friends have been my lifeline recently. For the most part, it has been a nurturing experience. One amazing woman friend keeps reminding me to be gentle with myself. I can be rough on myself [surprise, surprise, surprise... we have a perfectionist in the room!] and she knows just how damaging this can be. Aside from the havoc I can do in my own life, roughness causes me to be harsh in my viewing of others' lives. Owch x2!
"V, be gentle with yourself "
she says to me every time we talk.
"Gosh, I could use that suggestion as a sign wherever I go."
She suggested I actually make a sign to hang up in my room.
So I did just that- right now:
My little origami paper reminder.
My Heart's Compass is pointing inward to a new space, a gentle landscape including emotions. There it is okay to feel feelings and know I am safe and loved, no matter what. Life indeed can be robust with harsh realities.
This is the best time to Be Gentle.