Retreat to Forgiveness & Compassion

I love this stamp.  It reminds me of my years of competitive sailboat racing.  I loved the physical challenge, the mental intensity, the teamwork and the beauty of being on the water.  On the racecourse I learned that the journey of life is won by those who sense the shifts in the wind and sea and boldly respond, changing course as needed to reach their destination.  Unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion are both my bold response and destination.  Here’s how these three got connected together.

December 2007.  I am in India, down on my knees  in a sacred shrine, the warm breezes, gently blowing the scent of jasmine through the open windows.  I touch my head to the cool floor before the marble tomb of the saint who’s spirit inhabits this place.  I silently pray a monumental life shifting prayer, “Forgive me for whatever it is I’m not doing right.  Show me how to worship you.  Can we have some kind of relationship, please? ”  I silently walk around to the back of the tomb, to the majestic photo and gaze into his eyes, which are sparkling with love.  I hear his response, a voice in my head.   “Let’s start by you letting me love you just the way you are.”    An intoxicating wave of indescribably intense unconditional love washes through me.

Fast forward 2 months to a handwritten scrawled question and answer in my journal:  How do I love myself unconditionally?  Self Forgiveness.  Plain and simple.

Last week the final thread gets woven in.   I get to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak.  His theme, Compassion.  Having empathy for what another is going through and also taking action to ease their suffering. 

A mental light bulb flashes! It’s not so easy for me to get over there and have empathy and unconditional love for you, if I’m hiding behind the wall of my wounded ego silently beating myself up with negative self judgments, projecting them on to you.  I can’t get over there with you, compassionately, intimately connected until I forgive myself.  Try some self forgiveness this week for the sake of you and those you love. Forgive whatever is standing in the way of you loving you, exactly the way you are.   Treat yourself to a blended cocktail of unconditional self love, forgiveness and compassion.  Let me know how it impacts your journey.  Cheers!

Retreat into the Darkness

I’ve spent the last few weeks immersed in Debbie Ford’s new book.  Why Good People Do Bad Things-How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy.  Basically I’ve had to face the painful truth that I am a People Pleasing, Too Cool, Good Girl, who wants to be the Savior of the world, often acts like a Depressed Victim and tends toward being an Overachiever…selfish to the core. 

These are the masks that I have used unconsciously throughout my life to protect myself from the shame of my wounded ego.  These crappy masks have been lurking in the dark corners of my unconscious, quietly reeking all kinds of havoc in my life despite my spiritual progress.  While my masks protect me, they simultaneous have me experience myself as limited. 

These masks are my shadow.  I’ve been accepting them, tracing them back to the childhood wounds that created them and with the gentle flashlight of Self love the adult Jeaneen is healing those wounds.  It’s been intense and day by day, I’m feeling lighter.  I’ve been forgiving myself.  I’ve been applying the spiritual antidotes of vulnerability, generosity, humility, compassion, being of service, willingness and integrity.

Integrity is the one I love the most, because it trumps everything.  Debbie writes, “When we are living a life of integrity we don’t have to worry. When we’re being honest with ourselves and true to our values, we will admit it when we’re being greedy, guarded, intolerant, stubborn, self-absorbed, or deceitful and get the help we need.   Integrity leaves us a trail to follow when we’ve lost touch with our higher self.”  p202.

The adult Jeaneen that has emerged from the transformation of being in India, is quite busy, gently forgiving and loving all the parts that “Saint Jeaneen” had hidden away.  Whew.   Why am I doing this?  Because I can’t step into the greatness that I am truly capable of, the greatness of my authentic Self if I’m hiding behind a mask.  I must be willing to shine the flashlight of love and healing into my dark shadow, exposing the shame and fear.  Courageous yes…and oh my.  I’m feeling that this is EXACTLY what is needed for each of us to step into our full potential. 

The Retreat is the pause in between

Beyond Balance

Today I am retreating by focusing on the still space in between vs. where I usually focus…the intense pursuit of shapes, thoughts, actions and words.  I yearn to access the Heart that resides in this quiet space and it’s all a big HUGE mystery.    I know that all the good stuff lies in between.  All the peace is in the pause.  All the joy, compassion, wisdom and creativity arises in the transition zone.   I want to integrate this remembrance throughout my day AND it’s a bit elusive.  If there are no thoughts in the pause, how do I recognize I’m in it?  

In my leadership, I’m learning that if I focus on attending to the space, (the feeling or energy that surrounds us) the particles (actions) flow more easily.  In my speech, if I pause, breathe and wait…the words I speak arise from a deeper place.  The thoughts and emotions will always be there. I’m not trying to eliminate them to get to the space.  I’m just lightly, secretly shifting my attention to the pause in between.    

Here’s to slowing it all down and entering into the power of the pause!   Here’s to remembering to celebrate the completion points!  Here’s to taking the time we need to acknowledge, honor and grieve our losses.   Perhaps this is why daily meditation is so essential.  It gets us good at entering the pause.  What’s your tip?  Is this one of those secret mysteries we’re not supposed to be talking about?