The greatest obstacle to really being okay is this misconception that it's okay to just be okay. We would rather just pretend everything is okay and if we do then, everything will be okay....okay is the new norm. We'd rather just pretend things are okay, even when they aren't. This way of thinking pushes us to dismiss reality...not allowing us to really reflect on how we are right now. We just shrug and say, "I'm okay." We get complacent and content with just allowing ourselves to be okay. Well, wouldn't it be refreshing if, instead of muddling through life being OKAY, we lived our life as we are. What if we were authentic, honest, and true to ourselves. What if instead of being okay we were REAL?
We get so used to pretending that we are okay, we forget to reflect on how we really are. We ignore our true feelings thinking if we aren't okay then there's something wrong with us. When we aren't okay then we think we are doing something wrong. By focusing on what is wrong, we are reinforcing the idea that we are in some way broken and incapable of experiencing fulfillment now. We assume that not being okay is wrong.
By focusing on and trying to push away the bad stuff or change it into better stuff, we are forever judging this moment as not good enough, as not okay and therefore postponing our happiness. We have trained ourselves to believe that whenever there is judgement or negativity then everything is wrong...we must be broken. Then we focus on finding things that will "fix" us. Once we start focusing on the fixes then we endlessly discover more things to fix. When do we ever reach the point we can truly say "Okay, I'm perfect... now I can be peaceful?"... It won't happen. Focusing on the wrongs and chasing the fixes will never bring peace.
Finding inner peace involves accepting the who, where, what and why of this very moment. Contrary to what some may tell you, being truly okay and at peace is not found through self-improvement, it comes from self-acceptance.
We are lead to believe that being sad is not okay; that being angry is wrong. Where did these ideas come from? Who says so? It's natural to feel emotions, it is healthy to be sad at a loss, or angry when wronged. When we learn to respect and reflect on our emotions we find peace. It isn't the sadness that robs you of your peace...it is the little commentator in your head that says being sad is wrong. Guess what, the commentator is wrong! The amazing thing is that you can experience sadness and anger while still being completely at peace...accepting that these things are part of our life.
Instead of judging our feelings we accept them, honor them, live them...we resolve them. Judgment is more the thief of peace than sadness or fear ever will be. Life comes with good and bad, we have to experience life and all it brings us, accepting life as it is the key to inner peace...accepting the happy and the sad; the good and the bad is what makes life worth living. Being constantly okay is not living, it's not reality.
Peace is experienced when we allow everything to be as it is without resistance, when we learn to embrace every experience, the good and the bad. Of course, life will bring us heartache and loss, it's a natural part of life. When we are at peace we can accept our sadness, our grief and our anger instead of fighting it. We can find ways to move forward, to change, to learn and grow...that's living.
Say you are feeling down for example. First you are aware of the feeling and then comes the commentary "This is bad", "Will I never be free of this", "Everybody seems to be OK except me", "What on earth is wrong with me" and so forth. The feeling in itself isn't that bad, it's the 'story' around the feeling that robs us of our peace. It's that monkey mind that brings anxiety.
Finding inner peace is not about changing our thoughts, feelings or emotions (that would be an endless task), but rather about changing our relationship with the mind. What we understand, we become free of. Through understanding how suffering is created, we learn how to change it, we break free from the shackles of suffering. When we understand suffering it loses its control over us.
When we accept what is, we stop putting our energy into resisting the reality of it. We stop making a problem more powerful than it is. Instead, when we accept how things are then we can put our energy into moving forward rather than resistance. Here's the thing...it just is...whether we like it or not it is.
Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position to take action, if necessary. Because now you can see more clearly, you can focus your energy towards what you want and take the appropriate action to change your situation.
By accepting what is it is much easier to let go of things and to forgive what has happened. Forgiveness is important because as long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. When you forgive you do not only release the other person, you set yourself free, free from the suffering. Forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others combined with the acceptance of this moment in life will bring peace.
Imagine someday when someone asks if you're okay you can say,
"I'm better than okay, I'm at peace, I'm real."
After a session focused on self love I had a client tell me it seemed selfish to focus so much on herself. The truth is that only when we are truly aligned with our own beautiful and unique spirit, can we completely and authentically give and receive real love.
This is because when we love ourselves we know that we can give without becoming resentful, exhausted and depleted, and we can receive because we know we deserve it. Self-love is the prerequisite for complete immersion in the abundant flow of light and love in the world around us.
Do you even love yourself? Isn't it time to start?
We never lose the people we love, even in death. They continue to participate in every act, every thought, and every decision we make.
Their love will always be imprinted in our memories and carried in our hearts. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.
We will see them in the sunrise and touch them in the sand between our toes. We will hear them in the music and smell them in the air after the rain. Every flower and plant; every star and bird; if we look closely, they are there.
This is how we carry their love, this is how they live on...forever.
What would it look like if we all paused for just one breath?
What if you paused before that snarky comment came out of your mouth; before you mindlessly cut someone off in traffic; before you sent that email?
Mindfulness teaches that when we pause we make better and more loving decisions.
Our current culture, teaches us that grasping and trying leads to better decisions. There is always a new pill, a new diet, a new top 5 list, to take us out of the moment. It makes us feel like if we just read more, try harder, and go more quickly we will get to wherever it is we are trying to be. Yet, when we pause and take a breath, we let go of the trying and open up to the being.
In being (not doing) we make better decisions. We resist pausing because it can be uncomfortable. The thrill of something new and shiny, whether it is something indulgently distracting or a new strategy, sends a blast of energy throughout the body. We get excited, inspired, and feel ready to take it all on. Unfortunately, like anything else, this is transient. And we wind up living in a perpetual state of grasping for something that feels just out of reach.
This week, see if you can practice pausing by being mindful in the moment:
Let the pause bring you the insight you have been searching for.
When we see the way things really are, we see that we’re all in this together, that we are all interdependent. A great surpassing love arises from that wisdom, and that love leads us to wish that all beings would open to this wisdom and be free of the misery that arises from ignoring the way things are.
We should be able to love every single being completely and protect every single being without exception and without limit...we waste so much time on things that don’t matter. In the end it comes down to this:
Did you live a life filled with love?
Did you love with all your heart?
It’s not too late. The path to live a loving life is before you.💚