Accepting Differences

Differences don’t just threaten and divide us. They also inform, enrich, and enliven us.  Harriet Lerner

Keep in mind that the tendency to be judgmental – toward yourself or another person – is a good barometer of how anxious or stressed out you are. Judging others is simply the flip side of judging yourself.  Harriet Lerner

Right now we live in a highly reactive world.  There is more discord in families, workplaces, our country, and the world than I have seen in my lifetime.  Family members are deciding at alarming rates to cut-off family members and never speak to them again. People are switching jobs more often, in part because of fear and reactivity in the workplace. Our nation is so divided politically that it no longer feels safe to have civil discourse about our beliefs and political opinions.

Fourteen percent of respondents in an on-line poll said they had blocked a family member or close friend from social media because of the recent presidential election.  In another survey, 15 percent of respondents said they had stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the election and 12 percent had ended a relationship because of it (Reuters).

When we read the internet, we find story after story about family members who are no longer talking to one another, because of clashing on Facebook or other social media outlets over political views.  Maybe we have experienced first hand an experience of disconnection with a loved one or perhaps we know someone who is not talking to immediate family members, because of their opposing beliefs.

The internet and our chosen media outlets, allow us to surround ourselves with voices that feed our biases and intensify our sense of self-righteousness. But what we desperately need in our culture is to let go of these partialities and instead vow to listen and learn from those who are different from us.  It’s easier than ever to retreat into communities who look and think just like us, and it’s certainly more comfortable. But healing within us and the world will only begin when we rediscover the beauty and importance of relationships with people who challenge us. Rather than reading another article about how awful “those people” are, what if we actually talked to those with political leanings that radically different than our own?

We can have our own worldview and political leanings that are different than a close loved one, and yet also choose to stay connected to this person. It is healthy to be our own differentiated  person and yet celebrate others for who they have chosen to be.  When we allow people to be who they are, without feeling like we need to fix them, our relationships become more authentic, and we can be more vulnerable and connected with one another.

Take a moment to think of someone in your life who has a radically different way of seeing the world than you do. Picture this person in your minds eye.  Take a moment to remember you don’t need to fix or judge this person, but just take a moment to recognize, accept, and celebrate this person just as you find them.  Then say out loud or quietly in your heart:

I recognize you

I accept you

I celebrate you 

May we seek to accept differences,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

 

Offering Grace to Ourselves

I once spoke with a beautiful lady in her elder years, who had lived a rich full life. And yet, she also struggled with an event that happened early in her childhood and had never quite come to terms with this experience. This elderly woman shared with me that when she was a child, she and her younger sister had the idea that they should play with matches. She could not remember much about what happened, but as a result of this, a fire happened and her little sister ended up dying in the fire. Even though she was only a little girl, she took on responsibility for this fire and was plagued by shame during her entire life. She told me that her life had been filled with many wonderful things and people, and yet what happened as a child was always at the back of her mind. This woman explained to me that she felt like she never quite deserved the happiness that life had brought her. As we continued to talk, she confided in me, that even though she believed God had forgiven her, she had never quite been able to forgive herself. Even as we talked, I could see the anguish on her face and I could tell that this experience, that happened well over 80 years ago was still haunting her.

I remember telling this precious lady that I thought she was being awfully hard on herself for something that had happened when she was just a little girl, who never could even begin to understand the potential pitfalls of playing with matches. I encouraged this beautiful women to think about forgiving herself, being gentle with herself, and extending grace to herself. In this situation, the mistake was made by a little girl who was not responsible or even able to understand the implications of her actions. But even when we do realize the potential ramifications of our decisions and make a mistake, we still need to offer ourselves forgiveness and grace.  We need to remember we are human.

I once had a friend explain to me that guilt is the short-term feeling of knowing you made a mistake and that shame is the belief that you are a mistake. After talking with this lady, who was plagued by this early childhood traumatic fire experience, I noticed her face seemed a little lighter and she shared it had helped to talk.  She started to voice that she was not responsible for this tragedy that had happened so long ago. She started to reframe her story and began to treat herself in a kinder way. She let go of some of the shame and guilt and found a new way of viewing herself and this incident.  She was no longer feeling unworthy to be alive, because she was offering herself grace and love.

  • Is there a part of your story that you need to reframe?
  • What does it mean to you to be gentle and gracious with yourself?
  • Is there shame you are holding onto that you need to let go?

Please join me in a short meditation.  Take your right hand to your heart and put your left on top of your right hand.  Take a deep breath in and then find your exhale.  The say to yourself out loud or in your mind’s eye:

I offer myself an abundance of grace 

Take a deep breath in and then find your exhale.  Then say to yourself out loud or in your mind’s eye:

I offer myself a deep well of kindness

Take a deep breath in and then find your exhale.  Continue to breathe deeply, in and out, several times.  The allow your breathing to become normal but keep your hands where they are and feel the rise and fall of your heartbeat.  I encourage you to allow the beating of your heart, to be an important reminder to you, that you are on a human journey.

Let’s be kind to ourselves,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

I Hope You Dance!

Life is a dance.  Mindfulness is witnessing that dance. Amit Ray

The glory of God is the human person fully alive. Irenaeus

To live is to dance, to dance is to live. Snoopy

On my wedding day, I danced with my dad to the country music song, “I hope you dance.”  Generally, country music is not my favorite music genre, but this song usually provokes tears and strong feelings within me. The song says, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. Dance….I hope you dance.”

  • When was the last time you danced as though no one were watching?
  • When have you sung loudly as if no one could hear you?
  • When have you loved with all your might?
  • When you lived as if heaven were here on earth?
  • Can you make your way of life a dance?
  • Can you move gracefully around obstacles or even leap over them?

Now please don’t take me literally on this dancing thing. You don’t have to dance to experience the joy I am talking about. But what you have to do is LIVE FULLY.

Maybe you express your joy by cooking a feast, talking with a friend, creating a beautiful piece of art, playing an instrument, or heading for the nearest hiking trail. Perhaps you live most fully when you are working in the garden, playing with your pet, or engaging in a leadership role in the community. Whatever you enjoy do it with all your might.  Possibly, it’s been so long since you felt brave enough to live fully, that you’re not sure what form it would take. I certainly can’t tell you what kind of dance to do. We are all different but hopefully we will still all find a way to dance and live life to the fullest.

Please join me in the following meditation. Bring the palms of your hands together in a prayer position and then bring the thumbs of your prayer hands to your forehead and say out loud or in your minds eye:

May my thoughts dance with life

Then bring the thumbs of your prayer hands to your lips and say out loud or in your minds eye:

May my words dance with life

Then bring the thumbs of your prayer hands to your heart and say out loud or in your minds eye:

May my heart dance with life

I hope you dance,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

What Are You Holding Too Tightly?

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars.  You have to let go at some point, in order to move forward.  C.S. Lewis

You must clear out what you don’t want, to make room for what you do want to arrive.  Bryant McGill

Let’s begin by asking ourselves, “What are we holding onto in our bodies, minds, and spirits that we need to let go?  These are some things we might have a propensity to tightly grasp:

  • Stress
  • Guilt
  • Negativity
  • Shame
  • Fear
  • Perfection
  • Control
  • Resentment
  • Self-Righteousness
  • Success
  • Power
  • Popularity
  • Wealth
  • ________________ (Fill in the blank)

What are you holding deep within you that is not serving you well?  There can often be a metaphorical weight sitting on our chest that we can remove if we will just breathe, trust, and let go.  What is it that you internalize that needs to be externalized?  Let me be clear that anger, guilt, stress, fear, and other emotional responses can serve us well, because they are important feelings that need to be recognized and felt as we respond to certain situations we face in life. Our feelings are what it means to be alive and to be human.  When we go through various seasons of difficulty in life, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up, our feelings are important to befriend, express, release, and honor.  However, if we have a tendency to always be stuck in a pattern of being negative or wanting to be perfect, then we really need to explore ways we can release these particular internal go-to responses that do not bring life or joy to our spirit.

Please join me in the following meditation.  Sit down in a chair or on the floor and place your hands palms up on your thighs.

  • Allow your thumbs to touch your index fingers. Breathe in peace and hope and breathe out your worries and fears
  • Move your thumbs to your middle fingers. Breathe in grace and love and breathe out your judgment of others and yourself.
  • Next, let your thumbs move to your ring fingers.  Breathe in acceptance of life as it is and breathe out your need to be perfect.
  • Finally, let your thumbs touch your pinky fingers.  Breathe in stillness and calmness and breathe out the load  and schedule you are carrying today.

Repeat this breathing exercise as many times as you need to in order to feel like you are moving closer to letting go of some of the things that you no longer need to shoulder and hold.

Let’s intentionally work on releasing the things that are not serving us well,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

Finding Light in the Darkness

Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all the darkness.  Desmond Tutu

In times of deep darkness, we not only need light—we need to BE light for one another. Parker Palmer

All people in the world go through periods of depression. There are no exceptions. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t lived with depression or depressing situations. You may be so depressed that you say, “I don’t feel like getting up. I don’t feel like shining my light. I don’t feel like going anywhere.”  What are some of those circumstances that get us down? What parts of life make us feel like giving up? For many the death of a loved one is a time of great darkness when all light seems to disappear. For those going through a divorce or those who are struggling in a marriage or any relationship, you also may feel like a dark cloud is surrounding you. Others of you are experiencing the loss of health. The grief you feel over the loss of your health may leave you down at the dumps. Several of you have probably been through the loss of your job in recent years, which not only wreaks havoc on the family finances, but also equally devastates the personal ego. There are many other situations that bring on depression and all of us have faced times of uncertainty, tragedy, and grief.

Now let me be clear. The challenges of life, elicit feelings of sadness, anger, and grief. In my work as a counselor, I certainly encourage people to embrace these feelings. We all have dark nights of the soul and times when we need cry, feel anger, and embrace the darkness and the losses we are experiencing. Sometimes I sit with people in the darkness and acknowledge their pain and loss. Darkness in the world will likely never completely go away. One thing is for sure, life will continually present us with unexpected difficulties and times of grief we never wanted to experience.

I can remember facing one of those dark days that we all have.  The day was New Year’s Day. I decided it would probably be a good idea for me to get out of the house and go on a walk with a good friend. I did not need to sit in the house and brood. Staying inside and watching television or being connected the internet would just make me feel worse. I needed to be outside in the beauty of creation and so I went out to experience life. Even though I was outside, I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself, but then my friend and I passed three children who were out on their front porch and they all appeared to be about 5 years old. The kids started waving at us and talking to us and we engaged in a brief conversation with them. I then told them to have a Happy New Year and then one of the little boys said his grandma had a New Year’s Eve party. He told us, “And I got the party started!” The little boy smiled and raised his hands up in the air and said the words again, “And I got the party started.” This little boy made my friend and I both smile and laugh. His joy was contagious. As soon as the little boy said this something changed in me. This little one’s light reoriented me and made me feel better. This little boy let his light shine. As I continued to walk with my friend I recognized how the joy and light of a small boy and also the light of my good friend, who was walking with me, had the power to shift a bad day into a good one. Sometimes we need to go out and find those sources of light and love in the world.

And we are drawn to light, aren’t we? We love to watch the lights sparkle on the Christmas tree. We go camping to see the stars lit up in the sky. We marvel at the full moon shining in all its glory. We love to sing at the top of our lungs, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Somewhere deep within us we know that in the midst of hardship, grief, and depression we are called to find sources of light. Just about the time you feel like giving up on life and staying stuck in your depression, I hope there is something inside of you that says, “Get up…Do not quit…Embrace life.”

  • Despite all the very real problems in your life right now, can you remember to kindle the candle in your heart?
  • Can you choose to embrace light, despite all of the darkness?
  • Who are people in your life who bring light and life to your soul?
  • What do you need to do today to experience more light and joy?
  • How can you be a light to someone in your life who is facing tough times?

May we seek light and be light-bearers in the world,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

Who Fans Your Flames?

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.  Albert Schweitzer

Set your life on fire.  Seek those who fan your flames.  Rumi

Think for a moment about the people in your life who fan your flames.  Who kindles the candle in your heart and lights the flame within you? We need to surround ourselves with people who light our path. I encourage you to think of at least three people in your life who inspire you and who push you to be the best version of yourself. I invite you to call, e-mail, text, send a Facebook message, or even find a way to tell them face to face that you are grateful that they are in your life. Make sure to tell them how they fan your flame and communicate to them that you are more for knowing them.

It is important to have many people in your life who inspire you. Our friends and family members serve different purposes. No one person can ever meet all of our needs. So, please make sure you have at least 5 people who fan your flames. If you don’t have 5 people who encourage your spirit, I encourage you to go to www.meetup.com to find individuals who share your interests. This website might help you find a social or support group and perhaps you will encounter people in a group you join, who will bring life to your soul.  Or do a google search and try to find a class, workshop, faith community, or club that looks interesting to you.

Sometimes different friends help to nurture different parts of us. Our respective friends help us in diverse ways, through attending to various ways we need to grow. Our loved ones can help us to:

  • grow professionally
  • laugh more
  • nurture our spirituality
  • be adventurous
  • develop emotional intelligence
  • have fun
  • care for our bodies
  • stretch our worldview
  • explore our creative side
  • _____________________ (You fill in the blank)

When we think about people who fan our flames, we realize that those who nurture us, are sometimes only on the journey with us for a season. Who are the people who have encouraged, challenged, motivated, inspired, supported, and expanded you at different junctures in your life? I can think of several music teachers, youth group leaders, professors, friends, supervisors, and colleagues, who I have lost touch with, but who have made a profound difference in my life. I also am mindful of family members who have died, whose love and care, kindled the light within me. Take a moment to also think of some people who you have crossed paths with in life, who you are no longer in touch with, who have impacted your life and fanned your flames.

Please consider trying the following brief gratitude meditation by bringing your hands in prayer at heart center to express thanks for the people in the past and in present who have fanned your flames and kindled the light within you. Name these people out loud or in your minds eye. After you say their name, either verbally or in your heart say, I am grateful for you. Your eyes can be open or closed. One option is to end the meditation by setting an intention, to surround yourself with people who inspire you and fan your flames, but to also seek to be an inspiration in the world and the kindle the candle in the hearts of those you love.

May we continue to find those who fan our flames,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

 

 

Self-Care

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including YOU.  Anne Lamott

Recently, as a part of a research project, I interviewed 8 people who serve in helping professions and one of the questions I asked them was to identify the self-care practices that are helpful to them. I was surprised when 2 out of the 8 interviewees had not heard of the term self-care. Self-care is such a buzz word in our culture and so I wrongly assumed everyone participating in the research project would have this word as part of their vernacular. So I explained to these participants that self-care is the way we feed and nurture our mind, body, and spirit. Even though I had to explain my understanding of this word, every participant in the study did have ways to nurture themselves and they shared that their self-care practices inform how able they are to provide care to people who are suffering. The people I interviewed shared with me that self-care is important because:

  • We can’t give what we don’t have
  • Self-care keeps us from becoming jaded
  • We become more effective as we do that
  • There is a strong connection between self-care and the ability to be present

In my own my life, I am aware of how depleted I become when I don’t offer myself adequate self-care. If I am not practicing the art of receiving, I don’t have much to give to others. We can’t offer much to our families, friends, co-workers, faith group, and community when we are empty. So, how do you fill up your gas-tank? How do you feed your soul? What is your self-care plan?  Perhaps it includes:

  • Friendship
  • Prayer/Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Counseling
  • Exercise
  • Movies
  • Music/Singing
  • Hiking/Walking
  • Adequate sleep
  • Rest
  • Space to feel
  • Journaling
  • Family time
  • A support group
  • A vacation
  • Humor and laughter
  • The practice of gratitude
  • Silence
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Continuing education
  • Connecting with children
  • Eating enjoyable foods
  • Date nights
  • Worship
  • Being playful and silly
  • Dancing
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • Massage
  • Coffee/Tea break

So what do you do to refresh your mind, body, and soul that is not on the list above? Sometimes we neglect self-care because we don’t feel like we have enough time for it.  However, the truth is that self-care helps us to be more present, have more energy, and to feel more alive. Despite our best efforts to care for ourselves it can almost seem like we never do enough of it.

I invite you to ponder the following questions:

  • What can you do today to care for yourself?
  • When you listen deeply, what is your mind, body, and spirit asking you to do for yourself today?
  • What are the practices that sustain and strengthen you on the journey?
  • What can you do this week that is just for you?
  • Is there a self-care practice you have not been doing lately that you need to pick back up?

Please do something to care for youself today. I dare you! I triple dog dare you.  🙂

Let’s commit to caring for our mind, bodies, and spirits,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Love

Do you accept and love yourself just as you are? Do you see your beauty despite your imperfections? How do you offer yourself kindness, gentleness, and grace? Each day you must choose the path of loving yourself instead of beating yourself up and being chronically hard on yourself. In Dr. Kristin Neff’s book, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she tells the following story:

A Native American wisdom story tells of an old Cherokee who is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

So will you choose to feed the beauty inside of you? You have a choice each day to get stuck in the pattern of loathing yourself or to choose the self-haven of love. Right now, I invite you to practice a little self-love by naming to yourself 3 gifts you have to offer the world. I know for those of you who are humble, this practice can be difficult, but humor me by picking 3 beautiful things about you.

Self-compassion is a twist on the golden rule. It is doing unto yourself as you would do unto others. So when we practice self-love we are treating ourselves as gently as we treat others. It is also important to be cognizant that the way we love ourselves actually translates to how we are able to love one another.  Actually, this can work in reverse as well. The more you see the good in others the more you will see the good in yourself. Dr. Steve Maroboli says, “Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” So he reminds us our own practice of self-love can also inform how others see us and treat us.

My hope for you  is that you can see how truly unique, rare, and beautiful you are. If you are going through a difficult season in your life, self-compassion is even more important. Please consider joining me in the following meditation. Bring your hands to prayer at heart center and take a deep breath in and then find your exhale and then say out loud or silently in your heart:

I will see my beauty

Take another inhale/exhale

I will be gentle with myself

Take another inhale/exhale

I will offer myself grace

Take another inhale/exhale

I will offer myself compassion

Take another inhale/exhale and then keep prayer hands at heart center and close your eyes for about a minute or so to experience the gift of self-love.

May we choose the path of self-love,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

 

 

Releasing our Pain

Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. Ecclesiastes 7:3

There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. Rumi

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak, whispers the distraught heart and bids it break. Shakespeare

It is amazing how often I hear people apologize for their tears. When clients cry, I always tell them they don’t have anything to be sorry for and I encourage them to cry. I have also worked with many people who have told me that they prefer not to cry with another family member who is grieving, because they need to “be strong” for them. I gently encourage people trying to “be strong” to consider crying with the person they are trying to protect. It is healthy to talk about our feelings and to cry with one another.

In our American society we are all about the pursuit of happiness and so learning to get in touch with our hurts and our tears is often something we resist. But we need to make space to feel the pain of life. These are just a few of the struggles you might be grappling with right now:

  • Worries about your health or a loved one’s health
  • Frustrations at work
  • Dealing with financial problems
  • Concerns for the country and the world
  • Struggles in a relationship
  • Heartache over a break-up or divorce
  • Facing infertility
  • Trying to overcome an addiction
  • Grieving the death of a loved one or pet

Rumi said our tears give us power. Perhaps what he meant by this is that in our weakness we find strength and in our tears we find a release. Shakespeare tells us that we must give our sorrow expression through talking and crying, and if we do not, he tells us our hearts will break. The author of Ecclesiastes, Koheleth, advises us that a sad face is good for the heart. So the paradox is that we will actually be happier, in the long run, if we allow ourselves to experience the pain. Even if a there is a scientific reason you can’t cry, such as a hormonal issue, there are still ways we can let our our pain. Embodied practices, such as yoga, help us to release pain through the breath and assist the body by calming the nervous system. Simply talking to a friend about your concerns can be a way to give sorrow words and find a release. Prayer and meditation are also wonderful ways to let out our pain and feelings. Playing music, singing, or creating art are also ways to let go of the heartaches we store in our bodies. One somewhat unique way I find a cathartic release is watching what Saturday Night Live might call a “debbie downer” movie. Watching a sad movie can actually help me to empathize with other stories of grief and access my own pain. What helps you to let out the feelings that you internalize?

Almost 14 years ago my grandmother Bell died. She was the last of my grandparents to die and I was extremely close to her. When she died, I can remember wailing. I cried and cried and cried some more to find a cathartic release. Think for a moment about something difficult you have experienced in the past. How did you deal with this loss?  What helped you to let go of some of the pain? Do you allow yourself to feel the pain of life? If, so how do you release your pain?

We all need to give voice to our sorrow, whether we talk to a friend, a family member, a clergy person, a counselor, join a support group, or by utilizing specific practices to release our pain. We each have our own unique ways of grieving the suffering we encounter on our journeys. So I encourage you to find a time in the near future to give yourself some space to feel the difficulties and pain of life.  Again, some people are not able to cry, but however you do it, I encourage you to find a way to give your sorrow words and let out some of the pain you are holding in your body and soul.

Please join in the following meditation. Take your right hand to your heart and then take a deep breath in through your nose and on your exhale let out an audible sigh. The louder the sigh is the more you will release. I invite you to do this 5 times. This exercise may seem uncomfortable, especially if it is the first time you have tried something like this, but we can let out pain through simple embodied breath practices.

May we find ways to give sorrow words and release our pain,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health

Into-Me-See

The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you.  Rumi

When I was completing my supervision hours to become a counselor, one of the marriage and family therapists I studied under, asked me to think about the word intimacy in an entirely new way. My supervisor broke down the word intimacy to into-me-see. For me playing with the word intimacy in this way was quite profound.  In order to for someone to have intimacy with me, they must see into me, and in order for me to have intimacy with others, I must see into them. Additionally, in order to have intimacy with myself, I must be able to see and love myself.

When I was studying to become a yoga teacher, I learned that the word Namaste can be translated from Sanskrit to mean I see you or I honor you. Often yoga teachers will end a class by saying, “The light in me sees and honors the beautiful bright light in each one of you. Namaste.” I believe one of the most important life skills we can learn, is to truly look for the beauty in one another and to see one another. We are called to see one another’s gifts and graces, instead looking for the flaws in ourselves and others.

When I was a child, I loved watching the PBS show, Mr. Rogers. There was something about his kind way that made me feel safe and loved. Recently, a colleague at work gave me a beautiful quote written by Mr. Rogers that I have on my desk. The quote on my desk from Mr. Rogers says, “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is.” It occurs to me that in order to help people know how beautiful and special they are, we have to work at seeing them. And then once we see the beauty in others, I believe we are called to speak to others the gifts we see in them.

Take a moment to ponder these questions:

  • Are you more likely to see the beauty in others or the flaws?
  • What are some of the gifts that you see in yourself?
  • Who is someone in your life whose beauty you struggle to see?
  • Who is someone in your life who sees and accepts you just as you are?
  • How does it feel to you to be seen and accepted by a loved one?

One of my concerns right now is that we live in a very divided and fractured culture. Because of this, people are becoming much more reactive towards one another. Instead of looking at one another with the eyes of love, we are much more apt to demonize colleagues, strangers, friends, and family and see their faults, instead of seeing the beauty and image of God that is in all of us. The problem with this approach is that all of us fall short, and if we only look at one another’s growing edges and brokenness, then we are stifling the potential in others. However, when we look for the good and encourage one another, we start to see our friends, family members, and colleagues thrive, and in turn, we also grow. If we really lived this way, I think the fear and polarization in our society, that is steadily increasing would also start to reverse itself.

I invite us to close with the following meditation:

Take your hands to heart center in prayer and take a deep breath in and out and then say silently or out loud:

I see my beauty. I see my gifts. I offer myself compassion.

Keep your hands at heart center in prayer and think of the person in your life who is the most difficult person for you to love right now. Take a deep breath in and out and then say silently or out loud:

I see your beauty. I see your gifts. I offer you compassion.

May we seek to see one another,

Christy

Meditations for your mental, physical, and spiritual health