For last week’s Joy Blog I wrote about seeing ourselves as we really are. It’s one of the most important keys to the joy in my life...and I have a few things I want to let you in on... so brace yourselves my early-bird, vegan, gluten-free, juicing, yogini friends!
I’m a meat eater. Steak medium rare, pork chops, bacon, chicken, fish, lamb…all of it. Love it.
Sugar is divine. Coca-Cola makes me happy, ice cream, baklava, pumpkin bread, donuts even the occasional candy bar. And, during the summer, I have a shaved ice nearly every day.
Junk food? Filibertos’ $1 taco night, I’m in. McDonald’s French fries with salt my fave, and every Thursday night is gal’s movie night and I usually have a medium popcorn with layered butter and salt.
I rarely go to sleep before 1am, or get out of bed (other than to let the dog out) before 10am. I’ve been rude to those I love and unforgiving when harmed.
I’ve texted while driving, I’ve farted and blamed it on the dog and I had way too much to drink back in the day.
Do I sound like a beast? Stay with me...
I also drink plenty of fresh green juice, and hydrate like crazy. I haven’t touched white flour or caffeine in I don’t know how long, I play with my dog at the park just about every day, have a company that is flourishing even before it’s launched, do my daily prayer and meditation at a chapel near my home, am blessed with loving relationships with friends and family...and basically, life has never been so good!
Now it’s your turn! Not the good sounding stuff...what are the bits and pieces that you might be hiding?
I assure you, it’s liberating to not only know the less than perfect parts of ourselves…but, to also be able to tell the truth about them. It’s probably why I laugh everyday, and I imagine why I finally have the compassion I’ve lacked most of my life.
The lovely Pema Chodron once stated something along the lines of; true compassion is not given from teacher to student, but from one equal to another.
How then could I ever build compassion without living as one among many? We are all flawed. I say this not as a rationalization, not as a justification, nor as a way to avoid responsibility. Actually, I find it’s quite the opposite.
The only way I can be fully responsible is to be and see myself exactly as I am…without dressing it up, side-stepping it, or comparing it to another. To live without a context, is incredibly liberating. To see ourselves as we are, and then, perhaps, to discover it’s not who we want to be or do — regardless of circumstance — is perhaps the most powerful stride we can make towards living happily and freely.
Why? Because if we find a way to explain away the reality of our harshness, how can we ever truly become soft? If we think the way we live is “at least not as bad as so-and-so” why would we ever want to grow?
Having learned to readily face my demons, I can tell you that my greatest reward has been the compassion that has developed in me.
But why is compassion so important? I didn’t come to understand the why of it, until after it had been built in me…and even though it is not something I sought, it has changed me forever.
Compassion connects me with my fellows in a way that I am neither the leader, nor the follower…yet, I’m still useful. It gives me community and chases away the loneliness even when it feels like all is lost. But, most of all, I believe it gives hope and encouragement to another.
And, what about acceptance? Tread lightly, I say! I often hear what I call the “acceptance defense.” I’ve personally done it, and have seen it used for a false sense of self love. Acceptance in this context means telling myself I’m all right…what I’m doing or being or experiencing is “okay,” when in fact I couldn’t be farther from it.
True acceptance, I believe, is seeing ourselves and things the way they truly are. Often it is painful. And sometimes we will need to change. But, I have found coming from this place of truth is intrinsically empowering, transformative and freeing. So, fear not!
What is it for you? What are the secrets you keep that prevent you from going to the next level of freedom and happiness. You know what they are. Big or small…let it out. Comment below for all the world to see. Worried what others will think? Remember, I’m the woman who farted and blamed it on her dog!
With warmth, laughter and compassion I look forward to hearing from you.
And, as always, I’m in your corner…
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