Part 1 of Embracing Support series
In her book,”Radical Acceptance; embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha”, Tara Brach rights:
“For so many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much–Just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work–to make us feel that we are not okay.
As a friend of mine put it,”feeling that something is wrong with me is the invisible and toxic gas. I am always breathing.” When we experience our lives through this lens of personal insufficiency, we are imprisoned in what I call the trance of unworthiness. Trapped. In this trance, we are unable to perceive the truth of who we really are.
“We don’t have to wait until we are on our deathbed to realize what a waste of our precious lives. It is to carry the belief that something is wrong with us. Yeah, because our habits of feeling insufficient are so strong, awakening from the trance involves not only inner resolve, but also an active training of the heart and mind.”
This is the quote in which I started all of the classes in the first week of August. The reason for this; one of our beloved community members from Journey to the Peak requested to spend a month on the topic of “embracing support”. Patrick and I said yes, wholeheartedly!
I could already feel how important this month was going to be, and also how challenging. I felt that it’s reach was going to move my heart deeply. I hope that it will support and move your heart, too, in very healing ways.
With the ideas already ruminating and floating around in my mind around support, worthiness, unworthiness, supporting oneself, receiving support, accepting support, I started to question what might come first? And of course, as a lot of wonderful thoughts do, it came in the bathroom one morning.
What Embracing Support means to me
With the idea of embracing support, it really feels as if there is an acceptance in seeing that support is needed. It presupposes there is a need. So, I began to contemplate an arc for the entire month. It really started to feel cyclical as the weeks unfolded. Here are the bones of the arc that will be fleshed out through the next coming blogs:
- Self-acceptance. Being present to Oneself enough to see what is going on, inside and out. Accepting that there is a need, a desire, a limitation, a request, something missing, something we can’t do alone, something requiring the divine, ourselves, a friend, a community, or a contractor, lol. Using satya and ahimsa to do so: truthfulness and non-harming, respectively, towards oneself.
- Naming. Naming exactly what is needed. Being clear. Acknowledging.
- Asking. Asking for the support, calling out for support, and/or calling in the support. Being brave in asking, and remembering that we are not less than because we need the support.
- Accepting the support. Allowing Oneself to receive. Accepting the love, help, energy, prayers, money, gifts, condolences, meals, kindness from others. Accepting these things from our own self to ourself. Accepting these things from the divine. And in these acceptances observing how life shifts. Doing so with gratitude and realizing our oneness, not our separateness.
Perhaps now you can see why I started with Tara Brach’s quote. And how it seems interchangeable, the concept of self-acceptance with the ideas of worthiness and unworthiness.
Why are we hesitant to ask for support?
I personally feel that here in the United States of America, there is an ethos of “pulling yourself up by the bootstrap” and getting things done by yourself. I’m even hearing the song in my head now… “Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. But I’ve made up my mind, I’m not wasting no more time, here I go again.”-Whitesnake, 1987, watch here.
But, science is now proving just how much we are not meant to do this thing called life alone. And just how much it is detrimental to our health to try to go it alone.
This study that was written about in 2017 found that, “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.” This study is one of the world longest studies ever done for adult life.
I can attest to the need for support, especially as a parent. I’m grateful for the freely given love and help of friendships that I forged after my son was born. I’m grateful for the support of friends and family during the past and now. I’m grateful for the support that I know I will receive in the future so that I can have an hour to myself, a date night with my partner, time to write these blogs, and time to pursue my own passions and curiosities!
Throughout this month, I want you to focus on you. Whow, what did you say?! That’s right, turn your attention on yourself.
So, dear reader, where are you needing support?
This is what this first week in this month is all about. Taking a very honest and truthful look at yourself and your life. Seeing yourself through your own, loving and compassionate heart. To speak to yourself with all honesty, Satya/truthfulness, and to do so in a way that is completely loving and not self-harming, ahimsa/non-harming.
Do NOT judge what comes up. Don’t shame yourself for whatever you might find. This will only add a compounded weight to whatever judgements might already live around you needing support. AND, who knows what this all might change in your life!
Start with these mantras:
“I am here”
“I am breathing”
“My true nature is joy and love”
“My true Self is wise”
“This is what the body feels like as it’s breathing”
Stepping into awareness of oneself and offering loving kindness to yourself is perhaps the best way to begin looking within. When we breathe and notice that we are here, to notice that we are breathing, to notice that our body is breathing, to notice how our body is feeling, it begins to open up space for our consciousness to be aware of what is present within. We become the witness. We become a loving and non-judging observer.
From this place, we can begin to embrace all that we experience, all that we notice, and all we discover. In my opinion, Parker Palmer said it very wisely:
“I now know myself to be a person of weakness and strength, liability and giftedness, darkness and light. I now know that to be whole means to reject none of it, but to embrace all of it.”
One of my most favorite poems is by Danna Faulds, entitled “intimate with all things”.
To be as intimate with our own pain, suffering, self-critic, internal voice of self-judgment, broken heart and aching body, as much as our own joy and happiness, excitement, voice of elevation and enlightenment, voice of our inner wisdom, and our wise body and knowing Spirit.
I closed the class with Tara Brach:
“When we practice radical acceptance, we begin with the fears and wounds of our own life and discover that our heart of compassion widens endlessly. In holding ourselves with compassion, we become free to love this living world. This is the blessing of radical acceptance: As we free ourselves from the suffering of “something is wrong with me,” we trust and express the fullness of who we are.”
–To move away from the untruths that we are ‘broken’, that there is ‘something wrong with us’, that we are ‘not worthy’, that we are ‘not lovable’, and to move towards the truths of who we are.
–To move towards the truths that we ARE lovable, that we are NOT broken, that we are SO worthy, that we ARE beautiful and NOTHING is wrong with us. That we ARE divine, that we ARE magical, creative, fluid and gorgeous as we are!
To embrace and embody this, we closed with a tool for training the mind, which is called mantra in Yoga. The mantras I offered earlier, “my true essence is joy and love”, are actually the translations for this mantra that I now share with you in Sanskrit:
*’Aim’ Is the seed sound for the goddess Saraswati. Read my blog on her here. I invite you to remember that as you create this vibration, what you are creating is all that she represents, which is all that you embody and hold within you. This is a vibration that is activating that which is in you that is wise and love, lovable and happy, joyful, your true self.
Use the mantra with this heart chakra mudra, anahata mudra:
Softly extend all your fingers open. In each hand, separately, fold down the index finger into the palm. Cover the index finger with the thumb finger between the first and second knuckles.
This is just one mudra that we can use in supporting ourselves and our heart. This gesture of the heart chakra is potent because it really focuses the energy back to yourself. The index finger, in some lineages, represents air, the element connected with the heart chakra. It sends the universal life force of love back to our own heart. It truly is the gesture to use in upholding one’s worth, and really offering unconditional acceptance to oneself. I feel it is one of the lesser known mudras of the heart center, and yet is very profound. I am inviting everyone to use it for the entire month instead of just one week.
In closing, we have to discern the untruth from truth. We have to really uphold our own light and train ourself in the ways of the mind and the heart and the body. This way we will be able to move away from the untruths and away from the ‘trance of unworthiness’, and towards the knowledge of our Self as Light, Universal, Love.
Are you ready dear reader?
Are you ready to step into this path with me?
To take on the challenge of looking at yourself in all honesty?
And to do so in a deeply committed, and deeply loving and supportive way?
I hope you have answered yes.
I pray that in doing so, with yourself, within the community of belonging that you have with me and other human beings, that you will experience abundance, transformation, healing, and great flourishing in your life!
P.S. And let’s not forget about perfectionism and the ego within the scope of this honest looking. You ARE worth gold and more! Let perfectionism go. Tell your ego your intention is pure and loving, and don’t let it tell you that you are not deserving of love and everything positive in return.
Read Part 2 of this Part 4 series on Embracing Support.