Accept. Breathe. Smile. Emotional Well-Being.
I thought I would spend some time sharing some of what I’ve been working on these last couple of months, trying to cope with my Dad’s illness & death, and other emotional turbulences.
First, I had to quiet my mind enough to tackle one thing at a time – that took a trip to the beach. The sights and sounds of the water & the wildlife calmed me such that I was able to start working on things surrounding my Dad’s life, illness, and death. I found memories of our time with him returning. I started to remember some of the emotional closure I’d been able to experience while I was there – all overshadowed by my grief and the turmoil that resulted from that trip in terms of my health and my marriage.
I revisited some old friends from my past – belief systems that had seen me through other low points – buddhism, taoism, zen, etc. I was so desperate for peace this time, I bought prayer beads and created a mantra. I journaled for hours a day. I meditated. I prayed. I googled like a mad woman – and spent hours on Facebook going down the rabbit hole of inspirational pages and sayings.
What I came out of all of that with is a new foundation of beliefs:
1. The Four Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
For me, the first and last seemed to already be a huge part of who I was, but the second and third were not even close. There is so much pain to be found in taking things as a personal slight/attack, and making assumptions as to people’s motivations.
Viewing your fellow man as a flawed human, struggling just like you are with physical or emotional battles can help you a long way towards feeling true forgiveness.
It’s also important to forgive yourself. You aren’t perfect either, and even if you are a ‘good person’, you’ve probably done things that negatively impacted another person – especially if they aren’t proficient in the 2nd & 3rd Assumptions.
Forgive and Move On. The past is the past. You can’t change it. You can only change YOU so that you don’t repeat old patterns and mistakes.
This becomes especially crucial if you’re dealing with someone who has passed away. You can no longer get closure from *them* – and honestly, having your say will only damage another soul, and even if that person hurt you, is retribution anything other than going down to their level of baseness and inhumanity?
This was huge for my time with my Dad. He was sick and dying, and my ranting and raving and unburdening myself of the trauma from my past with him would only have served to hurt him, and me by extension, and it’s possible that it wouldn’t have made a difference to him if he really wasn’t sorry for what he’d done, which would have hurt me even more.
I couldn’t have taken care of his needs in his last days if I’d allowed our past to spend time with us, too. In the end, we had more healing conversations of a positive nature than negative. He expressed gratitude for my being there and he loved spending time with his Grandkids. My very presence and actions there were testament to how my I’ve done with my life, despite him.
I was also able to see him as a human being himself, flawed like the rest of us. Not to excuse him, per se, but I did gain a deeper understanding of what drove him.
Spending time in another person’s experience, and conversely – looking at someone’s point of view of YOUR actions, can bring deeper understanding of *why* we do things. I know it offends me greatly when people assume my motivations for something and not believe me when I said that wasn’t what I meant, etc. Yet, I was doing that to everyone else in my life. I can’t make other people take me at face value, but I can control my own thought processes and actions. Letting go of the need for other people to ‘get’ you helps. Believing and putting into practice the Four Agreements is important. A huge amount of my pain in life dissipated with this process. It really is a lesson I will treasure always.
Beyond the Four Agreements and the resulting ability to empathize and forgive both others and myself was a driving need for inner peace. I found a huge wellspring of that in the Taoist principles.
I can summarize Taoism as simply as
Taoism is acceptance of your life.
Taoism is following your breath to find peace.
Taoism is opening up a smile to enable possibility.
What I took from that is – It is what it is. Breathe properly and always. Smile – be open to the joy in your life.
I spent so much time and energy trying to change what was reality – talk about bashing your metaphorical head against a brick wall.
Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.
Be the water, not the rock.
This is where my studies have led me. I find something so visceral and calming in the words of taoism. It speaks to my soul. I will also continue on this path, as with nourishing my body – my soul deserves the same attention.
I pray you find the right path when life hands you her lessons.
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Tags: adrenal fatigue, depression, detox, elimination diet, emotional eating, healthy, paleo, Primal, weight loss