Courage

Courage I.

When your heart is hardened, that is a sign of weakness,

not strength.

It takes courage and a hell of a lot of strength to love just as intensely, if not more, after experiencing pain. So, be brave. Be brave and know it is okay to take time to heal. Just make sure the wall you built as your defense mechanism does not feel like home, but more like a temporary guest while you

get

back

on

your

feet.

Courage II.

You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. If you do decide to give meaning to situations or day-to-day things, you get to decide what meaning to give these said things.

“A wall.”

What comes to mind when you think of a wall? Give that some thought.

Naturally, a wall is usually seen a tool of protection through blockage or avoidance. But what if you change its meaning to something more proactive, with a bigger purpose?

Allow this temporary wall that you have built after pain to be a way to channel that energy into self love, into understanding how you work, into self-awareness and into growth.

Re-define “pain” and “hardship” and do not let all that suffering be in vain, but learn from it and use it as a tool to grow, instead.

Courage III.

Do not avoid. Face every single feeling, no matter how much you have tried to forget. Write it down, sing it, paint it, whatever. Do something with it so it exits that small corner in your heart

and your mind

and your ego.

Be proud of how far you have come. It is only then that you can truly get to know yourself; when you give yourself the chance to forgive yourself for all the pain you allowed within you and maybe even inflicted onto others.

Courage IV.

Compassion takes courage.

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Compassion

Never has a word ever granted me such peace. Allow me to rephrase that- never has the meaning, timing and significance of a word impacted me so directly and intensely.

The teaching at 7:30PM onThursday, May 21st was the Universe aligning with me, leading my way through a sea of hurt, confusion, conflict, contradiction.

How would you define compassion? Pause and think about what this word means to you.

Compassion.

Compassion is a father wishing with all of his strength to have his daughter’s late stage Cancer so she does no longer have to suffer. Compassion is wishing to take his daughter’s suffering away, even if it means he would have to feel it himself.

Compassion is understanding suffering, really understanding it- from the bottom of your being. From your core, from your soul.

Compassion is not a rich man giving a poor man a Ferrari. The rich man wants to help, but has not taken the time to understand the  extent of the poor man’s suffering to see that what they need is not a luxury car, but food, shelter, maybe even love instead. The rich man is thinking about what he would want if he were sad, and applying it as everyone’s desire.

Compassion takes willingness to grasp the depths of others’ suffering.

That idleThursday, the first meditation consisted on recognizing a sort of cloud of smoke in our chest- which symbolizes hurt, anxiety, confusion, any bad feelings or states of mind. Recognizing it, identifying it and visualizing it. After I am done explaining the meditation, I encourage you to do it as well. Close your eyes and focus on the world around you disappearing, and you are surrounded by a white, infinite space full of light.

Breathe in deep. Exhale with strength.

Each breath in is clear, white light, and each breath out takes along with it a little bit of that dark smoke. Breathe in light to replace that pain, that hurt, that smoke. Focus on breathing and focus on cleansing.

Imagine that light throughout your entire body, and that smoke leaving your heart with each breath.

Now envision someone that has hurt you deeply. That person might hurt others, that person might hurt themselves, that person might not know another way to live. But that person, just like all of us, has all the seeds necessary for compassion, for love, for forgiveness, for peace. We all have the tools necessary, but only some of us plant them and grow them, some of us do not understand them.

I think this adds so much beauty to life- these tools, these seeds… they are there for us, and throughout our journey we discover these different seeds within us that might have seem so foreign the week before. And we nurture them. And we water them, and they plant growth within us. They grow and become intricate, intimate designs of what we have created to be who we are. They feel like different colors, like different shades and shapes, and they slowly construct us.

But enough about seeds.

Focus on this person, and think of their cloud… envision the suffering and hurt that has brought them to this point. We all have our pasts- but in this moment, think of that person’s pain.

Now think of the position of your heart in your breathing body. Imagine it being this beautiful crystal full of all the light you just received. Now envision a shell around it, almost like hard, dry charcoal. This symbolizes your ego, your self cherishing.

This person is still in front of you. Feel their past, imagine the agony. And breathe their pain in, their smoke. Be the father with the terminally ill daughter.

The moment you breathe in this smoke, it will touch the charcoal shell. The moment they touch, a part of that shell is broken off. They eventually cancel each other out. Absolute Zero. Your selflessness in truly wanting that person free of that suffering is the only way to truly heal, as a world. What if we all did that for each other?

Imagine that person filled with joy, and the weight that they have been carrying all along has been finally lifted- because you liberated them through compassion.

How beautiful is that? How does that not draw a smile on your face..

I entered the temple confused, angry, hurt, deceived, and craving some sort of healing. What I thought would take months- the stages that I would have to go through to help me understand- took the right words, love and intention at the exact time I would absorb every color of their meaning in the matter on one hour and a half.

I hope this will do the same for you- and do not confuse a Ferrari with compassion (that would have made no sense at the beginning of this entry!).

Here.

A few weeks ago, I visited a Buddhist temple for the first time. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I am not religious, but I am open to different philosophies and ways of thinking adopted by different cultures and religions- so why not do some meditation at this temple, especially since it is so close to home? For those of you that live in Orlando, FL, the name of the temple is Vajrapani Kadampa Buddhist Center and it is located at 813 Montana Street, Orlando.

It is a very quaint little house and they always have a homemade soup to drink afterwards! The energy there is beautiful, and it is a great way to step aside from the world, and be in touch with you.

Part of the teaching that day was about living in the “now”. This seems like such a cliché, and I am sure many have heard it before. However, I spoke to Kelsang (the monk meditating that night) afterwards, and he gave me an approach to this saying that triggered my curiousity. He explained that everything we have lived in the past is the reason we are here now. So, why worry about the past? It exists right now, not yesterday or last week, because all of its elements and happenings made “now” possible. And what about the future? It has not happened yet, and it is all dependent on what we do now. Right now, this moment, defines your next 5 minutes, your next week, your next month and years. Your past and your future, they both exist right now. Right now is the only moment that matters because you are living in every tense. Right now is where you are living- are you at the right place?

This is one of the roots of Buddhism, and the reason it caught my attention is because of how simple it seems, but how hard it is to actually accomplish.

Signs.

This one is an interesting one. Allow me to start off by emphasizing that I do not have any religious inclination, but I respect people that do. Also, it is a pet peeve of mine when people say they are “spiritual” because 99% of the time they are not, but they want to seem interesting. Good luck being spiritual, and I hope you know you need to (at least try) be in touch with yourself in order to start that path.

Anywho…(defined by UrbanDictionary as “An extremely annoying misuse of the word ‘anyhow’. Generally used by people who think they’re being clever. Anywho, how was your day?”- Which makes it ironic, because I just touched on the subject of pretentiousness and this word seemed oddly appropriate to use. Hm… was that a pretentious statement? Eh.) this quote- as I was saying… is powerful.

Whatever God you believe in, whatever light or whatever energy.. we are bound to reach out to when we are at a point that we simply do not know what to do. It happens. We are human. I was raised Catholic, and at times of desperation, I used to see myself praying “Our Father” and I am not even religious. It is as if it were wired within me to reach out to something intangible, bigger than myself, to help me grasp some sort of understanding when the options life presents me seem so… blurry.

Now, when moments like these happen, I pause. I pause my thoughts and everything that I am doing and I focus hard to be with Laura. To be with myself. To feel my heart, my mind, my soul. And I become self-aware. And this is how I am open to the Universe and I let it guide me. I ask it, I implore it, to please show me any type of sign. And holy crap, I have been feeling like a dart board with all of the darts it has been throwing me, almost screaming at me to wake the ffff up.

What is the point of being blessed enough to receive these signs if we are going to ignore them? What. is. the. point. It may seem hard, but a decision has to be made… and who better to trust than your own instinct, your own Universe?

Years ago I tattooed the word “trust” under my breast, on my right rib. I am not one to get tattoos for the hell of it- if something touches me enough that I apply to my daily life, I want it to mark me.

So why the word “trust”? Well- you must trust that whatever path you take is the one you were supposed to take. Always. Even if it took you to feel pain, even if you feel you took a few steps back. Every step you take, you were supposed to take. Trust, that if you are in tune with your heart, that if you are in tune with your soul, any decision you make that makes your heart feel lighter will be the right one. And if you are at a point of ultimate confusion, do only things that give you peace, be perceptive to signs, and follow them.