I have been thinking about trust this fortnight and have been doing my best to consciously replace fear (and hope too) with trust. I understand it may sound a little wacky to not be hopeful, so lets do some exploring.
Many years ago I was reading a book by Pema Chodron which as I understood it, was suggesting to abandon hope! This idea threw me for a loop and I can remember being very resistive even to entertain this idea of abandoning hope. Further contemplation and study have helped me understand that I am replacing hope with acceptance and trust. It is not only just abandoning hope! That is way too scary!
So, in small ways I have been training myself to trust in preference to hope. These ways include ......
For me these small changes feel more powerful, encouraging and positive.
I can take this replacing hope with trust idea a little further by trusting in the divine order of things when stuff happens, especially things that I don't want As we had been exploring, the idea of accepting what is - 'It's like this now', and letting go of how I think it should or should not be, is the first step. This radical acceptance of how things are can be difficult enough, even when small things go wrong, but as we know from Byron Catie, arguing with reality, by debating how we think things should or should not be is what causes our suffering!
So these idea of
As I often remind myself it is good to start with the small things to help to build up to the more challenging circumstances. So, practicing with the replacement of hope with trust and dropping of the word hope in greetings is a great start!
I had another small practice situation present recently when I applied for the position at the boarding house. I found myself hoping for lots of things including, to get my applications just right, get an interview, to get an email or call each day, and to get the job. Whenever I found myself worrying and hoping that I would hear about the job etc., I tried my best to accept what was happening now (no phone call or email) and to consider my wisest response - which was to let go of worry and trust things were unfolding just as they should. Opening up to wonder and trusting is liberating. I told myself, I would hear when I needed to hear and get the job if it was meant to be. Again and again!
Often this is very tricky. It is one thing to be learning to trust when minor disappointments or expectations happen, but what about when major difficulties arise. These are the times we need to remember to be kind and gentle with ourselves and others. We need to give ourselves and others balanced self care and take the time to heal and seek help if we feel the need.
So often, I look back at events and am grateful that they did not happen the way I thought they should or hoped they would. In hindsight I can often see they have provided me with just the lessons I needed at the time. Remembering this helps me to let go ad trust in how things are unfolding. As Pema Chodron says "letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all'.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!
Happy Mother's Day Everyone! I found it interesting to reflect on the meaning of Mother's Day and to consider the value we all bring to the world by the 'mothering' we do whether or not we are mothers in the traditional sense of the word. We all have so many opportunities to mother or show care, love and kindness. It is in this kindness that we can all rejoice in, on Mother's Day or on any other day too!
In last fortnight's blog we explored self appreciation and rejoicing in the value we bring to others by what we do. I have been thinking about how we can assist others to understand this too. Do you ever ask someone to do something and are met with resistance? So often I make a request or issue an order to someone, usually a family member, without stopping to take the time to explain to them why I am making the request or to help them understand the value of their contribution. I will offer you a simple, practical example from my life and trust you may find it useful to apply to yours.
It goes something like this - I hear myself bark an order like 'can someone please unpack this dishwasher? I often forget to consider what the other person is doing or even if they can hear me! Often my request goes ignored or is perceived as a bossy, inconsiderate order. If I am truthful, often my intention could do with a gentle examination and polish up. This lack of clarity and truthfulness around intention and helping others understand is just perpetuating an unhelpful habit. So how do I change this habit and bring more understanding, authenticity and peace to the situation?
My friend Shadi told me of an interesting way to think about the word 'understanding'. When we understand something we have a stand under our position. For me the best stand or support for any situation is truth, kindness, wisdom and compassion. As Ghandi says 'be truthful, gentle and fearless'. If we are truthful and gentle we have nothing to fear.
So what understanding can I bring to this situation of requesting help to unpack the dishwasher, or any other request for help?
1. Deliver the request in a gentle, kind and considerate manner. Make sure to connect with the other person so they have the opportunity to hear, understand and consider your request.
2. Assist them to understand the value of their contribution and to self appreciate!
Often others do not understand why we are asking for help. They also may not understand the value such help brings to us. Without this understanding requests may be perceived as a bossy order! It may be helpful to facilitate understanding with a statement like 'I am trying to get dinner ready and there are no plates, can you help me by unloading the dishwasher?' And a follow up thank you and reiteration of the value of their contribution to you. Something like 'thank you, that took the stress out of trying to do everything at once. When I have done this I have perceived a lightbulb moment in the other person. If the request is not able to be met, understanding is required.
There are a couple of important things to consider here, related to that 'under standing' base of wisdom.
It is not easy to change habits which have been tossing us around for years! But, it can be fun to give it a try. I like to start with simple, practice life situations which allow me to build up for the more challenging ones.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!
Last weeks blog Are You Feeling Supported? Are You Supporting You?explored the importance of supporting ourselves. I trust you have had fun practicing balanced self care, being a kind and encouraging friend to yourself and asking for help if and when you need it.
In last fortnight's blog I mentioned that In Sri Lanka I had the opportunity to work together with the women there to explore supporting ourselves and each other. Some of the fun things we did included setting up a Birthday Cake cooking team to celebrate both the girls and matron's birthdays. We also made eye-pillows and gifted them to the matrons to encourage them to relax with a 5 minute shavasana. (pictured above). We also had a gratitude party, where we all had the opportunity to express our gratitude for each other and have some fun dancing too.
So, as I said the theme I wanted to explore this fortnight was self-appreciation. Some time ago now I wrote a blog on forgetting to thank and appreciate myself. It was entitled 'OMGoodness The Dishwasher has Been Emptied' . It was a reminder of how rarely I give myself thanks and appreciation. I know the power and importance of being appreciative and happy about the kindness others show us. We are constantly thanking others, but how many times do we stop to be thankful to ourselves? We are all doing kind things for others constantly, smiles, kind words and deeds both big and small! We often don't even notice, let alone take the time to appreciate or value the impact our contributions have on others? Both appreciation of others and self-appreciation are important for our well being.
Self-appreciation is about turning the kindness we give to others inward. It is not a commonly used term and is often confused with self-esteem and self-confidence. When we appreciate ourselves we do not enhance our self-image, we are simply thankful. With self-appreciation we treat ourselves with kindness and appreciate and make the best use of what we have been given. Self-Appreciation includes....
Appreciation or being thankful or grateful to ourselves is a great way to overcome feeling resentful. We can't be appreciative and resentful at the same time.
Recently I was reminded that the value we attach to something is not so much about what we have done, but more about, the positive impact we have had by doing what we do. For example when I prepare a meal for the family, I allow them time for homework and their work or leisure schedule, and to stay healthy and nourished. We can value that and appreciate ourselves for that! My friend helped me do the same thing related to writing these blogs. Heartfelt thanks to her. I encourage you to take her wise advice and do the same.
Here are some ideas on how to practice self-appreciation and to value our contributions.
1. Don't wait for other to appreciate you - do it straight away yourself
2. Be thankful for our bodies and all it's wondrous workings.
How easy it is to get caught up in the small things that are going wrong and forget to appreciate how our bodies keep us alive and make everything possible.
3. Use kind words.
Use appreciative language to yourself. Be that kind encouraging friend. Say thank you to yourself often! I read recently - 'there is an opportunity to appreciate every time you want to beat yourself up. For example if I forget something the choice I have is to bash myself up over forgetting one thing or appreciate all the things I remembered!
4. Keep a gratitude journal.
I like to bring to mind and record what I am grateful for each morning. In the evenings I reflect on self-appreciation and appreciate the value I contributed to others, no matter how small. I go off to sleep, happy about doing my best to be a positive force in the world.
We all have lots to contribute to others, a smile or kind word can totally change someones day for the better. I was reminded of this recently when I commented on how lovely an older woman looked as we waited to cross the road. She smiled and said 'thank you, that has made my day".
4. Give yourself a gift.
There is a difference between giving yourself a gift of appreciation and buying what you desire. The intention, like when we give someone a bunch of flowers for example, is to say thank you. You give because you want to give thanks to yourself. And as we all know giving and receiving work together and feel great.
I have had great fun with this over the years. I embroidered myself an anti-resentment apron that says 'loved and appreciated'! (pictured here). This helps to remind me to appreciate myself and to value the contribution I bring to others when I cook! Hilary and Kate have been embroidering 'Love You Mum' on aprons and tea towels for Mother's Day. Here they are pictured below in our POM Mother's Day Basket.
If you would like an embroidered apron or tea towel to remind yourself or someone else that they are loved and appreciated Hilary and Kate would be happy to embroider 'Love you Mum', 'Loved and Appreciated' or any other personal message, for you. They and other POM products are available at The Fruit Nest in Malvern and Teaspoon in East Prahran or you can email me here to order. Thank you to Chez, Chris and the Fruit Nest team and to Melly and the Teaspoon crew. And also big thanks to all the POM volunteer crafts/baking team!
The Rushall knitting team, Patti, Jo, Margaret Jennifer and Veronica and the branch teams of Lyn C and Sue D, Bec and Donna and Elizabeth. have been busy knitting. The Rushall team have made these lovely 100% cotton clothes, pictured in the Mother's Day basket of POM goodies. They are great as a face washer, dishcloth or bench cloth. Jenny from Rushall told me that the recent sad events in Sri Lanka have her knitting faster. Also pictured in the basket are Sue's beautiful cards, our POM eyepillows and wheat bags (somewhat hidden), Hilary and Kate's embroidered tea towels and aprons and Bec and Donna's teddies. Please email me here to order. You can also check out the POM products shop here.
Another way I practice self-appreciation includes paying myself a housekeeping wage to make sure I value my role as a stay at home mother and the contribution it makes to my family. Recently I bought myself a Super Mum superhero, Mother's day card, a new journal with Wonder Woman on the cover and an inflatable toucan I named Ta, who is floating in the pool. These gifts remind me to thank others and to thank myself and value the contributions I make too.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!