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IN TIMES OF DARKNESS, TURN YOUR LIGHT WAY UP! -Jeff Foster

When someone calls you names, reduces you to a thing,
When they offer advice you didn’t ask for,
When they blame you for their pain,
When they do not listen to you, and endlessly talk about themselves,
When they compare you with others,
When they ignore, invalidate, judge or ridicule your thoughts and feelings.

Stop. Breathe.

Know it’s their pain, not yours.
Know they are dreaming the only dream they can dream until they wake up.
Know that they don’t know you, only their fantasy.

Perhaps they find it hard to love themselves.
Perhaps they seek their worth externally.
Perhaps they are disconnected from their breath, their bodies, their precious aliveness, their true calling.
Perhaps they live in a dualistic world of good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure.
Perhaps they have forgotten the simple joy of being.

Perhaps you understand this.
Perhaps you have been where they have been.

Don’t try to change them now. They may never change.
Don’t try to fix them. They aren’t asking to be fixed.
The more you push, they more they’ll push back.
Don’t get entangled in their web of sorrows.
See clearly, even have compassion, but don’t push.

It’s okay that they are upset. It really is.
Give them space to be upset.
It’s okay that they are disappointed in you.
Give them space to be disappointed.
It’s okay that they judge you. Make room for their judgements too.

Make room for your own thoughts and feelings!
Allow yourself to feel sad, angry, guilty, doubtful.
Let all these precious energies wash through you.
They will not harm you, as you allow them to move.

Yes, you will meet many gatekeepers on this journey.

Walk your path anyway, and allow others to walk theirs.
You don’t need to justify your path, or defend it.
Stay close to yourself in these challenging times.

Do not fight the darkness; it has no power anyway.

Simply turn your light way up.

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THIS IS MEDITATION

Let what comes, come.
Let what goes, go.

Don’t try to push away what comes.
It’s already here and it will pass.

Don’t try to cling to what goes.
The leaving is natural. Bless the leaving too.

Let what stays, stay.
Let what dies, die.
Let what lives, live.

Be the wide open space
for all of it.

Every thought, every feeling.

Be the awareness.
Be the ocean.
Allow the waves.

This is meditation,
your True Self.

– Jeff Foster

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“You can’t solve the pain of your heartbreak with your mind. The mind wants everything to feel better, and it will do everything it can to figure out a solution that makes the pain end fast. That’s its job. Unfortunately for us, it will do so at the expense of what’s best for us. You’re going through pain for a reason. We learn our greatest lessons through pain. Do yourself a favor and feel it and be with it, and give yourself compassion to help ease it up until you get through. Because if you don’t, you’re going to run from it. You’re going to make some decisions that aren’t in alignment with who you are really here to be. You might avoid the pain by jumping back into a relationship, or with food, alcohol, or drugs. And then at some point in the future, this will happen all over again. Because you haven’t learned your lesson. You haven’t truly healed.” ~Michelle D’Avella

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‘When a feeling of sadness, despair, or anger arises, we should stop what we are doing in order to go home to ourselves and take care. We can sit or lie down and begin to practice mindful breathing. The daily practice of breathing can be very helpful. A strong emotion is like a storm, and when a storm is about to arrive, we should prepare so we can cope with it. We should not dwell on the level of our head and our thinking but bring all our attention down to the level of our abdomen. We may practice mindful breathing and become aware of the rise and fall of our abdomen. Breathing in, rising; breathing out, falling. Rising, falling. We stop all the thinking because thinking can make the emotion stronger.

We should be aware that an emotion is only an emotion; it arrives, stays for some time, and then passes, just like a storm. We should not die just because of one emotion. We should remind young people about this. We are much more than our emotions, and we can take care of them whether we are feeling anger or despair. We don’t think anymore, we just focus 100 percent of our attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen and in that moment we are safe. Our emotion may last five or ten minutes but if we continue to breathe in and out, we will be safe, because mindfulness is protecting us. Mindfulness is the Buddha in us, helping us practice belly breathing…

We are like a tree during a storm. If you look at the top of a tree, you may have the impression that the tree can be blown away or that the branches can be broken anytime, but if you direct your attention to the trunk of the tree and become aware that the tree is deeply rooted in the soil, then you see the solidity of the tree. The mind is the top of the tree, so don’t dwell there; bring your mind down to the trunk. The abdomen is the trunk, so stick to it, practice mindful, deep breathing, and after that the emotion will pass. When you have survived one emotion, you know that next time a strong emotion arises, you will survive again. But don’t wait for the next strong emotion to practice. It is important that you practice deep, mindful breathing every day.’

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Our Tender Places- Jeff Foster

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“It’s easy to say “I love you”.
It’s easy to talk about love,
and presence, and awareness,
and a deep acceptance of what is.

It’s easy to teach,
to say things that sound true,
and good, and spiritual.
But they are just words.
There is a world before words.

When anger surges, as it will, can you stay close, and not numb it, or lash out?

When fear bursts in the body, can you breathe into it,
and not fuse with it, or run away into stories?

When you feel hurt, rejected, unloved, abandoned,
can you make room for that feeling,
welcome it in the body,
bow to its intensity, its fire, its presence,
and not attack, or act out, or call people names?

Can you commit to not abandoning yourself now that you need your own love the most?

It’s easy to talk about love.
It’s easy to teach.
Until our old wounds are opened.
Until life doesn’t go our way.

What triggers you
is inviting you
to a deeper self-love.
Can you see?

There is no shame in this:
We all have tender places.”

~Jeff Foster

A Life of Unlimited Possibility

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Image by Heaup

“There are people that you will never win with, no matter what you do. The ones that always leave you feeling badly about yourself. I have known many. Often members of our family, they are both the ones that we must avoid, and the ones that are the most difficult to avoid. If we continue to make an effort to connect, we are left feeling terribly about ourselves. If we disconnect altogether, we are left feeling guilty, selfish, perhaps responsible for their isolation. Often we blame ourselves for the state of the connection, even though we rationally know that we would have remained heartfully connected with them if they had been respectful. We would have found a way, if there was a way. We just would have. What gets lost in the shame shuffle is the fact that some people are truly impossible. Not just difficult, not just requiring of healthy boundaries, but impossible to maintain a healthy connection with. And their impossibility is not lodged in our actions, or choices, or efforts. It is not a consequence of our imperfections, decisions or missteps. It is lodged in their own issues and limitations. It is lodged in where they are at. They are simply IMPOSSIBLE. And the sooner we face that, the sooner we can live a life of unlimited possibility.”

Jeff Brown 

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”― Pema Chödrön

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It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama of ones life, lost in the things that go ‘wrong’. Sometimes we mistakingly believe that we are the ‘mess’ of our lives, but we are not. Look up at the sky and remind yourself of the impermanent nature of weather; the clouds appear then disappear, storms come and go, but the sky, it is always there. This is who we really are.  Remind yourself that we are not the moving, shifting experience of life. We are Eternal. Know thyself.

There is Hope

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“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

 Rumi

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Letting Go is Self-care

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Photo by Katie Andelman Garner on Fivehundredpx

 “There is a big difference between giving up and letting go. Giving up means selling yourself short. It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It means removing toxic people and belief systems from your life so that you can make room for relationships and ideas that are conducive to your wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is imprisoning. Letting go is liberation. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care.

So the next time you make the decision to release something or someone that is stifling your happiness and growth, and a person has the audacity to accuse you of giving up or being weak, remind yourself of the difference. Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to live your life in the way that feels right. No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live. No one gets to decide what your life should look like or who should be a part of it. No one, but you.”

-Daniell Koepke