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Acceptance and Love NOW

August 16, 2012

How simple it is to see that all the worry in the world cannot control the future. How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now. And that there will never be a time when it is not now.
-Gerald Jampolsky

Many times in our lives we all will experience unexpected challenges we must confront. Challenges which can pull us back into the past and keep us there, or have us worry so much about what will be.

Just recently I experienced one “of these” during a very unexpected time. But since I teach people how to find joy and opportunity regardless of what life throws them, I found it serendipitous that I was placed at a resort called “now.” If you know me well you know that I don’t believe in coincidences. Each time I saw that word “now” I was forced to bring myself to the present moment and inquire within, “How can I release the worry that I’m feeling right now? And how can I choose a more productive thought or action now?”

We all know that releasing worry and choosing a new thought is much harder than it seems, especially when the situation feels so heavy. Does it really work? My answer is YES, but you have to be just as dedicated to the emotions and truth of the new thought (or the real, love-based thought) then of the worry itself (false & fear-based).

Some of my “gurus” share these strategies…the very ones I did my very best to employ during this challenging time:

Eckhart Tolle– the king of living in the “now” -tells us that if we are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm then we are creating suffering for ourselves and others. For many reasons, my only choice in this specific scenario was to be in a mode of acceptance. Tolle states that  “On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into this world.” In that moment I could not choose joy and I could not choose enthusiasm, but I was very conscious of the situation, the feelings of the individuals involved, and to my part and my choices. I chose to accept the whole kit and caboodle. I truly sat with what was–good or bad.

Byron Katie tells us that suffering is optional. Whenever we experience a stressful feeling- – anything from mild discomfort to intense sorrow, rage, or despair (I went through the entire range!)- – we can be certain that there is a specific thought causing our reaction, whether we are conscious of it or not. When we believe our thoughts instead of what is really true for us, we experience the kinds of emotional distress that is suffering.

Katie’s work goes much deeper and stems from her personal pain. Her work helps us do what Tolle speaks of- –  getting to what really is true. Her experience helps to make concrete the TRUTH that everything (including each and every thought, action, belief, etc.) comes either from LOVE or FEAR. If we consciously choose to be in a state of acceptance and love WHAT IS IN THIS MOMENT even if it is painful, our fear dissipates and what remains is love…love for ourselves, for others, and for whatever life brings. It also allows forgiveness of self and others to manifest, something which is very difficult. Katie says that loving what is becomes as easy and natural as breathing.

Finally, Katie shares her simple, yet powerful inquiry process, which I used during this personal crisis. Here it is:

Deeply question the following about the feeling or thought:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it is true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

There is one final powerful step to this process (the turn around), which helps you to take responsibility for your thoughts and really understand their intention, but that would require a much longer post!

Here’s a very brief “on the job” example of using steps 1-4 (with a few enhancements):

Thought: “He is always condescending to me in front of others, and clearly never wants me to advance. I am stuck!”

Ask: Is that true? Really true?

“Well, not always, I guess. Sometimes he can be supportive of my ideas, but I always feel like he will put me down if he has the chance. I guess I also have the choice to leave and not feel stuck.”

Ask: How do I respond when I hear/say that thought?

“I always feel like I have to be defensive; I am really angry for what feels like an eternity. I have seen others act in this way and I don’t want to be this way or be perceived as a difficult person who has to fight all the time.”

Ask: Can you see a reason why to drop the thought?

“Yes. I would like to drop this thought. I guess if I think this way all the time and expect the worst I always will feel defensive, angry, and stuck.”

Ask: Who would you be without the thought?

“I would be more relaxed, happy, and confident in who I am regardless of anyone above or below me.”

Etc…

Try it for yourself with a thought/situation that may be pulling you out of the “now” and into sorrow, worry or pain. Spend time in your own dialogue when answering the questions. You may go back and forth for a bit, after all, Katie calls this process The Work!

How can choosing acceptance and love over fear in the “now” move you forward today?

When you are present in the moment, you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.

Then true intelligence arises, and also love.
-Eckhart Tolle

Recently, I was asked to say a few words of inspiration at a wedding. I really enjoyed putting words to paper for this special occasion, and it seems as though my words did inspire a few to look at their relationships in a new way.

So, for my April blog, I thought I would share them with my greater audience, and hopefully, keep the dance moving for a bit longer.

Enjoy….

Each time I attend a wedding I can’t help but to be overcome with feelings of love and joy. And in particular, I get to thinking of the magic of relationships. Without the relationship we have with the Divine and the relationship we have with our parents, we would not even exist. That, in-and-of itself is magical.

I also think of my own marriage of almost 15 years and what the priest said to us that still to this day has been one of the keys to our amazing relationship… He said, “Don’t compete; complete!”

This is a transformational action, a way of living, and it can be applied to ALL of our relationships.

Just imagine how our relationships and interactions, whether personal or professional, could improve if we entered into them with this intention; one that builds and unites, instead of one that separates and breaks down.

Don’t compete, complete.

So, how do we go about completing each other? Well, therein lies the adventure. The dance of life and relationships. For in each moment we have the opportunity to grasp some fulfillment, joyfully, while allowing others to do the same. We can ebb and flow, giving and receiving, leading and following, like two tango dancers.

So let’s dance in life. Let’s dance enthusiastically!

As one of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, tells us,

“Enthusiasm comes from a Greek word that means to be possessed by a God. With enthusiasm you will find that you don’t have to do it all by yourself, in fact, there is nothing of significance you can do by yourself.”

So, in closing, poet, Rumi, helps me wrap this up nicely by questioning,

Does a drop stay still in the ocean?
Move with the entirety,
And with the tiniest particular.
Be the moisture in an oyster
That helps to form one pearl.

May your relationships be the best dances of your life!

Namaste,
Monique

The Beauty of Today

May 9, 2010

Me and My Babies - Mother's Day 2010

What I love most of my Relaxed Book Club is that it is RELAXED. Today, I thank myself for knowing myself so well. Yes, you may giggle. I am giggling as well as I type these words, because I knew that I needed to make this initiative “relaxed” for those occasions, like today, when I need to step back, breathe, and be only in the NOW.

This week I have chosen not to blog about what I am supposed to. That can wait one more week. Today, I choose to honor myself as a busy woman; a mother on Mother’s Day. It is a sacred day for me. Today, I look more deeply at my children, in awe, and give thanks for the opportunity to be their mother.

Today, also, I wish to share with you a short passage from an article in O’s tenth anniversary issue, written by Eckhart Tolle. I believe we all can benefit from this passage, but today, I dedicate it to all mothers, who sometimes, need to try a bit harder than most to be in the present. Enjoy!

Where to find that goodness…In all the things that we tend to overlook: feeling the gentle breeze on your skin, the sunlight filtering through the clouds, the sound of the rain, the wagging tail of a dog, the shiny apple you are about to bite into. You notice the in-and-out flow of your breath, the feeling of aliveness inside your body. And then there is the beautiful stillness behind it all, which is deep within you. It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.

So, let’s celebrate our anniversaries (I substitute this for “special occasions”) as they arise. What we are really celebrating, though, is the present moment, the doorway into Spirit, and all there ever is.

Enjoy Today. Enjoy Now.

Namaste,
Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.