“What is this Karma!” a client cried out last week. “I have suffered enough, Life is supposed to get better. It should be onto the good stuff by now, what is this karma?“
When our world seems to be falling apart and uncomfortable, it is hard to recognize or accept that this is when we are growing and changing. What ever you would like to work on, consciously or unconsciously – the universe will send you opportunities to practice. Sometimes it takes crumbling and chaos to crack us out of where we are.
It was uncanny how my client’s circumstances were a reflection of my own. I sat up and listened, I was getting a lesson.
“Life is supposed to be . . .” and “Life should be . . .” are two statements that often get us into trouble. Life is the way it is, and the way you live with what is, (not, supposed to be or should be) makes all the difference.
Noted religious scholar Karen Armstrong cites the Golden Rule as the embodiment of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.
So to have compassion for oneself requires you to do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you. Or do unto yourself as you would do unto others who would do unto you. For me this entails being with others as they are. I realized I had to be with myself as I was.
Being with ourselves is all very well when we are calm and happy and life is good. But it is equally important and harder to be with our anger and to make room for our discontent. These are primal energies that require authentic responses.
Allowing unpleasant and uncomfortable energies to have their space and time to move through us consciously creates a healthy and balanced life. Acknowledging the existence of jealousy, resentment, rage, sadness, or helplessness so we can make new choices is part of their purpose for showing up.
This is what it is to be human. It is also what it is to be with the divine that moves through us. Whether we believe it or not, our job is to show up, to be the vessel for universal energy, to move through us. This takes practice.
I had great feeling for my client’s railing against her sense of the fate and direction her life was taking. I asked if she had any compassion for herself. Her response was “what is compassion anyway!”
Compassion, the ability to be with someone as they are, not trying to fix what is but allowing what is present the space to move. Activating consciousness to the energy that is asking to move out of your life, is key. Here are three steps how to being with yourself
1 Stop – Breathe – Take stock and acknowledge how you feel.
2 Stop – Breathe – Ask what does this emotion have to teach me?
3 Stop – Breathe – Wait, be witness to what will rise to the surface.
When the answer arises, it is a call to action for you. If you are feeling anxious, ask the anxiousness what it needs. This is acknowledging how you feel. This awareness will help you find the trigger to your anxiousness. When you discover what bothers you, how do you care for it?
You are the expert and know what you need. Being compassionate with yourself, happens first. Take the awareness and share it with a trusted friend, therapist, or mentor to continue moving this energy from the inside out.