We are forever planting seeds in our own lives and in the world, so it seems worth pausing (oh, there’s another great P word!) to notice the seeds we spread. Are they seeds of kindness and generosity, of love and possibility, of hope? Or are they seeds of doom and gloom (which, quite frankly, would be understandable these days)?
My yoga teacher reminded us that Loving Kindness practice plants seeds of kindness and compassion within us that hopefully we will carry into our days and lives. As we sit and take the time to offer to ourselves and others these universal wishes of peace, happiness, health, safety, and ease, we become fertile ground for embodying these qualities. From there we can more readily offer them out through our actions. We begin with ourselves, offering some variation of the following:
May I be peaceful.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be safe.
May I live with ease.
I must admit it can be hard for me to be fully present for this initial offering - to quiet myself enough to simply receive. My mind and heart automatically wander to others I want to send these wishes to. I forget the incredible value and absolute necessity of filling myself up first.
I do believe Loving Kindness practice is one of the most valuable practices we can engage in these days. As I wondered in my Kindness post, I can easily question if this practice matters or makes a difference. I have to believe it does. Because I can feel in my own being what a difference it makes to my heart and spirit. The act of taking time to offer love to myself and then out to others, known and unknown, feels like it creates a ripple… it feels like planting seeds of goodness in a world that is hurting.
And, so, there is the first practice I’m considering. What other practices will support us in troubled times? What practices will support us to move toward possibility? And, what does “practice” even mean?
Practice, to me, means that we will try or do something, we will likely forget or drift away from this thing we are doing, and then we return again. It does not mean that we will be perfect, even with all the practice in the world, but simply that we will remember and come back. Over and over again.
Meditation is a practice. In it we welcome ourselves where we are as we are. We allow our thoughts and feelings to be what they are and to come and go, naturally, without force or harshness. When we find we’ve drifted away for whatever reason, we return to our anchor (often the breath, but it could also be the sensation of your hands or feet, the sounds you’re hearing, or to a word or mantra), and begin again. In that permission to drift and return as often as happens, there is a gentleness. And so, meditation is a very good practice to support our way of being in life. When we drift from how we’d like to be, we remember, we adjust, we return, and we begin again.
Living and loving are practices. Human is messy, and so we offer ourselves compassion and forgiveness as we find our way.
Self-care is a practice. It’s not something we’ve been taught growing up, and so we need to find our way as adults to what it means for us to care for ourselves, moment by moment. We often begin with gung-ho intentions and goals, and inevitably life happens and we become less diligent. It’s ok. In that moment of noticing that we’ve drifted off our intended course, we awaken, and we have the chance to return and begin again.
Gratitude is a practice. It takes awareness to pause and notice what we’re grateful for. To take in the beauty of this moment and appreciate it. To reflect on the life we have and name what we are thankful for. Even in hard times to find what’s still here that we can appreciate. What can give us a tiny lift or glimmer of hope toward the next step.
What other practices do you have that support you, that help you plant the seeds you’d like to in your life, and to move into possibility?
Possibility is perhaps one of the most under-rated beliefs we can tap into. We tend to look at probability and get stuck there. We forget that all new creations began with someone taking a risk, daring to believe that something might be possible. I recently listened to a really great conversation between Emmanuel Acho and Brene Brown about this very thing in their episode of “Unlocking Us,” entitled Being Illogical. Please give it a listen if you’d like to bring more possibility thinking into your days!
Had the Wright Brothers let probability stop them, we would not be able to travel across the country in a matter of hours. Had Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr. let probability stop them, they would not have taken a stand for the rights of people of color. Possibility requires a bit of imagination, a bit of daring, and a bit of willingness to play, experiment, or take a stand.
I believe possibility opens us to the life that we desire to be a part of. That opening to possibility is where everything begins. Our minds only know what’s happened before. Our imaginations can tap into an unseen and unexperienced vision. It’s this energy that lights a fire within us to keep on showing up, to do the hard work of healing our own hurts, and contributing to the world in the way we’re called.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Please join me in planting seeds of compassion, love, kindness, and hope. In practicing things that nourish and nurture your heart and spirit so that you can show up with possibility in your soul to be part of the change you desire to see in your life or in the world.