I went to a workshop run by Spiritual Healing Past last night in order to learn more about the chakras (energy centers in the body). At the beginning of the workshop, the instructors were talking about how there are so many different belief systems, spiritual practices, and healing modalities around, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know which one is for you. When faced with this uncertainty, they said to ask yourself this simple question:
“Does the path this takes me on, allow me to love more each day?”
I think that this idea can be very easily extended to our every day lives; but first, lets come up with a working definition of love. I think of love in this context as that peaceful feeling of contentment that leads me to be open and warm with others and myself. Now ask yourself, does the work, social, diet, relationship, etc. paths that I’m on allow me to love more each day, or do I find myself being a person that I don’t want to be when I’m walking on any of those paths? Once you’ve identified and reflected on the different paths (“roles you play”), and you’re feeling cheeky, ask yourself:
What is different among the paths that are filled with love, vs. the paths that are more dark? What’s common? And more importantly, what can I control or change to shape the paths into the reality that I want for me?
One major caveat when doing this exercise is to remember to think long-term. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve been traveling down a darker path than I normally take this past week or two. As hard as it is, I recognize it, and I also know what led me to turn down it and why I am on it. And as much as I want to make a hard left and clammer back up into the sun, I’m not going to. I’ve found a shadow that needs to be explored because it’s been following me around and I’m finally [somewhat] ready to face it. So while this path is full of poison ivy and has actually led me to close up for the time being, I know it’s temporary. As long as I keep wading through the muck, this path will lead to a bend where the sun will come to me and I’ll end up on a path that is that much brighter than the one I was on before I took this turn. And as much as it’s uncomfortable right now, having that awareness and long-term vision, helps me to get my bootstraps up and keep on truckin’. After all, sometimes you have to whack away the weeds from gardens past, before you can begin sewing the seeds of the garden of the future.
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