I love what Pema Chodron says about compassion being grounded in mutuality, self-knowledge and self-acceptance:

“Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

We often think that in order to be compassionate, connected and aware that we somehow need to become a sanitized and “nicer” version of ourselves.

We read through all these self-help books and programs, internalize yet another template of what we are supposed to be, what we would be doing if we were “healthy” or “healed” or “compassionate” or “nonviolent” and then we try to mold ourselves into that template.

Of course, we want to have an inspiring and grand vision of what we are aspiring to, but the real work is not about becoming some sanctimonious embodiment of a culturally-constructed template of the enlightened human.

Coming from that consciousness, we become tighter, more constricted and remain fearful of the judgments of others … which only disconnects us even more and leads others to be wary of us.

Remember, the work of our hearts is about being REAL and INTEGRATED and AUTHENTIC and PLAYFUL!

When you encounter something you don’t like inside of yourself…

  • Practice relaxing, allowing and embracing it.

  • Slow down.

  • Know that this aspect of yourself needs to be seen, heard and acknowledged. Don’t recoil in disgust.

  • Move in. Witness. Listen. Love.

Rilke put it so beautifully:

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

In what ways can you practice bringing more love to yourself this week?

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