Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Friday, September 24, 2010

There is More Love

Recently I attended a retreat of Unitarian Universalists of Mississippi. We were speaking of the joys and sorrows in our lives as a theme for the weekend. Out of sharing of stories and experiences we discovered a trend. The source of our pain is also the source of our joy. For instance, if we are feeling disconnected in relationships, it is because we long for connection. Our feelings of sorrow or discomfort aren't the fault of someone else, the society, or our species. We are responsible for our own feelings, which tell us what our deep longings are. Other examples include the loss of a relationship or someone who has died. We ache for love and intimacy.

So how do we "fix" our longings? If we long for love, and there isn't enough of it and we feel lonely or sad, then, quite simply, the "fix" is more love. We can't control the behavior of another, but each of us, even just for one second or one breath, can get in touch with our deepest longings of love, for example, and bring more love into the world by shifting from blame of others or ourselves into just being love and thinking love. As the hymn goes, there is more love, somewhere, and it is inside each of us.

So, here's the fix, simple in concept, but difficult to follow through on.. Thank goodness we have one another for support and to practice.

1. What are you feeling now.

2. Identify what you long for.

3. Breathe in and connect to this longing without judgment of others or yourself.

4. Find a way to bring about what you long for in yourself and in your relationships.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Letting Go

Life is such an onion, as is the work of Compassionate Communication. Just when I think I "get" that there is freedom in letting go of strategies, I realize that there are deeper layers. I discover that I have much, much more to let go of. For instance, I had chosen to lose a significant amount of weight a few years ago so that I could move more easily and with less pain. My goal was to be able to conduct field research in the tropics, and the extra weight was aggravating my arthritic knee, not to mention causing difficulty when carrying packs in hot and humid conditions. I was successful because I concentrated on the needs of health and contribution, and not on the feelings and thoughts that brought up shame and guilt. What I am finding out now is that having a "fit body" for me had turned into just one more strategy. Furthermore, contributing to field research and avian conservation became a strategy to meet my needs for mattering. These strategies were threatening to cage me and limit my choices. So I am working on letting go of these as strategies. In so doing, I find that I have more joy in life in this moment, and in fact, feel that I have greater choice and freedom to meet the needs of the moment that ultimately matter. Perhaps I'll gain weight and have to give up field research due to age and arthritis, however, by letting go of those "have to strategies" I might find a world of possibility opening up to me.

Where do you hold tight onto a strategy, only to find that this does not contribute to life in the way you had hoped?