If you are looking for quicker, more efficient means to improve your life, you are not alone. Not all of us intuitively know how best to care for ourselves. We could all use some extra help navigating an increasingly complicated daily environment.
Self-care is not always intuitive or logical – sometimes it is illusive and enigmatic. At its worst, seekers get lost in an endless cycle looking for a system, teacher, blog or ancient secret as the perfect cure-all. The bad news: there is no magic bullet. The good news: there are some radically simple ways to improve the quality of your life that are absolutely free. Here are three of my favorite life lessons learned in my spiritual awakening:
1) Accept that you are indeed responsible for your own life.
You have a choice in your attitude and actions. It’s easy to fall prey to allowing externalities to dictate our perceptions and responses. “He made me so angry.” “I was depressed all weekend because my team lost the game.” “Who does she think she is to talk to me that way?” “That meeting Friday ruined my whole weekend.”
You are entitled to experiencing and processing negative emotions. The key difference here is subtle. You must own your emotional response. No one can make you do, say or believe anything without your say so.
The shift here is an expansion of awareness. As you become a witness to your own being, you begin to see where you are giving your power away. Reclaim that power. It offers you the opportunity to make changes. As long as someone or something else is responsible for your less-than status, you are stuck. Get unstuck. Own your part. Happiness and joy come from within.
2) It is okay to receive help.
No one is so strong, brave, powerful, secure or popular that they are totally independent in every way. Culturally, we are chided if we fall short of a goal or expectation. We are to be on point at all times, or else we risk being labeled a loser. These subtle messages come in from many directions. It’s simply not true. It’s an artifice – an abstract ideal perpetuated unknowingly as encouragement to achieve the American Dream.
It is my spiritual belief that all things are connected. From the smallest subatomic measures to the infinite expanses of light years in outer space, we are only beginning to full comprehend the dynamic relationships of all that is. You don’t have to be a super genius theoretical astrophysicist to work with this premise, though.
So what do you need to know? You are not alone – ever. It may seem pretty desolate and competitive, but you have options. Even if it’s moral support, advice or someone to listen to you vent. Speak up for yourself and ask. It is a very empowering experience to ask and to receive.
3) Be kind to others.
This gem has been called golden, platinum and a host of other illuminated qualities. The basic nature of this practice is what eludes most people. It starts by recognizing the life force, the humanity in us all. Treat other people with dignity and respect. No matter what the circumstances are, we are one people.
It is easy to apply this to people like us or with whom we are already on good terms. But, to truly unleash the transformative nature, it should be applied to all people equally. It helps to compare in, looking for similarities rather than differences.
And before you justify the “yea, but…” with aggressors, attackers and other offenders, remember that I am suggesting you treat them with dignity and respect. I am not implying to overlook transgressions and crimes, or abstain from seeking justice. You can do all of these while remaining civil.
We could theorize and examine many ways to implement this practice, but it always reduces back to the simple premise of being kind to others. Don’t overthink it. Pause for a moment for responding to someone or a situation to check-in with yourself about the kindness factor. Will your response convey your integrity and values?
Implementing these practices takes a dedicated effort for full integration. They are more than happy little thoughts, or nice sentiments to share as a meme. They are truly transformative and gain their power through the repetition of daily application.
Nate Metz is a shamanic healer in coastal Delaware. Through his training and cultivated relationship with nature, he is able to identify the spiritual energy connected to life’s circumstances (dis-ease, relationships, imbalances) to begin the process of healing. His practice combines core shamanic methods with a study of Buddhism, Yoga and Bön and incorporates crystals, essential oils, journey work, channeled energy, symbols and animal medicine. He offers a wide range of healing services and products both in person and online.
Nate is an Addiction Alchemy™ Field Guide, leading a monthly healing circle for recovering peoples designed to reclaim personal power and foster a closer relationship with spirit. Nate recently celebrated his 5th year clean and sober in May 2015.
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