Yet here are three treasures
That I cherish and commend to you:
The first is compassion,
By which one finds courage.
The second is restraint,
By which one finds strength.
And the third is unimportance,
By which one finds influence
Lao Tze, Tao Te Ching: Chapter 67**
In this next phase of getting back to the new version of our old lives there lies great possibility.
We have a unique opportunity to integrate the healthier habits and understanding we have developed this last year, and to respond with new and wiser priorities as we rebuild our lives. We can redefine what is important in our lives in real ways. Times of turbulence, loss and disruption have these possibilities built into them.
Along the way successes and failures are built into the journey as well. The way to ultimate success in achieving any goal is to persist, learning from mistake and enjoying the journey amidst the challenges.
Sometimes the mind can get in the way. It can turn its healthy and necessary abilities of reason, analysis, assessment and healthy choice making against ourselves in the form of self-judgement and stressful fear-based thinking. This can narrow our perspective, create undue pain and stress that shrinks our world and can erode our sense of self.
The antidote to this may be a faint notion at first, arising in our more quiet moments of reflection or in our most difficult moments. It is a sense that that while the mind may limit and seem to turn against us. the heart has room for it all.
In Yoga and related healing and self-care practices the foundation of our work on ourselves is self-forgiveness and an increasingly judgement free acceptance of ourselves as we are. This is often the hardest step to take it seems as we begin our journey there is a pressing need to for change that draws us to these practices in the first place.
We can come to be continually reminded and more accepting of the idea in grieving our losses and rebuilding our lives that our process is often difficult, filled with ups and downs and are learning experiences. Marking improvement and progress can be more helpful in beginning, remaining hopeful and persisting on the journey toward ultimate success than wrestling ourselves and reality of the moment along the way.
In the words of Lao Tze:
Compassion is the finest weapon and best defense.
If you would establish harmony,
Compassion must surround you like a fortress.
Lao Tze, Tao Te Ching: Chapter 68**
When compassion with ourselves leads the way in our lives it can allow stress to dissolve and our work on ourself to become more the work with ourselves. That sense of separation and struggle can melt no matter the circumstance. It is a simple and very powerful practice that when we find ourselves in a battle with ourselves and others, in that moment of recognition, we let the mind sink into the heart. This is compassion in action and can in the battle. If is possible, even if for just that moment, to be more open hearted and open minded. It can plan a seed of our evolution helping us arrest the stressful cycle and help transform to better understand and enjoy the challenges and triumphs that come along the way.