Spirit Blog

Personal reflections on a spiritual journey...

Talking to Myself

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."   -Ian Maclaren

No amount of meditation will ever fully stop the incessant flow of thoughts that permeate my consciousness, so the only hope for peace of mind is to change those thoughts to something positive. After a lifetime of negative self-talk, switching gears can require quite a bit of attention.

It works when I repeatedly pause to notice the language that I use. It works when I commit to awareness of the present moment and how I want to represent my authentic self. It works when I respond with, "Thank you," as oppose to attempting to discredit one's compliment. And it works when I look in the mirror, into my own eyes, and speak with love.

When I see my reflection it is imperative that the words I use are kind. No more finding fault. No more criticism. I use affirmations and I use them regardless of whether I believe that they are true. These are the statements that matter to me:

I am beautiful. (Even if I wake up feeling less than.)

I am strong. (Even when I feel exhausted.)

I am healthy. (Even if my five senses exhibit evidence to say otherwise.)

I am loved. (Even if I am hurt.)

I am supported. (Even if I feel overwhelmed.)

I am safe. (Even when I am vulnerable.)

This is how I embrace myself. This is how I check in. This is how I do yoga. 

So how do you talk to yourself?

Next time you look in the mirror take a moment to pause, to be present, to be kind. 

Morning Ritual

So, in the morning, the baby is crying to be fed, my 3 year-old is shouting that the bunny from his alarm clock has woken up, therefore implying that he too should be allowed out of his room to start the day (immediately!), my 18-month-old daughter is often crying out for Daddy, the dog is barking to be let out, my husband is rushing to take a shower to get out of the house to work on time, and it is super easy for me to, immediately upon waking, feel completely overwhelmed and stressed. And it is super easy to say negative things internally or out-loud that can shape the course of the morning and then jade the rest of the day.  

Yet, I have a choice. I can choose to wake up differently.

If I take just a moment in bed, before moving, to say thank you (thank you for another day; for my breath; for my family; for this life) my day will be so much better and that is a self-proven fact.

It is all about how I view the situation. If I tell myself that it is hard, then it will be hard. If I tell myself that it is overwhelming, then it will be overwhelming. But if I tell myself that I am peaceful and loved, supported and blessed, then I will begin to face the day with radiance and light. Nothing will get me down because I can see it differently.

And you can see it differently too. So, tomorrow morning, before you jolt out of bed, pause there just long enough for a few deep breaths, for a few words of gratitude, for a few positive affirmations, and see the change. Make this your new morning ritual. 

"Perception is a choice and not a fact." ACIM

Coming Home

The meaning of home has changed for me. Until age 18, home was my lavender bedroom where I buried myself in journals, daydreaming past clouds of my father's pipesmoke and stacks of my mother's Times crossword puzzles. After a year in a dorm with my good friend near Columbus Circle, home shifted again to the basement of my Italian grandfather's house. I built an altar under the stairs and we shared space, first with an angel named Miriam from Guatemala, and then a few years later Damayanthi and Naleen, replaced her in the house on Cebra Avenue. Damayanthi, with only a few words of English, had just come from Sri Lanka and was pregnant within a few months. That was the first time I had heard a screaming baby in the middle of the night and I remember thinking that I could never be a mother. Not too long afterward, my Poppy died and I lived completely alone for the first time in a small apartment only a few miles from where I grew up. Then suddenly I was in love and moved again. Now I live with my husband and three very young children. There is almost always a baby crying within these walls and yet it just seems natural.

My living situations have shifted dramatically over the last two decades which got me thinking about the word "home." What is home? Is home a lavender bedroom or an altar under the stairs? No. Home is a feeling. It is whatever is left when I am finally alone, when all the sounds of the street are muffled and the children are asleep. It is what I find inside of myself. It is unchanging. My home has been the stillness, the inner peace, I have had access to since I was a child. It has always been the same beautiful space even when I didn't recognize it. It has taken a long time to make this inner space a comfortable home, a place where I feel safe and not alone even if no one else is around. For many years I was scared to be still, to be with myself. But no longer. Now I know that this is home. And the more I come back to that stillness, the more I sit and take long deep breaths, the more I attempt to quiet the mind, the better acquainted I come with my true home, my true self.

I spend a lot of time in my physical home, decorating, cleaning, organizing. But yet, when I care for my inner home with the same attention to detail, I suddenly seem to find happiness no matter what my outer circumstances bring.

Stop now and take a breath. Go home.