Raw realness of it all

Each day, I receive daily affirmation blogs, quotes, articles, etc. from various social media outlets. Every single day, they all speak of embracing and expanding Universal love, compassion, unity, and all of the world peace talk. This morning, I finally had the overarching question, “What is it really all about?” IT being this life we are given and experiencing. So…

**WHAT IS IT REALLY ALL ABOUT?**

Everyone’s definition of this question is different…that’s why we are all so unique; each with an individual path with diverse opinions based on the circumstances and environments. My circumstances are so vastly different for you in some ways and yet, exactly the same in others. We all feel the same emotions — joy, hurt, accomplishment, sadness, frustration and love — but we experience them on very different levels depending on what the Universe gives us. To me, I feel that it is “really all about” loving ourselves and connecting with others so that we can share and grow as ONE — experiencing all the magic Mother Earth offers with fulfillment and happiness. Over the past couple months of reading others’ ideas and encouragements of love, I’ve seen repeated themes. I’ve come to the conclusion of what I believe are FOUR main components to living a lifestyle full of self-love and connection with others:

1) Effort

2) Integrity

3) Boundaries

4) Forgiveness

In order to step out of any habitual rut and into a life of CHOICE versus excuses or giving up, we all must put in effort. I am coming to terms with the fact that effort doesn’t have to be saving the world, running a marathon, or overextending yourself. Effort can be pushing forward or actually conscious sitting back and observing without acting. In my yoga classes, I frequently teach how being actively relaxed is different from being passive. Whether that is in dolphin, warrior II or even at the end of the practice lying in savasana (corpse pose), it is my intention to teach the difference between being focused and strong in a pose (actively relaxed) but without tense rigidity of trying to getting “so deep” into a pose or relaxing completely and losing the mindfulness. In life, just like on the yoga mat, I find it is important that our effort is exerted in a sustainable manner, and learning when we need to use more or conserve for those days when we really need it.

Coupled with effort, integrity has to play a major role or else the effort can become inauthentic and driven from stress or fear. Once I know where I want to dedicate my effort, it is my ever-going goal to take responsibility for my actions and hold integrity in my words and interactions, so that I can more clearly and honesty connect with others. In addition to others, our friend integrity helps fuse our internal framework. Integrity builds confidence, quiets the ego, and offers a stronger sense of self because from this point of truthfulness, there is no room for doubt, regret, hatred, and all those words that make me cringe when I think about.

Up to this point, we are putting ourselves out into the world with effort and integrity for our own being. But, especially these days across all the external influences and social profiles we can create, our boundaries are becoming an increasingly important element. On an intimate level, within our closest relationships, the ability to draw personal boundaries of respect and trust can define the strength between two people. More importantly than the beings dear to our heart, our own heart and body is paramount. In order to have clear boundaries with others, we have to establish and practice them (again with integrity) with ourselves. I believe the challenge in this one is that as our life ebbs and flows, our boundaries have to fluctuate. The question is, how long will we do something one way before we recognize if we are needing to draw or possible erase the line??

In the effort stage, we don’t have to know ourselves that well…we can try and either succeed or fail without attachment. Then, with integrity, we have to start to have internal dialogue as to what our authentic self is craving. Our integrity can be a long path and sometimes a little disconnected, especially when we are facing difficult situations (most frequently with fear). I think it is when we hit the boundaries stage that we have to turn the dialogue into beyond small talk to a more serious conversation (a.k.a. past the dating stage with ourselves). Can we get back up after we fall, cross the line, say what we didn’t mean, hurt others, disappoint ourselves, and give ourselves a big hug?

And, finally, we come to….FORGIVENESS! This is the biggest obstacle and yet the key to opening the door to self-love and connecting with others. We can demonstrate effort from an obsession, then our integrity is driven from a misrepresented character. It becomes a vicious cycle where then our boundaries are most likely contrary to what we are needing at our core. Forgiveness is where we break open and say, “What I did or said was not true, I want to do differently next time and I am moving forward.” Without it, imperfection and love cannot be accepted. Forgiveness and acceptance act as synonyms. In my daily affirmation book this morning, it uttered a vital statement. “Stop worrying that people will find out who you really are. Instead, hope that they do. Be who you really are rather than who you think you should be!”

Build the integrity, set boundaries, put out the effort (knowing you may fall) and then forgive (yourself or others) and get back up. What we see on the other side of the hill is only as beautiful as we let it be…it can be paradise or a war zone. It’s your choice! What’s yours?!

With everlasting love!

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