Transforming Guilt: A Simple Practice

Mountain blessings
Mountain blessings

Mountain blessings

I returned from a week with my family at a mountain-top resort. We swam, hiked flower-filled mountain meadows, golfed, played tennis, tasted wild raspberries, drank fresh spring water, made s’mores over a campfire, and slept in comfy beds on clouds of pillows with mountain breezes and trickling creeks singing us to sleep. I felt gratitude for every moment and soaked it all up, not to waste any of it.

Under the gratitude rested a subtle layer of guilt. Others in the world suffered and struggled while I delighted and relaxed into nature, convenience, and beauty. Would I wish a worse life for myself and my family? Would that appease the guilt? Of course not. On the contrary. I wish a life of beauty for all. I wish for everyone to have access to pure spring water, abundant fresh food, and clouds of pillows on which to safely rest their heads.

Doing what we can to help others, to always contribute to the welfare of others, is vital. And we do this in many ways: acts of kindness, donations, volunteering, supporting education and commerce, restoring and protecting resources, and standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves. Despite our actions, however, moments of sweetness can often be soured by the knowing that others suffer. When guilt seeps into our moments of joy it serves as an opportunity to practice a more subtle contribution to the welfare of others.

Upon returning home from our brilliant holiday, I came across this quote from Jets√ľn Khandro Rinpoche as she referred to generating an “attitude of vastness”:

“…Seeing a beautiful flower while walking along, for example, one could immediately say, ‘May the beauty of this flower be experienced by all sentient beings; at this moment, may all beings open up to nature and be able to see this.’ If one stops to take a rest, one could say, ‘Through my resting today, may all sentient beings have the chance to rest awhile.’”

Guilt does not serve anyone, yet it can be a constant companion to many. Gratitude helps, yes, but including all of humanity in the beauty proves a stronger antidote to guilt.

Use guilt as an invitation to practice this subtle contribution and connection to others, this “attitude of vastness”. Don’t wait for guilt to show you the way. Practicing this sharing of beauty, rest, vitality, and joy extends not only to others but also gives us permission to deeply enjoy that which nurtures us, allowing us, in turn, to nurture those around us. An endless circle of nurturing.

May all beings be happy, may all beings be free.

The 12 days of detox; Body, Mind and Spirit. Day 11

Resources

On the eleventh day of detox, atONE gave to me…

eleven juicy journals,

 

Journaling

Empty that melon and make room for new thoughts while taking inventory of the old ones running through your mind- the old story running through your life. Your experiences to date, your ideas and stories laid out on a page, whether in prose, word webs, design or image, allow you to review where you’ve been and gain new insight and acceptance, even spark new inspiration. Contemplating and detailing events of your year and life gives you an appreciation for what you have learned, gathered and accomplished over the year and what no longer serves you, what you wish to relinquish. Honour what has been. Accept all of your experiences with love and compassion. Continue what speaks to you the most and bid a fond farewell to lessons learned.

Celebrate the success in the highs, and the growth in the lows. Start… one word on the page, where does it take you. Let that one word act as the yarn that, when pulled, unravels the tightly woven and structured contents of your mind, then your heart and your spirit. Weave the yarn upon the page and see the colours, texture and form of your life’s fabric and celebrate the wardrobe you wore this past year and the years before. Honour the fresh template for new designs to come with the new year. Fresh new colours, textures, styles and designs that promise to create the most inspiring, rich, vivid collection yet. Fabric not flowing? Try a gratitude list. Finding what you are grateful for this past year and in your current life will allow the yarn to spin freely. If words are fluid for you, let them gather in poetry or flow into rivers of chapter. If you prefer to draw or doodle, allow your year to reveal itself in images on the page.

Smile as you write. Cry as you draw. Laugh as you honour all the bits and pieces of you. Love your story, its moments of pure exquisite beauty and times of deep desperate struggle.

Of course any old paper will do or even that new-fangled digital device we all enjoy so much. I love honouring my writing with a juicy journal, however, a stunning little notepad or decorative diary with a lovely pen creates a sacred experience for me.

Wordle: new yearLight a candle, pour yourself a cup of tea and celebrate your past year on the pages of your journal. When done, you may consider a page or 2 of what you wish for your year ahead. Dream it into drawing and then draw it into being. You could even Wordle it and print it out to display on your wall, vision board, fridge or desk to keep your vision front and centre all year.

There are more than 11 juicy journals on this page from Handmade Expressions. Wherever you find your journal, enjoy selecting one unique to you for your year’s review. Perhaps an exquisite new journal will find its way into your stocking for your continued journalling through 2014.