Portsmouth A Love Story

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mindful Speech


I read an interesting blog post from the Velveteen Rabbi (Rabbi Barenblat) about mindful speech. The import of the post was that mindful speech can be refraining from saying/writing things that are hurtful or saying/writing speech in a way that is more restrained than a lot of the speech that occurs in our instantaneous, internet connected world. She has a link to an article about shaming and the damage that it does to those who are piled upon by the shaming and outrage community. She starts her post with the apparently new practice of some Christians of taking a fast from social media. She prefers the idea of moderating tone rather than a complete fast—thinking for a bit before posting something mean or snarky. She points out that some people also do this during Elul.

Rabbi Barneblat tries to ask: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it important? I believe that I have seen this or a very similar list of questions before. My book co-creator, Linda Lewis, and I describe Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be this way:

Opening the Heart provides a way for those seeking to find their heart's stories and bring them to light as well as grounding deeply into the self. As workshop participants have said, the stunning photographs and text of the images provide a path to:

• bring openness into your life and heart
• go on a journey unlike any other
• travel into your heart with ease
• build a new relationship with yourself

Opening the Heart can also help you to:

Be Mindful
Be Heartful
Be Compassionate
Be Kind”

The result of all this can be taking that second, deep breath before we speak or write something vitriolic, hurtful and devastating or just plain snarky. Yes, there is a place in life for seeking justice in relation to the situations that cause outrage, but I believe that this can be done without snarkiness, without putting someone’s life, home, family, and work in jeopardy. Can we at least ask ourselves whether we would be alright with someone doing the same to us?

I suppose it can be asked as the question “How do we want to be in relationship to ourselves, to others, to the world, and the divine?” This is another way that working with Opening the Heart helps us find our way, find how we want to be, find the story that lives within us, and find the story that we want to tell. And, in finding the story of how we wish to be, moving into that way, and telling that story in the world can lead us to compassion for ourselves (meditation number 54) and compassion for others (meditation image number 53). Having compassion means finding a way to bring about internal change and transformation. It means succinctly, at times, giving yourself or someone else a break. We tend (including me) to be too hard on ourselves, too judgmental about what we have said or done or not said or done. We can carry this tendency to be harsh and judgmental into our world view and our view of others. I do try to remind myself that I do not know what is going on in someone else’s life.

  The expanded text for meditation image number 53 says:

"Compassion for Others.

Part of the path of life is to learn to have compassion for others. Compassion helps us grow, to change and to heal. We cannot as easily bring these things to others without first learning compassion.

What does compassion feel like? Does it have a sound, a taste, a color? How do you sense it? What can you do to help it blossom out into the world?"


The expanded text for meditation image number 54 says:

"Compassion for yourself.

The wellspring of compassion is deep within ourselves. We create more and more compassion by giving it to ourselves, and then by giving it to others. Nurture compassion for yourself first because you cannot as easily give it to others if you do not give it yourself. After all, how will you recognize compassion for others if you do not recognize it for yourself?

In what ways can you nurture compassion for yourself? What can you do to know it when you “see it?”

This may seem a somewhat circuitous path to talking about mindful speech, but I believe one of the ways that mindful speech rises up out of us is through mindfulness and heartfulness, through compassion for ourselves and others. I think that Thomas Moore, author of Writing in the Sand and other books, psychologist and former priest, might say that it takes a shift in vision (Metanoia as he calls it in his book), sometimes a radical shift in vision for some of us.

One of the practical ways to practice mindful speech (and, frankly mindful action) is to practice the Golden Rule—acting towards others as you would like them to act towards you. I believe I read somewhere that almost all religions have a variant of the Golden Rule. It is easy—too easy some would say—to respond, especially anonymously, on the internet to something we read that outrages us, to make someone’s life miserable by publishing their private information on line (so that others can find them and go after them as well), to say the nasty things that we might bite our tongue not to say if we were standing in front of them. It can be too easy to yell at the store clerk about a policy they did not set, not take a breath and think that the other person we are dealing with may be having a terrible day. Or jump in with advice that is not want and has not been asked for.


As meditation image number 1 says: “Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly. You can breathe through anything.” Taking a moment to breathe just might keep us from saying the unmindful thing and cause hurt. Am I perfect in all of this? No, of course not. But I do try.








Kathryn Samuelson, as an intuitive, channels your angels and guides who are delighted to connect with you, and who are uniquely suited to answer your questions and address your concerns. She can receive information as to who your angels and guides are, as well as receiving information for you about family, health, job and career, and life path among other issues and concerns. In her life coaching practice, she welcomes all clients, but specializes in helping those who are undergoing a transition in their lives—whether it is a move, a job or career change, a loss of some type, or some other transition issue. She was certified as a life coach in 2007 by the University of New Hampshire. Kathryn also leads workshops based on the set of meditation images and text contained in the book called Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be, which is available as a paperback and as an e-book. She created this book with her friend, Linda Lewis. For more information: www.kathrynsamuelson.com, klsamuelsonATyahoo.com, or 781-799-733

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Change Your Language, Change Your Story



I realized after working with a client the other day how much I like helping clients change their language that they use about themselves and their lives as the language used changes the story that they tell themselves as in some sense the language someone uses to tell their story defines themselves. When a story changes, different actions become possible, new ways of being can arise.

I have said for a long time that language has meaning, but have meant more than that a word has a definition. The definition is the denotation, the strict or literal meaning of a word. But, there is also a connotation—the suggested or implied meaning—to the words, the language that we chose to describe ourselves, our circumstances, our story. We have all met people who we would describe as a victim. Yes, that person has had a terrible thing happen to them, but it is as if because of that terrible incident they have defined him or herself as a victim, as if that terrible thing were happening over and over again every day. The incident has become who the person is rather than being just a part of that person’s life story. That person, in some sense, becomes debilitated or almost debilitated. She or he has trouble functioning and suffers from the incident every day. Others seem to be able to create language that defines such an incident as something that has happened to them, but not as a definition of themselves.

Most of us, fortunately, do not suffer in this way; however, all of us, including me, at times use language about ourselves that can become a block to moving forward; that sets limits or boundaries on what we think we can accomplish; and that stands in the way of our being able to see possibilities. We will say that I cannot do this or that; that I am unlucky, or that I am not ever able to finish something, for example. We can see the potential new ways of being and acting when we dissolve those limitations and see that options for acting and ways of being in fact actually exist in our lives and in the world.

One of the things I asked this client to do was the exercise called I am of Value exercise contained in my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. This exercise is based on image number 51 contained in Part 1 of Opening the Heart. I asked her to do this exercise because her default language around disappointments was that she is unlucky, that she cannot do things correctly, and the like. It was also clear that she is undervaluing herself and not acknowledging to herself how bright and talented she is.

This is meditation image number 51:



The expanded text in Part 2 of Opening the Heart is:

“You are the Beloved.

The One has created you. The One is infinite love, and, therefore, you are the Beloved of the One. This is the main piece of knowledge in your heart. Accept it. Acknowledge it.

In what ways can you fully live with this knowledge? What can you do to wholly, accept, integrate, and acknowledge this fact?”

The exercise I asked my client to do has you meditate on this image to breathe deeply, go deeply into your heart and ask it what of you is of value about you. Then you list the things it tells you. The point of the exercise is to help you see yourself literally with language of the heart; to bring language that describes you differently than that you usually use into your life; and then to help you integrate that new language into your consciousness.

One of the points of this exercise is to move out of our egos and to move into that deepest self that resides in or, at least, communicates with us through our hearts. We, in modern Western culture, have been taught that mind, intelligence resides only in the brain. But this has not always been true across time. It is my understanding (and I could certainly misunderstand this) that the ancients Egyptians thought that intelligence or wisdom resides in the heart. (And, I have had experiences of wisdom for myself coming from places other than my brain/mind.)

I was quite amazed at what some of the things my heart told me when I did this exercise. The part of me that is an introvert that does not want to feel as if I am bragging is a bit shy about sharing the list that my heart gave me. However, as I do ask people to share what they receive, if they feel comfortable, during workshops, I will ask that part of me to understand about sharing with others. This is the list that my heart gave me that it values about me: laughter, intelligence, nurturing, sparkle, wisdom, depth of feeling, clear-sightedness, peace, flame, willingness to work, belief in miraculousness, stick-to-itiveness, and too many things it would take too long to count.

If you choose to do this exercise, I believe that one of the ways that you know that the list comes from your heart is when you receive words and phrases that you would not consciously choose to describe yourself. Then, please work to integrate these things into your conscious being, change your language about yourself and, thus change your story.

Kathryn Samuelson, as an intuitive, channels your angels and guides who are delighted to connect with you, and who are uniquely suited to answer your questions and address your concerns. She can receive information as to who your angels and guides are, as well as receiving information for you about family, health, job and career, and life path among other issues and concerns. In her life coaching practice, she welcomes all clients, but specializes in helping those who are undergoing a transition in their lives—whether it is a move, a job or career change, a loss of some type, or some other transition issue. She was certified as a life coach in 2007 by the University of New Hampshire. Kathryn also leads workshops based on the set of meditation images and text contained in the book called Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be, which is available as a paperback and as an e-book. She created this book with her friend, Linda Lewis.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Journey Continues



I wrote in a previous post about how working with bringing Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be brought me to Vermont. I feel that both the work with Opening the Heart and the move to Vermont are having a continuing transformational effect on me. I made a decision before I moved that I would be myself, but I would also be different. Frankly, I had, at some point, hunkered down in Massachusetts and stopped going new places, stopped exploring, stopped reaching out to new people. I feel that that period in my life was, in some ways a bardo, as Lama Surya Das called it in his book Buddha Standard Time. I did continue my work as a life coach and as an intuitive. I continued working with Linda on Opening the Heart. I still saw the people I know there and participating in the same activities. Yet, I rested from being, in some ways and certainly ironically, out in the world and being deeply connected to others and the world.

I think that working to bring Opening the Heart into being kept me connected in subtle ways that I am still discovering. It certainly helped bring me to Vermont. It helped me imagine myself here and helped me listen to my heart’s story, which ultimately is one of deep connection and expansiveness, not the contraction that I seemingly underwent. It is possible that I needed to go through that contraction to come out into expansion. This would be a prime example of working with the seeming dualities that underlie Opening the Heart.

I continue to work with Opening the Heart, but I also work with it in a new way. I am writing poems based on the meditation texts, the plants in the book and the exercises in the book. I do try to write the poems in much the same manner as the texts in the book, letting the words flow through to me from the universe. I notice that the poems feel forced to me if I try to write them without this flow. So, for me, this is another way to take myself to a deeper level with the book. It is, for me another tool to find my way using the book, to reach the transformation that I know it can bring me and others, to be fully in my heart.

Linda and I have described Opening the Heart this way:

Opening the Heart provides a way for those seeking to find their heart's stories and bring them to light as well as grounding deeply into the self. As workshop participants have said, the stunning photographs and text of the images provide a path to:

• bring openness into your life and heart
• go on a journey unlike any other
• travel into your heart with ease
• build a new relationship with yourself

Opening the Heart can also help you to:

Be Mindful
Be Heartful
Be Compassionate
Be Kind

It is a method for those seeking to find their hearts’ stories and bring them into the light. Unique in the worlds of meditation and transformative experience, these images open the gateway to perceiving the self and the world from the center point of one’s being.”

Each poem is another step on this journey of using the book as a tool as Linda and I have described. Each poem reveals another layer. Each poem reveals a new way of seeing.

To go back to my promise to myself. I want to remain my fundamental self, doing the work I have been brought to do and to work with the people who can use my skills. I want Opening the Heart to move more and more out into the world and help people. I want to keep integrating the lessons that I learned during my journey to moving to Vermont, but I also want to create an expansiveness to my life that did not exist before. I have joined a group called Osher through Dartmouth and am taking a class called Deepening a Sense of Place. I have asked some friends to help me do a grounding ritual. I am reaching out to people and asking to spend time with them. I now go monthly to Tea and a Movie at my local library. I look for new activities.

A mediation pair in the book speak to the current part of my journey. Meditation image number 49 is:




The expanded text in Part 2 of the book is:

“In the eyes of the Universe, at this moment, you are perfect for who you are.

An entity by the name of O’Brien once said to me: ‘In the eyes of the Universe, at this moment, you are perfect for who you are.’ Knowing this fact is quite liberating, because it says that the Universe does not expect us to be other than who we are at any particular moment. At any particular time, you are called only to be the best you that you be for your path at this moment.

Who are you at this moment? What is the best you that you can be at this moment? Can you allow yourself this gift?”

Its companion meditation is mediation image number 50:



The expanded text in Part 2 of Opening the Heart is:

“Do not stand still. Do not be static. Grow. Heal. Change.

While the Universe, at any particular moment, sees us a perfect for who we are, it wishes that we move, grow, change, and heal so that we can continue to be the best we can be. This is because, as I believe, part of our path here on earth is growth, healing and change.

What can you do to not be static, to grow, to change, and to heal? What do you need to bring into your life to do this?”

I have yet to write the poems to go with these mediation images. I look forward to what new perspective I will receive when I do. And, one way to pose the ultimate question from the book, is how do I do or be both, navigate between the two, or rather navigate the two at the same time?

 

Kathryn Samuelson, as an intuitive, channels your angels and guides who are delighted to connect with you, and who are uniquely suited to answer your questions and address your concerns. She can receive information as to who your angels and guides are, as well as receiving information for you about family, health, job and career, and life path among other issues and concerns. In her life coaching practice, she welcomes all clients, but specializes in helping those who are undergoing a transition in their lives—whether it is a move, a job or career change, a loss of some type, or some other transition issue. She was certified as a life coach in 2007 by the University of New Hampshire. Kathryn also leads workshops based on the set of meditation images and text contained in the book called Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be, which is available as a paperback and as an e-book. She created this book with her friend, Linda Lewis. For more information: www.kathrynsamuelson.com, klsamuelsonATyahoo.com, or 781-799-733

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Compassion for Others; Compassion for Ourselves



A constant question, a constant search through the ages for many people, I believe, is how we reach that place in ourselves where we learn to have compassion for others as well as having compassion for ourselves and to act on that in the world and not just hold it within ourselves. I believe that, if we hold compassion within ourselves, we cannot use compassion towards ourselves and others. I am not a Buddhist, but it is my understanding that working towards being compassionate is one of its core principles.

I am rereading a book called Writing in the Sand by Thomas More. It is his reimagining of the meaning of the Gospels in a seemingly more radical mode. One of Jesus’ sayings, in part, is about loving your neighbor as yourself—which is not a romantic or passionate love. I think that it is a
compassionate love is what is called for by this saying. Thomas More says that Jesus calls for Metanoia – or a deep shift in vision. It is through a deep shift of vision within ourselves that can help us find and express compassion for others and ourselves. I would include the earth in the category of others, and that we should strive to treat the earth with compassion.

I am sure that if we look deeply at other religions and philosophies a common core of belief is treating others well and acting from a place of kindness and compassion.

One of the tools for finding compassion within ourselves is Opening the Heart: Mediations on How to Be. Meditation image number 53 of Opening the Heart: says: “Compassion for others.”

Meditation image number 53 is: 

The text contained in part 2 for meditation image number 53 of Opening the Heart states:

“Part of the path of life is to learn to have compassion for others. Compassion helps us to grow, to change and heal. We cannot as easily bring these things to others without first learning compassion.

What does compassion feel like? Does it have a sound, a taste, a color? How do you sense it? What can you do to help it blossom out into the world?”

The other half of the pair in Opening the Heart is “Compassion for yourself.”

Meditation image number 54 is:

The text contained in part 2 for meditation image number 54 is: 

“The wellspring of compassion is deep within ourselves. We create more and more compassion by giving it to ourselves, and then by giving it to others. Nurture compassion for yourself first because you cannot as easily give it to others if you do not give it to yourself. After all, how will you recognize compassion for others if you do not recognize it for yourself?

I what ways can you nurture compassion for yourself? What can you do to know it when you ‘see it?’ 

How can we start this process of finding compassion for ourselves that will enhance our ability to have compassion for others? Possibly by forgiving ourselves first. Possibly by working on the judgmental language we use about ourselves. Then, or possibly almost simultaneously, stopping the use of judgmental language about others and letting go of what we hold against others. I suppose that one way to look at it is giving yourself a break and giving others a break. We do not always know what motivates others or what is affecting them.

I am on this journey myself. I was recently given a mantra that is: “I love myself just as I am. I forgive myself as I have long been forgiven.”

Linda Lewis (my book designer) and I firmly believe that using Opening the Heart can help one to be mindful, heartful, compassionate, and kind as it helps you delve deeply into your heart. You can connect with the story of your heart as well as come in touch with the wisdom of the universe, the divine when you find your way into your heart. Opening the Heart aids you in doing this by brining openness into your heart and your life. It can help you create the deep shift in vision as to how you want to be in relationship with yourself, others, the world/earth, and the divine/universe.

Using both meditation images together, or one at a time (you can place a plain sheet of paper over the one you do not want to work with at a particular time), breathe deeply while meditating on the image and the text. You can keep your eyes open or close them to breathe these images and text into your heart, using the images and your breath as a key to the gateway into your heart. I suggest using which ever works best for you. As Sally Kempton, author of Meditation for the Love of It, says everyone has their own gateway into meditation. You can meditate in silence or meditate to music. Your heart knows what it wants as a friend of mine says.

Following the path deeply into your heart using Opening the Heart will show you ways that you can act with compassion towards yourself, others, and the world through connection deeply with the divine, the universe and your heart. You will find your own ways of moving deeply into the core of compassion that resides in your heart. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathryn Samuelson, as an intuitive, channels your angels and guides who are delighted to connect with you, and who are uniquely suited to answer your questions and address your concerns. She can receive information as to who your angels and guides are, as well as receiving information for you about family, health, job and career, and life path among other issues and concerns. In her life coaching practice, she welcomes all clients, but specializes in helping those who are undergoing a transition in their lives—whether it is a move, a job or career change, a loss of some type, or some other transition issue. She was certified as a life coach in 2007 by the University of New Hampshire. Kathryn also leads workshops based on the set of meditation images and text contained in the book called Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. She created this book with her friend, Linda Lewis. For more information: www.kathrynsamuelson.com, klsamuelsonATyahoo.com, or 781-799-7332