Wednesday, March 7, 2012

living wholeheartedly

"Don't ask what the world needs.  
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

I LOVE this!  Isn't it a beautiful reminder about what brings positive energy into our lives?  It's just one of the insightful quotes from the book I am currently reading by Brene Browne, The Gifts of Imperfection.  I thought I'd take a moment to write a little blurb on the blog after my yoga instructor mentioned the author's Ted Talk this morning which led to a discussion surrounding the essence of her observations and how these intuitive moments of awareness are reflected in our yoga practice.  If you haven't had the pleasure of watching, please take the 18 minutes and treat yourself, it's wonderful . . .

While reading, I found myself skipping around and finding the morsels that seem to fit my needs at the moment.  Isn't one of our greatest desires to live an authentic, connected, compassionate, spiritual, and joyful life with our whole hearts, everyday?  So, why do we hold back at at times? Brown's book delves into what prevents us from opening our hearts and allowing others to see our imperfections, our weaknesses, and our struggles.  To live each day wholeheartedly is to have the courage (which literally means to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart) to open our hearts, despite our vulnerability, and also allow our children to present their pure, authentic selves to the world.

I connected with her definitions of the critical aspects of humanity that are so important to each one of us and thought I'd share a few. . .

Connection: the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
Love: we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Authenticity: the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.  Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable . . . exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are ALL made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.
Spirituality: recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.  Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose into our lives.
Joy: Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy.  Joy is not constant.  It comes to us in moments--often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.  Other times we're so afraid of the dark that we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light.  A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.  That would eventually become unbearable.  I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.
Calm: creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity . . . 
Stillness: is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing.  It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question. In our increasingly complicated and anxious world, we need more time to do less and be less.


6footmama said...

what a great synopsis Julie. I especially love the thoughts on joy--it is those sweet moments that make all the bitter palletable. We'll see you tomorrow night.

Kristin said...

That was awesome, thanks for posting it! Wish I lived closer, that yoga class sounds wonderful!