Kindness is my only guiding star. In its light, I sail a straight route, I have my motto written on my sail: ‘To live in love.’” St. Therese of Lisieux, French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun
How often do you think about being kinder, or more understanding and accepting of yourself and others? If you are sensitive to your environment and what’s going on in the world today you may feel more overwhelmed and wonder how to get through the day. You may also begin to be affected by the harsh words people say, inflexible beliefs and attitudes, sown seeds of dissatisfaction and division, as well as constant criticism and judgment of all that is different. Wow, how does one nurture and cherish a gentle and tender heart? Some might feel this is a weakness; however, I believe that being gentle with self and others is a strength. Think about it. What is a great way to combat everything that takes you away from living in inner peace, love and kindness?
The way to surround yourself with gentleness and tenderness is to first find your inner place of peace. Consciously make time each day to restore and recharge this feeling of peace that you can feel within yourself when your thoughts are more quiet. For some of you it might feel like entering the calm of the eye of the storm. For me it’s like going to my inner monastery where it’s calm and filled with love! I think of it like ‘going home’ – ‘going home to love’ the love which we are and is our divine nature. When I restore this feeling it’s easier ‘to live in love’ and be kinder and more compassionate with myself and others. It’s easier to be more accepting and less judgmental of myself and others as well. It’s easier to remember the truth of who I am, love incarnate!
The challenge for me has been figuring out what that means and how to express myself as love in daily living. I wondered “Do I have to be different? What in me needs to change? How will the change affect my family and other relationships?” American Trappist monk, theologian, mystic, and social activist Thomas Merton has said “Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.” Like Thomas Merton I, too, realized that being what and who I am is exactly the goal. Accepting myself has been key. The changes I’ve chosen to make haven’t changed who I am at my core. Rather they have strengthened my relationships and understanding of who I am.
I find that I’ve become more patient, understanding, accepting, loving, and gentle with myself and others. Sure, I still have moments where old habits and behaviors show up but they happen less frequently and I recognize when it happens. When it does I can choose to change them or not. Living in love and accepting who I am is a daily choice and practice. Gaining strength through gentleness rather than force is another practice. Being gentle with self leaves no room for negative self talk or self-sabotage which can result in a type of paralysis or suppression of personal growth. You might also notice that your reaction to external influences will change. 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, and Sufi mystic Rumi has said “Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our heart.”
Perhaps this week will present an opportunity to focus on the gentleness and tenderness that resides within your heart. Focus on who you are – love incarnate. Take a few moments to return to your inner place where you find peace. Allow yourself to feel the flow of unconditional love that is there! Imagine yourself feeling nurtured and cherished – loved beyond all measure! I hope that you will feel stronger and your gentle and tender heart will feel restored and recharged. I’m sending you lots of love and hope your week is amazing.
I’m available for private coaching and channeled information sessions at Storm Wisdom on Tuesdays from 1p – 6p by appointment. Please call Storm Wisdom, (602)334-1204 to schedule. I’m also available by phone or Zoom. To schedule please go to victoriabarna.com.