2-3-19 Honoring and Caring Brings Freedom?

Honoring and Caring Brings Freedom

Honor – To
have and show high respect for; integrity, dignity.
Care – Kindness, maintenance, to attend to, to regard highly, to treat with
respect.

Both
honoring and caring are actions that come from a certain state of mind. Meditation,
prayer, and mindfulness-awareness deepen our relationship with our mind as well
as our body and have the potential to strengthen us from the inside out. This
transformation only happens when we step in fully and take total responsibility
for learning about ourselves. Without self-awareness, we can tend to blame the
world and others in our lives for our struggles. Freedom from suffering is an
inside job.
We are constantly offered opportunities to learn more about ourselves, to wake
up. Do we honor those opportunities?

We keep
looking for, waiting for that place, that state of mind that will be what we’ve
always been looking for. Quit looking
and just see. Here, now, this is what
it is. We accept that we are human and imperfect–that we have ups and downs.
That our emotions take us for a ride sometimes, with joy, or then with jagged
feelings. That we feel bored or anxious or unsure. We can fully step into all
of that, not with the attitude of putting up with what is happening while
waiting for something better, but with an acceptance of what is happening. It
is all valuable and the essence of a full and wonderful life. Then we begin to
unfold and appreciate life.

What do we
honor and care for? We may honor a sense of not being worthy. Of needing
something elusive, which drives us to become subtly dishonest and manipulative.
Or to not believe in ourselves and not engage fully in life, always
shortchanging our abilities and sense of competence. We may hide behind many
masks. We may honor the frustration of never being engaged in here and now.

It seems
almost too simple that what we need to do is to just feel, accept, and engage
in what is happening. Not engaging so that we’re overcome by emotion, but so
that we can acknowledge and accept where we are.

When we have
difficult times, we can be so trapped in our emotions we do nothing but feel
and project, verbally and physically, our confusion and pain, and inflict it on
others. My addiction was the epitome of being trapped and acting in very
harmful ways. I never thought to care for myself in a kind way–to honor that I
was entrapped and needed help. I only wanted to continue destroying myself.
Many pay the ultimate price for that.

When you
have a fear that you think you need to overcome, that you need to conquer, be
careful. If you ignore your fear it
will remain and continue to misguide you. If you try to fight your fear, your fear will gladly join in the battle. You have
just fed your fear with the fear that you will never win. You have hardened
your heart. Honor, accept, and carefully look at what your fear is. Where does
it come from? How is it limiting you? What action can you take that will allow
you to step into and through your fear? And to not do so aggressively, but with
a sense of acceptance of having fear,
and with enough care for yourself that you’re willing to gently but firmly do
what you need to do.

Loving-kindness
practice is the classic antidote for fear. When we see through the lens of
love, we are not afraid of what’s “out there” in the same way, even though it
remains; we don’t see it as a problem. Sit in meditation for a few minutes, then
bring up the contemplation, “May I find freedom from fear in my life. May I
help others find freedom from fear in their lives.” Say each line many times in
your head and let it penetrate into who you are. Though your fears can seem so
real and controlling, loving and caring for yourself and others with a practice such as this can dissolve those fears
into the nothingness they really are.

Whenever you
feel yourself tightening up, or wanting to avoid something because of an
irrational fear, remember to stop, breathe, become present and relax that
tightness brought about by your doubt.

Believe in
yourself and step into and through your fear to honor and care for who you
really are. A new behavior of honoring yourself will feel odd but empowering at
first. As you continue to believe and care about yourself, that foundational
strength becomes just who you are.  

It can be
hard to not want to hide. We may be afraid to show our vulnerability, our very
human-ness.  We may feel we need to constrain
ourselves and project/protect some image. But to truly honor who we are, right
here and right now, we quit fighting and instead start caring for our spiritual
practice.  We learn to sharpen our
awareness of how we act in the world.

We do not
need to “get anywhere.” We need only to be right here, right now. That is the
big brass band.  That is the prize we
need to win—ourselves, just as we are! When we embrace our imperfect human
selves with a sense of honor and dignity, we have already arrived.

We have the
capacity, in our daily lives, to honor the terrible pain we have known and to
use that knowledge to appreciate the fragile nature and precious quality of
EVERYONE’S life. 

In doing so,
we will also Care for ourselves; we open up and see with both eyes.  With our vision off the ground, we can look
forward to what our precious lives hold. We cannot love and fear at the same
time. Choose love. Feel the freedom that brings!

“Freedom is
not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily
practice…” —Thich Nhat Hanh

How do you fill your bucket? One drop
at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart of Recovery web site — fcheartofrecovery.com


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