LIGHTENING UP

Be Well Be Happy
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Lately, we have been experiencing an elevated collective anguish. Life has many difficulties and sometimes it seems impossible to move through so much suffering. As I struggle to write, I know many are also fighting to survive so I will do my best to give you some tools to support you on your journey. Never give up, we live in a strong, supportive community. Sangha means community and I have never been in a more loyal village than Rockaway Beach. The people here will give anything to their neighbors in need.  They will not let you drown in your sorrows.

We can practice “lightening up,” something Pema Chodron teaches us to do while we are learning not to judge or suppress our full range of emotional responses, such as anger, grief, and sadness. The practice of feeling joy may seem difficult and you may even feel guilty about feeling joyful but this will help to lift your spirits.  “Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh. “We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere any time. “

The following is from one of my teachers on how to access your joy. I offer you her words in a time of suffering so perhaps you may feel more positive and find your happiness.

 “Neuroscience tells us that there are certain things we can do to help shift the activity in our brain from a state of stress to a state of more receptivity, ease, and openness. Our tools can produce the chemistry to lift our mood and outlook, even if just a little bit. And our practices can shift our neuroscience and chemistry to a state that helps feed the body what it needs to heal, repair, and rejuvenate.

Rick Hansen, a neuropsychologist says that, although our minds are predisposed to “favor” negative over positive stimuli, we can learn to consciously override those tendencies in simple, effective ways. It takes three steps: Focusing on positive experiences; Valuing them; Helping them sink in.

Registering when we are truly experiencing joy and happiness helps train our minds to notice them. It doesn’t matter how transitory these moments are: The more we notice the little cracks letting the light in, the more we attune to the entire landscape of light beyond the daily stresses and challenges. “  (Jillian Pransky)

My mantra of the week has been, I am here, I am listening, I am loved. Your greatest gifts are felt from within. You have the power to change how you think but you must sit with how you feel, process your grief and know you will heal when you are ready. You are here, you are loved. Keep listening to your inner world. You will find peace in our beautiful community by the ocean. I have found heaven on earth right here in the Rockaways.

 By Helen Kilgallen

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