Saturday, May 24, 2014

HEART MATTERS FOR THE SOUL: Blame to Gain

“What good is it if someone gains the whole world, but loses their soul?” Matthew 16:26 Taking care of matters of the heart results in a life of fulfillment and soul satisfaction. It also means activating our divine strength and being willing to build a bridge from the commonplace and “it’s good enough” to a life experience of being Spirit led and Spirit fed. Blame to Gain The old paradigm of black and white, us and them, is shifting and thank goodness! We can see the signs all around us that what is emerging now is a re-introduction of matters of the heart. The aspect of each of us that is expansive, inclusive and bigger than the paradigm of dualistic thinking. Every day, life brings us many opportunities to get lost in actions that can pull us away from our hearts. One of the biggest ways is through relationships. We are all in relationship with each other in hundreds of ways from the person in the grocery store line, to someone on the bus, to our next door neighbour and the ones that can really challenge us – our family members! Sometimes we handle these challenges beautifully and lovingly and sometimes we don’t. And where did we learn our skills? In the households in which we grew up. Remember: “if we were raised by human beings we were raised imperfectly” (Dr. Rev. Gary Simmons) As young children we observed, absorbed and learned: How were decisions made? how is conflict handled? How was right and wrong determined? This is probably a scenario we all faced as children. A chair is broken. One parents notices and says the words that send us all into a panic: “who did it?” Then depending on the dynamics of the moment, the sibling factor, there could be all kinds of responses: • point fingers – “she did it” what’s that called? (blame) • “I didn’t do it” denial • “oh – is it broken?” - plead ignorance • “it’s been like that for a long time” (diversion) these strategies…… • blame • claiming ignorance • diversion • denial are ways children learn to cope naturally and innocently. Now, what happens when we are adults and haven’t rethought this model? We play it through unconsciously. We have a default position. If something goes ‘wrong’ we can approach it one of 2 ways And its interesting to notice which is your default position.We blame someone else OR we blame ourselves. What do we do if we are in the ‘blame others’ mode? • Judgment, criticism, finger pointing, • self righteousness, aggressive, • gather evidence • bring up the past What are some of the signs we are in the ‘blame ourselves’ mode? • Unworthiness, guilt, shame • Shut down, withdraw • bring up the past Can you see how none of this is creating a heart space for connection, empathy, compassion. This kind of dualistic thinking – them or us – serves no one. Gandhi noted: An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. What’s the alternative? How can we move from blame to a more enlightened way of being that is inclusive and expansive and heart centered? What new ways of being can we adopt so that we don’t ‘lose our soul’ – our hearts - when something goes sideways. There are 3 ways that come to mind that will help us make this shift. The first step is always self awareness – watch how we act or react when something goes sideways. Know if you tend to be a ‘they’re to blame’ or ‘I’m to blame’ person Blame – either way - always takes us farther away from what we need. Gratitude Cultivate the ability to feel genuine gratitude for the situation or person Gratitude is a heart-centric activity, it doesn’t require words or actions to the other person – it is to cause a shift in YOU. It is impossible to maintain an attitude of blame when we are opening ourselves from the heart. Forgiveness – to self or others It takes energy to hold blame and releasing that energy frees us to take a more creative empowering approach to resolution. Unity principles also provide us with a teaching that helps shift our focus We see each other as an expression of the divine. We can be part of the change we want to see if we are willing to change too. We can grow in our wisdom and understanding and cultivate a place where heart matters.