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Let It Begin With Me

I’m a prayer. And with all that is crazy in the world right now I know that the one little bit I can control is me. So I pray. I pray for peace within me. I pray that I have the strength to love my enemies, because man that’s really hard sometimes. To have compassion and love for people that are purposefully hurting other people is hard. And so I pray. Because I really want to keep peace and love in my heart always.

I love to do lovingkindness meditations. Have you heard of it? It’s a Buddhist meditation that calls for love close in, with yourself, and then as you go on it extends further and further out to the world. Here’s an abbreviated sample of what one would look like. I’ll put a resource at the end that will give you a broader view.

Maybe put on some relaxing music, get comfortable and take some time to breathe and do this meditation.

You begin with yourself and this mantra:

May I be safe from inner and outer harm. May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I take care of myself joyfully.

Then you think of someone who has been really good to you; a spiritual mentor or good friend.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

The next person you’re going to think of is a dearly beloved person, someone you feel very warmly toward.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Watch them in your mind’s eye and see them receiving your well-wishes. If strong emotions of love come up, take a moment and feel them.

The next person that we are going to extend our circle of lovingkindness to is a neutral person. This is someone that you neither particularly like or dislike. Someone like the your next door neighbor’s gardener or a waitress at your favorite eatery. Holding a picture of that person in your mind, we say:

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

See if you can picture that person receiving this lovingkindness from you.

We next choose to open our hearts and extend lovingkindness to the difficult person. It is suggested that you don’t pick THE most difficult person in your life or the person that has hurt you the most. For now, just choose someone that is difficult or annoying to you. This also isn’t condoning someone’s bad behavior – you’re not saying that what they’ve done to you is okay. What you are saying is that you are a human being with the same desires for safety and happiness as everyone else. That we are all connected and as such, you are worthy of love. If you find that you’re having negative feelings, push through them and continue your feelings of lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Next we send lovingkindness to all sentient beings everywhere without exception or exclusion. Maybe begin by thinking about people in places that you’ve traveled or places that you want to travel. People that you’ve heard about on the news, good and bad.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

May you be safe from inner and outer harm. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you take care of yourself joyfully.

Now the meditation is finished. Try to keep the positive feelings of lovingkindness with you. If someone angers you during your day you can say, May I be happy and peaceful a few times and then extend that to the other person, may you be happy and peaceful.

If you’d like an extended, guided version of a lovingkindness meditation, I’m offering it right now  to people who sign up to my coaching email list. Click here to do that and after you’re signed up you’ll be taken to a page on my website to listen to the meditation – it’s got beautiful music and my voice! What could be better?

P.S. I love that I began this post with the sentence, “I am a prayer,” by which I meant pray-er, but I also believe that I’m a prayer. Love that.

I would really love to know how you felt after doing the meditation!

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Guest Blog Post by Kimberly Kalil

Today we have the blessing of hearing from my very close friend, (whom I met at a retreat several years ago!) Kimberly Kalil. I’ve asked her some questions about retreating and what it’s meant to her life and also about Grace. Please read on to find out more about Kimberly and to read the interview.

Kimberly KalilIMG_2593

Kimberly Kalil is a mom to two precious kiddos; wife to one cool dude; busy newspaper consultant; artist; crafter; digital memory keeper; and seeker of all things creative. She and her family make their home in Southern Arizona amid the cacti and javalinas. She’s all about the hot, dry weather of the desert – the hotter the better.

Kimberly blogs regularly about her life, memory keeping endeavors, and creative projects at www.kimberlykalil.com.

Question: When did you begin attending retreats and why?

Answer: My first retreat was back in 2011. My first retreat was at the Oregon Coast, somewhere I’d never been, but I was looking for community and friendship. I had moved to a new town, a whole new state, in 2007 and worked from home, both of which were super isolating. I was struggling to make connections and thought going to a retreat would help me connect with some like-minded people. Really, I was just super lonely and going through hard stuff … really, really hard stuff. And I wanted to find people who would love me and cheer me on through life.

Question: How many have you been on?

Answer: As of this year, I’ve been to six … six really awesome adventures.

Question: Why did you keep going to retreats?

Answer: The people … it’s always been about the people. I would get this warm, fuzzy feeling as I sat in a circle with some of the most amazing and interesting new friends.

Question: What benefits have you received from attending retreats?

Answer: Benefits? Oh yes, so many benefits. Retreats have given me strength. Retreats have given me hope. Retreats have taught me to be bold. Retreats have shown me the importance of self-care. It’s actually kind of mind-blowing all the “things” retreats have given me. I’ve made some of best friends I’ll ever have thanks to retreats. I’ve met people who shifted my perspective — for the better — on life. Retreating helped me find my voice and has really helped me understand what it is I want to share with this world. I could go on and on and on … that’s how awesome retreats are.

Question: What is your single best and most important takeaway from a retreat?

Answer: It’s so easy to feel like you’re alone in this world and no one can understand your struggles. But that’s not true. There are so many brave and kind people at there and they can offer love, compassion and understanding if you’re just willing to let them in. Tell your story. Open your heart. And connection will come.

Question: What are your thoughts on Grace and how does it manifest in your life?

Answer: Aah, grace. Such a tricky thing. Or is it? I’m really not that great when it comes to offering myself grace. I spend a lot of time beating myself up rather than offering myself grace. Grace to me is kind. Grace to me is understanding. Grace says I’m enough.

Thank you so much Kimberly for your very honest and personal answers! I’m sure there are many people out there who are intrigued by the idea of retreating, but aren’t certain it’s for them and I believe that you’ve made it feel like a very safe, fun, and life changing-in-the-best-possible-way thing to do!

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Gabrielle Bernstein – Become The Happiest Person You Know

For today’s Share The Love Sunday, I’m sharing someone who has really changed the way I see the world, Gabrielle Bernstein. From Gabby’s site:

Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a next-generation thought leader” by Oprah Winfrey. She appears regularly as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show and has been named “a new role model” by The New York Times. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Miracles Now, and May Cause Miracles. Her two additional bestsellers include of Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie. Gabrielle is also the founder of HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

She has a new book coming out called The Universe Has Your Back. If you pre-order the book (keep your receipt info!), you will get free access to her workshop called How to Manifest Your Dreams Click here for all of the details.

I hope you’ll take the time to peruse her website and become familiar with Gabby. She’s truly an inspiration to me.

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