1. Be Grateful
It is a simple practice yet we too often overlook the power of gratitude. How many times do you hear the more you are grateful the more you will have to be grateful for? Yet, the reason this is true is because it’s the way the universe works. If we continue to tell ourselves what we don’t have and focus on what we lack then that will be what we have more of, not enough. It seems like such a simple concept and yet we more often than not we choose to focus on what we don’t have.
3 simple ways to find gratitude every day in your life:
1. Take time daily to think of 3 things you are grateful for: look around you and you will see it is the small things that remind us of what we have. It might be that the sun came out today, or you drank your favorite cup of tea with a friend. It’s the intention that counts and once you begin to strengthen that gratitude muscle more of what you desire will come.
2. Give someone you love a hug and an acknowledgement. Focusing on the love you feel for others and letting them know reminds you of the love and generosity that exists for you. Not only does affection feel good it spreads feelings of joy and happiness exponentially outwards.
3. Do something that brings you joy. Call a friend, make someone laugh, take a bath, dance like no one is watching, read a book for pleasure.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing & appreciating what we do have.”
- Frederick Keong
2. Be kind to yourself
It is said that we are our greatest critiques. What if instead we became the best friend to ourselves? Much of the time we are focusing on what we should have accomplished, that we should have done x y or z, and that because we didn’t we have failed and because of it we feel shame and then blame ourselves. The greatest gifts we can give ourselves is love and kindness. This takes courage and compassion and is the access to living a heart centered life.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.”
- Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
3. Listen to your intuition
When we take the time to STOP and LISTEN to the signals within us, true change can occur. How many times have you questioned if you made a good decision or even regretted the decision you made because you weren’t listening to yourself but instead influenced by the voices of everyone else? The only way that we can live from our heart is by starting to trust ourselves enough to believe that we know what is best for us. The best way I have found to listen to my intuition is through the practice of finding quiet time just for me. This can be experienced in a variety of ways through yoga practice, mediation, unplugging from technology, writing in your journal. Simply finding ways that nourish you to allow you to tap into what is most desirable within without being distracted by the external factors. I have a vision board in my room to remind me to trust myself and I look at it multiple times a day and it has been one of the best structures for me to cultivate inner wisdom. One of the quotes I have posted up reads:
“Learn to hear what your inner voice is telling you and your world will change”
4. Embody your genius
In order to live from an authentic and loving place we need to experience and be present to the vitality within our bodies. We tend to primarily analyze, and compare and contrast ways in which to make decisions whether they be big or small ones. There is a reason that spending time learning to move our bodies and become aware of the inner landscape supports our overall well-being. Being in our bodies is a powerful way to ignite the genius within us and to feel into this wisdom. Take time every day to connect to your body through any medium that inspires you: dancing, yoga, hiking, jogging, climbing, and swimming, there are endless ways to move your body and discover the brilliance within you.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”
5. Live with passion
When you can honestly allow yourself to be passionate in how you live your life you can experience fulfillment and contentment. How many times do we stifle our own passions for fear we may not be enough, have enough, or be rejected? What if your greatest success was from living with passion? If we desire to live from our hearts the only way to do so is through being passionate about ourselves. And we can be passionate about anything and everything. You may think I don’t know what my life’s passion is so how can I live it? Can you be passionate about the menial tasks in life? How about being passionate about washing dishes, laundry, driving, eating? There are many ways to practice living with passion and the more you become aware of this the more you will simply feel more alive and passionate.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
6. Accept where you are
As we practice kindness towards ourselves it must include accepting exactly where we are. Perhaps you are struggling with creating clarity with your life’s vision, you want a fulfilling relationship with your partner or children, and you have bad habits to break and can’t seem to change. Wherever you may be in your desire to move beyond where you are and create something new it will only happen if you ACCEPT your situation as it is.
As soon as we resist this acceptance we are STOPPED and stuck. As much as we try to change we will stay exactly where we are. This is where self-compassion and kindness toward ourselves will unlock the key to living from our hearts. It is with this dedication and commitment to accepting every aspect of our lives that includes the good feelings, the bad feelings, the stories of the past, the mistakes, the disappointments, we are then able to create the life we desire.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha
7. Forgiveness as an act of love and courage
Most likely we need to be able to forgive both ourselves and others and it takes courage to do so. Are you still holding onto a mistake either you or someone else you know made that holds you back from giving and receiving love? Love cannot exist without true forgiveness. If you find yourself putting up a protective wall, and guarding yourself from getting hurt the chances are there is something for you to forgive. It may be yourself and/or it may be someone in your life. To live with an open heart we must first experience forgiveness and release our pain and suffering. Before we can let the pain go we must get intimate with it and see it for what it is and hold a loving space for it to then be free. It can feel scary to forgive because we may lose a sense of who we think we are and this is why it takes courage. Forgiveness can at first feel like stepping into the big wide open where you may or may not have a place to safely land. The more you practice letting go of hurt, anger, shame, blame, disappointment, suffering, the easier it will be to give and receive love. After all, why are we here on this planet if it’s not to express love?
3 simple steps to forgive:
1. Allow yourself to make mistakes. This is the only way we get to learn and adapt to our lives. It keeps our lives exciting and allows miracles to arise when we least expect it.
2. Presence the connection you have to all living beings. If you are an animal lover spend time with them caring for them and feeling the love in return. If you are a parent, hug and kiss your child and feel their heart and your heart as one. Take a walk in nature, and watch the animals, feel the breeze on your skin, hear the sounds of birds, and feel the earth beneath your feet.
3. Remind yourself that everybody suffers and everybody feels love. It is our humanity to experience pain and suffering and healing and love. Think of someone dear to you who has experienced pain and know that you are not alone. Be tender with yourself and others to free yourself from this pain. The only person you are hurting when you hold onto your hurt is yourself. It is in the offering up of those feelings that you can experience true love.
“You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.”