Since mom died, I've tried to practice self-compassion. I need gentleness as I move through grief. I need gentleness as I navigate this unpredictable life. And I thought I was doing just that. Then I attended a 3-day silent meditation retreat and received a clear message: I need sincere love and kindness from within. This insight brought me to tears. I thought I was giving self-kindness, but it was on the surface, going through the motions. During the retreat I went deeper: I felt love and gratitude within my body and heart. My practice was sincere.
We all have these inner blind spots--places where our actions are not aligned with our intentions. Sometimes it's obvious: we feel a disconnection and make a change. Often it's not obvious. Our minds are wily. We trick ourselves in complex and varied ways. It's important to regularly check in. Not in a heady way, but in a full-being way. This requires space, stillness, and quiet. Space to sit with the question: What is most important? Then sit with the question: Are my daily actions or non-actions aligned with my values?
Judgment can sneak in, telling us we've failed or we should be different or we should give up. But judgment is not helpful. Honesty, kindness, and awareness are helpful. Judgment closes our heart; awareness opens us. When we find a blind spot, it's a moment of awakening. We can now make conscious choices. Small steps toward wholeness.
But first, we must make space. Instead of packing our schedules and distracting in every free moment, we can choose a different path. A regular check-in can happen through meditation, walking in nature, or savoring a cup of tea. I often ask myself: Am I moving toward or away from wholeness? Do my choices lead to openness or constriction? I'm most present in my own life--and most present to others--when I'm open and aware; when my intentions and actions are aligned; when I feel my interconnection with all beings.