Loving-kindness: exercise for the soul

Monday, November 14, 2016

Whoa! We made it!

We’re on the other side of November 8th and no matter how you felt when you woke up November 9th I’ve been thinking we all need a bit more love and kindness.

A few months ago I went to a talk at the City of Durham and our City Manager spoke about the philosophy they share with their employees. It’s three parts, starting with taking care of yourself; then taking care of work/life responsibilities and finally taking care of the community. I love this! It directly lines up with what we teach at Well-Balanced Nutrition.  First and foremost, all of us need to take care of ourselves. Last week, I had a client who was trying to give from an empty cup – see What fills your cup? – and as a result her mental and physical health are declining with poor sleep, high blood pressure, weight gain and elevated stress hormones. 

 As Dr. Wayne Dyer reminds us we cannot give away that which we do not possess. For example, you promise someone a bag of oranges, if you don’t already have oranges at home you would have to go to the store and buy them. To share love and kindness with your friends, family and community you must start by loving and being kind to yourself. Some do this by staying connected to their source, God. While others find more connection in nature or other outlets. 

In an effort to help myself, and everyone in my life, I spend time practicing a loving-kindness meditation or exercise as I walk through the woods, which I shared below. This gives me peace and gratitude while I use energy to send love first to myself, then my loved ones. Ultimately, extending this loving-kindness to someone I find difficult to love. Maybe it’s a politician, a group of people with different beliefs and more violent lifestyles or a coworker who causes stress or anxiety. 

Food for thought: 

I invite each of you to join me in 5 to 10 minutes of this loving-kindness exercise today.

Caution: Doing this exercise will make you feel happy and peaceful.

Loving-Kindness 

Shared by: Ann Thornton 

(Say aloud preferably, but you can speak it silently)

Loving kindness to [your name]

Repeat 3 times
May [your name] be happy, free from worry and pain
Repeat 3 times
May [your name] have the strength, courage, hope, and faith to meet and overcome the difficulties in her/his life.
Repeat 3 times
Next replace your name with names of your close loved ones, then you can pick the names of others you want to send loving kindness. Last, replace your name with someone you may be having difficulties with or trouble understanding.
 
You will soon memorize the phrases and the words will come naturally.
I was taught not to say them with strong emotions, but rather just calmly repeat them.

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