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Compassionate living -unplugged: Roadmap to taking your first mindful steps on the path of compassionate living

By February 14, 2018 December 8th, 2019 One Comment

Seeking a life of compassion is a choice. It is a path. Among many. From my little window, there is something about compassion that takes one beyond a state of being, toward a state of doing. Within its sweet folds, compassion holds a commitment to act. If you have made this choice, congratulations, for you have just taken your first step. At every fork, you are asked a simple question:

Does (x) move me (doing) toward love (being)?

My brother in high-school arms took a trip down memory lane recently. Among the treasure found was some disturbing photographic evidence of our carefree teenage years of unlicensed car rides, terrible hairdos, and pretty awful socks. Those shall remain under lock and seal for eternity I hope. I had forgotten that as a consolation prize for not being chosen to give the graduation speech, it was published in our yearbook. I ended my (terrible) speech with a quote by Lord Tennyson.

Tho much is taken, much abides; and tho

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!

Lord Tennyson

Until three years ago, I could not identify a theme for my journey. I did not need to. Time and fate continue to work their magic. Tumbles and detours are ensuring the lessons are duly learned. I am beginning to find a common thread for the seemingly random roads. My gift to you on this St. Valentine’s day of love is the outline of the roadmap to unlock the mysteries of compassionate living. The map continues to reveal itself gradually, expanding everyday. It is an open, working document that is not short on surprises.

Nourishment

What is nourishing for our physical body is nourishing for our spirit and nourishing for our mind. It is very simple.

Nourishment is the only act of self-love. Self-love is the only fuel for a compassionate life.

Commit to small steps that you can take everyday to introduce nourishing practices for your physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing.

  • Positivity & Gratitude

Positive thinking upgrades our vibrational frequency. Unquestionably. So does gratitude. Shifting perspectives from attachments to negative outlooks to more positive ones, and consciously recognizing seemingly small blessings are empowering, effective tools to put us back in the drivers seat. This is not something I say lightly. Nor is it a bypassing exercise. It is a profoundly conscious practice that elevates our existence.

If you do not like the story, change it.

And push on.

Ending and starting the day with gratitudes will undoubtedly shift the energetic frequency and vibration, allowing us to live an inspired life that is aligned with those higher vibrations.

So, practically speaking, it helps to write down three things you are grateful for, every evening before you sleep. I started this with my girlfriends three years ago. [Girlfriends, if you are reading this, I know. We have fallen off the train. We need to get back on. Tonight.] We have a Gratitude WhatsApp group. We are only allowed to use it to post three things we are grateful for every evening before we sleep. They cannot be repeated, which sometimes forces us to think hard. (Some days are tougher than others.) Our authentic friendships hold us accountable. They push us to strive to be better beings and doers. The action of typing/writing gratitudes is planting those seeds in our inspired garden.

  • Nutrition

Choose clean fuel for your body (and the environment). A compassionate life is a clean life. Much is beyond our control, from environmental pollution to what is available on the market. Do not use these excuses to stop you from making nourishing choices for what goes into your mouth. Food is nourishment. And independent science has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that the primary factor affecting our health is nutrition. Educate yourself. My path has revealed to me that animal-based foods are detrimental to our wellbeing and that of the environment. The scientific evidence is convincing and clear: whole, plant-based food is the cleanest, most nourishing choice.

Nourishment has no room for moderation. Nourishment is absolute.

It is also simple. And just like positive thinking and gratitude upgrade our frequency, so does nutrition. The window through which we see the world overlooks a completely new view, and it is majestic.

  • Exercise

Start with at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday. Choose something you will enjoy eventually. I am a firm believer in habit. Our bodies crave routine. (As do our minds.) Sunrise is the best time for physical activity. Energetically, the universe is charged. And just as plants literally eat the sun, so do our bodies. It also helps that nothing is likely to come up at sunrise. This is a time one can honour regularly, with a little lifestyle adjustment. Ultimately, you know yourself and your circumstances. It is worth proper consideration when making this commitment. It is a a non-negotiable contract you develop with yourself. As you get stronger and fitter, you organically start to increase the time. And upgrade the activity. Your body asks for it.

You will need to take your body to the edge to spark the nourishing fire you need. A clear indication of that edge is sweat. Some people believe they do not sweat. Unless they have a serious medical problem, I think the underlying reason is not working hard enough to heat the body to sweat.

There will be days when it is harder to be motivated.Push on.

There will be times when you want to quit. Push on.

These are signs you are growing past your comfort zone. Push on.

You will notice that you have so much more energy for your day. You will also feel much more inspired. More energy will be flowing through your system. Creativity will unfold.

  • Sleep

Once you have identified the timing of the 30-minutes of physical activity, a number of lifestyle adjustments will probably need to be made to ensure an adequate amount of sleep. From what I have learned, an average of 7-8 hours of good quality sleep is ideal for the human body. This is the time our bodies especially the brain get to rest and self calibrate. Plan your sleep like you plan your meals and your exercise. Soon, the ritual turns into a habit, and the habit is ingrained. Sleep deprivation is destructive over time. If you have trouble sleeping, seek help.

  • Side effects

These are all step 1 on this path. They do have side effects. These may include a burning desire to learn new things. You may experience an itch to read. There will be hot flashes of acts of kindness experienced unexpectedly, including quiet prayers for complete strangers and kind words to old foes.

Push on.

It has taken 29 years for Lord Tennysons verses to make their way back to me. And in those 29 years, there has been more given than taken. I am so deeply grateful for every second of those years. [Gratitude 1 for this evening.] I am still striving, seeking, and thankfully finding. And that has made me 29 years stronger, healthier, and happier. I could never have disagreed with Lord Tennyson 29 years ago. But I can now. He mis-judged the strength bit. A compassionate life makes you stronger.

 

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