No matter how far from the ideal you perceive yourself to be right now, according to your current stage in the process of realising and actualising the totality of who you really are, which after all, considering how multi-faceted you are, is no mean feat, you are, contrary to any or all negative judgements about yourself, doing the very best you possibly can right now – and if that falls short of the mark as you or others believe the mark to be, then all it proves is that like everyone else, you’re all too human.
So start the healing process here and now by reminding yourself you’re all too human and that’s precisely how a human is meant to be. Everyone has fault lines. Everyone has distortions. Everyone has failings. Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone has dark corners they’re ashamed or afraid to expose to the light of day. Everyone falls short of the mark. That’s the human condition.
And while striving for or aspiring to perfection is a laudable though unrealistic strategy, you must bear in mind perfection is only a concept you’ve constructed in your imagination, mostly based on (your notion of) other people’s predicates (parents, teachers, friends, partners, children, the media etc) and as such doesn’t actually exist.
However, from the point of view of that which creates you in the first place: the Tao, the Great Movement, Nature or whatever you want to call it, you are perfect exactly as you are, including all the aspects you find unacceptable and if you could stop giving yourself such a hard time for being you, you would not only be able to enjoy being around a lot more, hence inspire others to enjoy themselves likewise (we teach best by example), but would actually grow in your perfection, specifically along the very lines you would have made resolutions about 16 days ago.
That’s how the magic works.
po;liukjccept yourself for being what and who you are. Love yourself for being that and bit by bit, those aspects of you which cause disharmony in your life and make things more difficult for you, will spontaneously heal themselves – but they can only truly heal themselves in a milieu of acceptance and love.
And the way to engender this milieu of acceptance and love, though you’d imagine would be highly complex, is in fact simple: breathe.
Breathe slowly, evenly, rhythmically, smoothly, uninterruptedly, softly, deeply, easily, effortlessly, freely and enjoyably, without ever holding your breath at any time, except say when underwater for a long time without breathing apparatus or when passing through an area filled with noxious fumes.
Try it now and you’ll instantly find yourself accepting where and who you are and if you start liking the feeling, augment it by simultaneously dropping your shoulders, relaxing your muscles, softening your face and chest, sinking your weight into your lower abdomen, lengthening your spine and drawing your mind back into the centre of your skull as opposed to leaving it up front in your eyeballs and forebrain (where it gets pulled this way and that by all the distractions of the external world and the emotions these elicit in your belly and chest).
Hence the Taoist dictum: healing consists of breathing and acceptance.
However to keep that up and thereby desist from giving yourself a hard time is easier said than done, as you no doubt already know. This is because as a human you naturally tend to addict yourself to any state of being that recurs with enough frequency to become familiar, whether that state is pleasurable or painful, so in other words, as much as you addict yourself to pleasure, which essentially consists in loving who you are in the moment, no matter the external stimulus, you also addict yourself to pain, which essentially consists in not loving who you are in the moment.
And the only viable effective way through that is to hold fast to the intention to heal (yourself and by extension, others) and discipline yourself over time to remember to keep breathing consistently as above, through both the pleasure and the pain.
Are you breathing or just reading?
You can help yourself remember by saying out loud in tones both compassionate and encouraging, ‘breathe – just breathe,’ and then hearing yourself saying it repeatedly in your head along with whatever else you’re saying – slip it in between each sentence you think or say – in between each paragraph and between each chapter break – breathe, just breathe.
After a while – anything from five minutes to five years, you’ll feel remarkably different about your entire life from this one simple yet fundamental action.
And that, as the world manoeuvres itself into another round of geopolitical upheaval is the soundest advice I am able to proffer this fine day.
And may today be as fine as a day can be – in fact may this be the finest week you can ever remember – there’s no real reason why not – it’s all in the mind.
With love, Doc