Category Archives: loving kindness

Choosing Radical Love Over Fear

As I observe my thoughts during this unprecedented time of division and an increasing sense of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ in the United States, I find myself experiencing a range of emotions. Are you?

Deep down, I refuse to feel disempowered or fearful of things that might happen in the future. But sometimes on the surface, I watch myself feel angry, sad, puzzled, dismayed, and yes, sometimes a bit fearful. I am 67 years old and my remaining decades aren’t as many as they were in my 30s. So, my justified anger and fear and sadness really isn’t for me, it’s for the children of this world.

When I pray, I repeatedly ask, “What is mine to do?”  And the answer is always — “Love more and be more kind”.

For those of you who would like to love more, and I mean RADICALLY love more, I have decided to share Chapter 21, “Love Radically” in my Wellness Wisdom book. You’ll find 7 Steps to Choosing “Radical” Love Over Fear at the end of the chapterPlease let me know which step(s) will be most supportive for you.

Excerpt from 

Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit
2nd edition, 2011

by
Susan Tate 

Chapter 21
Love Radically

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13:13

Years ago I gave my father a spice tin labeled “Love.” At the time, he was lovingly taking over all of the cooking responsibilities as he nourished my mother in her final year of life. Printed at the bottom of the tin was the net weight “immeasurable”—and the list of ingredients included: joy, kindness, patience, peace, trust, and goodness, among other loving qualities. The directions for use encouraged the cook to add a big pinch of Love to every recipe. I believe my dad was adding a big dose of “radical love” to my mom’s life in many sweet and tender ways. After my father passed away, I inherited this spice tin and use it frequently. It has a place of honor on my kitchen stove.

As you know, you don’t need a spice tin to add love to food or to life. When I put my attention toward love, I find that it fills and deeply nourishes my mind, body, and spirit. This attention doesn’t come from a place of seeking or longing, but rather it seems to be radically splashing out from me. As I splash, I have learned that love flows best when it flows freely, with no expectations attached. And in challenging situations when that flow feels blocked, I often ask, “What would love do now?”

The word radical means, “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature in something.” Its synonyms are: fundamental, essential, deep-seated, sweeping, thorough, far-reaching, and major. What great sentiments to think about when deepening your thoughts on love, or commitment, or marriage.

A few years ago I was having a great conversation with a man I had just met. He mentioned that he was still friends with his former wife, despite the fact that he had experienced a failed marriage. After commenting on how awesome it was to still be friends with his former wife, I found myself telling him, “I’ve had two successful marriages!” I went on to say, “I’ve been divorced twice but I refuse to think of them as ‘failed’ marriages.” I surprised myself, as it had taken me years to forgive myself for choosing to end the 25-year marriage to my high school sweetheart and a two-year marriage that followed some years later. Initially, I felt like I had a scarlet “D” on my forehead. I, Susan Tate, was Divorced. I was embarrassed and a bit ashamed that I couldn’t make a marriage work “till death do us part.” But as I healed my heart, I realized those two marriages were filled with love—radical love. I’m glad I was married.

And I wouldn’t trade a day. These experiences were successful in taking me to the next level of learning and loving. I learned so much and I treasure and respect both marriages. I personally believe I had a sacred soul agreement with each of these amazing men. Do I wish I could have been married and reveling in the happily-ever-after? Of course, but that’s not what life dealt and I don’t regret my decisions. Did everyone work as hard as they could to save the marriages? My response is an unequivocal, “Yes.” Now that’s fundamental, essential, deep-seated, sweeping, thorough, far-reaching, and major love!

Speaking of radical love, I must admit that prior to my first divorce, I would judge people who couldn’t stay married, couldn’t make their marriage “successful;” and I too thought people and marriages had failed. I am still learning lessons of humility and non-judging. I was standing next to a good friend in her kitchen when she spoke about a woman we both knew: “She’s on her third husband!” (A somewhat judgmental statement, just like I used to make.) She said it like that was some horrid damnable thing! “Bite your tongue!” I said to her. “I plan to be on my third husband some day!”

While we’re on the topic of love, marriage, and commitment, I ecstatically recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.” She presents a history of marriage that is enlightening, captivating, and sometimes startling. Her personal navigation through her own belief system may prompt an expanded awareness of your own beliefs.

Marriage is sacred to me and I honor and value it. And sometimes marriages end, and it’s healthier that way for everyone. And it hurts like hell (and by the way, no, I don’t think I’m going there!) So, if your marriage or commitment to a life partner has ended, consider (in time) calling it a success. Love yourself. Love the other. Now, that’s radical love, don’t you think?

In other circumstances, it’s quite easy to love. The words, “I love you” flow easily in my daily prayers as I send loving thoughts to my children, grandchildren, family, and friends. That’s easy love. But for me, loving radically sometimes means loving people when they might not appear very loveable. It means sending love to terrorists and people I don’t really like. It means sending love to the person at the post office who was wearing a hat to cover her hair loss from radiation treatments. It means loving myself as I am now, as I was before, and as the person I am becoming.

Radical love can also mean choosing love over fear. Do you have a steady hum of fear running through your mind? How would it feel to shift your fearful thinking to “love-full” thinking?

Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., writes an attention-grabbing statement in his powerful work, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles. He states, “The simple truth is, when you’re frightened you’re dumber.” Now I am not one to label someone’s intelligence, but after reading his biological explanation of how our cells respond so unfavorably to a steady diet of fear, I believe I personally make healthier, smarter choices when choosing love rather than fear.

Dr. Lipton’s statement doesn’t refer to the instant rush of adrenaline or cortisol that floods our bloodstream when the “fight or flight” response kicks into gear as our body or mind perceives a fear-filled threat. This response is actually a built-in source of genetic wisdom that supports our quick reactions and decision-making that will hopefully keep us safe. In these instances, fear is a good thing, and the chemical reactions in the body are designed to support us in making smarter decisions.

Instead, Lipton’s statement refers to a steady diet of fight/flight, over-activated by a build-up of excessive stress. That constant drain actually challenges our decision-making process and can lead to choices that probably aren’t as smart as decisions we’d choose through the lens of love.

Overall, when we make decisions based on love rather than fear, our choices will be healthier, as well as smarter. When I view this concept through a political lens, it makes me respect our leaders who draw from the energy of love rather than fear. When I tune in to my business decisions, I want to be sure I am making grounded, intelligent, and loving choices for the good of all involved. In relationships, I want to speak from the chambers of my heart where I know love (radical love) and truth reside. In financial decision-making, I want to choose with intelligence and without the six-o’clock news scaring me with a constant forecast of economic or global gloom and doom.

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith expresses a powerful view of love in his words: “Love. You are not meant to search for it. You are not meant to wait for it. You are meant to generate it.” Hmm, that could be my new definition of radical love.

Here are a seven action steps aimed at directing your thinking more toward radical love. Feel free to add more.

Seven Steps for Choosing (Radical) Love Over Fear

  1. Lovingly observe when you enter the emotional realm of fearful thinking. You might say to yourself, “Ah, this is an opportunity for me to choose either fear or love. I choose love.”
  2. Take three deep, calming breaths when you notice stressful, physical sensations in your gut, the pit in your stomach, your rapidly beating heart, or the tightness in your neck or back.
  1. Practice mindfulness meditation.
  1. Move your body. Walk, run, swim, dance, bike, do Nia, yoga or Pilates. Physical exercise produces endorphins (providing a morphine-like high) right from your body’s own personal pharmacy.
  1. Pray, meditate, chant or sing. Marianne Williamson wisely suggests that we place our fears and concerns “on the altar to be altered.” I love that concept!
  1. Extend love often and be the place where love shows up.
  1. Generate and choose radical love every chance you get.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said, “Make your decisions based on love, not fear.” It is our choice. I want to love radically. Do you?

Click here to learn more about Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit

Click here to learn more about Susan’s Holistic Health Coaching

©2000 – 2017 Susan Tate

Eggshells, Loving-Kindness, and Observettes

Eggshells

It recently dawned on me that any time I have felt like I was walking on eggshells, I was actually the one that had put them there. Has that been true for you too?

Looking back, I now realize I had put those imaginary eggshells there because I had a fear of speaking my truth. But not anymore . . . I now have the intention to communicate in a loving, kind, and timely manner—even when it’s difficult. It is my intention to speak directly to the person (rather than text or email). And here’s the important part; I need to let go of the result.

Going back to the eggshells for a moment, sometimes those eggshells may be there to protect us from harm. Sometimes we intuitively know that it may not be safe for us to speak our truth to someone who may not be able to access his or her own highest and best self. In this case, I encourage you to seek professional support for handling this situation and creating empowering ways to stay safe, grounded, and to not feel like a victim.

At other times, those eggshells might appear when we are afraid to speak the truth (with loving-kindness and respect) to a boss, co-worker, friend, or family member who we think holds power over us. Okay, so you may not want to lose your job or your inheritance, but do you want to be treated poorly? We teach people how to treat us. If there are patterns of behavior that have created well-worn (rather than wellness-worn) paths, consider changing the destination on your GPS. In other words, if you’re walking on eggshells, you might want to walk down a different path.

I’ve also been consciously observing negative energy or situations and realizing that I can either absorb it (which feels awful) or pause and lovingly and without judgment, simply observe it all. Oh, the observing feels so much better! My good friend, Donna, would call that being an “observette.” Would you rather absorb it or observe it? Do you want pain? Or do you want peace?

Tate’s Tips for Becoming a Loving Observette

1. Observe, rather than absorb stressful feelings and situations.

2. Speak the truth with kindness, clarity, and compassion.

3. Let go of the result.

4. Teach people how to treat you.

5. Seek support when dealing with someone who is capable of

inflicting physical harm.

 

Note: I wrote this article a few years ago but was compelled to share it again now. In the past few months I have heard more people expressing sadness and discomfort about feeling it was never a good time to say what was really on their minds. I still have feelings like this, although I find it to be less and less as the years pass. These five steps above have been a good guide for me. Wishing you peace.

 

 

 

 

Magnify Gratitude

With GratitudeMagnify Gratitude

Excerpt from Chapter 31:
Wellness Wisdom by Susan Tate

Expressing gratitude ignites the light within us and is a sure path
  to joy.
—Charlotte Kasl

 

Adopting a conscious attitude of gratitude can bring increased joy into our lives. Remember, what we focus on expands! Oft-quoted Meister Eckhart, the medieval Christian mystic, said, “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

Gratitude for what we have makes us appreciate everything even more. If you awaken in the morning and give thanks for the sky, the birds, the air, the wind, the rain, your heart beating, your ability to breathe, the people in your life—the list is endless—you can’t help but to step into a more joyous day.

My former husband told me more than once, “It’s hard to stay sad when you’re in gratitude.” He was right. I’ve tried switching my thoughts to gratitude when sadness gets overwhelming and it works for me. It doesn’t eliminate the sadness or its cause, but I’ve learned that if I take time to observe and feel the sadness, I can then move away from the painful thoughts through that doorway of gratitude. The more things we are thankful for, the more things to be thankful for will show up in our lives.

Taking time to craft a hand-written letter of gratitude to someone for their kindness is an act that makes at least two people feel great. Please don’t wait for Thanksgiving to consider writing a gratitude letter to a family member, co-worker, or friend. E-mail works too, but there’s something special about receiving a hand-written letter, especially if it was penned with gratitude.

You may want to consider keeping a gratitude journal by your bed. Making a gratitude list at bedtime can help to create a peace-filled sleep, as well as become a wonderful addition to your spiritual practice. Or, you may just choose to close your eyes and rather than count sheep, count all of the things that happened that day that created gratitude.

Several years ago, my friend Roberta gave me a small circle of ten beautiful beads. Each night, I gently touch each bead and say “thank you” for a specific person or event that day. Her simple gift has provided a great way for me to magnify gratitude and it invariably sends me into a peaceful sleep.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center in California, shared a powerful statement about gratitude during his 2007 guest appearance on Oprah. He was discussing the Law of Attraction as he said; “Nothing new can come into your life until you are grateful for what you already have.” You may want to read that sentence again.

Celebrating and magnifying gratitude is a wonderful practice that brightens the light of wellness wisdom that resides within each of us. With gratitude as your guide, I invite you to laugh, love, play, and pray your way into the continued nourishment of your mind, body, and spirit. Honor your wellness wisdom within.

. . .  I am grateful for you.

Ways to Magnify Gratitude

  1. Start the day by giving thanks. As you open your eyes, you might say, “Thank you God! I get another day!”
  1. Don’t complain. The universe typically provides us with more of what we speak or think about each day. So the more you complain, the more you’ll find reasons to complain! The more gratitude you acknowledge, more things to be grateful for will appear in your life.
  1. Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Having a gratitude journal by your bed and writing just a few things in it each night can be a beautiful closure to the day.
  1. If journaling isn’t your thing, call to mind ten things you are grateful for before drifting off to sleep.
  1. Write and send thank you notes, not just for something given to you recently but to acknowledge appreciation for something someone did for you in the past.
  1. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving or a special holiday to express gratitude, love, or appreciation to those you love. Call someone now. You’ll make at least two people feel better.
  1. Consider gratitude as a way of being. The suggestions above offer things to do that are supportive in developing the practice of gratitude. The next step is to know you can go even deeper and allow yourself to be the place where gratitude flourishes.

Excerpt from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Susan Tate.

Wellness Wisdom by Susan TateBuy Into the Mouths of Babes on Amazon

 

 

Practice Peace

Practice Peace

ARE YOU READY FOR MORE PEACE TO ENTER YOUR HEART AND LIFE?

It seems like a good time to share an excerpt from the “Practice Peace” chapter in my Wellness Wisdom book to offer you a generous helping of nourishing peace.

Peace begins at home, home within the center of each of us. Our peaceful state of mind can then be extended to our family, friends, community, and the world. It can even be extended to people who don’t believe as we do. If we each take steps to promote this harmony, we could eventually see peace reach epidemic proportions.

It is often easy to condemn groups of people who are at war with each other. We may shake our heads wondering why “they” can’t live in peace. But are we living in peace? Are we at peace with ourselves? People creating terror hold a grudge against people who do not think like they do. Do we harbor grudges against family, former partners, coworkers, or neighbors? I believe if each of us takes the steps necessary to truly practice peace “at home,” within our bodies and souls, then it will be easier to sustain a peace consciousness throughout our entire planet.

EVERY DAY, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO CREATE PEACE
WITHIN YOUR OWN HEART.

When listening to the radio or watching the evening news, you can take deep breaths and a moment to pray for peace. You might even choose to create a ritual of peace-thinking in your daily life. For example, every time you stop at a red light, it could be a signal to think peace and be peace. I love the peace bumpers stickers I see when I’m driving too. And I giggle out loud every time I see the one that says, “Envision Whirled Peas”!

I invite you to join me in mindfully taking time to pray for peace, within ourselves first and then throughout the world. Whether you walk through the doorway of your own home or through the metal doorway in airport security, dare to be the carrier of peace.

peace doveP E A C E

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is
no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.”  ~Unknown

PRACTICE PEACE

When we practice peace in all parts of our daily life, we could actually begin to upset the condition of conflict and turmoil in the world. Practice peace. Think peace. Be peace. Touch peace. It’s communicable.

OVER TO YOU

What one thing will you do today to create more peace in your heart and mind? Feel free to leave your comments on my Susan Tate Community Facebook Page.