Love Yourself, Live Your Life Summer Breakthrough Program

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“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball

Labyrinth

One of my favorite sayings is “we teach what we need to learn”.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is where many of my posts and offerings stem from.  As someone who has been on a spiritual path for quite sometime, I have found there are certain essentials that we work on throughout our lifetime ~ this is part of the being a spiritual being having a human experience. 

Whenever we are creating change or working on healing, we hope that we will get this part and move onto the next piece.  On some level this happens, but more often than not, we find that we cycle back to old patterns, feelings or beliefs and need to work through them in a deeper way.  This doesn’t mean we have failed – actually we are progressing on what we might call the “spiral of healing”.  Cycling back is part of the path to our evolution.

Life is about transformation, growth, self-discovery and finding new possibilities.  The journey of life is a sacred path and it is natural to seek teachers and teachings to help us find our way.  But, as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj shares so beautifully, “The only true guru (teacher) is the path itself.”  And, this journey is a continuous one.  We might consider it like the labyrinth.  We enter in not knowing the path to center but we find the opening, follow along and eventually we end up in center.  We pause, reflect, set some intention and then begin to move out into the world once again – simply following the open path.

In a sense there is a bit of a puzzle to solve, but rather than just look at the labyrinth and try to sort it out mentally, we take one step and then we take one more.  We surrender to the path that is before us and in trusting each step is where it needs to be that we discover the divine presence is guiding us in each moment.  In life, when we feel we have a setback or have “spiralled down” rather than up, we tend to see this as a failure or as a wrong step.  The truth is the path is full of ups and downs on the spiral life; we are in a constant state of expansion and contraction.

Sometimes we may feel we have lost our path or have gone astray, but even when this is what we are feeling, we are where we need to be.  There is beauty and wisdom to be found in every experience.  And, as the shamanic path teaches so beautifully – it is the darkness and the shadows that we find the light within ourselves.  Still, we can find ourselves in  times of doubt or confusion that leave us feeling stuck or out of alignment with our deeper purpose in life.  What is it that can bring us back, not to a different place, but to willingness, acceptance and understanding? 

I have found the answer to be one of the essential teachings that I devote myself to both personally and professionally ~ the journey of the heart and the cultivation of greater love and compassion for self.  As we explored during May Is For Metta, loving ourselves is seen in the Buddhist tradition and others as the foundation we need to foster love and compassion in our lives, relationships and the world.  I also see it as one of the most potent keys to change and healing.

I have been devoting a lot of my time this summer to writing the final chapters for the May Is For Metta book.  Immersing myself in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion has opened the door for a new program I have been developing to emerge sooner than planned.     I am excited to share information with you on the Love Yourself, Live Your Life Summer Breakthrough Program. This is an introductory series that will be offered through 5 weekly tele-classes, a Facebook group, guided practices and optional individual sessions.

I am happy to share a Free Gift with you; it will give you a glimpse into what the Love Yourself, Live Your Life Program will be like.  This previous teleclass on “Loving Ourselves: A Key To Change & Healing” is a great way to explore loving yourself on a deeper level.

I hope you’ll take some time to explore and join me for this new program designed to support you in embracing and loving all of who you are so that you can live the life of your dreams!

Here are the details of the program for you to explore:

Love Yourself, Live Your Life
Summer Breakthrough Program With Beth Terrence
5 Session Teleclass Series
Discover The Healer Within
 
Do you want to live more from the heart? 
 
Is it a struggle to be gentle and loving with yourself?
 
Are you ready to step into your soul purpose from a space of the heart?
 
Does your inner critic keep you stuck? 
 
Do you want to have a deeper sense of connection with yourself, others and the world? 

 

In this 5 Session Teleclass, you will: 
 
  • Learn to connect with your heart on a deeper level and live more from the heart space.   
  • Cultivate love and compassion for yourself using a variety of transformational tools including meditation, shamanic journey work, affirmations, self-reflection and creative exercises.  
  • Uncover limiting beliefs and obstacles that prevent you from embodying greater love and compassion for your self and others and also, keep you from moving forward in your life.  
  • Learn to access your essential self and embody your soul purpose from the space of the heart
  • Begin to facilitate your own process of transformation and healing and create a foundation to continue that process in your life.
 Dates: Tuesday, July 22nd – August 19th  
 Time: 7:00 – 8:00 EST 
 Where: Wherever You Are – Call in by phone or listen online
 Audio replays will be available after the weekly call

 

 Basic Package $97, includes  
 – 5 weekly teleclass sessions 
 – an mp3 audio of calls 
 – weekly transformational resource handouts
 – private Facebook discussion group, plus 
 – 2 special audio bonuses 
 
 Register by July 14th for Special Pricing on Basic Package ~ $77
 
 Premium Package $247, includes
 –  Basic Package plus  
 –  One 1 1/2 hour Individual Session with Beth Terrence  
 in person in Annapolis, MD or By PHONE/SKYPE (Reg. $150)
 
Register by July 14th for Special Pricing On Premium Package ~ $227
   
Are you ready to embrace the truth of who you are –  
a being full of loving-kindness and compassion?

How much longer do you want to continue struggling?

Do you want the heart to be a guiding force in your life? 
 
The journey begins with you!
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Bach Flower Of The Month: Sweet Chestnut ~ Easing Anguish & Sorrow

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Sweet Chestnut

The Bach Flower Remedy System Of Healing is composed of 38 different flower essences developed by the visionary Dr. Edward Bach.  The system is based on Dr. Bach’s philosophy developed from learning that came through a long career in medical research, working as a physician and from spiritual studies.   This simple, yet powerful approach is based on the idea that humans are all innately perfect and at the core are spiritual beings.

Dr. Bach saw disease as the result of a conflict between our spiritual and mortal selves.  He held that in order to achieve health, happiness and ease of well-being, we must be in harmony with our own essential nature and follow the path that we feel most called to in our lives and our work.   According to Dr. Bach, 

“Disease is the reaction to interferences.  This is temporary failure and unhappiness and this occurs when we allow others to interfere with our purpose in life and implant in our minds doubt, or fear, or indifference.” 

After many years of treating patients, Dr. Bach abandoned all conventional medical treatments instead choosing to use nature’s “medicine”.  He felt that the healing benefits of flowers and plants were a divine gift and that no special knowledge or medical training was needed to find relief from suffering.  He believed it was necessary to treat the whole person not the disease and he defined seven main categories of imbalances which include:

  • Fear 
  • Uncertainty
  • Insufficient Interest In Present Circumstances
  • Loneliness
  • Oversensitivity To Influences & Ideas
  • Despondency Or Despair
  • Over-Care For The Welfare Of Others

He also identified seven stages in healing disease:

  • Peace
  • Hope
  • Joy
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Certainty
  • Wisdom
  • Love

The Bach Flower Remedies bring these positive qualities vibrationally into our energy field and help to transmute interferences and limiting patterns, feelings and beliefs so that we may connect with our true essence of perfection.

In my work as a Bach Flower Remedy practitioner over the last 15 years, I have come to see 5 specific remedies as being beneficial for what we might term “depressive” feelings.  I’d like to stress that in the Bach System and other holistic modalities, we look at indicating factors but are not treating based on a diagnosis whether for a physical or mental health related condition.  Rather, we are addressing the whole person and looking for areas of interference or imbalance to support a return to wholeness. 

The remedies which I consider when someone reports experiencing feelings of depression are:

You can learn a bit more about each of these remedies in “How To Beat The Seasonal Blues With The Bach Flower Remedies“.

In a consultation, all aspects of a person are considered.  Often even though the motivator for seeking support may be “depressive” feelings or another specific emotional state, it is essential to consider other emotions or personality traits to ultimately uncover the root cause an individual’s suffering or discomfort. 

With 38 different remedies, there are actually over a million possible combinations and it can be beneficial to seek the support of a practitioner or take a course to initially to learn how the remedies work and how to treat with them.

It’s been a few months since I have included a Bach Flower Of The Month post.  The intention of these posts is to offer a way to learn about the remedies and explore working with them.  If you feel you need additional support, I am available for consultations by Phone/Skype or In Person in Annapolis, MD.

Today, I would like to highlight Sweet Chestnut.  This remedy is in the category of Despondency Or Despair; I would add that it is one of the stronger remedies in that category.  It’s indication according to Dr. Bach is as follows:

“For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem unbearable.  When mind or body feels as if it has borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way.  When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.”

This came up for me this month when I learned of the sudden passing of a dear friend.  Like many of us, I have gone through some periods when losses were compounded.  Since then, I have found that a new loss can easily stir those feelings and at times put me into a state where I feel I have endured all I can.  Often, this state is more acute and doesn’t last too long, especially when supported with Sweet Chestnut remedy, but when we are in it – it is overwhelming.  Any state such as this may dissipate on it’s own but the remedy can help to ease through the extreme anguish that can arise.  At some point, a shift happens into a lesser state of emotion but still the feelings of loss and grief are at the surface.  This is what I experienced this month and found that by taking Sweet Chestnut I was able to move through my emotional experience more easily.  I then continued with Star of Bethlehem for loss and grief.

Here are some of the indicating factors of Sweet Chestnut:

  • Extreme mental and/or emotional anguish
  • Intense sorrow
  • Feeling you have endured all you can bear
  • Uncontrollable crying or tears
  • Feeling forsaken by God/Creator
  • On the verge of a nervous breakdown
  • Overwhelming feelings after a huge loss or life challenge
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • A sense of emptiness due to bereavement
  • Utter dejection
  • Feeling depleted of energy due to emotional overwhelm
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Overwhelming loneliness

Some of the benefits that come from working with Sweet Chestnut include:

  • Freedom from despondency and despair
  • Optimism
  • Peace of mind
  • Recovery of faith
  • Access to inner strength
  • Feeling heard and supported by God/Source
  • Ability to face external struggles with positivity

To learn more about my work with the Bach Flower Remedies, visit www.bethterrence.com.  Bach Flower Consultations are offered in person in the MD/DC area or by Phone/Skype.  Bach Flower Consultations are available as an individual modality or as part of an Integrative Transformational Healing Session, which is a customized session based on individual intentions, combining transformational resources such as Shamanic Healing, Bach Flower Remedies, Body/Energy Healing, and Meditation.

New Offering ~ 30 Minute Bach Flower Q&A Session $50 or try a

6o Minute Bach Flower Consultation Including A Custom Blended Remedy ~ $100

Learn more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release ~ Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace

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It’s been such a full week with the completion of May Is For Metta 2014 and some other events I was facilitating that I did not have a chance to announce the release of the latest Heal My Voice collaborative book, Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace.  Most of you who have been following the blog for a bit probably have heard me talk about Heal My Voice and some of my posts this past year have been connect to this project, known as Voices Of Peace.  I had the privilege and honor to co-facilitate this year-long writing project as well as write a story and the afterword for the book.  This is the second project I have participated in; the first was Inspired Voices: True Stories Of Visionary Women.  As you can see from the titles, each book project has a theme.  The project consists of a group of 18 – 25 women coming together for 9 months – 1 year to explore the theme in their writing and their lives.

The mission of Heal My Voice is to “empower and support women and girls globally to heal, reclaim their voice and step into greater leadership in their lives and in the world.”.   For the past two years, this project has been at the heart of my journey of transformation and healing.  Through writing, finding my voice and stepping forward in leadership, I have had so many incredible opportunities and experiences.  My first published story, “Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman” was released in 2013.  Also, over the last year, I have had the opportunity to bring the Heal My Voice model to Chrysalis House, a residential addictions treatment program for women and their children in Crownsville, MD.  This grass-roots pilot project has been a joy to be a part of and has once again brought me full circle back to bringing holistic tools and resources to the addiction and mental health recovery community.  

When I began my first HMV project, I had stepped away from that path, feeling uncertain of how to bring my gifts to addictions and recovery programs.  I had no idea where I would end up when I began, but writing my two Heal My Voice stories has helped me to make peace with my life experiences, to learn and grow as a facilitator and to reconnect with my passion to serve those who are struggling with addictions and mental health challenges.  Over the last year, I had the opportunity to become certified as a Recovery Coach through CCAR (Connecticut Community For Addiction Recovery) and to complete my application to become a Certified PEER Recovery Specialist in Maryland.  The timing of all this was just amazing – I  completed my application on May 29th and Harmonic Voices was released on May 30th.  

I also found myself immersed in this work that I have been feeling called to do all this week.  On Tuesday, I lead the Heal My Voice writing circle at Chrysalis House.  On Thursday, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the Maryland Association of Chemical Dependency Nurses at Johns Hopkins.  Our topic was “Holistic Resources For Addiction Treatment & Recovery”.  Then, on the weekend, I returned to the Unity Women’s Recovery Retreat where I have had the honor to speak and do holistic healing sessions for the last 5 years.  On Saturday, I spoke on “Accessing Your Essential Self”, a topic that emerged through my writing and explorations over this past year.  I feel like things are coming full circle and I am excited to see what emerges next.

Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace was a challenging project to bring to completion.  I share a bit about this in the afterword from the book.  Here is an excerpt that speaks to the nature of the project and our experiences:

Participating in a Heal My Voice project is a 9-month process, which is akin to birthing a child. We invite our stories to come into being by listening and receiving ideas. Then, we carry them inside of us and work with all that is arising through our group sharing and explorations in writing. Finally, our story is born – it is written and published. It is then that we begin to move out and share our voices with the world.

Each project is different, having a specific theme or focus and in who shows up to participate in the circle. It took some time for Voices Of Peace to get going, longer than we imaged when the project began. Who wouldn’t want to focus on peace? Well, although it sounds like a simple thing, we noticed it was slow going in actually having people sign up for this project, more so than other Heal My Voice projects. It required a strong commitment of the facilitators to hold the space for “Peace” to emerge. We kept the gateway of the circle open longer than usual and slowly but surely more women joined the project.

One of the things we noticed early on in our group sharing was that most of us were not experiencing a whole lot of peace. In fact, there was a lot of chaos going on in many of the women’s lives. I witnessed something that I so often come across in my own journey and in my work with others. When we invite in a positive energy or vibration such as peace or love, we begin to stir up everything inside of us that is not that energy or vibration. This is something that happens a lot when we are working with intention or affirmations. We are essentially creating an alchemical container for transformation to occur and this is really what a Heal My Voice circle is – an alchemical container for transformation and healing.”

So for those of us who were brave enough to enter the Voices Of Peace project, we were faced with coming into conscious awareness of all that we were holding inside of ourselves that was an obstacle to peace. Much of this stemmed from our personal experiences, both current and past, as well as unresolved feelings and beliefs we took on about life and the world itself. I am not sure if we were aware of how much was coming up right away but over time our discomfort was evident.(Click Here to read the full afterword or buy the Harmonic Voices book on Amazon.)

For me, entering into this container for the second time, opened the doorway to pain and trauma I had been carrying for far too long.  Even with all of my personal work and my work as a holistic health practitioner, shaman and guide for others, I had not been willing to accept the depths of my pain.  I thought I had, but it was in journeying into my deepest wounds that I found those parts of myself that were still feeling isolated, abandoned and unworthy.  They needed not only for me to accept the depths of their pain, but to embrace them and bring them out into the light – to stop hiding in shame.  Participating in this Heal My Voice circle, offered me a space to share my heart and soul, and to bring all of me into the light.  The journey will always continue but I am so happy to share my story, I’m Okay, Really! and the words of all of the 18 amazing women featured in Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace

In my story, I shared a quote from Healing The Shadow, a book written by my teacher and mentor, Shaman Ross Bishop. I’ll leave you with those words:

“Healing means making yourself vulnerable by exposing the core of your being and admitting how you really feel about yourself. The decision to heal requires the willingness to accept that you may be as flawed as you fear (we never are). It also requires an almost ruthless commitment to find and live in the truth, irrespective of the cost.”Ross Bishop, Healing The Shadow

If you’d like to order the book, paperback copies are now available on Amazon.com and Kindle edition will be available next week.  All proceeds go to support Heal My Voice projects including the Chrysalis House Pilot Projet for women in addiction recovery.  

Order Now!

 

Day 31 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Celebrating Our Journey Of Loving-kindness And Compassion

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“Reaching a state of compassion is the ultimate gift we give ourselves as human beings.  It is knowing and feeling that all power is within us and that none is vested outside of us – neither in material things nor in the circumstance of our lives.  Compassion comes from loving ourselves so completely that we see and feel others only through that love.  In a state of compassion, Oneness is our reality.” ~ Arnold Patent

May Is For Metta 2014

Wow!  We did it.  How does it feel to have devoted 31 Days of your life to cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves, others and the world? And, even if you didn’t participate every day, know that each moment you practiced has been a heart-opening experience.  Devotion to our practice has allowed us to expand in many ways.  What does this mean?  According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “Devotee” connotes:

  • a person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something: a devotee of Lewis Carroll
  • a strong believer in a particular religion or god: devotees of Krishna

We sometimes hear the term used when someone follows a particular guru, teacher or religion, but what if we choose to follow loving-kindness and compassion as our guide?  I have often heard the Dalai Lama quoted as saying, “My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.”   This is not to say that we cannot have our structured religions or beliefs, but the heart of our human experience is about the essence of who we are and not the structure.  As Arnold Patent touches on above, it’s not about the material, the circumstances or even the way we live our lives, it’s about knowing and feeling what lies within and connecting with the Oneness that is our true nature.  And, it is by practicing that we can develop the “muscles” to experience Oneness.

I was excited to come across an article during our practice time which shares about research at the University Of Wisconsin on loving-kindness practice and how it transforms us.  This research has been going on for some time and what has been found is that as we practice loving-kindness, we are actually retraining our brain.  I love it when science comes on board and show us what spirituality has known for so long.  More recent research has focused on assessing loving-kindness practice by evaluating a shift to more altruistic tendencies as an indicator.  Researcher Helen Weng says this,

“Our fundamental question was, ‘Can compassion be trained and learned in adults?  Can we become more caring if we practice that mindset?  Our evidence points to yes… It’s kind of like weight training.  Using this systematic approach, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”

One of the aspects that was noted was that loving-kindness practice actually helps people to regulate their emotions in a new way.  In the research, this was reflected by certain changes in the brain and in the ability to respond in a more compassionate way.  Part of this has to do with what we have learned from our practice alone, that as we deepen in our ability to experience loving-kindness and compassion, we become more able to hold the space for other’s suffering as well as for the uncomfortable feelings that arise within ourselves.  This is often where might have had the tendency to turn away or close our hearts.  Thanks to Metta, we have the ability to open and to transform in each moment.  How beautiful!

If you’d like to learn more about research loving-kindness and other explorations in meditation, visit UW’s Center For Investigating Healthy Minds.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices.  As you begin your practice today, take a few moments to reflect on any changes you may have experienced since you began May is for Metta.  How has your ability to connect with and generate the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion evolved?  Spend some time in your circle of loving beings or imagining a time you were held in unconditional love.  Really allow yourself to feel those energies enveloping you.  When you feel ready, repeat the phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

As we conclude our practice, choose someone from each of the individual categories whom you have already practiced for during May is for Metta and offer Metta again for this being:  Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, and Difficult Person.  Acknowledge that in practicing for this being, you have benefitted by becoming more open-hearted and loving.  As you begin each category, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with remembering to come back to your own heart center for a few moments between each category:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.   When you are ready move on to the category of All Beings. To conclude our practice, let’s take a few moments to practice for our virtual sangha; our community of May is for Metta practitioners is spread out all over the world.  For the last 31 days, we have been coming together with our hearts and the intention of creating more loving-kindness and compassion in ourselves, others and the world.  Offer the phrases for our community, including yourself:

  • May we be happy.
  • May we be peaceful.
  • May we be free of suffering.
  • May we have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete, move on to the broader category of All Beings.  As we extend out our practice today, let us remember that it is this state of compassion that opens us to the experience of Oneness.  Let us dedicate our practice for the benefit of all beings without exception:

  • May All Beings be happy.
  • May All Beings be peaceful.
  • May All Beings be free of suffering.
  • May All Beings have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Feel these qualities filling you and surrounding you.  Know that you have created a strong foundation of loving-kindness and compassion within yourself and you can now carry that wherever you go.  You are a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion.  

Today is a day to celebrate your journey with May Is For Metta.  Take some time to reflect on your practice and to explore how you would like to continue.  Find something fun or joyful to celebrate you!

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  How does it feel to have made it through 31 Days Of Loving-kindness Exploration?  What have you noticed about yourself and your practice since you began?  How will you work with Metta going forward?   What other practices would you like to explore?   Have you taken time to honor yourself for your efforts?

Some Suggestions For Continued Practice:

  • Repeat the practice or select specific posts to work with.  Remember your practice is your own, so find a way that works for you.  I will be indexing the all of the daily practice posts on the May is for Metta page so they will be easily accessible by day and topic; this will be available early next week.  Also, feel free to continue to share your experiences as you continue.
  • Find a meditation group in your area or start your own Metta meditation practice group.
  • Sign Up For The  May is for Metta Audio Series to accompany your practice. 
  • There are some great books on Metta Meditation and Loving-kindness Practice to help you continue your exploration.  Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Shambhala Publications, 2002.
  2. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher K. Germer, PhD. Guildord Press, 2009.
  3. Awakening Loving-kindness by Pema Chodron.  Shambhala Publications, 2009.
  4. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat Zinn. Hyperion Press, 1994.
  5. The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion by Sharon Salzberg. Sounds True, 2010.
  6. The Healing Power of Loving-kindness by Tulku Thondup. Shambhala, 2009.
  7. One Soul, One Love, One Heart: The Sacred Path to Healing All Relationships by John E. Welshons. New World Library, 2009.

Wishing you many blessings for the coming year.  As always, feel free to stop by to share your experiences and reflections.

May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be free from suffering. May you have ease of well-being. 

Love & Light,

Beth

 

Day 30 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Metta As Medicine For Heart And Soul

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“ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not:  What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.
 
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness…

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”- H.H. Dalai Lama on Compassion and The Individual

May Is For Metta 2014

Our journey together through May is for Metta has been an opportunity to explore ways to create happiness and peace in ourselves, others and the world.  As the Dalai Lama indicated above – at the core of being human is the desire to be happy.  This is a bond we share as human beings, regardless of our outer differences.  Our sense of separation, from ourselves, others and the world, is an obstacle, which most of us face as we try to create happiness in our lives.  By developing and deepening our connection with our own heart and generating a foundation of loving-kindness and compassion, we have begun the process of bringing more happiness to ourselves and to all beings.

In a sense, we can view our practice of Metta, of loving-kindness and compassion, as the “medicine” that brings happiness into being.  What better medicine can there be?  In many cultures, the term medicine refers not only to drugs or substances, but to wisdom and the guidance of spirit.  Metta is medicine for the heart and soul;  it’s natural, it’s free and it’s beautiful to experience.  And, as we work with the “medicine” of Metta, it’s energy pours over into others and the world.  As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

Daily Practice: 

As we move towards the end of May Is For Metta 2013, I hope you will take some time to honor the efforts you have been making to be more loving and compassionate.  Do you foundational practices.  As you begin your practice today, take a few moments to reflect on any changes you may have experienced since you began May is for Metta.  How has your ability to connect with and generate the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion evolved?  Spend some time in your circle of loving beings or imagining a time you were held in unconditional love.  Really allow yourself to feel those energies enveloping you.  When you feel ready, repeat the phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready move onto the other categories as you feel to for today:  Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, and Difficult Person.  Acknowledge that in practicing for this being, you have benefitted by becoming more open-hearted and loving.  As you begin each category, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with remembering to come back to your own heart center for a few moments between each category:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.   When you are ready move on to the category of All Beings.

When you feel complete, move on to the broader category of All Beings.  As we extend out our practice today, let us remember the words of the Dalai Lama, that at the core, all beings wish to be happy.  Let us dedicate our practice for the benefit of all beings without exception:

  • May All Beings be happy.
  • May All Beings be peaceful.
  • May All Beings be free of suffering.
  • May All Beings have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Feel these qualities filling you and surrounding you.  Know that you have created a strong foundation of loving-kindness and compassion within yourself and you can now carry that wherever you go.  You are a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion.  Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice. 

Take some time today to reflect on your practice and to explore how you would like to continue as we prepare to move into our last day of practice together. 

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  Are you able to embrace the idea that all beings wish to be happy and free from suffering.  What does Metta as medicine mean to you?  What have you noticed about yourself and your practice since you began?  How will you work with Metta going forward?  What other practices would you like to explore?  Have you taken time to honor yourself for your efforts?

Have a happy, peaceful and loving day!

Namaste.

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If you are interested in receiving additional support to develop or deepen your Metta practice or work on cultivating greater loving-kindness for yourself during May Is For Metta, consider one of the optional levels:

Level I: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audio Message/Guided Meditation Practices delivered to you through email each morning ~ $31

You will receive a index of audios from Day 1 to present which can be accessed online or downloaded.  A new message will be delivered each day thru May 31st.

Sample Day 2 Of May Is For Metta Audio Message

Level II: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audios +  One-On-One Integrative Transformational Healing Session with Beth Terrence in person in Annapolis, MD,  or by Phone or Skype  ~ $108

Register Now

 

Day 29 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Deepening Our Metta Practice

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“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chodron

May Is For Metta 2014

One of the great gifts of Metta is learning to move beyond our personal experience into the understanding that all beings experience suffering just as we do and additionally, all beings wish to be happy and peaceful just as we do.  I find 30 days to be a great container for exploring a new practice or creating a change in our lives.  As we move toward the end of our container, we have a much stronger foundation than when we first began.  This is a wonderful time to re-examine our practice and how far we have come.  It is also an opportunity to see where more of our work lies.

At this point you know that you can always do your practice in a way that you feel guided to; so your guidance as you feel to.  My suggestion for  today is to deepen in two areas:

1. Loving-kindness For Ourselves

2. Loving-kindness For A Difficult Person

Take some time today to practice for yourself for a bit longer than you may have been doing since we moved on to the other categories.   Also, take some time to offer Metta for yourself throughout the day, perhaps as difficult feelings arise or just when you think of it.  Metta can be both a proactive and responsive process, so it is beneficial to work with it in both of formal practice and “on the spot” practice.  If there is a particular issue or struggle you are dealing with or that you may have noticed  as you moved through the month, such as difficult feelings, outmoded beliefs or unhealthy patterns,  bring this into your practice by offering loving-kindness to yourself with a more specific focus.

Additionally, take some time to work the category of Difficult person, referred to in traditional Buddhist texts as the “Enemy”.  There are clearly varying degrees of difficulty and this is something to explore as part of the practice.  At the most basic level, the Difficult person is someone whom we find it challenging to like or feel friendly towards.  It is someone towards whom we may have varying degrees of negative feelings.  Sometimes, just thinking about this Difficult person causes us to feel upset or frustrated.

Working with the category of Difficult person offers us the opportunity to go to a deeper place within ourselves.  Oftentimes, when someone causes a reaction in us, there are feelings and issues we need to resolve within ourselves.   As always, we begin by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves.  We acknowledge that something is arising within us that is causing discomfort and in a sense, we comfort ourselves with our attention and our compassion.

There are often people and situations that challenge us and cause uncomfortable feelings to arise; this can occur in our work life, our families, and just in moving about in the world.  Often, we need to deal with seemingly difficult people and situations but there is nothing we can do to change the fact that we have to relate with them.  This is one of the places we can shut our heart down as we feel there is nothing to do with our feelings but stuff them inside.  By offering Metta, we begin to work with our resistance, which supports having a more open heart and mind.  It also gives us a vehicle for dealing with something that we may feel we have no power to change.  Perhaps we cannot change this outwardly, but we do have the power to create change within ourselves.

As we begin, we recognize that the Difficult person is suffering just as we are suffering.  Even though we struggle with this person, we acknowledge that they deserve to be happy as all beings do.  You may wish to choose someone whom you have struggled with for some time or just notice a situation that arises during the day, such as a frustrating phone call or stressful interaction with a coworker.   In the beginning, it can be helpful to choose someone to work with who you find is only mildly difficult rather than someone who stirs up very strong emotions.  However, if a very difficult situation arises, this can be a good time to explore responding with loving-kindness and compassion.  Remember you can always bring your practice to yourself first.  Once you are in that space of loving-kindness you can then explore extending it to the Difficult person or situation.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices.  Find a comfortable position. Imagine yourself in the center of a circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Connect with your own heart center and begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

Even if you did your practice at home, take a few moments as you as you go about your day to center yourself in the heart and repeat a round of two or phrases for yourself.  Remember to do your foundational practices several times throughout the day, especially when you are experiencing stress or difficult emotions.

When you feel ready to move on to practicing for all of the categories you feel to  for today: Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, Difficult Person and All Beings.  As you begin, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

As you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.

At some point either in your sitting practice, as you go about your day or in both ways, take some time to explore the category of a Difficult Person more deeply.  Offer Metta for this person and also notice what arises within yourself.  Are there certain qualities about this person that you, too, may carry?  Maybe yes and maybe no; it’s all about exploring.  Remember, it can be someone whom you often struggle with or someone who has annoyed you or caused difficult emotions for you today.  Do your foundational practices and say, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so does this being wish to have peace and happiness”.  Begin to offer phrases for your Difficult Person, remembering to return your practice to yourself as you need to:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Really allow that feeling to sink into you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.

Take a few moments to reflect on your practice.  Ask that the merit of your practice be for the benefit of all beings knowing that in sharing this merit you, too, are receiving immense benefit.

Daily Journal Reflection:  

Take some time to reflect on your practice of Metta for yourself and for a Difficult Person.  Have you noticed any changes since you began?  How did it feel to take some more time to offer Metta to yourself?  Are you able to see a change as you work with the category of Difficult Person?  Do you notice anything about the Difficult Person that may be something for you to explore within yourself?  Are you remembering to be gentle and loving with yourself as you practice?

May you have a day filled with happiness and peace.

Namaste.

 

Day 28 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Cultivating Peace On Earth

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My life blazed

with the desire

To serve as a thread

Joining Heaven and Earth

                                                                      ~ Haiku by Masahisa Goi

May Is For Metta 2014

One of the things that may happen when we are cultivating loving-kindness and compassion is that we become more attuned with these energies and may be drawn into connection and community with like-minded others.  As each being becomes more of an embodiment of these positive qualities, they are not just bringing change to themselves but to those around them and the world itself.  Perhaps you have experienced this is in some way as you have been working with May Is For Metta or holding this intention it is a part of your ongoing personal practice.

One of the qualities we often work with in the Metta phrases is PEACE.  May I be peaceful.  May you be peaceful.  May all beings be peaceful.  In Metta, we see peace as an aspect of loving-kindness; when we feel held in love and compassion, most often we are at peace; and when we are at peace we become more able to be connect with energy of loving-kindness.  These qualities go hand in hand.

Last year at this time, I participated in a Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony with one of the communities I am a part of, Heal My VoiceHeal My Voice is an international organization whose mission is to “empower and support women and girls globally to heal, reclaim their voice and step into greater leadership in their lives and in the world.”  Although I was familiar with the concept of Peace Poles, I didn’t know the origin of them until I attended this event. 

The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who was greatly affected by the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs which fell on the city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  His desire to assist in the creation of world peace was answered when in 1955, the Peace Message, “May Peace Prevail On Earth”, came to him in a moment of great inspiration and deep prayer.

After Mr. Goi authored the Universal Peace Message in 1955, a great number of people gathered in support of his vision and activities to spread the Peace Message were promoted throughout Japan.  Soon after, Peace Poles inscribed with the Peace Message began to appear in various locations across Japan initiating the start of The Peace Pole Project.  The year 1986 was designated as the International Year of Peace and since then Peace Poles are one of the most recognized international peace symbols with more than 200,000 Peace Poles standing in almost every country throughout the world.

10298376_10152122370960168_563882781120428117_oI am excited that the project that began with the HMV Peace Pole planting last year is coming to completion this week with the release of a book based on our one year journey into peace.  Harmonic Voices: True Stories Of Women On The Path To Peace features stories by 18 women who joined together to explore the journey from chaos to inner peace, harmony and transformation with the intention of bringing greater peace to ourselves, others and our world.  It will be available this Friday on Amazon.com.

Reflecting on the synergy of these experiences has made me reflect more deeply the idea that as we cultivate an energy or quality such as loving-kindness or peace, we are actually becoming an embodiment of it.  So for today’s practice, I felt to focus on peace specifically as our exploration.  When we focus on peace and being peaceful, we are allowing ourselves to become a “living” peace pole, one that is moving about and radiating the energy of peace wherever we go.  I hope you’ll join us in this exploration today.

You may wish to work with the full practice, choosing someone for each category or you may just wish to practice Metta on the spot today.  Take some time to feel into what feels best for you.  As always, our foundation comes from cultivating Metta for ourselves, so be sure to spend some time cultivating peace for yourself so that you may then extend that energy out to others and the world.

Daily Practice:

Find a quiet place and a comfortable position.  Imagine yourself in your circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Imagine a time when you felt held in that way.  Also, for today, tune into a place or a time when you felt a deep sense of peace.  Really allow yourself to feel that peace.  Breathe it into every atom and cell of your being on the in breath and as you breathe it out feel it surrounding and enveloping you.  You may wish to continue to work with all of your phrases or just work with “May I be peaceful” for today’s exploration; it’s up to you.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or the ones you have chosen for today: Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, Difficult Person and All Beings.  Remember to come back to your heart center for a few moments between each category and reconnect with the feeling of peace you generated for yourself before moving on.  For each category, offer “May you be peaceful“.  If you feel to work with other phrases, please do.

As always, if you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  Use a peaceful time or place as your anchor for today.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off.   To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of peace that you have been cultivating.  Really allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with peace.

In honor of the Peace Pole Project, let us also add this round of phrases, “May Peace Prevail On Earth“.  Knowing that as we do so we are supporting and embodying a vision which,

  • Symbolizes the oneness of humanity and our common wish for a world at peace
  • Reminds us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony
  • Stands as a silent visual for peace to prevail on earth

May Peace Prevail On Earth

Finally, take a moment to honor yourself for creating the space to cultivate peace in your own life and in the world.  Can you feel how this is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves and for our planet?

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  How did it feel to focus on peace today?  Did it feel difficult to work with one quality?   Did you notice areas of your life where it is challenging to feel peaceful?   How did it feel to offer peace to others?  to the world?  What will you do to continue to cultivate peace in your own life, in your relationships and in the world?

Wishing you a most loving and peaceful day.

May Peace Prevail On Earth!

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If you are interested in receiving additional support to develop or deepen your Metta practice or work on cultivating greater loving-kindness for yourself during May Is For Metta, consider one of the optional levels:

Level I: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audio Message/Guided Meditation Practices delivered to you through email each morning ~ $31

You will receive a index of audios from Day 1 to present which can be accessed online or downloaded.  A new message will be delivered each day thru May 31st.

Sample Day 2 Of May Is For Metta Audio Message

Level II: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audios +  One-On-One Integrative Transformational Healing Session with Beth Terrence in person in Annapolis, MD,  or by Phone or Skype  ~ $108

Register Now