During my five months as the Minister of Justice and Witness, I have had to love myself through many difficult moments. Probably the hardest moments in my 42 years of life! Loving yourself, even WHILE in a space that is unpleasant takes much awareness. To be self aware is to love yourself and others, that much more. As a MINDFULNESS EDUCATOR, Most of my mentors and coaches have been of the mindset that being “angry” is being in our “EGO MIND”. I often felt as though, I had to choose between being a MINDFULNESS EDUCATOR or BEING HUMAN. I think the most difficult part of authentically loving yourself through the hard stuff is having RADICAL ACCEPTANCE in yourself. Know who you are, even if you are not yet who, or where you want to be, and being real about what wounds, hurts, pains are there, that haven’t been addressed, so that we can move through, the new HARD TIMES, with no residual activators waiting to pounce! You see, when we do not allow ourselves to HEAL in a REAL WAY, we do not allow an opportunity to gain the stamina to deal with day to day life, let alone the HARD STUFF!
One of the things I often talk about is paying attention to the body. Before Mindfulness, when I heard people talk about “where do you feel it in your body?” I would roll my eyes and did not understand at all what that meant. That is until one day, I was in the thick of an emotional meltdown, talking about the relationship between my Father and I, and my Mindfulness coach at the time, She said, “where do you feel it in your body, right now?” At that moment I was able to connect to my body in a way I never had before. Paying attention to my body, brought a new awareness and understanding, to the fact that our emotions played a direct role in how we feel in our body. If we can be AWARE, then we can catch ourselves from reacting to the bodily sensations that happen when we are upset without being MINDFUL.
Mindfulness DOES NOT = 24/7 happiness. We are human beings and humans have feelings and emotions. Learning what activates our wounds, being honest with ourselves about how to heal, and grow, while RADICALLY loving yourself, through each and every step is possible, even in the middle of a storm around you. rule of thumb: If you can manage to be upset and NOT allow that hurt to cause yourself or someone else, emotional or physical pain, you are indeed on the right track to loving yourself through the hard stuff. When we REACT we are in pain. When we are aware, we can be present in our body BEFORE REACTING.
The number one reason I chose to do the next book club topic SELF COMPASSION, is because I watched many people that I love disappear because of the shame, or embarrassment of realizing the topic of race or homophobia etc., was not something they could handle. I too, realized I could no longer tolerate having oppressive behavior in my eye sight without speaking up, which also contributed to the loss of many friendships. I am settled in who I WANT TO BE. Sometimes who we want to be makes others uncomfortable, which is all the more reason to LOVE you like no one else can!
with so much love, and Gratitude,
Amira, Minister of Justice and Witness, for Clackamas United Church Of Christ