The first place where we can apply our courage, curiosity, and desire for connection is with ourselves. We offer the following questions to prompt you to turn inward and begin the process of developing a flourishing relationship with your own divine heart.
We cannot have compassion for others until we can have compassion for ourselves
So let us delve under the surface
of the ocean of our hearts
in search of our truth
our inner mission of service
The only person the world needs you to be
is the person that you truly are
So, who are you?
Self Inquiry Questions:
What brings you Joy? What does Joy feel like in your body? How do you express this Joy to others when you are feeling safe to do so?
(To explore this topic more, choose 2 moments each day for a week to savor an experience of joy for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Neurologist have found that focusing on pleasurable sensations for at least 30 seconds helps us to hold onto the experience more thoroughly thus helping to re-program our neuro-pathways to balance out our experiences of pain and joy. Painful experiences immediately enter our brain’s long-term storage, presumably for survival reasons, whereas pleasurable experiences tend to move through us like a sieve, leaving us hungry for more. For more exploration of this practice, check out the work of Dr Rick Hanson.)
When do you feel safe? Who in your life helps to create an environment of safety and how do they do this? What actions do you take to create a safe space for yourself?
When do you feel unsafe or triggered? How do you find yourself reacting to these triggers? What helps you to regain a feeling of stability, perspective, and grounding?
(It is helpful in this level of inquiry to think of ourselves as a collection of many parts, different ages, different perspectives, and different needs. When we enter a place of being triggered and we experience big emotions, a part of us is expressing that their needs aren’t being met. We tend to enter into a sympathetic, “Fight or Flight”, nervous response. In this state, our frontal lobe goes off-line and we are acting from a limbic system survival program. We may feel little power to control our actions in this place, leading to expressions of anger and fear that are later hard to face and feel self-compassion for. There are a few suggestions for exploration: firstly, using the languaging that a “part” of you is experiencing said emotion, rather than the whole, can help to foster a compassionate witness presence internally. Secondly, coming into connection with what needs you have that are being unmet, can also help towards understanding – look into Marshall Rosenberg’s work on Non-Violent Communication and check out this list of universal needs. And thirdly, the practice of Maitri, which translates from Sanskrit as the “Unconditional Friendliness Towards Oneself”, where in practice you simply breathe space and light around the emotion you are hosting and observe with curiosity and self compassion)