May 312013
 

The flip side to comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves ‘less than,’ is comparing ourselves to others so we can feel superior. Again, here, the process to work with our egoistic comparing states is not through judgement, but compassion. It is not simply our righteousness and pompousness that motivates an ‘I’m better than you’ type of judgement; Both self-deprecating ‘I’m not enough’ comparisons and superior ‘I’m better than you’ judgements are rooted in the same sense of insecurity, unworthiness and fear. So, we pause, become mindful of the judgement that enhances the illusion of separateness between us and the other , and we recognize that under the judgement is a tender, vulnerable part that feels the need to shore itself up by saying ‘I’m better than you.’ If we were really confident and secure in ourselves, there would be no need for comparisons.

As a bit of an Alpha Dog, leader type person, I catch myself doing this more times than I care to admit. I’ll be in yoga class with a teacher who is half my age and who is teaching from a physical, rather than spiritual orientation. I catch myself in a critique and a quick conviction that I could do it better. Then I pause, I note what is rooting the judgment. Perhaps it is some underlying insecurity, perhaps it is a need for a spiritual deepening that is not being met in this class. I breath, and I remind myself: “At this moment, I am the student. At this moment, this 25 year-old is my teacher. What is it I am to learn from her?” I surrender into my soft spaces and soften into vulnerability and humility. In doing so, my hard edges yield, and I reconnect with the instructor and with my deeper Self. And as is usually the case, I become more peaceful and grounded. This is ultimately the outcome of mindfulness and Maitri (loving-kindness) practice.

Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3
Integrated Spiritual Counseling

clip compairing to others failure

May 302013
 

I woke up this morning, got online, and discovered a peer of mine was running a workshop that is well-received enough that others are flying in to take it. I could have been joyful for her success, but instead, in about 5 seconds I spiraled into an old pattern of comparison that shifted my happy morning energy into an ‘I’m not enough’ state of being.  We all have our mental cancers that sneak in and take us by surprise…even after years of self-growth and mindfulness practice. The practice of mindfulness in daily life is not directed at reaching a state of perfection, rather it is the pause that allows us to become compassionately aware of what is. The practice of Maitri (loving-kindness) is the softening that pulls us out of the poisoning story we feed ourselves, the ‘I’m not enough’ that is a knife to our soft and tender hearts. So, I pause, I send love and caring to my vulnerable ‘I am not enough’ part, and in doing so, I let go of the comparison and the story. In entering into compassionate relationship with the ‘I’m not enough’, I expand my compassion to all others who have an ‘I’m not enough’ part. In that expansion, I come to understand that it is not my ‘I’m not enough’ story, it is ours. I lose the ego illusion of isolation and experience myself connected to the wider experience of us. Mindfulness and Maitri practices help us to soften, to live in a more loving space, and to connect us to the Bigger Something of all conscient human beings. I do practice mindfulness and Maitri to deepen my spirituality, but ultimately, I practice because it makes me feel better. I could have let that 5 seconds dictate my emotional state for the entire day, but instead, in just a few minutes I am solid and happy, and thoroughly thrilled for my peer’s success.

Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3
Integrated Spiritual Counseling

clip compairing to others failure

May 292013
 

In the too busy, too much to do world that most of us are currently living in, it is very, very easy to feel overwhelmed and to believe that the task ahead of us is impossible to complete. We have to learn to take small bites and baby steps and ask ourselves, “okay, what’s next?” What is the next one small thing that needs to be done to reach the seemingly impossible goal if I look too far in the future? The practice is to stay in this present moment. What can I do right now? What is possible right in this moment? In doing so, we remove ourselves from impossibility mindset. And in relinquishing impossibility thinking, we experience ourselves as more capable to take action and to create our own destinies.

Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3
Integrated Spiritual Counseling

clip impossible until done

May 212013
 

I love the little quotes that come across social media sites. In our world that offers too many stories of trauma and suffering, inspirational post-it notes, pictures and stories help us to root back to our values. It’s like a mini church.

What stood out to me in this today was the “remember your roots.” I’ve often said that we can’t fully make peace with who we are until we know where we come from. So many of us US-Americans are an amalgam of different cultures and ethnicities – some of them with oppositional trauma. Many of us don’t even know what our histories are as our recent ancestors wanted to be good “Americans” or were robbed from their country of origin. I am currently working with a geneologist who has found so many unknown closets in my family history and I find my sense of self shifting to incorporate this new information. I am bigger and broader than even I knew. And I thought I was grounded and centered before, but I find myself feeling as if I’m on ever more solid ground now knowing that my roots are deeper and wider than I’d ever imagined.

If you don’t know your family history, I encourage you to explore it. You will likely be surprised at what you will find. You will likely find grounding roots you did not know you have.

 

clip advice_from_tree

May 212013
 

As I begin to transition from Colorado to California, I am filled with both tender grief and loss as well as the yearning and excitement of a new adventure. It is holding opposite and contrary emotional states that we often have difficulty with. One of the crucial elements in the development of internal peace is making friends with our conflicting needs, desires, and emotional states. So, I work this path with you, holding both great sorrow in leaving clients and my life in Colorado, and great joy at returning to my Family and new clients in California.

Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3
Integrated Spiritual Counseling

clip brave_goodbye_reward_hello