The 5 A’s for Inner Peace

I’ve been breaking ground and unearthing while getting my garden ready.  It’s amazing what comes up from the ground: old rotten roots, hardened clumps, grubs that can destroy new plants, worms and toads full of life. Seems like an analogy for life, when we take time for reflection, inquiry and acknowledgement of the present moments, as well as of all the beliefs and old patterns we hold from a lifetime of conditioning. The other day I was driving down the road after an incredible kayak trip, singing along ecstatically with my favorite Eva Cassidy songs and feeling the beauty all around me. Then I got some news that unearthed memories of old sadness and shame around growing up in a family with mental illness at a time when there was little public awareness and even less help. For many years the effects were wounds invisible to the outside – an inner and lonely experience. What does it take to heal? Well, for me it was a self revealing, an acceptance, a learning to love my self and others, and a sharing of gifts. When I heard this news about my relatives, I allowed  myself some tears and pain, and the release of loud yelling from my core, and then practiced the “5 A’s”. Hope these will help you or someone you love.

The Five A’s for widening the window of tolerance for our emotions, thoughts & actions, and for creating witness consciousness & enhancing self regulation:

Attention: Pause & be present. Bring attention to what is in the moment, the here and now. 
Awareness: With a spirit of inquiry and awareness of body, mind, emotions, and beliefs, create a bridge to Self. The Self is the witness of all things.
Acceptance: Accept all that arises with ease and gentleness, and allow yourself to open to the present. If there is something that you do not like, you can say to yourself: I will sit with this for just a moment. Accept all of yourself and live in equanimity with all your parts, the light and dark,  joys, and sorrows.
Ahimsa: Practice “loving kindness” toward yourself and others. Say a kind word, place a hand over your heart, touch yourself tenderly.  Bring another to mind and send them “loving kindness.”
Action: Share the fruits of your practice with others today!