Category Archives: Inspiration

Heart-Full Moments – March 2019

Be Inspired

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A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world. 

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to this is life, sitting together in the dark, keeping your cool, breaking the cycle, acts of kindness. I’ve also included a link to a cool and creative 100-day project you can participate in that would be a great way to try something simple each day in the direction of doing something that’s really important to you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Activist Faith Spotted Eagle on the importance of discussing America’s history of colonialism: “For Native people, talking about these things is important to a process of healing. For me, I think it’s not just healing. I would add to that a sense of justice, being heard. And then, on the other hand, for non-Native people, hearing and listening to these narratives, these histories, and engaging in a conversation — it is not about guilt, and it’s not about shame. It is about…freedom from denial. It allows a liberation.” – Layli Long Soldier, Oglala Lakota Poet
  • “Life is amazing.
    And then it’s awful.
    And then it’s amazing again.
    And in between the amazing and awful
    It’s ordinary and mundane and routine.
    Breathe in the amazing, hold on through awful, and relax & exhale during the ordinary.
    That’s just living heartbreaking, soul healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
    And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.“ – L.R. Knost
  • Wherever human beings are sort of gathered and with great seriousness trying to think through the predicament of being human, wisdom emerges…
    “One thing I know for sure is that we all need a great deal of help.”
    “We live in an age of opinion and people always have an opinion – especially about things they know nothing about…”
    “To be relatively conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage, or confusion, or quiet sorrow, knowing there are so many things we cannot solve…”
    “If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible? (It’s about everyone knowing the right thing to say so you don’t get attacked)…”
    “There’s an Inuit word ‘cartseluni‘ which means sitting together in the dark waiting for something to happen- I’m happy to have that be my new bio…”
    “I’m attracted in all the arts to those places that show concentration has been established…it’s all about how do you help other people to concentrate in the moment? Pause, Attend, Listen…” – Teju Cole
  • “Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure
    you are. Let me learn from you, love you,
    savor you, bless you before you depart.
    Let me not pass you by in quest of some
    rare and perfect tomorrow.” – Mary Jean Irion
  • Before the interview even aired, there were photos floating around of you barely flinching while an angry R. Kelly towered over you yelling. The Internet has agreed that they can’t believe how poised you were. What was going through your head?
    “I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me. After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave.
    So what I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that.” – Gayle King on remaining calm during interview with R Kelly when he exploded (*example of keeping your cool when others lose their mind!)
  • “Life is what you bake it.” – Batch Pastries
  • “Rejection is never the end of the story. It is an opportunity to try something new.” – Team Teachable
  • “Peace agreements last 35% longer when women are involved in the negotiating process.” – Daily Upworthiest
  • “ I come from a long line of generations of women who have been denied the right to their dreams. They have been passed on the baton of poverty, illiteracy, early marriage, lack of education, abuse, etc. There is also wisdom that is passed on from one generation to the next. My grandmother always said, “You have the power to decide whether you keep on running with that baton of poverty, passing it on,  or whether you run with the baton and re-define it and reshape it into the baton of wisdom, so you can be the one to break that cycle.“ – Dr. Tererai Trent
  • “Your dreams in this life will have greater meaning when they are tied to your community.” – Dr. Tererai Trent’s mother
  • “We can never underestimate this truth:
    No matter who you are, the biggest thing you do in any day is most often going to be a small act of kindness, decency, or love.” – Cory Booker
  • “When we can sit in the face of insanity or dislike and be free from the need to make it different, then we are free.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “#The100DayProject is a *free*, global art project. The idea is simple: commit to 100 days of making and sharing your progress on Instagram.
    We start April 2nd, 2019. And anyone can participate (that means you!). https://www.the100dayproject.org/

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with peace, pause, and creativity.  And that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what consoles you and replenishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments – February 2019

Finding happiness when you show up

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These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to choosing how to deal with fear, acceptance of self and experience, finding happiness, showing up – with you. I’ve even included a five second practice you can do when you’re super busy and are trying to find some calm in this fast paced world. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” – Charlotte Bronté
  • “When my 1000 lb. horse under me does something skittish or dangerous, I realize I don’t have to scream. I can choose to not scream, even if I feel scared, and then I don’t make it worse.” – Sarah Fisher
  • Our ideal should be to create something beautiful that did not exist before us. – Zapotec saying
  • “Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.” – Elizabeth Bibesco
  • “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”   ~Carl Rogers
  • “Could a greater miracle take place,
    than for us to look through
    each others’ eyes for an instant?”
    – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Our relationships are a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.”  – Iyanla Vanzant
  • If you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” – Byron Katie
  • Acceptance is not defeat. It is an acknowledgment of the truth. Once we accept where we are we can move forward with greater clarity, courage, and strength. It’s an opportunity to become unstuck, to experience well-being in the midst of our symptoms and beyond our symptoms.” – Claire Mardsen
  • “Happiness is, after all, an inside job. It’s not about having perfect circumstances; it’s about making peace with what is and making the best of the hand we were dealt.” – Claire Mardsen
  • “When you make the choice to be in your relationship, you get a whole lot of other choices, too. For example, instead of complaining that your partner isn’t romantic or sexy enough, consider how romantic or sexy you can make yourself. Actually taking that responsibility not only empowers you, it makes a space for your partner to move toward you in ways you might find surprising. When you choose your partner and take responsibility for your sexuality, you recognize that, ultimately, only you can make yourself happy.” – Alexandra Katehakis
  • “The mind is a powerful tool for love and happiness. Just don’t use it as a judge’s gavel. If you look for evidence that your mate isn’t perfect, you will find it. The good news is that if you look for evidence that they are kind, funny, and take good care of you some of the time, you will find that too.” – Cheryl Fraser
  • “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”  – W. Somerset Maugham
  • ”I once heard from a kapuna (elder) that its through our wounds that we heal, we transcend.” – Shane Akoni Nelson
  • “Being deeply loved by someone
    gives you strength,
    while loving someone deeply
    gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
  • “The key for me this past year has been emotional sobriety,” says Mike, who sees a psychiatrist monthly and a therapist weekly, and is part of a weekly mental health support group. “It’s about learning to be able to show up for my emotions regardless of how I feel. It doesn’t necessarily take away the shame or the guilt, but the level of awareness I have now has made it easier for me to manage things in life around the depression.”
  • “Native American parable called “Two Wolves,” in which a grandfather tells his grandson about a great fight going on inside him. The fight is between two wolves, the grandfather says. One is evil and the other is good. It is a fight that goes on inside everyone. The grandson asks which wolf will win. The grandfather’s reply: “The one you feed.”
  • “He who is most attached to a particular outcome has the least amount of power.”
  • “Whoever believes in the good in people,
    draws forth the good in people.” – Jean Paul
  • “The trick, it seems, is to be able to hold
    both things very close – the gratitude
    and the misery – and then,
    with a semblance of faith,
    to let them fly.” – Elizabeth Aquino
  • “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”- Maya Angelou
  • How to Adapt Mindfulness for Fast- Paced Companies: “My suggestion to clients is to do a short practice, take five seconds – to uplift their posture, open up and then settle, relaxing their shoulders. Instead of noticing the breath the way it is, I suggest they inhale as they lengthen their spine and as they exhale, they soften their chest and think of something that makes them smile. Thinking of something that makes you smile releases oxytocin, the connector chemical. You can try it now inhale and lengthen your spine, as you exhale, think of something that makes you smile. Notice the feeling in your chest – you are activating a feeling of warmth. Clients can build up from five seconds to ten and then to twenty seconds. The idea is that they can do this in a meeting, on a conference call or before sending an email. They don’t have to close their eyes or find a quiet place.” – Wendy Palmer

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with beauty and sweet relationships.  And that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what consoles you and replenishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…What are some ways misery and gratitude show up in your life? Just reply to this email.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart-Full Moments – January 2019

Wishing you possibility and freedom

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

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It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to starting something new, searching for how to be good, creativity, freedom, possibility, being good and being beautiful – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “This time of year often brings out the best in people, but the unspoken shadow of Christmas is that much of the consuming prevalent at this time is unsatisfactory. It satiates at one level but completely misses at a deeper level. It’s care that matters, not things.” – Soren
  • “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace, and a soul generated by love.” – Coretta Scott King
  • “And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart
  • According to this inspirational footage that was released by Google earlier this month, the most popular internet searches of 2018 were about “good” things and how we can be better people. Heartwarming Data Reveals the Most Popular Google Searches Were About How We Can Be Good
  • “Thinking that other people are supposed to do or be anything other than what they are is like thinking that tree over there should be the sky. I investigated that and found freedom.“ – Byron Katie
  • “The same pain that can blemish our personality can act as a creative force, burnishing it into an object of delight.” – Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
  • “Let tomorrow find you better than today.” – Simone Biles’ Grandfather ~ “This is the time of year when we dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson ~ “Grow whole, not old.” – Chip Conley
  • We talked a lot about this thing called liminality, being in an in between space. The analogy was often about being a chrysalis, that form between a caterpillar and a butterfly, when you feel like you’re goo. Gradually, the chrysalis opens up and its wings dry and it’s a new being. But the point was to embrace this stage at midlife, when you’re in transition, and to say, ‘OK, I’m a mess right now. I’m goo.” – Kari Henley
  • “I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.” – Diane Ackerman
  • “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel
  • “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” – Maya Angelou
  • “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver
  • “If we give happiness to others we will end up happy.” – lemon ginger yogi tea bag tag
  • “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others, you need to accept yourself.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Music is the Anti-Wall” – DJ Spooky
  • “It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.” – Thomas Merton
  • “When you’re sad, breathe.
    When you’re angry, breathe.
    When Joy swims through your veins like goldfish, Breathe.
    When your heart is cracking, splitting and breaking – breathe.
    Whatever is happening right now, no matter how painful – don’t run away. Face it. Stay. Breathe through it.“ – Sarah L. Harvey
  • “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
  • “Until we take the time to face the faulty thought patterns we may be holding onto, we cannot loosen their grip on us, and we will continue to act on what we assume to be true. The best way to undo our conditioning is to still the mind.” – Paul Singleton III
  • “And we can ask ourselves this: Knowing that death is inevitable, what is most precious today?” – Roshi Joan Halifax

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart-Full Moments – December 2018

I wish you courage, kindness and light

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A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to coping with darkness; honoring the light outdoors, and the light within; values and life codes; and a holiday wish – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Although coming forward was terrifying, and caused disruption to our lives, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty. Having done so, I am in awe of the many women and men who have written me to share similar life experiences and now have bravely shared their experience with friends and family, many for the first time. I send you my heartfelt love and support. – Christine Blasey Ford
  • “What shall I do? How will I do it? I want to win but not at the expense of justice, not at the expense of the dignity of any man — not at the expense of hurting a friend nor teaching my children a prejudice which I do not feel.”- George H.W. Bush
  • “Words I like: family, loyalty, kids, freedom, grandkids, caring, love, heart, decency, faith, honor, service to country, pride, fair (fair play), strength, hope, healing, kindness, excellence.” – George H.W. Bush
  • “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield
  • “What I learned from Bernie Glassman was a willingness to stay in the room when the going got tough and to take loving action.” – Frank Ostaseski
  • “Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” – Dr. Albert Schweitzer
  • “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “His life code was: ‘Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course,’ ” – Jon Meacham
  • “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.” – Brene Brown
  • “I love golden white lights and seeing them in various locations has become my purposeful pause. They remind me to consider that what is called for now may be the commitment to and the choice of leading with light – each soft smile, or act of generosity, no matter how small, creating ripples of light to guide our way.” – Dawn MacDonald
  • “Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” – Frida Kahlo
  • “I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports. For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.” – Bill Gates
  • “The paradox is that living a full human life is not about getting it all together but embracing that not-together-ness in a loving awareness that is larger than it all.” – Melli O’Brien
  • If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected the hearts of those around us, we’d reach out and join hands again and again.” – Tara Brach
  • “I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – OG Mandino
  • “Practice gratitude for the balance of dark and light.
  • While standing outdoors, breathe in the cold winter air. Hold your left palm upward, look at it and say, ‘I give thanks for the cold, dark, and restful days of winter.’ Then hold your right palm upward and say, ‘I give thanks for the forthcoming summer and the person I am becoming.’ Then bring your palms together in prayer position. Raise them to your third eye saying, ‘I honor the varied rhythms of Mother Nature.’ Bring your pressed together palms to heart center saying, ‘I honor the dark and light inside of myself.’ Then bow in gratitude.” – Ashley Hitchcock
  • “This is my holiday wish for you: deep peace in your heart and soul, self-compassion, joy and laughter throughout the year, play!, optimal health for you and your loved ones, prosperity and abundance, energy to follow your heart to the corners of the world, and gratitude for all you have and for all you do!” – Alexandra Katehakis

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and replenishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…How are you coping with darkness, and managing light in your life? What are your wishes for the new year? Just reply to this email.

Many blessings and an abundance of peace and joy to you and your community, as you wind down this year.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments – November 2018

The fire inside you burns brighter than the fire around you

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A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to Healing from sorrow, anger, gratitude and generosity, peace, and a way to make a difference in the world – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “Just keep going.” – Marie Forleo
  • “I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair with a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.” – Leonard Cohen
  • When the washing is done, they end with a phrase from the Song of Songs, a poem from the Jewish bible: “You are beautiful my beloved friend and there is no flaw in you.” – after preparing the Jewish shooting victim martyrs for burial.
  • “Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” – Rumi
  • “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – Interpretive Translation of Talmudic Texts
  • “The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks we give ourselves. “ – Br. David Steindl-Rast
  • “Waiting is an opportunity to turn inward, to find a moment’s silence, to meditate. Let’s be quiet and enjoy our wait.” – Paul Brunton
  • “Life is so painful, but I try to remember the beauty and miracles. “ – Elaine Mansfield
  • “It’s in that convergence of spiritual people becoming active and active people becoming spiritual that the hope of humanity now rests.” – Van Jones
  • “It is a powerful practice to be generous when you are the one feeling in need.” – Allan Lokos
  • “I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “In the new year, look for the good in people, instead of always looking for the bad.” – Jamie Foxx
  • “People who routinely express gratitude enjoy better health and greater happiness.” – Greater Good Science Center
  • “The vast majority of human acts each day are constructive: making meals, tending to children, saying hello, restraining anger, completing tasks, planting seeds, teaching, healing, nurturing, cooperating, smiling, and on and on it goes. Recognizing this truth is comforting and inspiring. There is still hope!” – Rick Hanson
  • ”For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” – L. R. Knost
  • Aristotle writes that “anyone can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry at the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and that is not easy.”
  • “We cannot escape the tragedies that arise in our lives. We can search for a reason and ask – why? Maybe we could hold others at fault or imagine what life would be had this not happened, but perhaps what defines our character is not our struggles but how well we meet them and rise up after getting knocked down. Faith will overcome fears, doubt and insecurities. Sometimes in life we don’t recognize how strong we actually are until we are faced with a great tragedy in our life. This calamity we face today will help develop the strength and fortitude we need for tomorrow. Losing everything we own is sad, but the things we own do not diminish who we are inside. Sometimes the worst situation brings out the best in us and others. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle made of hundreds of pieces, you put it together one piece at a time. No one can go back and change what has happened, but we can all start today and make a new tomorrow, one shovel at a time, one day at a time.” – GB (letter left to fire survivor)
  • Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
  • ”For each new morning with its light,
    For rest and shelter of the night,
    For health and food,
    For love and friends,
    For everything Thy goodness sends.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Dear Creator,
    You, the borderless sea of substance,
    We ask You to give to all the world
    That which we need most — Peace.” – Dr. Maya Angelou
  • “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Adrienne Gusoff
  • “A person of good intelligence and sensitivity cannot exist in this society very long without having some anger about the inequality – And it’s not just a bleeding heart, knee-jerk, liberal kind of a thing – It is just a normal human reaction to a nonsensical set of values where we have cinnamon flavored dental floss and there are people sleeping in the street.” – George Carlin
  • Another way to give and make a difference on Giving Tuesday: Send a free beautiful e-card to someone you love or are grateful for in your life. Make their day (and your day) better with an expression of gratitude.  https://gratefulness.org/connect/send-an-e-card/

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and replenishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…what’s inspiring you these days? What’s meaningful that touches you? How are you coping? Just reply to this email.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments October 2018

We are twice armed if we fight with honor…

IMG_0628.jpgA monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to justice, sanctuary, emotional gardening, mindful pause, voting, and even girl power – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • Click here for everything you need to vote.
  • “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
  • “If you restore balance in your own self, you will be contributing immensely to the healing of the world.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “Start just here. Tune into your heart. That is where love, wisdom, grace, and compassion reside. With loving attention, feel into what matters most to you. Yes, there are anxious thoughts, and there is grief and trauma, but don’t let your heart be colonized by fear. Take time to quiet the mind and tend to the heart. Go out and look at the sky. Breathe in and open yourself to the vastness of space. Sense the seasons turning, the rise and fall of dynasties and eras. Breathe out and dwell in loving awareness. Practice equanimity and steadiness. Learn from the trees. Become the still point in the center of it all.” – Jack Kornfield
  • Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that in uncertain times, our own steadiness can become a sanctuary for others.
  • “In these days of shared difficulties, first make your heart a zone of peace. And then, with courage and calm, you can act, you can speak up, help those in need, dialogue with others, register voters, feed the hungry, care for the vulnerable, contribute to the whole.” – Jack Kornfield
  • Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching to mend the part that is within our reach.”
  • “I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James Baldwin
  • “There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is yours is the present.” – Grenville Kleiser
  • “Until then, I had never really thought of the emotional life as a garden. But that is much closer to reality than seeking the instant miracle. Experiences are akin to soil, the rich terroir of growth. Left untended, certain emotions choke out others, like the weeds that threaten my lettuces every spring. In my garden, I pay attention. I know the difference between seedlings and the invasive plants, cultivating the greens and pulling out the others. So it is with our emotional lives. The same soil allows both weeds and good seeds to grow, and it takes a watchful gardener — and more than a little practice — to ensure the health and productivity of the whole. Over decades, I learned to work the garden of my own soul, and discovered that it was the spiritual work of gratitude. The gardening image has been helpful to me in many ways, most significantly by reminding me that some things take patience and time. To think of the emotional life as a garden moves us away from notions of instantaneous change toward a spirituality that emphasizes learning, attentiveness, trial-and-error, and growth. More than once, I have felt like I have finally overcome anger or grief only to discover it was not really gone. I may not want to, but sometimes I have to rework old soil, replant seeds, and try again. Gardening is the oddest combination of accepting what is (including your own limits and failures) and developing persistence. Suffering is in the soil. From it grows both negative and positive emotions. The negative ones are like weeds in the high summer; the positive ones — including gratitude — too often the smallest of shoots. I have discovered that hard work on one’s knees is the surest way to tend the garden. Both in prayer and rooting around in the soul’s soil, recognizing the difference between what will inhibit the growth of goodness and that which is fruitful, and then plucking out the invasive species. If the work is done, the garden flourishes. And there: gratitude grows. It is a miracle of a sort. One that takes time. And patience.” – Diana Butler Bass
  • Watch this – Sure to make you smile…girl power! Watch Eight-Year-Old Drummer Cover Led Zeppelin – Rolling Stone
  • “The first step in learning to practice the informal pause is to be intentional, know you are stopping. Then, take three full breaths — very long in breath and very slow out breath. Right away, that starts to relax the sympathetic nervous system and help you to acclimate. And then, pay attention to waking up your senses, so you know you are here. To occupy the pause, know that you’re listening to sound right here; the forms you are seeing are right here; the sensations in your body right here. Three breaths, open up your senses, and then, with kindness, invite yourself to be here. That’s it. And if you practice pausing in many different situations, you will start getting the knack of homecoming.” – Tara Brach
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Dear Survivor: you are not defined by the violence that happened to you. The earth is not defined by the asteroid that struck it, but by the million years of life that came after.”
  • “We are twice armed if we fight with honor.” – Plato
  • “And if this isn’t a day when your universe has tilted and something precious you take for granted has not been suddenly irrevocably lost, bow before the mystery and let gratitude wash over you for the miracle of life, health, and this brief walk on our fragile planet.” – Carolyn Moore
  • “I thank God no one’s been hurt, And I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people who have protected us. There’s something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People MUST vote!” – Robert De Niro
  • “May I become free of all suffering so I may help others be free of all suffering.” – Pema Chodron
  • “The more I wonder, the more I love.” – Alice Walker

…So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and replenishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…what’s inspiring you these days? What’s meaningful that touches you? How are you coping? Just reply to this email.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments – September 2018

Help! Things have been so hard…

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

Coping with injustice, grief in a mindful and respectful way. Quotes of wisdom.

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or values I share, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another very challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to coping with injustice, compassion, respectful speech, grief, mindfulness and even a hero’s words – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “We’ve got the gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard, or just think it’s gonna get on with itself. You gotta keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it…and nurture it.” – John Lennon
  • “The world is a shitty place and I’m not gonna make it worse.” – Alex Williams
  • “One must view the world through the eye in one’s heart rather than just trust the eyes in one’s head.” – Mary Crow Dog
  • “If you are neutral on situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Interdependence: This is the practice of remembering that we are part of something larger than our individual selves—a karmic web of humanity—and what we do has impact.
  • Compassion: The practice of compassion is a weapon of mass healing.
  • Harmlessness: The practice of nonharming in body, speech, and mind is essential for respect and safety.” – Ruth King, Mindfulness of Race
  • “In my country, we go to prison first and then become president.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “What would your parrot say about your speech?” – Ruth King
  • “When we attend to the discomfort that kindles unwise speech, we discover that unwise speech is a habitual strategy that attempts to disguise the anxiety we are experiencing in the moment. Once we give kind attention to the impulses of our speech, we are more likely to uproot the habit of uttering unwise speech.” – Ruth King
  • “Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.” – Herman Melville
  • “Two things to remember in life: take care of your thoughts when you are alone, and take care of your words when you’re with people.”
  • “Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen
  • “Walk fearlessly into the house of mourning for grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy and, after all these mortal human years, love is up to the challenge.” – Kate Braestrup
  • “Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” – Maya Angelou
  • This month, welcome the opportunity to share celebration, kindness, gratitude, and empathy with a heartfelt message. Peruse our free eCards, newly updated with fresh beauty and grateful sentiments. Make a difference – share your love and care. Enjoy our collection – Gratefulness.org
  • “Are you aware of any laws that give the government power to make decisions over a male’s body?” – Kamala Harris
  • “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself; if you want to eliminate suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own transformation.” –Lao Tzu
  • “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.” –The Dalai Lama
  • “Mindfulness meditation helps you say to yourself, ‘This is a feeling. It doesn’t define who I am and it’s not going to last forever.’” – David Creswell
  • “When the waves close over me, I dive down to fish for pearls.” – Masha Kaleko
  • “Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love.” – Valarie Kaur
  • “If all eligible young women voted, you would have the power to determine EVERY. SINGLE. ELECTION.” – #IGNITETHEVOTE
  • “They say ‘this could ruin his life’; without acknowledging it already has ruined hers.
    They say ‘he was just a kid’ without acknowledging she was too.
    They say ‘it was just a few stupid minutes ‘ without acknowledging how those few minutes changed all of her years.
    They say ‘he doesn’t deserve this’ as if she does.
    They say ‘boys will be boys’ without realizing that denied this girl her girlhood.
    They say ‘he deserves better’ while implying she does not.” – Marisa Kabas
  • “I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again.” – Etty Hillesum
  • “Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me. I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed. It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.” – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Hero
  • May I be filled with lovingkindness.
    May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
    May I be well in body and mind.
    May I be at ease and happy….
    May you be filled with lovingkindness.
    May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
    May you be well in body and mind.
    May you be at ease and happy.” – Loving kindness practice

…So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that holds some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and replenishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…what’s inspiring you these days? What’s meaningful that touches you? How are you coping? Just reply to this email.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments August 2018

Keep on Keeping

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

IMG_9337.jpg

These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. They reflect what I’ve been reading or learning, or what’s been going on in our world.

It’s been another challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to the challenge of creating good relationships, dealing with the unpleasant, truth and integrity, and even a little humor – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “Always do the right thing even when no one is watching.”– Maui bathroom
  • “Listen without judgment. Talk without criticism. Put differences in reverence.” – Harville Hendricks
  • “Listening is the price you pay to be heard.”
  • “An amazing couple is one where only one person goes crazy at a time!” – Kohut
  • “The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest challenge is being happy with what you find.”
  • “President Trump’s inner child is very wounded. He’s always looking for validation. He probably never felt good enough as a child. He needs love, compassion, joy.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “The most important thing I learned on retreat is how to find a deep and authentic care for both myself and others.” – teen iBme retreat participant
  • “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • “If you can be with the pleasant without chasing after it, with the unpleasant without resisting it, and with the neutral without ignoring it – that is an incredible freedom.” – Rick Hanson
  • “This thought doesn’t serve me well. What could I think instead?” – Shari
  • “Some people feel intimate when they joke and laugh together. Some feel it sparring with one another in a playful way. Other people feel it much more sensuously, like when they’re taking a bath together or making love. Others feel intimate when walking side by side exploring ideas, talking philosophy or dreaming about future goals.” – Ellyn Bader
  • “Patriarchy damages both sexes” – Terry Real
  • “This is the essence of straight white privilege: to not have to worry that your neighbors will be violent toward you because of the color of your skin; to not have to assess each neighborhood for signs of racism or homophobia to make sure you and your children will be safe.” –
  • “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” — Oprah Winfrey
  • “Is she someone you find interesting?”:
  • “You will spend more time with this person than anyone else for the rest of your life,” Obama said, “and there is nothing more important than always wanting to hear what she has to say about things.”
  • “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
  • “Everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources they have.” – Hailey Magee
  • “You are not here merely to…make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson
  • “Healing from trauma is about regaining access to those parts of you that shut down in order to cope, and/or the things that trauma took away from you. Sometimes the reclaiming doesn’t work for you, but even the attempt can be empowering.“ “I can’t emphasize enough that “resolving“ trauma is not pretending it never happened, or going back to the way of life you had before the Traumatic incident. Resolving trauma is becoming aware of your coping mechanisms and triggers, and acting from conscious choice rather than automatic reaction’s.” – ‘Reclamation is a Part of Healing’ in Fierce Passions Blog by M’Kali-Hashik
  • “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
  • “I think over again my small adventures, my fears, those small ones that seemed so big, all those vital things I had to get and to reach, and yet there is only one great thing: to live and see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.” – old Inuit song
  • “R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Find out what it means to me
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Take care, TCB
    Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)
    A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me) Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
    A little respect (just a little bit)
    I get tired (just a little bit)
    Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
    You’re runnin’ out of fools (just a little bit)
    And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit)” – Aretha Franklin, Respect
  • “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.” – Barack Obama
  • “Soul: The deep place inside every human that gives us the power to overcome obstacles, care for those in need, and assert ourselves when our minds tell us we don’t have the energy or heart.” – Ted Perry
  • “What I know for sure is that you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “If I had my life to live over again, I would ask that not a thing be changed, but that my eyes be opened wider.” – Jules Renard
  • “When we can sit in the face of insanity or dislike and be free from the need to make it different, then we are free.” – Nelson Mandela
  • Walls and Bridges: interesting conversations about race, politics, gender, immigration, extremism, etc. Definitely worth listening to here.
  • We all need some fun to lighten our load and lift our spirits. Check out this video of ten hilarious easy and cool party games. These would be great to play with your family too, and believe it or not – are actually mindful practices disguised as fun!
  • “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White

…So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and nourishes your soul.

I’d love to hear back from you…what’s inspiring you these days? What’s meaningful that touches you? Just reply to this email.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

Heart Full Moments July 2018

What has touched you this month?

A monthly feature of “Listening with Heart” blog, sharing wise words, meaningful things read or good things found, to help warm your heart.

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These are the most impactful quotes I have read or heard this month that give me pause, or uplift my heart. Wisdom spoken in just a few words. It’s been another challenging month, and I know we each need some insight and encouragement to keep carrying on. I am happy to share these quotes – that speak to the challenge of managing our anger, feeling our pain, and carrying our hope – with you. Take a moment to go through them and maybe highlight a few that speak to you. Enjoy…

  • “Let’s be wise and not go about acting out our anger, but instead act upon the wisdom of our anger.” – Amber Ray
  • “Unlike self-criticism which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you.” – Kristen Neff
  • “Deference is different from unquestioning acceptance,” Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, blasting the majority opinion. She made the rare move of reading her dissent from the bench and closed with an ad lib: “History will not look kindly on the court’s decision today — nor should it.”
  • We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Zeno
  • “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic to the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong, because someday in life, you will have been all of these.“ – George Washington Carver
  • “Sometimes I go about pitying myself when all the while I’m being carried by great winds across the sky.“ – Ojibwa saying
  • “To this day I believe we are here on Earth to live, grow, and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.” – Rosa Parks
  • “Until we extend the circle of compassion to all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
  • “I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all, I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” — Agatha Christie
  • “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
  • “We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival.” – Roshi Joan Halifax
  • “I know what happens when children are separated from their families. They collapse into themselves and try to become as small as an atom, infinitely divided. They fold their sorrow over and over again – hoping that by taking up less space they may create room for their families to rejoin them.” – Marcela Rodriguez-Campo
  • “In appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.” – Fred Rogers
  • “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what,” the Thai navy SEALs posted on Facebook. “All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave.”
  • “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” — Dalai Lama
  • “Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians — protecting and promoting children’s health,” reads a statement from AAP president Dr. Colleen Kraft. “We can and must do better for these families. We can and must remember that immigrant children are still children; they need our protection, not prosecution.”
  • Writer Dell Cameron, who was sent to foster care during a custody battle, notes that workers at such centers often have no understanding of the children they’re caring for. When these kids inevitably act out as a response to their emotional stress, they are punished. “Hope is what I lost as a child. It was destroyed by the state,” Cameron wrote. “Detaining children when parents love them and want them is a crime against humanity.”
  • “We all want to be happy. So if you want to be happy, be grateful. Gratefulness is the key to happiness.“ – Br. David Steindl-Rast
  • Paying attention is an ongoing act of reciprocity, the gift that keeps on giving, in which attention generates wonder, which generates more attention—and more joy. Paying attention to the more-than-human world doesn’t lead only to amazement; it leads also to acknowledgment of pain. Open and attentive, we see and feel equally the beauty and the wounds, the old growth and the clear-cut, the mountain and the mine. Paying attention to suffering sharpens our ability to respond. To be responsible.” – Dr. Robin Wall-Kimmerer
  • “Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal.” – Eliza Barclay
  • “In meditation, “you’re cultivating [peace, kindness, clarity] so you can offer it to others. When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.” – Brother Phap Dung
  • “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” – Henry Boyle
  • “I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her real name was grief.”
  • “Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life.“ – Church billboard
  • “We don’t know what life will bring, so it is what we bring to life that matters.” – Patricia Campbell Carlson
  • “In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.” -Maxine Hong Kingston
  • “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou

So that’s this month’s short list of Heart-Full Moments that has some meaning for me. I hope your month has been graced with compassion and reflection and that you might take a moment of pause to connect with what inspires you and nourishes your soul.

If you or someone you care about is struggling to find moments of full-heartedness, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445

 

Best Tips for Hope During Heavy Times

I’m at a loss for words, and my heart it hurts

“I’m at a loss for words, and my heart it hurts. Things going on in this world so absurd – Mr. President tell me what’s the word?”

mindfulness when you are angry and sad about world events helps the healing.

These words are from Landon McNamara’s song “Loss for Words” which is about the grief experienced by witnessing all the violence going on in the world. But I find it equally applicable to what’s going on right now. Here we are in another time of unfathomable trauma and heartache going on in our country and many are struggling to find the words to express the complex and difficult feelings that we are experiencing.

Feelings like helplessness, anger, sadness, grief about all the unnecessary loss and separation that’s going on. Or feelings of anxiousness and being afraid of what’s to come. Many of us are struggling with trying to make sense with what feels so crazy-making, each day with a different mandate coming at us. We experience these feelings in our bodies, we have a visceral sense of the trauma and torment that is being carried out.

My clients talk to me from time to time about the strain and overwhelm they feel about what’s going on politically and socially in our country. But this experience in particular, related to children that are being separated from their parents at the border, seems to have hit everybody’s rawest nerve and deepest heartstrings. Most every hour I’ve had someone pouring their heart out to me about how disturbed they feel about this example of humankind not being treated with human kindness.

Mostly there is an experience about helplessness and questions about what one can do to alleviate some of the suffering (in the world or within themselves.) Or people wonder about how to handle their feelings of outrage in light of the circumstances that are happening, that are inhumane, egregious, akin to torture and abuse, and even kidnapping.

Anyone who has suffered trauma in their lives or been victimized seems to be especially vulnerable and re-stimulated about these horrific things going on. Clients are talking to me about feeling like the world’s soul has been deeply injured, and humankind has taken an enormous blow.

Some have called this fascism on American soil, equal to what many in Latin American countries already live with and expect regularly. These immigrants who have already narrowly escaped the tail of the shark in their own countries, have sought to protect their families, only to travel north and land in the mouth of the shark.

Others have talked to me just about how terribly sad it is, and how they are reminded of their own children, and the pain they would feel if their own children were in any kind of pain. Still, others have talked to me indicating that they really don’t have anywhere else in the world to talk about this in a personal feeling way.

As a human being and as a mother I have been deeply impacted by this terrible scenario. I am heartsick and alarmed in a profound way over the separations and the lack of cohesion demonstrated, as ICE and so-called ‘Human Services’ are trying to reconnect parents with their children. I have been horrified by the lack of compassion demonstrated.

Before this, I had already felt personally affronted by the ways this administration thinks about and treats people of color, particularly Latinos (calling immigrants rapists and criminals; humiliating proud Puerto Ricans after hurricane Maria with paper towels; eliminating hopes for Dreamers; wanting to build the Wall), but these actions after zero-tolerance have been even more unbearable.

As a psychotherapist I am deeply troubled by what’s currently going on and by what I know will be the likely future that plays out for these children and families that have been separated. To be separated from one’s parent when one is a child is a traumatic event with lifelong negative implications. To be separated from your child when one is a parent is equally traumatic, and there seems to be no level of support for the devastation that has occurred and continues, day after day. We all know that racism is an ongoing traumatic experience to bear. It affects our psyche, our relationships, our sense of security in the world, our families.

Admittedly I have had difficulty to find the words to respond to peoples’ anguish adequately. I have been at a loss for words myself. But I have also felt inspired by the positive and compassionate actions taken by many to address this outrage, like the grandmas who want to make sure someone is looking out for the children.

And from listening to or reading those people who give me guidance and solace, here are some of the best tips I have encountered for holding on to hope in heavy times:

  • Be inspired by all of the support that’s out there – know you are not alone.
  • Let your human compassion grow – be kinder to the next homeless person or person you see who is struggling.
  • Send peace, care, compassion, empathy into the universe.
  • Take action: go to a rally and make signs (Click here to see some of the signs that I witnessed at this weekend‘s ‘Families Belong Together’ rallies). Take only actions that reflect those coming from your heart.
  • Call your Senators and Representatives.
  • Give money to causes like the ACLU or Raíces, or Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande, so they can continue their important work.
  • Cry, share your sorrows, grieve collectively.
  • Remember, all living beings want to be happy, belong, connect and be free. We are all similar that way.
  • Take breaks from the news.
  • Don’t use your suffering to cause anguish to others – use it instead to elevate others.
  • Treating someone as an outsider increases our experience of them as less than human. Do the opposite – see their similarities to see them as more human and more connected to you.
  • Be fully present, even when loss has come. Make space for the “One who knows“ inside of you. Remain calm and clear and bring forth your own wisdom, conscience, compassion.
  • Be fair and generous with your courage as you acknowledge how things are. Remember that many others know how to survive, as do you. Let yourself experience the hardship intimately, personally within yourself, and then also share it with the world.
  • When angry, Breathe (with presence into your heart), and Push (act with intelligence and love, that comes from your best self). Redemptive anger is better than reactionary anger.
  • Pay attention to how you touch your sorrows – is it with fear, anger, aversion, tenderness, warmth, acceptance?
  • Feel underneath your anger and connect to what hurts.
  • Become present and aware of that unbelievable beauty and inevitable tragedy that make up human life. The juxtaposition can be painful.
  • Mindfulness practices empower you to carry on, and help you to remember who you really are. No matter what happens, you still have your courage and good heart. Mindfulness also helps to reduce racial bias and the treating of people as unreal others.
  • Bear witness. Listen deeply to the stories.
  • Share compassion. Let yourself feel another’s pain. Let in other peoples’ suffering. Get close enough so your heart can be broken (open).
  • Offer loving kindness to yourself; then to a benefactor/friend; then to someone you have a complicated relationship with (like a parent, or a spouse); then to a neutral person you may often overlook; then to an enemy or difficult person; then to all living beings….

May you be happy
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you live with ease
May you not suffer.

What’s your experience like during difficult times? What helps you to get through? I’d love to hear from you. Reply back.

If you or someone you care about is having difficulty managing the overwhelm of racism or discrimination and would like some support, please contact me for a therapy appointment.

For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.

Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
www.cindiriveratherapy.com
criveramft@gmail.com
(510) 482-4445