I have a couple of mantras in my life that I remind myself to practice—love thyself; face the day with open kindness; be present in the moment; and look for opportunities to help others. Practicing self-love is so important because we are sacred, loving creations connected to the Divine, and we are collected together. I knew I could get that wonderful, visionary word, 'cllctd.', in my blog article. I also try to practice gratitude, courtesy and respect as I greet individuals throughout my day. Of course, I sometimes fall short of practicing open kindness, but I forgive myself (Yes, I am practicing self-love) and I venture forth. I really believe that if I can give myself and others space and acceptance to grow, then my relationships will become more loving and more satisfying. I have discovered that enduring satisfaction comes from deep, human relationships; meaningful, good work; and the transcendental elements of life.
Developing loving and faithful relationships with other people is key to experiencing inner joy. Deep relationships require mutual respect, enduring support, and unconditional trust. As a faithful friend, I try to give my friend or family member my full and interested attention. I must carve away time to create that bond of friendship and have a listening heart rather than a judgmental heart. I must cultivate my empathy to try and put myself in that individual’s shoes as he shares his deepest concerns with me. And my friend must be assured that what he tells me, I will keep in confidence. I need to practice the skill of listening with a compassionate heart so that I can nurture him with possibility and hope. I also have to be willing to go deeply with my thoughts and feelings as well so that I can be real with who I am. Vulnerability means that I can share whatever I am going through and know that I will be heard and not judged. I must remind myself not to give advice unless I am asked for advice. We in the Western World are fixers, but people need nurturing not fixing. In life, there are acquaintances and friendships. Having lived many seasons of life, I have realized friends are those individuals I nurture because they are with me when I am sick, when I am worried or depressed, and when I have experienced great loss in my life. These trusted friends and family members will be with me when life is difficult and when life is good. Consequently, I must be there for them. These are the individuals we must nurture and spend time with in our lives. They are the loving friends who give us joy and satisfaction in our lives. They are the individuals who will always have our back.
I have discovered that meaningful, productive work can bring satisfaction and a positive self-esteem. I found very meaningful work as a teacher and a writer. I love to encourage others and help people. I always had those two qualities and they made me happy. I also loved to read, to listen to stories, and to write poetry. I fell in love with literature. I also loved sports and spending time with others. As an educator, I could do all of those activities: teach literature; write creatively, encourage young people to follow their dreams; and coach sports. Often, I had my students write about what makes their heart sing. I think it is important to find work of interest and a job where individuals can experience success. I would tell my students to keep learning and growing. I would encourage them to ask people about their occupations. I wanted them to discover more about their interests and research career paths associated with their interests. We need to keep learning and growing in our lives. The smallest of tasks well-done can bring meaning and joy to our lives.
Finally, I have found satisfaction and joy by feeling a sense of connection to God who gives unconditional love to all of creation. I practice this connection through daily meditation and prayers. I am grateful for life, my family, my friends and my dog, Ollie. I thank God for the people in my life who have shown me great love and kindness. I bless my family and friends who have died and gone home. I have hope that someday I will be with them. I let go and forgive people who have hurt me in the past. At times, I pray for their well-being. That action was difficult for me. I have to say it took me many years to develop a forgiving spirit, but it was essential for me to be able to forgive so that I could rid myself of resentment and negativity. I am often silent in my meditation so that I can create space for God’s love. I ask God to help me practice more acceptance, love, kindness and gratitude throughout my day. I ask my Divine to help me recognize opportunities to help others. I yearn for more Spiritual awareness and growth. Then I go forth to greet the day of possibility and hope.
Among many things, Nancy Sack is an educator, avid photographer, and a published poetry writer. Check out more of Nancy's work at nancysack.wordpress.com