Are You Resisting?
This year one of my focuses is gratitude. I am journeying with someone throughout the book Living in Gratitude by Angles Arrien which looks at one aspect of gratitude each month. This month the title of the chapter was "Compassionate Service" and honestly I resisted reading it. Maybe it was coming off the flu but the thought of adding MORE compassion into my life sounded exhausting. Does that ever happen to you? You think of adding a spiritual practice or focusing on God in some way and the reaction is resistance?
The gift of doing this year of gratitude with someone is the opportunity to process this resistance. What I realized that I had jumped to a place of not enough yet again. I saw the word compassion and went to a place of "this chapter is going to say I am not doing enough." This can happen so easily in one's spiritual walk. Words like compassion, prayer, giving or justice can have a motivation of striving instead of blessing. This striving creates a force that can lead to shame, guilt and external validation.
The true invitation is to the blessing of spiritual practices. Remembering the motivation is love and awareness of how close God is. When I approach compassion from this perspective I see my invitation to self compassion. Which honestly feels odd at first because the message of not enough is so drilled into me. How can I focus on self compassion when there is so much need out there? The truth is my compassion for others flows when I begin with allowing God's compassion to shine on me first. If I skip that step then what I am giving is not compassion but resentment fueled from exhaustion or guilt or the expectations of others. Starting with Love also frees me up to be compassionate according to God's leading and not others. It allows me to listen to the still small voice inside to be generous with a generous heart.
If you are resisting a spiritual practice I invite you to ask yourself what your motivation is and how drawing closer to Love plays into that. If you would like to process this with someone I suggest you look at the "Our Community" page and contact one of our wonderful spiritual directors.