Unconditional Love and the Grace of Fall
Have you ever repeated the same mistake or painful behavior over and over again before you were ready to change? It’s easy to be hard on ourselves or to collapse under feelings of disappointment, failure and self-judgment during these times. Maybe you are experiencing some of these emotions right now? Maybe you are not living in alignment with your values or you feel stuck in a job, relationship or belief system that is not serving you? It is often the times we feel most stuck that contain the seeds of transformation. The season of Fall brings with it an energy of grace, letting go, forgiveness and unconditional love. We can use this energy to help free ourselves from old habits and start over again if we choose.
When we are unable to accept an aspect of our experience that is too painful, we suffer. Often times we are afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel the emotions associated with these experiences we won’t be able to handle it. Or we are afraid of what others will think if they see who we really are with all of our messy parts. When we resist uncomfortable feelings, our body contracts. Instead of protecting us, what actually happens is that emotion stays locked inside of us wrapped in tension. These tensions over time begin to show themselves through our habitual reactions, stories, beliefs and eventually even physical pain. What started out, as an innocent attempt to protect ourselves becomes the thing that keeps us stuck.
The irony is, that what we are most afraid of is actually the key that can set us free. By allowing ourselves in each moment to experience whatever painful emotion arises, by breathing into it and creating space around it, something transforms within us. When the energy of our experience is allowed to move through us, insight, awareness, even wisdom arise spontaneously. We are in the flow of life and our experience as it is, which turns out to be very freeing. Maybe right now that looks like feeling like a failure, maybe it looks like being disappointed by our own behavior or someone else’s. Whatever it is, if we can embrace where we are with the kindness and gentleness of our breath even for a moment, an opening happens to grace. The more we practice, the more connected we become to a grace that contains within it extraordinary self-forgiveness and compassion.
Just like the seasons change so can we. Our mistakes do not bind us to a life we don’t want or make us failures. There can be no growth without mistakes. Admitting that we have reached our edge, or need help instead of being a limitation can become a doorway. It is hard to feel these truths if we have grown up in a world where love is based on conditions. Most of us have. Unconditional love has the ability to free us from the inner critic that tells us stories about our perceived limitations and failures. Instead of chasing after or trying to find this love as so many of us have spent our lives doing, only to find more suffering, we can let go. Unconditional love means just that, we don’t have to earn it or find it. It is already here, all the time, in each moment. When we really experience this as our foundation then letting go and forgiveness become a natural part of how we relate to each other and ourselves.
May we allow the energy of this season to cut away what no longer is serving us and open to the bounty of beauty within? May we open to the parts of ourselves we have cut off and allow grace to heal our deepest shame? May we learn how to forgive one another and ourselves and may we begin to experience the presence of unconditional love in our lives everyday? All of it is needed.