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I am my own best advocate.

I rise to what I need in any given moment.

I am the parent I always wanted.

I am the best friend who never was there for me.

I am the protector who knows exactly when to step in.

I am the wise crone waiting by the fire.

I am the student always asking.

I am the teacher with patience.

I am the vessel that houses all of me and yet is

Porous enough for sorrows, disappointments,

judgments and losses.

I am the sufferer who has learned to forgive.

When I fall down, I get up.

When I’m fearful, I comfort.

When I’m wrong, I right it.

When I am ill, I am open to healing

For my highest and best good.

I dwell in my human body that is seen

And in my spiritual body unseen.

I commit to and trust the

kaleidoscope I am

My Commitments to Myself Meditation

I take care of myself first, because I am deserving of exquisite care. I take care of myself to maintain the capacity to help others. I move and stretch my body every day. I spend time in nature, attuning my senses to the earth's wisdom. I ration my daily exposure to the news. I identify and access credible sources of information. I protect myself from becoming overwhelmed by information about the pandemic. I pace myself. I sit with the reality of uncertainty and impermanence, and allow it to temper my desire for control. I listen without judgment to others' reactions, which may be different from mine. I forgive myself and others when stress brings out our shadow selves. I feel fear fully when I am fearful. I experience sadness fully when I am sad. I allow anger fully when I am angry. I relish joy fully when I am joyful. I seek out healthy pleasures and indulge in them without guilt. I remind myself that feelings are transient states that move through me. They do not last. And they do not define me. Nor do my thoughts. I balance my drive for self-improvement with compassionate acceptance of myself as I am right now. I initiate contact with loved ones to let them know I hold them in my heart. I seek out, with increased sensitivity, those who are the most vulnerable. If possible, I share my resources with those who need help to survive. When possible, I move away from people, situations, and experiences that do not serve my highest good. I strengthen my connection to my sources of spiritual strength so that I continue to be replenished. I acknowledge the nearness of death as a key motivator for living a full life. I pray for the suffering of all beings to cease. I grieve my losses and celebrate my successes. I remain open to new ways of being, surprising sources of joy, and unanticipated discoveries every day.

Laura "Luna" Mancuso (she/her/hers) is an interfaith minister who serves the Santa Barbara (CA) community.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • The reading was an elaborate self-care formula. For a full and rich life. I want to do that for self. Growing up, I learned to take care of others. This formula means setting limits. It reminds me of the teacup you talked about (see June 1 blog) where the teacup has to be overfilled in order to have something to give. It’s about having tolerance with those who have other struggles. I get to practice tolerance and patience, and also compassion for self and others.

  • We’ve been watching “Highway to Heaven” which is not a hero’s journey but is about the angel empowering the student who becomes the hero. It reminds me of the way teachings are done here in this meditation group where we don’t tell each other how to solve problems, but share what we know and experience and reflect on.

  • I’ve been a caregiver all my life, and I am struggling to care for self. That cup idea is to the point. I’m working on filling my cup.

  • With the cup idea, it is hard to define our boundaries if our reservoir isn't full. Of course, we do things when we have to. But it is important to not give selves away.

  • Commitment is one of my values. It is my integrity. But I’ve never thought of committing to self. I see commitment in a different light now. Women are always taking care of everyone else. I love this idea. This meditation is a commitment to self. I’ve been doing it without knowing it. Naming this is a whole new world.

  • I am a caregiver in a heartbreaking situation, and I am very depleted. I was struck by a line in the poem “I listen without judgment to others’ reactions which may be different from mine’. I have difficulty if people are not respectful or they are unkind. I would be better off if I didn’t judge them. I'm not beating myself up because I can’t have tolerance or compassion for them.

  • When we are depleted, it is hard to have tolerance.

  • This reading was good to hear, women who are doing so much caregiving. The word commitment. I’m remembering a story about an ER doctor who recently committed suicide. She was so committed to her patients. Her sister tried to remind her about depletion. It’s a reminder to me that commitment to self is important.

  • I am reminded of the comment two days ago (see July 11 blog) about getting out of the audience. I am ritualistic and I love ceremonies and ritual. I do a commitment ceremony for a woman to make a commitment to herself. It profoundly changes how you think of yourself and treat yourself. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Being own advocate, setting boundaries. I commit to feel fear and anger fully. It helps me a lot. In order to feel safe in the past, I used to stuff those feelings. By committing to self, I give myself permission to feel

  • I used to wait for someone's blessing and permission for me to take care of myself. I can give myself that permission.

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