Just as nature abhors a vacuum and calls in matter to fill the empty space, so making space in our home assists in calling in love. Consciously create “space” by placing an empty nightstand on “their” side of the bed, plus have at least one empty dresser drawer waiting for them. Create inviting space in a closet and clear a shelf in a bathroom cabinet. If we have a two-car garage and have been parking in the middle, pick a side and begin only parking on “our side”.
Psychology experiments at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, have shown those that practice awe are better able to see outside their own experiences and appreciate other points of view, which can transcend the tunnel vision and pettiness of a polarized atmosphere. Here are some basic steps toward cultivating a sense of awe:
What is being a father? It’s, at least in part, about beginning. It is rejuvenating to locate ourself near the start of a child’s life. There are so many chances to get it right. The thought that we might also get it wrong flits across our mind, but it’s gone before we can even shiver at its presence. It’s also about returning to that question again and again, each time failing to acquire additional insight.
We all face times beyond our control when life doesn’t follow our designs and we’re asked to work with life and not fight, curse or hide from it. When insisting on our way, we can get so tangled in our will that we can’t find or feel the wind of Spirit. During these times—when we fear there is no meaning and it seems there’s nothing holding us up—our will can puff, snap and flap about in a desperate attempt to fill what looms as an empty life.
To this day, my spiritual life is found inside the heart of the wild. I do not fear it, I court it. When I am away, I anticipate my return, needing to touch stone, rock, water, the trunks of trees, the sway of grasses, the barbs of a feather, the fur left behind by a shedding bison.
Creating a personal myth is a fundamental way we find meaning. We are always the protagonist, with supporting characters providing love and assistance and antagonists posing challenges that push us beyond our comfort zones. Rather than narcissism or navel-gazing, the more intimate we become with our own story, the more we realize that everyone has an equally valid and vital narrative in which they are the central character. Understanding that everyone is on their own story journey can help us establish connection and empathy.
Kindness, conversely, glues couples together, making each partner feel cared for, understood, validated and loved. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, creating upward spirals of love and generosity.
Like birth, death is a transition we can wisely prepare for. In recent years, compassionate individuals and grassroots movements have emerged to help us conduct ourselves, heal and grow from losing a loved one or face our own passing. An increasing number of initiatives support a new model in palliative care that treats death not as a failure, but an expected aspect of the human experience. Each in its own way advocates for a grace-filled passage supported by dignified, caring and compassionate practices.
Attaining a consistent inner calm is possible by learning to be more interested in and attentive to the conscious awareness that is calmly observing what’s going on in our thinking, emotions, bodily sensations and life. We can live permanently engaged with this awareness and the inner dominion it contains instead of being helplessly caught up in the content of our own or others’ thinking or emotion, which are often conditioned by the world to be more negative than positive.
Lyric Benson Fergusson Where your mind wavers, your heart overcomes. Your heart can tame any monster, your heart can devour any fear.