have experienced it already..
I've made a promise to delve into the mystery of that loving presence which I maintain that anyone, who wishes to, can experience at any given moment, once opening oneself up to it. Also I maintain that it's tuning in to this loving presence that creates well-being and happiness in our lives.
This morning of course, I'm thinking 'What have I gotten into, promising to write this daily blog for a month? I'm going to appear a fool 1) if I don't keep my promise 2) for writing something nobody can relate to and 3) for not having an audience - just satisfying my own need to feel I'm somebody..' Anxiety, I think, it's called.
The hugely successful frontline singer of the Irish band Kodaline, Steve Garrigan opens up about his social anxiety in RTE interviews and a number of other contexts admitting his inability to love being the front-line singer when he is off stage. While he loves being on stage, off stage, he's an introvert and has to make sure he says 'no' when he doesn't feel up to talking after a show.
To me the answer to anxiety is to tune in to this loving permeating presence and in the end I believe this is what we all do, we might call it by other names but it's the same amazing loving presence that permeates all and everything. Steve Garrigan said, what helped him was opening up to friends. Trusted friends, isn't that why we're friends with anyone, we experience that loving presence of acceptance and care from them? He also mentions that not drinking too much and being on a healthy diet and getting exercise help keep him well.
Isn't that the permeating love shining through: the genuine love for ourselves that we need to tap in to? I hurt my back a few days ago but instead of allowing my poor back some rest I insisted on going on not one, which was okay, but two big cycle trips before the lockdown that I knew was coming. I paid a high price for those trips as my back locked itself into a painful entity that made it nearly impossible to move without pain.
After giving out to myself for my foolishness, however, I started asking myself 'what is the loving message to me? I can't cycle, run or even walk for the moment, never mind using the rowing machine that I've gotten so fond off over the past few weeks'. Whilst going over solutions to my pain and dealing with the prospect of an inactive life that I wouldn't enjoy, I started to accept that I had to give my back some rest.
Instead of trying to go for my normal morning run/walk and stretching exercises, I needed to simply rest. I accepted a friend's advice to get some homeopatic remedy, to bathe in epsom salts and to believe that there was a message in all this for me. A loving message. And then it dawned on me: whilst I teach Wellbeing & Happiness skills based on Positive Psychology, the direct road to wellbeing is to open ourselves to that ever-present presence of love and goodness which permeates the world. That is the message I'm being asked to share.
Suddenly, my back is better and I can choose how I interpret that: I can believe that time and rest heal, and yes, that is true but I can also be honest and share my awareness of that loving presence which I experience whenever I take a moment to open myself towards its existence. That the purpose of my pain is not only that I may rest and open myself to a different direction, but that I will take time out to share the reality of that loving, permeating presence which is everywhere and can be experienced at any time.
If that's true, why doesn't everyone talk about it? Why didn't my mother who suffered with anxiety and depression just open herself up to that presence? Why is there anxiety and depression, self-harm and suicide when people could just open themselves to this loving presence and snap out of those negative thought-patterns and consequent feelings?
That's the thing about love, it doesn't force itself, it doesn't enter the house without an invitation. It is of course there, as it is everywhere, in every creation and creature and it has billions of faces as love in one situation is unique to that particular situation. Love is present to the extent that we invite it in. If we choose to ignore it, we can, but more than likely we have already accepted it into our lives in millions of ways through our parents, friends and society who have opened up to goodness and love in so many different ways.
However, we've all had non-loving experiences, some a lot more than others. Many people are haunted by addiction, mental illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorders. We all need help to open ourselves towards that loving presence and if we have strong experiences of the lack of love in one or many situations, have experiences of evil through physical or mental abuse by ourselves or by others, it can be more difficult to discover that loving presence. It's as if our bodies and minds have been imprinted with a default position of mainly doubting the presence of love due to our negative experiences and thought-patterns.
Positive psychology studies how we human beings function regarding wellbeing and happiness. It seems that people who have healthy minds and get on well with others, they focus on the positives several times more than the negatives. In lasting relationships, it's the balance of five positive communications to one negative communication that enables a relationship to survive all the challenges that otherwise might break up a relationship.
In other words, we need a predominantly positive mind and communication to stay well. This can be difficult if we surround ourselves with 'negative' people. The 'negative' persons in our lives might very well be permeated with love also, in a number of ways and that's why we have not cut them out of our lives already, but their understanding regarding love might be very different to ours and that's why they may not be good for us.
Perhaps, in small doses, yes, but in order for us to keep a positive mind and communication we might have to set down strong boundaries and allow ourselves to spend a lot more time in an environment of encouragement and freedom, which is different from 'going with the flow' that we're in for the moment.
We might need to set up some encouraging habits for ourselves that'll help us realise how lovable we are and how powerful we can become in bringing that love into other people's lives.
We are all invited to open ourselves to that powerful loving presence within ourselves and all around us and we choose to what extent we allow it in. I believe however that there is an abundance of evidence showing us, that the more we open ourselves to that real goodness and loving presence the happier and healthier we will be.