“Trying to change ourselves does not work in the long run because we are resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion.” ~Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You
In my late thirties, I was a yoga teacher and an avid practitioner. I lived by myself in a small but beautiful studio apartment in Tel Aviv, Israel, right next to the beach.
Every morning I woke up in my large bed with a majestic white canopy and said a morning prayer. I meditated for an hour and practiced pranayama and yoga asana for another hour and a half.
When I was done, I prepared myself a healthy breakfast and sat at the rectangular wooden dining table, facing a huge window and the row of ficus trees that kept me hidden from the world. I ate slowly and mindfully.
Since then, my life has shifted. I found love, got married, had a child, started a new business, and moved to live in the US. I stopped having the luxury of a two-and-a-half-hour morning sadhana. But my morning prayer stayed with me all this time:
I am that I have and for everything that I don’t have.
I am grateful for the opportunity to live.
I love myself the way I am.
I love my life the way it is.
I love all sentient beings the way they are.
May all sentient beings be happy and peaceful, may they all be safe and protected, may everyone be healthy and strong, and know a deep sense of wellbeing.
I created this prayer because I wanted to be grateful for life, but I was not. I wanted to love myself, but I did not. It was sort of “fake it till you make it.”
I borrowed this principle from the metta bhavana practice. In this practice you send love and good wishes to