In this episode Alex will lead you through a journey to practice loving kindness towards the self and others. This increases capacity for forgiveness and compassion. Get in the free Sober Curious Facebook group!
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Hi friend, this is Alex McRobs, founder of "The Mindful Life Practice" and you're listening to the "Sober Yoga Girl" podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I realized that there was no one talking about sobriety in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so I started doing it. I now live in Bali, Indonesia, and full-time run my community, "The Mindful Life Practice". I host online sober yoga challenges, yoga teacher trainings, and I work one on one with others, helping them break up with booze for good. In this podcast, I sit down with others in the sobriety and mental health space from all walks of life and hear their stories so that I can help you on your journey. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.
All right. So here we are. This is our "Loving-Kindness Meditation". I think most of you have maybe done this with me before. If you haven't, this is kind of a meditation that's all about cultivating compassion, forgiveness, love for yourself and others. And I find it really helpful especially if I have trauma in my life. It kind of help move past it. So we will be meditating for half an hour-ish, maybe slightly less since we were talking at the beginning. So make sure you're comfy. If you want to grab a pillow. I have my water nearby, I have my candles lit. You can also always lie down or be up against a wall. Just anything that feels good. And as you feel ready, maybe close the eyes or settle the gaze, bringing the awareness to the breath, resting here for a little bit of time, just feeling the breathing like riding on the waves of the breath. And then when you feel comfortable to whatever degree you find it possible, just picturing in your mind's eye someone in your life who loves you, someone who loved you unconditionally, just evoking and giving yourself over to feeling the qualities of selfless love and kindness that they offered you. The whole aura or field of their love for you right here, right now, breathing with these feelings, bathing in them, just feeling the experience that you're unconditionally loved and that you're accepted as you are without having to be different, without having to be worthy, without being deserving. Whether you're worthy or deserving doesn't matter. What matters is that you were loved and that their love is for you just as you are. Allowing your heart to bathe in these feelings and be cradled in them moment by moment in the rhythmic beating of their loving heart. And if you have some difficulty, maybe imagining someone treating you in this way, imagining with great vividness the feelings of love and kindness. And then as you feel ready and whenever you feel ready, seeing if you can become the source as well as the object of these feelings, taking on these feelings as if they are your own rather than someone else's. So cultivating and feeling towards yourself these feelings of love and acceptance and kindness beyond the judgment of any kind, almost like you are the mother and the child resting in these feelings as best you can, moment to moment, bathing in your own kind regard and then maybe saying inwardly to yourself may I be safe and protected and free. May I be happy and content. May I be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible. And may I experience ease. May I be safe and protected and free from inner and outer arm, may I be happy and contented, may I be healthy in the whole to whatever degree possible, may I experience ease of well being. Might feel artificial to be saying these things to yourself or thinking them. Who am I to be wishing this? Who am I to be receiving this? Try to let that disappear into the feeling of being safe and free from harm in this moment. Into the feeling of being contented and happy in this moment. Feeling of being whole in this moment. The feeling of resting in ease at this moment. Why do we focus on ourselves here? Because we're not separate from the universe. We are worthy of loving-kindness as anything else or anyone else. Our loving-kindness cannot be loving and kind if it does not include ourselves. Once you've established this stable field of loving-kindness around yourself, you might feel ready to expand the field of loving-kindness to invite other people in. It's not always easy to do, and so it helps to start with one person that we naturally have loving-kindness towards. You begin with someone you were once very close to, or someone you are very close to. Might be a child, a parent, a brother, a sister, grandparents, close friend, neighbor. Can you breathe with them or him or her in your heart, holding them in your heart, imagining them in your heart, wishing them well? May she be safe. May she or he be happy? May she or he or they be free? See if you can linger moment by moment in this field of loving-kindness within your own heart, feeling the intention behind the feeling and the intention behind the phrase. And then, when you're ready, if you want to, you might invite someone in whose relationship is more neutral or even people you don't know at all. Friends of friends. Whoever shows up in your brain right now, usually that's the person that you're meant to be thinking about. So just try to go with it. May she, he, or they be safe, may they be happy, may they be healthy, and may they be free. And if you find yourself struggling at any point, try to use it as an opportunity to practice more loving-kindness towards yourself, including yourself in that loving-kindness and not judging yourself for wandering away. It's what your brain is designed to do. It's okay. You got an opportunity to bring in someone that's problematic for you, might be someone who you have a difficult past with, or someone that's bothering you right now, someone who's more of an obstacle than a friend. You don't have to forgive them. Just recognize that they, too, are a human being and that they, too, have aspirations and they also want to be happy and safe. So as best you can, and only to the degree that you're ready for it. Extending love and kindness to them as well, for all the struggles between you. May they be safe, may they be happy, may they be healthy, and may they be free. We can expand the field of love and kindness even further to include our neighbors, our neighborhood, our community. You can include your pets, Mohi and Loomie and cowboy and Princess. You can include all animals, all plants. You can also get super specific and include specific people, even political leaders. And the more you dislike them, the more reason to bring them into your loving-kindness. And maybe they'll respond to the loving-kindness by softening in ways your mind can't imagine. Maybe the same goes for you as well. You might also think of people less fortunate, people who are exploited, people who are in prison, unjustly. Everyone who's hospitalized or sick or dying. Everyone caught up in the chaos, who are living in fear, who are suffering in any way. Whatever brought them to this point they all want to experience well-being rather than disease and struggle. They just want to be happy. They want to be whole and healthy. They want to be safe and free. So recognizing this way in which we're all united. Our common aspiration is to be happy and to not suffer and in the final moments here, just silently wishing all beings well. Take your palms together at the heart center, lengthen up through the spine soft and the shoulders, and we close with our intention. It's an ancient intention, but it is the original intention. It was passed from my teacher, Ralph to me and I pass it to you. It's that our yoga practice remains steady and that our efforts remain continuous and that our yoga practice serves and benefits all beings everywhere. May all beings be safe and be happy and be healthy and be free. And may the thoughts and actions of each of our lives contribute towards this. If you want to join me with an Om, we're going to inhale-exhale and then inhale through to make an Om. So take a big breath in. Big breath out. Big breath in. Thank you guys so much for showing up and sharing this practice. It means a lot to have a group that is interested in meditation and I hope it carries on and continues. The light that is within me sees and honors the light that is within each and every one of you. Namaste.
Hi friend, thank you so much for listening to this episode of "Sober Yoga Girl" podcast. This community would not exist without you, so thank you for being here. It would be massively helpful if you subscribe to this show and leave a review so that we can reach more people. And if we haven't met yet in real life, please come hop on Zoom at "The Mindful Life Practice" because the opposite of addiction is connection. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.