Monday, November 1, 2010

The Grand and Noble View of You

Saturday, October 23, 2:15 p.m., Lipan Point, 7360 feet off the Grand Canyon.

"It is man's foremost duty to awaken the understanding of the inner Self and to know his own real inner greatness. Once he knows his true worth, he can know the worth of others."
--Swami Muktananda

It's very difficult to take in the grandeur of the canyon if you zoom in too closely and only capture the details. A friend pointed out, that if you put in the foreground as a point of reference, the pictures begin to tell a much more amazing story.

In this same way, I started realizing that we often don't love ourselves because we look too closely in the mirror...taking critical note of every large pore, stubborn chin hair, obtrusive zit or new wrinkle. If we would just stand back, and look at the big picture--we'd see how noble and grand we really are!

This isn't to say that we don't all have things to "work on" about ourselves...but have you ever noticed that a friend never seems less than lovely to you? You'd never dream of looking at your friends as critically or closely as you do yourself!

When I paint a portrait, I often design it very up close and personal. But, I'm looking within, at the client's inner light, beauty and color. So, it happens to come out as your nose, lips, eyes and hair--but that's not really your real essence. And that's what I go for--your inner being, your truth. So why not for myself, too?

As I'm painting, I have to stand back frequently, or I'll miss conveying the whole picture. Plus that's when I catch mistakes...not when I'm up close. Interesting. In life we tend to do just the opposite!

So, I'm standing way, way back...and looking for the great good, the grand and noble view of myself. It may take a little practice and a lot of patience...but what a great lesson to have learned from the Grand Canyon!

Maybe, that's what the Master Christian meant by his two great Commandments: To love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If you don't stand back and see the big picture, you'll never really get God in your viewfinder, much less your neighbor, or even yourself!


An excerpt from one of my favorite books, Attitudes of Gratitude by M. J. Ryan:

"You are amazing original, the one and only you. You think unique thoughts, express yourself in particular ways, and offer yourself to family and friends in ways that only you can. But I bet you aren't even aware of your beauty, your sensitivity, your quirky outlook on the world. In some ways, it's not possible not to take ourselves for granted--the way we are is just natural to us, and therefore it's hard for us to see just how marvelously wonderful we are."

"That's what's so great about friends: they notice what's wonderful and point it out, and suddenly it becomes visible to us too."

"When we're practicing gratitude, it's easy to notice all the things outside of ourselves we are grateful for--love and friendship and food and laughter--and forget to shine the light of appreciation on ourselves. But we all have splendid qualities, and if we learn to appreciate ourselves, our sense of gratefulness for our own beings will be magnified and our tendency to notice all our flaws and failings will diminish."

"Giving thanks for all our wonderful qualities is one of the ways we learn truly to love ourselves. From that self-love, we can then feel worthy of love from others and have strong, healthy relationships. Because we feel worthy, we can love without being overly demanding, clinging, or rejecting."

"Today, try writing a note of thanks to yourself."

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