In a recent session with my business coach, I worked on getting clear on the guiding values of my business. I began to list the most important aspects of my work and my practice: being present with clients, seeing and hearing each client for who they are, teaching mindfulness, connecting with body, fostering healing and inspiring growth. As I spoke about the key parts of my work, we began to recognize themes and it amazed me that we were able to categorize every topic under three main values: Mindfulness, Embodiment, and All Life. In this post I want to share about the principal of Valuing All Life, and how embodying this value on its own can be a way toward deep healing and acceptance.
My value for all living beings has developed and matured in my adult life. But I have had an underlying sense of the value of all living things since early childhood. I remember sitting outside at recess or at summer camp and kids would sit on the ground ripping huge handfuls of grass out of the ground. I remember being distressed – “Stop! Don’t kill the grass! It’s a living plant trying to grow!”
I have carried this value of All Life into my professional work in multiple ways. On one level this means that I strive to see each person who comes through my door as inherently valuable, miraculous, and whole, just for being a living human being. On another level, I have come to recognize this value of All Life as a pathway to healing for clients.
When you are struggling with self-doubt, depression, relationship issues, or other difficulties in life, it can be hard to look around the world and feel that everything is inherently worthy and valuable. Things can feel heavy and hard, so valuing all life might start small: appreciation of the intricacies of nature; seeing the beauty of the life of your own child; feeling a sense of vitality and aliveness in your body. As one begins to build on the sense of awe for life itself, it becomes easier to start to generalize this to valuing other humans. Friends, family, community – we can start to extend that feeling of awe to those around us as we recognize the aliveness, that same life force, in each of us. And if we see and value the life in other humans, then ultimately we can start turn to look at our own self and value ourselves simply for the miracle of being alive.
Many people struggle with being compassionate, kind, and loving to our own selves; self-criticism and judgment often come quicker and easier. However, grounding in a foundation of awe, appreciation, and value for all life helps to create space for building self-worth, love, and compassion, and thus deep healing. Looking around the world and being in awe of life itself helps us remember that we are a part of this living, magnificent Earth and boundless universe. This helps remind us of our inherent worthiness. And remembering our inherent worthiness simply because we are a living being, can pave the way to feeling love and acceptance of ourselves.
With this practice of valuing all life, we come to look around and see the beauty in everything from tiny bugs, to trees and animals, to every piece and part of Earth. We start to recognize our connectedness and interconnectedness with all living beings. What joy, belongingness, and freedom we can access when we feel that we are not actually separate, but rather the same; each living thing connected by its aliveness/life force/beingness. With this, we can build and nourish relationships rather than create distrust or isolation. We can feel an underlying sense that we are good and okay with no conditions, simply because we are. This one simple premise of valuing all life can be a catalyst for healing ourselves, and ultimately for healing the world.
Danielle Weiss founded Mindful Healing (housed at HoloBeing) as a space for growth and healing for individuals and families. By incorporating the practices of mindfulness and yoga into therapeutic work, Danielle supports the development of awareness, insight, and presence, while simultaneously delving into deep therapeutic work.
The practice of mindfulness is all about becoming aware of the present moment. Yoga also brings us into the present, as the body is always a channel into the Now. Through grounding in the present moment, we come out of the regrets of the past and the worries about the future. Mindfulness is an ancient and timeless practice that aligns us with universal truths. It is a deeply profound tool that becomes a life-long skill and way of life. Current research demonstrates both mindfulness and yoga as effective and evidence-based interventions for anxiety, depression, and a variety of personal and mental health issues.