Tag Archives: Kerilyn Russo

Self-Compassion Saturday: Kerilyn Russo

I am one of the searchers.

There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter. ~James Kavanaugh

There are some people that when you meet them for the first time, you feel like you’ve always known them. You are comfortable right away, love them immediately. For me, one of those people is Kerilyn Russo. When I was at World Domination Summit (WDS) last year, sitting with Rachel Cole during a break between sessions, this woman came up to greet Rachel. They clearly already knew each other, and Rachel turned to me and said, “you two need to meet, should know each other.”

But somehow I already knew Kerilyn. As Rachel introduced us, and I looked at that big smile and those dimples, a feeling overwhelmed me, a sense of “There you are! Where have you been? I’ve been waiting, looking for you!” I felt so happy, so relieved, like I might cry. It was the strangest, best thing. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time together that weekend, but I kept running into her, and every time I had that same feeling of “there you are!” and that sense of an immediate, easy connection.

Since then, Kerilyn and I have been able to stay in touch. We’ve Skyped in our bathrobes, talked on the phone about deep and important things, became pen pals (regular snail mail, just like we were 12 years old again). She is the best kind of friend, helping me to go deeper, asking the best kinds of questions, but also making me smile and laugh until my face hurts. I absolutely adore her. Her smile is one of the best things on earth.

kerilynflower

Kerilyn describes herself this way, as a wife, friend, sister, and sensitive soul, (add to that mother-to-be, yay!). Interior Designer by day. Creator/Certified Life Coach of Married to a Chef, student of A Course in Miracles, lover of Reggae music, amateur Greeting Card Designer, novice photographer, Highly Sensitive Person, Searcher, and swimmer of the deep. You can read more about what she’d say about herself in her first post for Roots of She, Stand out: Meet Kerilyn Russo and see the power of stepping into your true role, or on her Who Am I? page on her website, Ancora Imparo, (which means “I am still learning” in Italian). I am so excited to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

Self compassion, from where I stand TODAY… is the continual process of forgiving ourselves (and others) for what we THINK we/they did to us, them… and the world. We have forgotten who we REALLY are (UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE) and self compassion (or RADICAL self forgiveness) is a TOOL to remembering our TRUE state. When we unconditionally forgive and accept ourselves and those around us (much harder than we think, which is why it’s so hard to maintain a feeling of self compassion)… we are remembering who we REALLY are and in that, our divinity.

kerilynlake2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

What an exciting question! I love this one! My view of self-compassion has evolved as I have evolved and if it’s okay with you, I am happy to share a little bit of how it has changed along the way.

As I began my spiritual (not religious) journey (hee hee, how many of us have said that?), I was eager and hungry to attempt to understand how the WORLD worked… what made it tick, underneath it all. The seen and the unseen. I soaked up books on energy, reincarnation, and spirit as a way of understanding what was happening TO ME in my life. Still at this point, it wasn’t about how I had a part to play in it… it was like I was sitting in a theater… watching the movie about how the world worked, without my awareness of how I am a full blown contributor to it. I was unconscious to how my thoughts and actions toward myself was a reflection of what I saw. I think my former organized religion conditioned beliefs about how it was out of my control still had it’s grip on me, and while I was aware there was more to this than just praying to God and going to church, I was still unknowing of how my participation had to do with what I saw in my life. HOW could I have self compassion at this point in my journey, when I still believed that the world was happening TO me, not because of me. The limiting beliefs that doing anything for myself was selfish and how dare I believe the world, still revolved around me. This was challenging because it didn’t sit right with me, but I forged on… STILL feeling like I was still missing something.

kerilynseeker

When The Secret and Abraham (Jerry & Esther Hicks) came my way. Blew the lid off of that I had nothing to do with my outcome. I heard “As you think, so shall you be.” And I was spiritually in shock for a while. WHAT? I have something to do with how my life looks? I am ultimately responsible?? As I got swept away in the loving current of this new philosophy… I was still quite unsure as to HOW to REMEMBER that it’s TOTALLY in my control. It starts with how I FEEL. How I feel includes feeling good about HOW I feel about myself and the predicaments I find myself in my life. When I remembered this, I felt wonderful and when I didn’t, I went back to that old thinking that it was outside of my control. (Those old beliefs really do have a hold on us… wouldn’t you agree?) STILL… I felt there was still something MORE to this. These beliefs filled me up, absolutely, but they didn’t answer the question about WHY the world (and still myself) were constantly in conflict, so I kept searching…

Kerilyn's sweet kitty, Pez

Kerilyn’s sweet kitty, Pez

Not too long after that, I found A Course in Miracles and all my questions have since been answered (even in my resistance of them). As I became a serious student of the Course, I began to learn that there are NO answers outside of myself. “Seek Not outside yourself” is still one of the most powerful messages of the Course for me. It is ALL about me. The OPPOSITE of what I’ve been taught at an earlier part of my journey. It is ALL about my perceptions of what I see, my projections of my OWN inner thoughts and feelings, is what I see in my experience, the role RADICAL forgiveness plays and the process of UN-learning we all must do to heal ourselves, and experience TRUE love, which the Course says is all there is.

Based on the Courses teachings, we have not been taught love, but attack. The ego (the part of us that wants us to believe we’re separate from everyone and everything else) has us brainwashed with thoughts of self hatred to keep us believing we’re separate from everyone else. SPECIAL. Attack with everyone we see (whether we’re aware of it or not) and everything we think… that includes our thoughts about ourselves.

NO WONDER we cannot sustain self compassion for long, we’ve been believing that we are not worth UNITY with anyone or anything, including ourselves. It’s this belief that keeps us in that feast or famine vicious cycle. *Secret: To keep us believing we’re separate, the ego has to give us good experiences (FEAST) to keep the pendulum of duality (GOOD AND BAD) in motion.

That is where you will find me. In the process of UN-learning those old messages, infusing them with a practice of RADICAL Forgiveness that even I cannot even fully grasp at this time, facing my resistance and regularly in forgiveness when I attack my brothers, and more importantly, myself.

Picture by Kerilyn, taken in Savannah, GA

Picture by Kerilyn, taken in Savannah, GA

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

Self compassion (or what I call RADICAL forgiveness) is just that… a practice. It’s a TOOL. I pick it up and use it when I need remember that have a CHOICE to make… continue to feel yucky, continue to not understand, continue to believe in my victimization OR to live from another way of being. It’s totally up to me. Maybe one day I have to pick it up a handful of times, and maybe other days I have to CONSTANTLY be picking it up, hundreds of times a day. To ask myself, “Do I want to be RIGHT, or do I want to be HAPPY?” Challenging those beliefs of separation and lack and remembering my natural state of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. At this point in our evolution, we are not able to LIVE in that state of radical forgiveness (which is okay) but for me, I know it’s at my fingertips… whenever I REALLY want to understand why I am feeling, the way I’m feeling. *Oh, and If I don’t REALLY want to understand, that’s okay too… I’ll want to forgive myself for not wanting to understand and keep on moving forward. Again, it’s a CONTINUAL practice of forgiveness.

Oh, and how do I practice self compassion? Easy. I am constantly forgiving myself. Forgiving myself when I judge another to be wrong, when I judge myself as less than… and judge the world for what I see as “bad”. Practicing self compassion is saying “I forgive myself, for I know not what I see/do.” over and over again.

Why don’t you try it now… Forgive yourself for something you THINK you or someone else did today. Forgive them or yourself in your MIND. That’s all. No need for an outwardly expression of forgiveness. Go inside and FORGIVE. *And if you find it too hard to forgive… that’s okay… forgive yourself for not being able to forgive. Let yourself or someone else off the hook today.

Kerilyn and Peter at their wedding

Kerilyn and Peter at their wedding, (read more about their love story)

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

Oh my goodness… What do I still need to learn? That my shift in perception (from conflict to peace) is a reflection of how often I practice. Practice a little, get little results. Let this philosophy fold into my day and I am able to be happier, more at peace. It’s about CONSTANTLY practicing. Why don’t I constantly practice? Because I think I’m here in this world, this dream, ALONE. That I can “do it” myself. I need to learn that I am not and CANNOT do anything alone. (Remember the EGO has done a doosy on us, having us think we’re SEPARATE and therefore ALONE.)

I struggle with my resistance to really KNOWING this information to be true. We have been brainwashed a LONG time.. and I still have quite a bit of resistance toward unlearning. There are days when I want to seek for my specialness.. where I would rather be RIGHT than happy… where I feel where I have been wronged… and in that awareness I need to remember that I can always choose differently.. whenever I am ready to. The option is ALWAYS there for me, it’s a matter of my little willingness.

kerilynI am so grateful for Kerilyn, for her responses, (especially what she had to say about forgiveness), for her support and friendship and wisdom, her constant effort and curiosity and sense of humor, her big heart and big smile. To find out more about Kerilyn, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Rachel Cole.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good

Buddha Quote
1. This from Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

Considering Old Habits With New Eyes: It always amazes me how quickly we develop habitual routines. In some ways, it makes sense. Day to day life is filled with a plethora of executive decisions: what to eat; what to wear; what to read, listen to, or watch; how to spend our time, money and energy, prioritizing tasks at work or at home. Routines can free us up to focus on bigger or deeper questions. And, once we’ve found something that works for us- whether it’s a daily meditation or nap (and I admit one sometimes leads to the other)- a routine helps us establish and maintain these practices.

Of course, the strength of routines is also a weakness: habits aren’t decided from present-moment awareness. This of course, side-steps the but-I-don’t-feel-like. . .(exercising, writing, meditating, eating vegetables etc.) pitfall of resisting what we know generally supports our body, mind, and spirit. But it also side-steps considerations of how things may have changed and what our or others’ present-moment needs really are. And, of course, the ease of perpetuating habits is as true of those that are not good for us as they are for those that are beneficial.

2. New Trampled Snow Art from Simon Beck. I love impermanent art.

3. A Buddhist Practice for Your New Year Resolution on Huffington Post from Lodro Rinzler.

4. How To Make Next Year Your Best Year Yet, a vision board practice from Liv Lane. I’ve been collecting images, will hopefully find a moment to put mine together tomorrow.

5. Birthing Your Art: Becoming a Creativity Doula and New spin on an old favorite; New Day’s resolution on Scoutie Girl.

6. A Danielle LaPorte TruthBombs: “We all require heaping doses of tenderness whether we realize it or not,” and “Leave room for mystery. It doesn’t all need to make sense.”

Lee Martinez Park

7. Anxiety and Depression Together on Psychology Today makes some really good arguments about the conditions (or condition, as the argument goes), ones that make real sense to me, as someone who has dealt with both, (it does however gloss over the fact that there can also be chemical, body issues involved as well). These two parts especially made sense to me:

“Depression seems to be a shutdown,” explains Barlow. “Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of ‘I really don’t think I’m going to be able to cope with this, maybe I’ll just give up.’ It’s shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing.”

And this,

“The shared cornerstone of anxiety and depression is the perceptual process of overestimating the risk in a situation and underestimating personal resources for coping.” Those vulnerable see lots of risk in everyday things-applying for a job, asking for a favor, asking for a date.

Further, anxiety and depression share an avoidant coping style. Sufferers avoid what they fear instead of developing the skills to handle the kinds of situations that make them uncomfortable.

8. Stand out: Meet Kerilyn Russo and see the power of stepping into your true role. Kerilyn has joined the Roots of She tribe, and it’s her birthday today. She is a gift, and I predict she is going to do such good things this year. Keep an eye on her.

9. Five Minutes for Simplicity from Courtney Carver on Be More With Less. Let’s be honest, we’ve all got five minutes.

10. A Mala of Mindfulness (108 insights from 2012) from Sandi Amorim at Deva Coaching. So much wisdom here, the kind of list you’ll want to print out and post on your fridge. Also on Deva Coaching, a guest post by Sandra Pawula, Meditate Right Now.

11. Meditation, Creativity & Fearlessness, a podcast of one of my favorite teachers (Susan Piver) speaking at the New York City Shambhala Center.

Lee Martinez Park Snow
12. From Patti Digh’s Thinking Thursday list this past week, 6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day.

13. 8 Things You Must Give Up to Find Peace from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

14. Becoming Friends With Yourself: You Deserve Your Love on Tiny Buddha.

15. 101 Creative Resolutions (shared originally on Positively Present Picks).

16. This quote from Sas Petherick, which sums up my “new deal” very nicely: “These days I find it much more appealing to consider how I want to feel and who I want to be, rather than what I want to do.”

17. My word for 2013 is Freedom. In talking about it the other day with someone who selected Free, I was joking that we should have a theme song. That made me start with the first one that came to mind, Freebird, and I found this lovely cover.

18. John Cleese on the 5 Factors to Make Your Life More Creative on Brain Pickings. They are “space, time, time, confidence, and humor.” I couldn’t agree more.

19. OMG, it’s a hobbit house! I want it…

20. Sunday Sounds from Patti Digh.

21. 10 Really Lame Ideas & Beliefs To Let Go Of from Danielle LaPorte.

22. Some really good things are happening in January:

23. WTF Interview with Judd Apatow. This is actually old, but heard it just this morning and LOVED it.

24. This:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Walk to the well.
Turn as the earth and the moon turn,
circling what they love.
Whatever circles comes from the center.
~Rumi

25. The WORLD OF POSSIBILITY Card. (Copy, paste & send to someone you love.) from Alexandra Franzen.

26. “Creating a beautiful life is your highest calling. It is in the ordinary and overlooked details of the everyday that beauty is revealed, sustained, and nurtured.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

27. “The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen

28. From Dudjom Rinpoche, Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice:

At all times, do not lose courage in your inner awareness; uplift yourself, while assuming a humble position in your outer demeanor. Follow the example of the life and complete liberation of previous accomplished masters (siddha). Do not blame your past karma; instead, be someone who purely and flawlessly practices the Dharma. Do not blame temporary negative circumstances; instead, be someone who remains steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances may arise.

In brief, taking your own mind as witness, make your life and practice one, and at the time of death, with no thought of anything left undone, do not be ashamed of yourself. This itself is the pith instruction of all practices.

29. What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Happiest of New Years to you, kind and gentle reader. I am so grateful that you are here, and wish you all the best.