Updated: Jan 17
To celebrate the end of the year, I went on a weekend getaway in Calabogie - just me & Wicket. It was a weekend of nature walks, lake views, cozying up by the fireplace and reflecting - both to celebrate 2022 and to start feeling into what my intentions are for 2023.
I feel a sense of pride and satisfaction for my 2022, I experienced and accomplished a lot…including integrating rest, relaxation, and play as a regular part of my daily routine. I really expected that my word for 2022 should be something like “fun” or “play” or “joyful” or “bliss”...
But what came to me was MERCY.
To me, mercy is the full embodiment of compassion. It’s easy to show compassion to your friends and family, or to people who we see as going through a tough time in life. But it's much more difficult to show compassion when we’ve been harmed or see others as manipulative, mean, or otherwise “bad.” Mercy is giving love freely to all people or things, including those that fall into that latter category. It is allowing your heart to be soft, open, and shine bright always instead of hardening up and darkening your heart in judgment.
Mercy was the theme of one of the goddess cards that I picked most often this year for reflection prompts. The first couple of times I picked it I thought, “who would I show mercy to? I don’t think I’m holding grudges. I’ve forgiven essentially everyone who I need to forgive.”
But as I kept picking the same card, wondering “seriously, WTF??” I began to be more open about what I could show mercy to. I gave mercy to the world for all it’s chaos, discrimination, hate, and exclusion. I showed mercy toward capitalism despite how it led me to toxic productivity, some rather negative experiences in business and career, and for how it creates classes and inequity in the world. I was merciful to my business for all the pain it caused me. I showed mercy to the people who have caused me pain and to myself because I‘m sure I caused them and others pain, and I’ve most certainly been the cause of a great deal of my own pain. I gave love through mercy freely to the whole world. From my own heart spread outwards.
This also led me to love my wounds. The pain, the darkness, the things that used to make me feel broken. I loved them for the human experiences they were, for the growth I realized through healing and for the incredible life I now have despite and in part because of those experiences.
Love is our natural state of being. Love heals. Mercy heals.
While love is natural, we have an awful lot of education and conditioning that has built a strong armour around our love. We learn to give love conditionally when our expectations and judgements of “good” or “bad” have been fulfilled. We learn that we must perform a certain way to be deserving of love and so we believe others must “earn” our love as well.
None of this is true.
Every creature is inherently worthy of love because the universe is love, we all come from the universe and so we all are love too.
When I was first trying to start living a more love-led life two years ago, these 3 sayings really helped me. This year, the year of mercy, I think I finally embodied them:
1) God is in the one you hate.
Whether you believe in God, the big bang, Source, the divine, anything where we are all an interconnected network of things on this planet or in this universe, the idea is that we are all an expression of the divine. It’s not up to you to judge as good or bad. Divine is divine. Accept their expression as is.
2) It’s all working in perfect harmony.
If we think of the human body, we can look at ourselves and say “wow! What a magical body! I train and I get stronger! My heart pumps, my muscles grow…what a magical, perfectly tuned machine!” If you were a cell witnessing the war inside your body as a muscle cell was damaged during your weight training session and then there was a whole inflammatory response, death, clearing, new growth to repair the muscle to a stronger muscle…you might not see the magic of how it is all working together so beautifully to adapt to the challenge and make you stronger. When I look at the world, I imagine that I am the little muscle cell watching the war of inflammation. I don’t know what greater good it's all working toward, but I trust there is one. I acknowledge that I say this from a place of white privilege (and a variety of other privileges) but I see it as a slow, but transformative process. It's like the whole world is moving through shadow-healing as all sorts of issues are surfacing. It’s painful, unfortunately much more so for some than others (again, I am lucky to have my privileges) and I keep my focus set on my dreams and ideals and trust that it is all working in perfect harmony (while doing my part to nurture myself and the world around me).
3) Love is in the giving.
I think when I originally heard this, it really resonated with me in the act of giving something. Like, I give you this training because I love it and it feels good, whether or not I receive anything from you in return. I give because I desire to give and I trust that I will receive abundantly, although not necessarily in perfect reciprocity with the person/people I gave too. I understand that the laws of giving and receiving are universal, which means when I give, I am open to receiving from anywhere, not just directly back from the recipient of my gift. And, because I trust and know that I am always abundantly provided for, I’m not even distracted or impatient waiting for the return. It’s all just how love works.
Love is wildly abundant in this world. It drips out of the trees, washes in with the tide, and rains down in a storm. The world is made of love. It felt so much nicer when I stopped focusing on where I was not receiving love and opened up to receiving the love that surrounds me. People are living their lives and may not always share love specifically in your direction (or in any direction at all). It’s inconsequential. Let yourself be bathed in the love of the world and trust that everything is happening for your highest good. (If you want a feel-good, quick read, check out The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you haven’t already read his very famous book, The Four Agreements, I also highly recommend that).
I want to be clear - when I talk about “giving or showing love” I don’t mean you need to become besties with the people who are harming you so you can show up at their door with cookies for tea-time. Our education and conditioning may have us believe otherwise, but love is not material. It’s not things you give, things you say or even time you give. It’s really just allowing the love that you ARE (because you are human) to be what leads you. You can show someone mercy and never interact with them ever again. That’s cool. You can leave, say “no”, and maintain your boundaries from and in a state of love.
When I read this back, I feel like this all sounds very idealistic. Yet, I realize this is how I live my life and see the world. This year, I felt the true gift of feeling full of love and absolutely my truest self, even in the presence of people who I would have in the past said I dislike and would have armoured up to make sure my love wasn’t left vulnerable to be used and abused by them. But I’ve learned that love is robust - our ideas of what love is and the ego may not be so robust, but love is.
Living in love is freedom. Mercy brought me freedom. Mercy brought me bliss. Mercy allows me to live this life that I never really believed was possible.
Love enables all of this to be possible.
But, of course, if love is our natural state of being, then I suppose it makes sense that Mercy should play an important role in the journey back to me.
If you want to embody the feeling of love through movement, this playlist might be the vibe for you.