I usually spend some quiet time in the living room before the rest of the house wakes up with my coffee. I meditate, think about my day, what my intention is; sometimes I just let my thoughts wander. Today was a thought-wandering-sort-of-morning and my gaze came upon Kuan Yin; her statue in my snowy garden. I first learned of her on a trip to China a few years back and was intrigued by her history; it’s long and varied. There are a number of ways to spell her name; there are legends of a male deity as well as female, and many more variations of the story of how he/she came to be. I subscribe to a female Kuan Yin and she is the Goddess of Compassion. The story I came to know is as follows:
It describes Kuan Yin as the daughter of a cruel father who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. She begged to be able to enter a temple and become a nun instead. Her father allowed her to work in the temple, but asked the monks to give her very hard chores in order to discourage her. The monks forced Kuan Yin to work all day and all night, while others slept, in order to finish her work. However, she was such a good person that the animals living around the temple began to help her with her chores. Her father, seeing this, became so frustrated that he attempted to burn down the temple. Kuan Yin put out the fire with her bare hands and suffered no burns. Now struck with fear, her father ordered her to be put to death. After she died she was made into a goddess for all of her kindness and began her journey to heaven. She was about to cross over into heaven when she heard a cry of suffering back on earth. She asked to be sent back and vowed to stay until all suffering had ended.
Although a tragic story there are some great confidence messages contained in it:
- Kuan Yin persevered. No matter what happened to her, each time she evolved more because of it. I know her story is extreme but so much of what happens in our lives can be valuable if we allow ourselves to learn from it and evolve. “Bad” events don’t have to define us. I was recently a keynote speaker at a university mentoring workshop where I met a woman who was the victim of domestic violence – to the extent that she had damage to her brain! She not only got out of the relationship, got the support she needed, got back into college (and as an adult), she also serves others by working with and speaking women in similar situations. She didn’t let it define her. She’s not a victim because that now how she thinks of herself. She uses her experience to become more, not only for herself but others.
- Kuan Yin stayed true to herself. She was kind at her core and she stayed that way no matter what her father dealt her. That sort of conviction of self IS confidence and for women who aspire to have more confidence staying true to yourself has to be one of your skills. It may be a skill that you are working on but it needs to be part of who you are. How often do we let other’s opinions sway us, even when our intuition says otherwise? How often do we do something we don’t like because of something someone else expects? How often do we stay quiet when we truly do have something to say? Each a time you stay true to yourself – you don’t allow yourself to be swayed, you say no to something you don’t like and you speak up because you have an opinion – you value yourself, you place another brick in the foundation of who you are and you become stronger.
- Kuan Yin served others. Rather than cross into heaven as was her reward, she heard the cries of suffering and said “I’m staying.” Serving others is key for a number of reasons. First, when you serve others you can transcend what may currently be defining you. Just like the woman I met who took her experience of abuse and used it to excel and serve others in a similar situation. Second, it can just take your focus off of what you currently struggle with. Energy flows where the attention goes, so if you have an opportunity to focus on anything other than your problems – that’s a bonus! Third, when you are serving someone other than yourself it brings greater motivation to that which you wish to accomplish. It’s something bigger or more than just you.
- Kuan Yin was all about compassion. As women we tend to have a great deal of compassion for others. Many of us are caregivers and nurturers; it’s how we’re built. We have families and communities we serve but there is one market that is usually underserved by women with compassion – ourselves. We need to find more compassion for ourselves in every circumstance that we can. We often say things to ourselves that we would never utter to another human being. So the final confidence message from Kuan Yin this morning is to bestow it on ourselves. Learn to catch yourself when those nasty thoughts crop up and ask yourself what the learning or the positive was that came out of the situation you are currently berating yourself for and then…just cut yourself a little slack.
My journey of “getting to clarity” has been about personal growth and my passion is to help other women with theirs. As a certified trainer of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and a student of Huna I utilize years of training to work with women to empower their thinking through speaking, coaching and workshops. I help professional women peel away the layers of distraction and anxiety so they can get back to living a confident life. If this is you or someone you know of email me at Debbie@gettingtoclarity.com for a complimentary session.
Be good to yourself,