An excerpt from Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart by Scott Stabile
Author and Facebook sensation Scott Stabile’s parents were murdered when he was fourteen. Nine years later, his brother died of a heroin overdose. Soon after that, Scott joined a cult that dominated his life for thirteen years. Through it all, he became evermore committed to living his life from love.
In each chapter of his new book Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart, Scott shares a personal experience that pulled him from his center and the ways in which he brought himself back to peace, and to love. While some of his experiences are extraordinary, like extricating himself from a cult after 13 years, most of the stories reflect on everyday challenges we can all relate to, like the weight of shame, the search for happiness, and the struggle to be authentic.
We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.
Consider situations in which it helped immensely to know that others could relate to what you were going through. After a brutal breakup, we don’t want someone who’s never had their heart broken telling us to get over it. We want to sob to a friend who knows the grief of a broken heart and the time it can take to move on. If you’re a parent being driven crazy by your toddler, you may not seek out your single friends to commiserate, not when you’ve got other struggling parent friends who really get what you’re going through. It’s comforting to be heard; it’s empowering to be understood.
Human beings don’t long just for connection; we long for empathetic connection.
When we can relate to someone going through a difficult time, when we can empathize with her struggle, we serve her by letting her know. I’ve spoken with thousands of people over the years about my parents’ murder, almost always to a reaction of shock, and then sympathy. I’ve cried into the arms of close friends who would’ve sold their souls to take away my pain. Their compassion and love touched me deeply, of course, and I’m grateful to have had so many loved ones with whom I could unravel. But something entirely different happens when I encounter others who lost their parents when they were young. Others who understand what it’s like to live most of their lives without a mom and dad, or who know the pain of losing a loved one to murder. Others who have been there. In our shared experience, we can offer each other the distinct — divine — comfort of empathy. This is how we help each other feel less alone in our individual struggles.
Empathy eliminates separation. It fosters connection. That’s the thing about being human — we are all each other. Even when we can’t relate to the exact same situation as another, we can still make an effort to empathize. We have probably lived some version of being there. Heartache is heartache, after all. Anger is anger. Grief is grief. We have all walked the path between joy and sorrow, stopping at every emotion along the way. Empathy asks us to be willing to share ourselves with each other, willing to be vulnerable and speak about our pain so that others feel the freedom to speak about theirs.
Empathy is a gift, to give and to receive.
One of the things I love most about my Facebook community is our willingness to empathize with each other’s experiences. When people post about depression, addiction, chronic pain, grief, anxiety, or whatever else, others respond with comments that make it clear to those who shared that they are not alone. They have been there, too. The point is not to hijack someone else’s experience, or to drone on about our own struggles, but to respond in a way that lets others know they’re not mutants for feeling the way they feel. Likely, many of us have experienced whatever they’re experiencing, or something very similar.
Scott Stabile is the author of Big Love. His inspirational posts and videos have attracted a huge and devoted social media following, including nearly 360K Facebook fans and counting. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post, he lives in Michigan and conducts personal empowerment workshops around the world. Visit him online at www.scottstabile.com.
Excerpted from the book Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart. Copyright ©2017 by Scott Stabile. Printed with permission from New World Library.
"Life happens. Life in the flow."
We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.
"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha
Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.
"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us." ~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder
Yoga is observation.
We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.
Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.
Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.
Yoga is love.
"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.
Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.
"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."