By Brandon Nappi
Weekend Wisdom is a weekly sharing from Copper Beech Institute’s founder, Dr. Brandon Nappi. The following are Brandon’s recent reflections, originally posted on social media each Sunday. We hope these simply lessons inspire, rejuvenate, and support you on your inward and outward journey.
Armor is a kind of poison posing as protection.
I choose to live with an open heart. There are plenty of reasons to live in perpetual fear and holding suspicion of others. Much of our media encourages public paranoia and the suspicion of others. We therefore armor up with the hope of protecting ourselves from the worst intentions of others. We use the armor of status, money, education, beauty, career, intelligence, and even spirituality to protect ourselves from the threats of others. The heart remains closed as we protect it from the attack of others. We remain in complete isolation feeling superior and justified in our actions. Yet, this armoring up closes the heart to what it most needs—connection. Letting your heart remain soft and open allows the flow of giving and receiving love to unfold. We are made for connection. We long to be seen and to see others. We need each other to thrive. So will you join us in choosing to keep your heart open?
Remember whose you are. You belong to the Love.
You are what happens when Love gets a body. You are a channel of peace and an instrument of compassion. You do not need to be perfect for this to be true. Your Source works effortlessly through your perfect imperfection. There is nothing you need to do to earn or accomplish this. All you can do is remember. The purpose of any spiritual practice is simply to help us remember our original wholeness.
We embrace spiritual practice because we are forgetful, yet our practice adds nothing to the infinite worth of who we already are at this very moment.
The inner critic will attempt to convince you otherwise. In your most confused moments, you’ll spend countless hours, effort, and money trying to prove that you are worthy of love. You’ll train, diet, date, scroll, educate yourself, practice meditation as if there is anything to earn.
When you show up fully as your authentic self, the infinite power of love and light shows up in you and through you. Do you understand? Your will may betray you, your body may fail you, your loved ones may disappoint you, but you can trust in your infinite worth always. Our world needs more people who wake up to this truth and walk through life knowing that they already shine brightly like the sun.
People pleasing is not compassion.
Compassion is being with the unique suffering of others along with the willingness to alleviate it. On the other hand, people pleasing is the drawing of your worth from the approval of others. Compassion is courageous, limitless, and a profound way to connect with others. People pleasing is an addictive habit that is never satisfied and leaves us feeling lonely, depleted, and resentful. Notice when you speak or make decisions to elicit others’ approval. We have all had moments in life when we unhealthily seek the affirmation of others. In these moments, there is no need for judgment or shame. Simply observe and notice what is happening. Ask yourself if your words and actions are in alignment with your deepest needs and values. If so, wonderful—you are living in integrity. If not, there is no need to berate yourself. Offer yourself some compassion, and gently set the intention to live in deeper alignment as you continue your journey. Move on and live each moment at wholeheartedly as you can.
Clear boundaries serve connection.
Unclear boundaries sever connection.
The ancient text from the Bible reminds us: Say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes’; Say ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’. Be clear about what’s important to you. Be honest about what your needs are, and share them with the people in your immediate circle. If people are surprised by your actions, it’s often because you have not been clear. People cannot read your mind. In the absence of clarity, we create stories—fictions that are often woven from our worst fears and suspicions. It’s an act of compassion and kindness to be clear about what you need. It is not compassionate to withhold the truth under the guise of protecting someone from being hurt. It is belittling and disrespectful to pretend or withhold your needs around someone simply because you have labelled them as fragile. The great paradox of relationship is that the clearer we are about our boundaries, the greater connection we can cultivate.
The truth will set you free;
but first you need to WANT to be free.
The truth will often kick your butt before it sets you free. The truth is often inconvenient, hard to hear, humiliating, and at odds with the image we project to ourselves and the world. Being a person committed to the truth is not easy in a culture where we can easily create a digital persona and create whatever fictions about ourselves that fit our agenda. In our political life, leaders who tell the truth are an endangered species. In the business world, communications executives are paid impressive sums of money to stretch the truth well past its breaking point. What HEALING POWER would be unleashed in the world if we all just agreed to be honest and authentic? Pretending is cheap and easy. True freedom comes at the cost, and that cost is our willingness to hear and bear the truth. Once you have become clear that you want the truth in your life and you realize that it is more precious than ANYTHING ELSE, you are willing to do anything necessary to live in honesty and integrity. When you live in the truth, you can stand amid any storm, receive any criticism, face any problem, live through any challenge, and grow through any change.