Month: February 2022

 

Forgiveness is a power that breaks the chain of resentment and rage.

 

I don’t particularly remember addressing forgiveness in the past, perhaps it is because I didn’t feel as if I truly grasped it for myself. Let alone actually forgive myself for things I have done knowingly and unknowingly that hurt or offended others. This time around feels  different.  And, what sums it up for me is written from an excerpt of Eleanor O’Hanlon’s “The Eyes of the Wild” out of ‘Parabola: The Search for Meaning’ publication from October, 2019:

“The usual categories of understanding, based on the separation between human consciousness and the consciousness of the whale, are made meaningless by the power of their presence – life meeting life, consciousness meeting consciousness, in recognition and peace.”

‘In recognition and peace’ Eleanor writes.

 How profound, to recognize the Grey Whale, the bear, the eagle, our neighbor, the convict, the attacker, our parents, our selves in recognition and peace.  To let down the illusion of separation.

Khalil Gibran put a similar sentiment in such a poetic way:

“Oftentimes I have heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world. But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each of you, so the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also. And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrongdoer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all. Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self. You are the way and the wayfarers.And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.  Ay, And he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”


Out of his book “The Prophet”, from the excerpt when one of the judges of the city asked for him to speak of crime and punishment.

When reading this it truly gives me a sense of responsibility with forgiveness and what true forgiveness could have in effect upon relationships; relationship to One’s self, relationships with others, and societal relationships between countries and groups of people.  We have a responsibility to pick up the stumbling stones of fear and of not knowing each other, that mystery and misunderstanding due to no true connection.  We have a responsibility to listen to our own heart and the hearts of others so that we can see each other in the Sameness and Oneness of love.  

 

Diana D., one of our Journey to the Peak members asked the beautiful question, “what would be possible through forgiveness?  And, how quiet the mind of a society would be if forgiveness was modeled.”*  

 

What if forgiveness was modeled more?  How can I model forgiveness? How can we model forgiveness? One place we could model forgiveness is incarceration here in America. I just watched a bitter sweet video the other day of a father returning home from over 25 years in prison. He was welcomed deeply into the arms of his own son, who is now a father himself. And, yes, these are black men and black families who you see crying in deep love for each other. Renewed connections on soul levels. Seeing each other as who they are in that very moment. Wanting love again, to be with each other, to laugh again, play again, and have peace.

*”Peace is a quiet mind.”

Ragunath Campo (A link to his forgiveness podcast that shares this quote is noted at the bottom of the blog).

It was my own mother who reminded us in this past Sunday Morning Special class that through the Christian faith, God does not remember your sins when you ask for forgiveness. And I thought how beautiful that God meets us right where we’re at. Just like yoga meets us right where we’re at when we come to the mat.  Yoga is not holding a grudge against us when we step on our mat! Yoga meets us for who we are at this moment.

 

What if we met each other with such intimacy and immediate presence just now? And what if we offered the same thing to our self?

Mark Nepo writes from his book entitled “The Book of Awakening”:

“We are the stage and all the players.”

 

… But just as germs must run their course, all the players in our dramas must be voiced before they will leave us be. Just as we keep trying to get what we never got from someone else who doesn’t know our game, we also keep the trespass alive by re-enacting it on others nearby until we can humbly know what is to be hurtful — the first step toward forgiveness.”

 

He goes on to write:

“The pain was necessary to know the truth but we don’t have to keep the pain alive to keep the truth alive.”

 “What it really comes down to is the clearness of heart to stop defining who I am by those who have hurt me and to take up the risk to love myself, to validate my own existence, pain and all, from the center out.”

… “Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person, can heal, and our life can continue.”

..”It is useful to realize that the word forgive originally meant both to give and receive — to “give for”.

Anodea Judith writes, from her book “Eastern Body Western mind”:

“Forgiveness is said to be the ultimate step in healing. Forgiveness uses the compassion of the heart to understand situations in terms of the forces that were acting on both ourselves and others.”

Richard Smoley in his article entitled “Why forgive?” out of Parabola writes:

“Then, too, much of what passes for forgiveness is little more than sanctimonious egotism. You “forgive” out of a sense of noblesse oblige — It is an act of condescension, a favor bestowed upon an inferior. From this position of lordliness we bestow forgiveness as we might toss a coin at a beggar.”

He continues later in his article about the law of karma suggesting one answer in why we should forgive…

“The law of karma suggests one answer. A given cause has a like effect; Good begets good, and evil, evil.” … “The philosophies of India have intricate explanations for why this recompense is not instantaneous: they speak of samskaras, “seeds of karma,” that will sooner or later blossom in the right circumstances, in this lifetime or another.”

I wrote about samskaras and forgiveness in my blog that I mentioned earlier if you would like to go back.  Samskaras are the mental imprints and impressions we have, and they can be pleasant or negative.

 

Jodi Picoult wrote,

 

 

“Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else.  It’s something you do for yourself.  It’s saying “you’re not important enough to have a stronghold on me”.  It’s saying, “you don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future”

 

I forgive myself for all the energy, mental space, time, and emotional output that I have spent replaying past events that have hurt me and to the people who offended me.  It is our choice how long we give our energy to something and it is our choice what we give our attention to, very much like the drishti of yoga. Where am I going to put my attention and focus, my inner ‘gaze’? As I put my attention towards love, compassion, and loving kindness, it is easier for me to forgive and then live into peace.

 

Robin Sharma wrote: “Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened, it’s choosing to rise above it.”. I wrote in my previous blog on forgiveness, as taken off of this quote that, “I began to speak to how forgiveness is not only not needing to approve what happened, but that forgiveness does not require that we forget either. And that perhaps in some cases, to forget would not be the best thing because there was a lot of learning from the experience.”

 

It was Oprah Winfrey who said,

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”

 

Desmond Tutu wrote,

 “Forgiveness is not weak. It takes courage to face and overcome powerful emotions.”

 

He also wrote out of the Parabola publication, “To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.” 

 

Thank you so much guru Tutu, your words give so much freedom inside of me and allow me to experience all that I do feel! 

And thank you so much for my journey to the peak family and community and those who joined in the Sunday morning special on February 20th, 2022!  You helped me see deeper into what forgiveness is and a process to which I can support myself in offering forgiveness to myself and others.

 

You reminded me that forgiveness is “refusal to hold ill will against someone”- anonymous

You reminded me that “I can’t forgive until I have fully feeled”! -Randi

He shared with me that “forgiveness acknowledges change”.-Diana

I’m thinking of the song “I’m not ready to make nice” by Dixie Chicks

Catherine shared the saying “hurt people, hurt people and healed people, heal people”.

 

 

To me I almost cried when in the physical practice Patrick asked us to hold our own foot with our hand, fingers between our toes, as if we were holding hands with ourself. And I nearly came to tears because it felt as If I could be the one to hold my own hand. Just like a parent picks up a child who has fallen and scraped their knee, I can offer my own love and compassion to myself, hold my own hand through whatever is troubling and painful, and say to myself that we will get through this together.

 

 

May you step on your mat today, and meet yourself as who you are right now! Just as the mat meets you, Yoga meets you, Source meets you.  No grudges, no assumptions, no expectations, just open love, compassion, loving kindness and joy.

 

 

Love,

Shawna

Breathe and Believe.

 

P.S.

 

Here’s Ragunath and Kastuba Das podcast ‘Wisdom of the Sages’ episode:

 

 

carving out a little sadhana routine / yoga is reclaiming our freedom from the mind / material sound is exhausting / push through the flavorless period to develop taste for sadhana / withdrawing the senses / make the mind a friend / transcending the modes of nature through meditation on Krishna / put up a roadblock on the path of revenge / the universe is held together by forgiveness / forgiveness is a quiet mind / forgiveness is the highest virtue 3.28.11

 

 

* duration: 57:11, Played: 55:29

 

 

* Published: 11/19/21 6:50:53 AM

 

 

* Episode Download link (26 MB): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/wisdomofthesages/0584_A_online-audio-converter.com.mp3?dest-id=1755320

 

 

* Show Notes: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/wisdomofthesages/0584_A_online-audio-converter.com.mp3

 

 

* Episode feed: Wisdom of the Sages – https://wisdomofthesages.libsyn.com/rss

 

The picture shows compassion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always interesting to read an article that I had written in a different space and time. And then to see where the same topic and intention holds true and where it feels different today.

 

Continuing in this month of exploring love, we arrive at compassion.

 

It’s important to start back at week one, in finding the home of love, our own heart(link is below). And reconnecting with the center of all things, the heart, our relationship with our own heart becomes necessary to better understand, embody, and live in ways of the heart. The ways of the heart being varied and diverse and beautiful such as devotion, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, understanding, and connection.

 

All of it is always relational.

 

If you want to go back here is the blog from week one and here is the blog on devotion from week two.

 

This time around as I approach the topic of compassion, a new experience in life happened:

 

My son has learned how to tie shoes and he has the need to always have a double knot. He has learned that with a pair of his sneakers he can sometimes leave the double knot in place and simply slip his shoes off. He also has discovered that when he leaves the knot in place it means he’s got to figure out how to put his shoes back on! 

 

The picture shows the bloggers son trying to tie a shoe knot

 

Learning to go right at the center of the knot, literally and figuratively

Sometimes he’s successful as struggling with the shoe to get it back on without having to untie it. And other times I watch him get very frustrated with the knot. He’s frustrated because he has not yet learned how to untie the double knot. 

 

I tell him that it does not help to get frustrated with the knot or with himself. That it’s going to be better if he takes a deep breath and approaches it calmly. But I feel for him because I know what struggle and frustration can feel like for me!  Sometimes I just want somebody else to take over and complete the tasks so that I can rest and relax.

 

But on this given day, as he was struggling, I was very grounded, already breathing deeply, and we were not in a rush to get out the door.  Instead of taking over and untying the not for him, I heard myself say these words:

 

“You need to slow down and go right into the center of the knot.  Start to loosen the lace string by string until it starts to come undone. Then you can more easily untie the knot, and then you just retie it after you put it on your foot.”

 

I knew I was onto something when I said those first few words. I could feel it in my body. I almost teared up.

You need to slow down and go right into the center of the knot.

This is compassion. To slow down and to offer your attention (devotion) to whomever or whatever is needing support and offer it without judgment. Whether it’s your own heart, or the person addicted to substances, the person that’s wronged you, a family member, a friend, or a complete stranger. Even our dear planet Earth deserves compassion!

 

Compassion by definition is ‘sympathy and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others'(Oxford). In the classical teachings of the Buddhist tradition compassion is defined as “the heart that trembles in the face of suffering. … Compassion is the acknowledgment that not all pain can be ‘fixed’ or ‘solved’ but all suffering is made more approachable in a landscape of compassion”.  -Stanford 

 

The last time I wrote a blog about compassion I also resourced Jack Kornfield’s book entitled “The Wise Heart; a guide to the universal teachings of Buddhist psychology”. And I am resourcing his book again but in a different area from his book. In it, he shares about the four radiant abodes. The four radiant abodes are loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity or peace.  

 

He writes:

“These abodes are treasured because of the natural human happiness they express. They are immediate and simple, the universal description of an open heart. … 

Love is our true nature, but as we have seen, it is covered over by a protective layer of fear. We have learned how Buddhist practices unearth the gold beneath the clay and return us to our natural goodness. Even though this love is innate, the Buddhist path also uses systematic trainings to cultivate this love. They strengthen our capacity for love, compassion, joy, and peace. The practices that develop these qualities combine repeated thoughts, visualization, and feelings. These trainings have been employed by millions of practitioners to transform their own hearts.

 

When the radiant abodes are developed, they’re complimentary qualities help to balance one another. This balance is considered essential in Buddhist psychology. Because love, compassion, and joy can lead to excessive attachment, their warmth needs to be balanced with equanimity.  Because equanimity can lead to excessive detachment, it’s coolness needs to be balanced with love, compassion, and joy. Established together, these radiant qualities express optimal mental harmony.

 

The natural flow of these awakened qualities comes from inner peace. When consciousness is peaceful and open, we rest in equanimity. As our peaceful heart meets other beings, it fills with love. When this love meets pain, it transforms itself naturally into compassion. And when this same open-hearted love meets happiness, it becomes joy. In this way the radiant abodes spontaneously reflect and connect the whole of the world.”

 

He states that the 26th principle of Buddhist psychology is “A peaceful heart gives birth to love. When love meets suffering it turns to compassion. When love meets happiness, it turns to joy.”

 

So as I watched Max take a deep breath and slowly return back to the knot, I could feel an energetic shift. This shift is a shift back towards love.

 

Perhaps you’ve experienced a shift in your energy or someone else’s energy when compassion is offered?

Though Max was not completely successful on his own to completely untie the knot, we both experienced much more joy and ease as he so gently and sweetly asked for help. And together we untied the knot!  It loosened the strings of my heart at that moment! And I nearly cried again! 

 

A place that needs this compassion most is also within One’s own heart. 

 

I don’t know if Max knew he was offering himself compassion, but the embodied shift that allowed him to approach the frustration and upset energy was the act of self love and self support. We don’t need to ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ all of our own traumas and pain points in our heart in one fell swoop.  We can use a sacred pause, rejuvenate our wells of love and patience, and then go back and approach the pain when we are grounded and ready.  

 

We can go into the “knot” and loosen one part of it, release, breathe, and then go back again.  We just touch the hurt for a moment, approaching it from a place of love and compassion.  Then, gradually over time, we loosen.  Our heart opens.  And we can live in more peace, equanimity and joy. The love arises, as this beautiful quote from Lin Jensen so perfectly describes:

 

“To be truly and wholly present even for the briefest moment is to be vulnerable, for we have arrived at the point where the obstacle that fear constructs between ourselves and others dissolves.  It is here that the heart is drawn out of hiding and the inherent sympathetic response called compassion arises.” -Lin Jensen, ‘An ear to the ground’

 

I once wrote a one line poem:

Our heart is a tangled web of strings meant to be plucked.

I feel this is still true in life today.

 

It is heartfelt connections that are so deeply needed in our world today. It’s this type of slowing down and breathing with each other and meeting each other on a heart level to say ‘I got you, let’s do this together, and I love you’. These connections are so needed for our humanity to move forward with grace and love so that our global community can transform in the magical and beautiful ways that I know we can.

 

I invite you into this compassion meditation as you hold the compassion mudra, Karuna mudra.

 

Karuna Mudra:

Watch me perform it and write about how to do it HERE.

 

Meditation:

Repeat these words and vibrations

“May you be held in compassion.

May your pain and sorrow be eased.

May you be at peace.”

 

Love,

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe.

 


 

 

By definition, devotion is “Love, loyalty, and enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause”.

 

At the end of last week’s class, which you can read in that blog here, I repeatedly heard myself using the words attention and presence. It reminded me of Mary Oliver’s quote that I have always adored,

Attention is the beginning of devotion

It’s so imperative to begin to offer ourselves our own undivided attention.

To offer ourselves our own presence. It’s so important because having a loving and supportive relationship with ourself, and to be able to listen to our own body, mind and heart, is what will guide us to truth. It will guide us not only to our truth, and the Truth of the universe that is love, but it will also guide us towards truth here on earth. We will be able to discern what is true and what is not true, and we will have that ability to trust our instincts and intuition, and to see and feel what is resonating with us. This becomes important when we begin to choose to offer devotion outwards. Then we will devote our energy and efforts towards those things that are loving and good. And we will also be able to discern when we need to leave, or when something is not meant for us. And we can walk away even with love in our hearts.

 

Why, first, the relationship with self is so important?

It is so that we do not become wrongly attached, or enmeshed with someone else so much so that we lose ourselves…

The aspects of attachment and freedom are aspects of the heart chakra. These qualities are of the hearts longing for connection and simultaneously desire for freedom. And this is why the heart chakra also is the home of the essence of balance. For, we are creatures of connection and community. We need such a community to survive and to also feel purpose and meaning. And at the same time, the freedom to be who we are and to do the things that we love to do separate from the community, or even a partner, are the supportive acts in life that allow us to feel such freedom of our spirit. It becomes a dance of holding on and letting go, of connecting and releasing, of pulling in and pushing away. This dance is needed and it is a part of life. It also is the dance just like this within our own emotions.

Rollo May wrote,

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive — to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.

I think of my kids right here. I am so devoted to them. And, I love them so deeply that I want them to experience all that life has to offer, and I know that that requires a level of non-attachment to them on my part. To offer them freedom to spread their wings and explore! And, to love them so deeply that I can still be a loving foundation for them to always fly back to and to rest and to know no matter what they do or what happens in their life that I will love them unconditionally.


Sacred Space

Sadhguru writes, “… Emotion has always been the dominant factor in human beings


When you are overwhelmed by something or someone, you naturally become devout. But if you try to practice devotion, it creates problems because the line between devotion and deception is very thin – It will lead you into so many kinds of hallucinations. So you cannot practice devotion, but you can do certain things so that you arrive at devotion. If you just recognize one thing, you will naturally become a devotee: The cosmos is very large”. What he is saying here is to recognize the cosmos, to give your attention and presence to the cosmos. Because they are so vast and large and we have even yet no idea how large, it changes our perspective. 

He says that it will become very natural for us to be devoted when we move our perspective towards that which is so profound, beautiful, vast, indescribable, divine. And he reminds us that we are a part of it all. This is why he says, “It is only because people have lost perspective of who they are and what their place in this existence is, that they have become arrogant fools”.

He goes on to state, “If you pay attention to the nature of creation, how can you not be a devotee?”


Sadguru continues, “If you learn to look at everything around you with attention and care, you will realize that you cannot even figure the nature of an atom in its entirety. Everything is above your intelligence. Everything is higher than yourself, you will naturally become devout. A devotee knows things that you cannot even imagine. He can grasp things that you have to struggle with because there is not much of him within himself. When you are too full of self, there is no room for anything higher to happen.


Devotion does not mean you have to be a temple going, Pooja doing, coconut breaking person. A devotee has understood what his place in the existence is. If you have understood this and are conscious of it, you will walk as a devout person. There is no other way to be. It is a very intelligent way to exist. … Devotion is a multiplied and enhanced version of a love affair. A devotee is in an unfailing kind of love affair because if you fall in love with a man or a woman, they do not go the way you expect them to, and eventually gets into some trouble. That is why people choose God. It is simply a love affair, and you are not expecting any response. Your life becomes utterly beautiful because your emotion has become so sweet. Through that sweetness, one grows. That is devotion. Devotion is another dimension of intelligence. Intellect wants to conquer the truth. Devotion just embraces the truth. Devotion cannot decipher but devotion can experience. Intellect can decipher but can never experience. This is the choice one has to make.”

 

What is your vision of love?

I asked that question here because when we hold our inner gaze always towards that love, that is the moment of the change of our perspective, that changes our emotion, that connects us to all in the universe. And, it connects us to That within our self. And then we do know our place in existence. And we see how we are then devoted to our own self, as well as all other beings, and all of nature, and all of the cosmos. All is one.

I love this statement from Mindy Newman and Kaia Fischer Who wrote in their article “The karmic power of devotion” out of the Buddhist magazine, ‘Tricycle’:

“True devotion does not actually drain us. It is a source of vibrant energy that makes our commitments come alive and become a source of joy.”

How true!


I know that when I am enthusiastic and love a cause or a person, it makes me feel alive and vibrant. It brings me joy to help serve even a cause that comes from some pain or suffering, but it’s because there is connection and healing and love that is being shared.

It brings my perspective to the beauty of life. To the beauty of love. To the beauty of connection with my neighbor as we pass each other holding the door open for each other saying hello and have a great day. It changes my perspective and seeing the beauty in all of the smallest moments of life, up to the big milestone events of life!

And that is why I close not only this blog but I have been closing these classes with this well-known poem by Mary Oliver, “the summer day”:


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
The one who has flung herself out of the grass,
The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
Who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
Who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
Which is what I’ve been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

This time as I read it, it felt as if she was asking me, what do I want to devote my love, enthusiasm, and loyalty to? I know some of my answers to this question, what are yours?


The next time I read the poem, I realized she was giving her full attention to that grasshopper. How loving! And, what a beautiful way to look at all things; with wonder, love, devotion, and the ability to recognize the entire Universe within It. The entire Universe within one creature, one being, one plant, one atom. All is One, and You, dear Reader, are so important and a part of It all.



Devotedly,

Shawna 🙏🏻
Breathe and Believe.

Exploring the concept of love 

 

You have a right to love and be loved.

 

This month of “Journey to the Peak,” February 2022, with Patrick Heffernan and myself, is about the peak pose of ‘love.’  I wanted to look at the scope of the whole month. What are different aspects of love? Where and how do we love?  What does it mean to love?  To receive love?

 

What is your concept of love based on?

 

As I thought about it, I knew that we must start with the place of love. So, this first week of February is entitled:

“Meeting the home of love, your heart.”

 

I knew that before we can expand into even listening to the heart, we first have to find it. And knowing that our heart is the home from which love comes in and love comes out, we first have to approach it.

 

This presupposes that you, dear reader, and that I, myself, have a desire to connect with love and therefore, with our Self.

What do you innately and intuitively know could happen if you were to offer love to yourself?

 

So, how do we meet the home of love, our hearts?  How do we get there?

 

There are many ways, but in this week we move to meet our hearts through the body, the breath, and a self-reflective consciousness. A self-reflective consciousness is the essence that the heart center, the heart chakra, invites us to be in. To be aware of ourselves, our emotions, and our body. To listen to these places and to start to make meaning out of what we notice.

 

“Love is a bodied truth, a somatic reality.”-Stanley Keleman

I like how Anodea Judith writes about this in her book, “Eastern Body Western Mind; psychology and the chakra system as a path to the self”. 

 

She writes:

“One of the prime areas of balance in the heart chakra is between mind and body. This occurs through learning to decipher the body’s messages. This involves distinct inner listening on the part of the mind to the body’s subtle communications and often leads to recovering memories, working through traumas, releasing stored tensions, and completing unresolved emotional transactions. Through this process various parts of our experience are reconnected. Feelings are reconnected with mental images. Impulses are integrated with belief systems. Sensation is connected with meaning. This is the work of self-reflection–allowing the mind to behold our experience in the body.

 If work on our lower chakras has brought us fully into our body, we are now ready to integrate that awareness into higher levels of complexity and understanding.

As we begin to understand and come to know the meanings of sensations in our body, emotions that we experience, and how our breath is moving or not moving, we begin to be able to see how we can help ourselves.

 

We begin to see how we can truly heal ourselves.  

By doing this, we are in the act of self love. And love is an action.

 

We also see where we can begin to practice self-love, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-gratitude, self-respect, self-appreciation!  We begin to practice listening to and loving our body, listening to and loving our heart, and learning how to discern the messages we receive; discerning with mind, heart and body!

 

And to get here, we must say yes to ourselves. We must be willing to begin this journey of relationship with ourselves! No matter your age, situation in life, no matter if you are partnered or not, no matter if you’ve taken a shower today or not, will you say yes to yourself right now?

 

Will you say yes to being in a relationship with yourself right now?! 

YES!

 

Say it out loud! Stand up if you’d like, add a physical posture that embodies this newfound love that you are claiming! The new found love that you are committing to for yourself, towards yourself!

 

How does that feel? What is your body telling you? What are the emotions? Feel free to write and let me know.

 

I’d like to share a personal story here.  At a big turning point in my life, I now realize that I was actually saying yes to my Self!  This would allow me to eventually find my lifelong partner…Somewhere in my late 20’s or maybe early 30’s, I began to really desire a serious and committed relationship. Even though I was considering what I wanted my partner to be giving me, and asking myself if I could give that to him, what I was also doing was commiting to loving myself in the same way. Back then, I didn’t see it as choosing to love myself. I was focused on the characteristics and qualities of what I wanted in my partner and in the relationship. I now see that I was also naming those same characteristics and qualities that I wanted in myself.

 

If open communication, vulnerability, courageous support, unconditional acceptance, adventure, love of the outdoors, spontaneity as well as planning, and so much more were qualities that I was seeking in another, it was also what I was promising to myself, from myself.  I can only see this now looking back. I can see how I was beginning to take myself more seriously, how I was shifting the view of how I saw myself, and was beginning to really love myself.

 

It feels like a paradigm shift. And to be honest, my brain feels kind of tingly from this new perspective in the way of seeing it. But it also makes me excited and emotional. It makes me get a little choked up, and I feel joy in my body, I feel positive vibration in my chest, and I notice that I feel free and I’m swaying in my physicality right now, as I write.

 

Anodea Judith writes in her book, “Wheels of life,”  that

“Self-acceptance is our first chance to practice unconditional love”.  

 

I remember reading this and being really struck by this message.  And also how interesting, to look back upon my life right now coming up on the age of 42 this month, that this holds true.  

 

It reminds me of the adage that goes, ‘if you cannot love yourself how can you love another?’ 

 

From certain yogic standpoints, I feel that it holds true.  For example, if I did not love myself enough then I might always go seeking others’ love, seeking others approval of myself, and equating myself, my value, my worth to what somebody else determined.

 

Another cliche is that ‘if you love someone enough, you would let them go’. That I love even myself so much that I could release myself. That would have no fear of death. Very Yogic right there. 

)

So, I want you to remember, dear reader, that you have a right to love and be loved.

You don’t need to do anything to earn it.

You don’t need to look a certain way to deserve it.

You don’t need to act a certain way to receive it.

You only need to be yourself.

 

And the best way to know this, feel this, embody this, and your first way to experience this is to give love to yourself.

Now that you’ve committed to this new relationship with yourself, and you have entered the home of love, your heart, take a deep breath! Smile at yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes deeply and lovingly. And say to yourself, “I love you”. Repeat this EVERY day.