Hello my fellow human Beings:
During this long weekend many people celebrated holidays based on love — St. Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and Family Day (February 16, 2015 in Ontario, Canada). For them it was a time of affection, bonding, fondness, belonging, comfort and joy.
For others, these holidays can be challenging to wade through, because their personal circumstances bring up a multitude of difficult emotions. Being alone, breaking up with a partner, losing a loved one or being estranged from family members, can make these love-focused holidays heart-wrenching, instead of heart-hugging.
However, as it is noted in A Course of Miracles:
Perception is a mirror, not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.
So what we see or don’t see in the outer world is a reflection of our inner world – churned up or calm, empty or whole-hearted – our inner state of mind and being creates the experiences we encounter in our outer reality.
American scholar, author, and public speaker, Brené Brown, in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, remarks that all people have an irreducible need for a deep sense of love and belonging. She explains love as follows:
“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
Yet, when we are experiencing loss or heartbreak we can forget to love ourselves. We can forget to be self-compassionate. We can forget to live authentically.
Brené Brown writes that self-compassion has three elements:
- Self-kindness: Be warm and understanding to yourself when you suffer, fail or feel inadequate.
- Common humanity: Recognizing that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience.
- Mindfulness: Take a balanced approach to negative emotions so feelings are neither suppressed or exaggerated.
She also states:
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
So we need to learn to let go.
Let go of the self-judgement. Let go of the self-criticism. Let go of the self-blame.
We need to let go and let love in.
We need to practice daily acts of self-compassion, self-kindness and self-love.
Dr. Robert Holden and Louis Hay in discussing their book, Life Loves You, speak about a practice of mirror work to help us believe in love again. The practice entails looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating the affirmation “Life loves me.” several times and taking a deep breath between each repetition. Repeating the affirmation until we really start feeling it to be true.
This mirror work might be a good way to start our daily mediation practice of breath awareness, insight and loving-kindness.
So this week, I encourage you to experiment with these practices finding time each day to be still, to let go, to be self-compassionate, to connect, and to let love in. Let these practices remind you to live authentic lives in which you love yourselves as much as you love others and you love others as much as you love yourselves. For in this way, you take steps to leading an abundant life.