Lovelution

I’m hearing daily stories of heart break, illness and tenderness from friends and clients.  It seems to be in the collective energy field right now.  Regardless of where you fall politically, I think many people are experiencing the chasm in our country:  between parties, between groups, between relatives and friends.

If our true nature is to be universally connected to all (which I believe) then this rampant atmosphere of divide and finger-pointing must be painful to all of us on a soul level.

So what to do?  How to keep my heart open? No matter what?  No matter who I am thinking about or dealing with?  That is my practice that I’ve dedicated my life to.  Even if it feels good to distance myself from somebody (or some group) because of their actions or words, I choose to take a look within myself and try and access compassion.

It’s a spiritual axiom that we can only change ourselves.  Gandhi said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  I know I’m not saying anything new, but I’m sharing my practice with you with the hope that it may be helpful.  Living a heart-opened path (no matter what!) is much easier to do when everyone is doing what I think is right, or “playing nice” and not triggering me.   But what about when someone does something egregious?  It’s so tempting to distance myself and say “Oh no.  I would never do that!”

But if we’re all connected…I need to take a long, deep look at myself and find the part(s) of me that are related.  Instead of pushing away aspects of myself that I don’t like to see in others, or that make me uncomfortable, I need to shine a light on those parts, and love them up.  I believe that I do have the wounded masculine aspect in myself that acts out of insecurity and powerlessness. I am the wounded feminine that is too afraid to speak up, or speaks out harshly, fearing I can’t have what I want.  I am the divine as well – we all are.  I have all aspects of shadow and light inside of me because I am human.  I am a spirit having a human experience.  I think I signed up for all of it!

And so,

I am practicing loving myself.  Unconditionally.  Simple yet profound.

Love.  It’s been written about.  It’s been sung about.  It’s an energy.  It’s a feeling.  It’s a way to live.  So often I have looked externally for this feeling and offered it freely to others, but I forgot (or rushed past) the first step:  Self-love.

If you are like me, you might read those two words and think “Blech”.  Self-love?  That’s no fun.  I like to connect with others.  I like to interact.  Self-love sounds lonely.  And boring.  I really used to think that!  (TRUTH:  Sometimes it is kind of lonely and boring – definitely not instant gratification land.)

I believe self-love is the foundation for my life.  When I skip this step (and I have) the opportunities keep showing up to allow me to get it right.  Like pulling a weed and not getting the root, it just keeps coming back.

How do I practice self-love?

One of the ways I do is to stay present to “what is” vs. what I wish was happening, and not try and escape any uncomfortable feelings that may arise (like loneliness, fear, grief).  It’s a practice and some days are better than others.  When an uncomfortable emotion shows up, I try to be loving and patient – the same way I would be with one of my children.  Acceptance and forgiveness are huge players in this arena.  Trying to love all parts of myself, not just the “nice” parts.

Unconditionally loving ourselves means accepting all parts of us, not “fixing” or removing the more prickly parts of self, rather shining true love and compassion on those harder to accept aspects of ourselves.  This is love unconditional.  This is love invincible.  This is LOVELUTION.

LOVELUTION:  a beautiful and quick shift from simply existing to loving oneself constantly and totally, radically impacting all areas of your life to ripple out to others.  (I made it up.  You’re welcome.)

Ripple out to others?

Yes!  The best part of this, is that when I fully give myself to this path of open-hearted living, it is guaranteed to benefit everyone in my life.  That’s right, by loving myself, I am increasing the love in my life.  Love begets Love.  I am surrounding myself with love.  This is an energy I can always impact and control because it begins with ME.   When I plug into this, I see its effects immediately.  People respond and behave lovingly to me.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days I love myself more than others.  One day at a time.  Progress not perfection.  I’ll keep you posted.

Lovelution!
The time will come 

when, with elation 

you will greet yourself arriving 

at your own door, in your own mirror 

and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 

for another, who knows you by heart. 

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 

peel your own image from the mirror. 

Sit. Feast on your life.

-Derek Walcott

 

Catch and Release

Back when I was younger, I kept my heart under 24/7 lock down.  Nobody was going to hurt me!  Not surprisingly, by shutting everything down, I stayed closed off to giving and receiving love.  I also had a lot of heart palpitations and irregular heart beats throughout my life.  About 5 years ago I was put on beta blockers because my heart symptoms were so frequent and disturbing.  Then, one magical day, on a hike to a sacred place of mine, I prayed to Spirit to “remove the shield from my heart.”  At the time, it was a ‘throw away’ prayer, something I casually tossed out.  I just said the words at the last minute, before I hiked back down the mountain.  However, I came down from the hike and haven’t been on heart meds since.  True story.  There have been heart palpitations, but now when I experience them, I get quiet and ask my heart what it’s trying to say.  What do I need to pay attention to?  Every time, it’s been related to something emotional that’s happening in my life that needs attending to.  The heart is an amazing barometer of the emotional body.  Pay attention to it!

Hanuman in Rishikesh, India
Hanuman in Rishikesh, India

These days, I can’t open my heart fast enough.  I feel like the picture of Hanuman, and I’m ripping open my own chest, saying “Here God, let me help you!”

I found a book – or rather it found me – The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer.  I have no idea why I reached for it at the bookstore, I think I liked the color blue and the horse…and something about the word “untethered.”

buy this book
buy this book

The book is small – digestible for me, and easy to read.  It talks about living with an open heart, it gives directions on how to do this, it’s a PLAN (I love a plan!) on how to keep your heart open and what to do when you feel your heart closing.  As soon as one becomes willing – conscious – to witness the energy shifts of their heart, they can be aware of a tendency to close the heart.  The book breaks down the theory of energy centers – especially the heart center – using scientific terms within a yogic context.  And did I mention it’s easy to read?!  Really.

All of this resonates for me and makes sense.  It’s like reading things I already “know” on some level, but having it in this simple format has really clicked for me.  I have been spending my past few days in my open heart, watching the tendency to shut down and close up when I experience an emotional trigger.  So far, it’s been pretty easy and even fun.  Until today.  Today I got “blind sided” by an interaction with someone.  It triggered all my stuff – my “good enough” stuff, my “scarcity” stuff, my “alone” story, etc.  I could literally feel my energy body wanting to spin out and keep all my stories alive.  It was all I could do NOT to fan the flames in my head.  Instead I went and danced for an hour.  But like a tongue poking a sore tooth, even with the book, and my meditation practice, and the physical exercise and conscious breathing in the heart, I still had to check several times on my stuff to see if was still there (it was.)

Tonight, after a long day, I am feeling more at peace.  I am feeling more ‘free’ – truly.  I have successfully stayed in an uncomfortable place and kept my heart open.  I’ve felt some pain and fear and have passed through some fire.  Having the feelings of fear or insecurity don’t make me pure or impure.  The trick is not getting drawn into that energy, and to simply relax and release as the energy appears.  “And no matter how many times you’re pulled, that’s how many times you relax and release.  Your opportunites to grow are endless.”

You will get to a point in your growth where you understand that if you protect yourself, you will never be free.

Michael A. Singer.

In this beautiful song by Nirinjan Kaur, Aud Guray, she is singing the words “Protect Me, Open my Heart, and I’ll be Free.”  I like to think she is giving her will over to Source, God, Spirit, and saying please protect me (so I don’t have to!) and open my heart and in doing this, I will be free.  A’Ho!