Note: Thank you so much for the warm + generous response to Part One: Journeying towards Self-Love. I thought it would be more of a linear story to tell, but the story is emerging in just the way it wants to. Here is Part two… Enjoy! and as always, your responses mean the world to me! If you haven’t read Part One, best to read that first.
This is the image that was shown to me in Bali: My future self. Bigger than I am now. Plump. Eyes closed. Smiling like a happy buddha. My co-leader at the retreat Juna led us through a visualization, and in it we were to ask this future self a question- What do I need to know to get to where you are now?
As I looked at her, she seemed so hearty to me.
I wanted to crawl into her lap- the safest possible place to land. She was plump with love.
“Ground in love each day,” she said. “Ground in love before you pick up your kids. Ground in love before you talk to your clients. Ground in love before you walk out the door and into the world.”
I didn’t know exactly what she meant. I could feel the truth of it, but I wasn’t sure about it’s practical application. How was I supposed to do that? But I was drenched in tears by the end of the visualization and didn’t care. I was just so moved by the possibility that I could be this person – grounded, hearty, resilient, wise. Plump with love.
When I got back home after the trip, I decided to continue meditating each day like I’d been doing in Bali. I had been using Insight Timer (the best!!) and loved their guided meditations. This time I decided to use their search feature. I typed in “self love” and the very first meditation that popped up was this one: Live Awake with Sarah Blondin: Loving and Listening to Yourself. Sounds about right! I thought to myself.
I had no idea this meditation would bring me even deeper into my healing. Deeper into this experience, this practice of self-love I was cultivating. I didn’t know it would be another part of the medicine.
The meditation started out this way, with Sarah’s gentle and powerful voice saying: I love you. And I am listening. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes. I listened to her beautiful piece and was astounded by what I was hearing. I was sure she had me in mind when she wrote it. It was as if she was speaking directly to my heart.
Tears poured down my cheeks.
And then she said those words, the same ones from the visualization in Bali: We become round and plump with our own love.
And I gasped.
And opened my eyes.
And cried more.
I listened to that meditation every day for weeks. I made a habit of putting my hand on my heart at random moments of the day and saying to myself: I love you and I am listening.
Sometimes it felt neutral, like a fact.
Sometimes it felt potent and painful, for all the ways I don’t love myself.
Sometimes it felt silly, like why am I saying these things to myself?
But mostly it felt nurturing. And it was a practice. I was increasing my capacity to love myself.
And it was my how I grounded in love. Before I picked up my kids, I would put my hand on my heart. I love you and I am listening. Before I got on the phone with my clients, I love you and I am listening.
As I write these words I am wondering, am I saying these words to myself or my kids? To myself or my clients? But I think it’s both. I am saying those words to myself and therefore to everyone I encounter. My capacity to love myself is the capacity I have to love others. That’s the way it works.
If love is too strong a word for you, replace it with compassion. The degree to which you have compassion for yourself is the degree to which you have compassion for others. The places in yourself where you lack compassion, the places in yourself that are hard for you to embrace, will be the same places that are hard to love and embrace in others.
That’s what makes the work worthwhile.
That’s why self-love is not selfish, but self-less.
That’s why this is a bottomless practice. It is a lifetime of softening towards ourselves and the world. It is a healing… and as we know, healing isn’t linear, but winds around and spirals back. Sometimes we think we have landed at square one again, but we are always somewhere else on the spiral.
Becoming round and plump with our own love.
Part 3 is coming soon…
Another note: I asked Sarah Blondin if I could interview her for my podcast and she said yes! Our intimate and wonderful conversation here.