It Is Up To Me: Cultivating Self-Love
From Self-Betrayal To Self-Love: Steadiness and Gratitude On The Path
Part 3: It Is Up To Me
Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing here what I learned when I recently found that I was being unkind to myself. My last post was during the first period of Lent, as Christians prepare for Easter. Today I post this blog entry as we enter into the week of Passover, a Jewish festival that celebrates the miraculous release from slavery.
To some extent, we all have parts of ourselves that feel enslaved, whether we are conscious of them or not. It is also a tendency for most of us to want others to free us from these painful places.
But as I was reminded in my recent experience, when I saw that I was turning myself black and blue, it is not for anyone else to “save” me, take away my pain or fix my perceived broken bits. I need to face my inner demons just as you do, just as the next person does – on my own, in my own time, in my own way.
It is a kind of miracle to realize that we have the ability to free ourselves in this way. By turning on our inner light, we invite grace, transformation and spiritual expansion into our lives.
Just as I don’t like to be judged for the pace of my own growth, I cannot judge the way another chooses to evolve. My shadow, after all, is exactly that: my own. It hurts me when my shadow’s energy squeaks through my body, as it would for anyone. Perhaps the shadow is backlogged emotions, or painful thoughts that are trying to move through my system. But they are moving through my system, no one else’s. So it is totally up to me to cultivate an unconditional self-love relationship at a pace and in a way that is true to myself.
More than ever, I see how this process begins by accepting where I am, right now. It does not come from wishing my life were different, or struggling against what is. By embracing this moment as it is, we inspire growth.
Maybe I don’t like what is. That is ok. All of it is a reflection of my choices and my karma. So to not like what is, is actually to not like myself. To not like myself is to cause harm to someone: myself. To turn negatively towards myself is like turning negatively towards anything in nature or the divine. The real pain lies there.
It would be easy to see this kind of pain if I were to act out against a flower. I would be able to see the petals wilt under the onslaught of my recriminations. Yet, I do this to myself! So I need to stop it, because it hurts me.
It does not matter how I ended up with the shadow stuff. I could spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out, finding its source, wanting to pin point blame, all of which would defer me making, in this moment, the sober choice to let painful thoughts go.
What matters most is to fully understand that my shadow is a conglomerate of my belief systems that works against the force of life, which is love. Feeding the shadow, and beating myself up through it, is like putting the brakes on feeling the love I ultimately desire.
Each one of us is a receptacle for universal love. Some receptacles are full of cracks, maybe even holes, so the love comes, goes and does not stay in. Others’ receptacles are strong vessels for the divine. These people can bathe in a mutually loving relationship, warmed by the loving rays of the sun, nurtured by the rain. Through them, I can see a wholeness, a humility and a state of gratitude for all that is. No resistance. Just love.
So this is my prayer for myself from now on:
May I stand rooted in this moment and feel at peace.
May I be in non-resistance to what is.
May I feel a divine, loving embrace in this moment, and feel supported and nurtured.
May I open to receive love and let go of that which does not serve love.
May I know that I am love, that I am loved.
So please, my friends, go to a mirror and say a few loving words to yourself. Or try my new personal prayer out for yourself. Treat yourself with the love you deserve and see how love begins to grow up in and around you. Begin a new life today, a life that is rooted in self-love. Why? For the very simple reason that you are absolutely worth it.