you said exactly what you’re feeling right now?
you let your no be no and didn’t back down when someone pushed back?
you let yourself say yes to something that delights you even if it appears foolish or impractical?
you stand by your intuition and decide it’s okay not to explain or apologize for your wordless wisdom?
you ask for what you need and don’t wait for someone to offer or understand?
you allow yourself time to let go of the struggle and do nothing at all?
you stop doing that thing you do just because someone expects it?
you take things at face value and decide there is no reason to walk on eggshells after all?
you assume that underneath everything is NOT something dark and dangerous or scary but something more like goodness and love?
what if you assumed that compassion for yourself is a powerful way forward? that being gentle with who you are right now is a kindness that spares the world a certain kind of suffering?
what if you could let yourself imagine being held in a divine embrace?
sitting in my room tonight, holding the what ifs, wondering if you are, too. sweet dreams, dear friends. i’m thinking of you.
That felt like a direct challenge to me. So here is exactly what I’m feeling right now, however unperfected.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A LOT. About so many things. And at so many points, I’ve also thought, I should write that out… Writing it out helps me to figure it out along the way, expands my own consideration of it. But as soon as I evolve one notion, another flicker starts to attract me in a different direction. For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships. What makes them strong and lasting, nourishing to each other… what causes them to deteriorate or transform into a sustained energy suck. And going down this thought path keeps leading me back to myself over and over again. To consider the ways I relate to others and the ways I relate to myself. The thoughts and habits that keeps me alive and strong and enchanted with the world, and the ones that cause me to feel like I’m withdrawing from it.
I listened to this talk yesterday, with a man named Mike Robbins. Right before he and his wife had their first child, he had a mentor that told him that he had two main jobs when it came to his new daughter. The first was all about teaching her how to get by in the world. Things like tying her shoes, blowing her nose, crossing the street safely, and all of that stuff. Then he says, “But the second job you have is the most important. And it’s harder. You gotta teach her how to love herself.” And Mike says, ok… how do I do that? And his teacher says, “Well you love yourself. And you let her see that.”
It’s got me thinking about how many things that is true about… how much more of an impact something has when you can witness someone living it. How much more you can reach out when you have your own reserve to reach from. My friend Megan just wrote a post
about an exercise she did. Imagining herself at her own funeral, standing in front of all the people most important to her in her life… what one, brief message would she want to give them all. She chose, “Love one another.” I think that’s beautiful. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a Storypeople
quote that says, “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”
I agree with that. But I’d add to it. Try waking up every morning & loving yourself all over again. That’s what takes a real hero. Love yourself ((be patient with yourself, don’t demand immediate perfection of yourself, encourage yourself, listen to yourself))… so you can love one another.
So, ever so slowly… I’m holding up pieces of myself up to the sun… inspecting them to see which beliefs and habits still hold any sparkle for me and which have dulled without my realizing it. There’s times when it’s an overwhelming process. When I feel like I need to show some kind of tangible measurement of my progress in order to know that my days are being well-spent. But I’m finding that this kind of work doesn’t respond like that.. and trying to remind myself to be gentle.
I feel like I’ve had so many lightbulbs go on at such a rapid pace in the past several weeks that I almost haven’t had time to catalog them all… which is what I’ve been feeling like I have to do. I had been trying to put a finger on why and I came across a few lines in another blog that sparked some recognition in me… “Just as surely as my outer geography has changed, so too has what’s inside. I’m in need of new inner maps; the old ones don’t seem to be of much use here. They no longer match the terrain.”
) I feel a need to re-orient myself to my own life again, because I feel like I’ve made a lot of changes recently and haven’t quite caught up to myself yet.
I guess I’m writing these half formed thoughts now as another reminder to myself. That everything is always evolving. That the more comfortable I can become with the parts of me that are unfinished or not quite smoothed out and nicely packaged and presented, the wider and more steady my foundation becomes. As one of my new favorite writers Jen Lee
says, the more we are loved, the braver we can become. And for me that includes loving all those parts of myself that are still being worked out.