Monday, 28 July 2014

True Love

It's one of those times, when there are so many 'post' possibilities that I don't know which one to write about first!

But the fridge told me which one to choose.

I was again, a few days late tearing off the days from my mini-wisdom calendar. Trying to catch-up with the present meant I had to go back to the past - to July 21st - last Monday. I tore that day away revealing July 22 and this gem:

We've all heard it. It's nothing new. But do we understand it?

I thought I did - until now. This past few weeks I have felt as though I was running on empty. And then I did run out. I had nothing left to give - to me or anyone else.

When I read Thich Nhat Hanh's beautiful words I thought, no wonder I've been running on empty - I've been so busy caring for others that I've forgotten to take care of myself.

And then this realisation : You're always there for other people but are you there for yourself?

Hmmm. The answer, quite simply - no.

I'm all-for people sharing how they feel and airing their issues. In fact I'm a big fan of 'getting it all out' - not stewing about stuff because I know it only makes things worse. So I give people my time and the space they need to be and feel heard - my ear as accepting and unconditional as it can possibly be.

But when it comes to me, all that is denied. I don't let myself feel how I feel. I am dismissive of issues and I certainly don't listen to my worries with a compassionate heart. I flee. I resist. I repress.

And look what happens when we do that... we are not loving to ourselves and then our capacity to love others dwindles, leaving us feeling like there's nothing of any value left.

Your capacity to love others depends entirely on your capacity
to love yourself,
and take care of yourself.

But what does it even mean - to love ourself? What does it look like? What would I be doing if I was taking care of myself?

My first response in answering these questions is to focus on the physical - diet, exercise, rest, relaxation, connecting with others... and then it dawned on me that yes, those things are important, but if I was to truly care for and love myself I would give myself the exact same thing that I gave others when they were suffering : my heart.

As Pema Chodron says, it's not about getting rid of the pain and the turmoil, it's about leaning in, expanding, opening - allowing things to be present and embracing them. Holding the pain - physical, mental or emotional - with great tenderness and allowing it the space it needs. Loving it.

This is what I call true love. To be there for ourselves with the difficulty, the dilemma, the devastation and not try to change it - just be with it, and love it.

I already know it's not easy to truly love ourselves, but we're worth it. So is everyone else that we come in contact with, care for and love.

When you think about it, what could be more important ...

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