Why loving YOURSELF isn’t that easy!

Me at the beach…before the storm!

With the storm raging out my window, it seems fitting to write about self-love.

Huh?

Doesn’t loving oneself bring about images of whiskers on kittens, cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel?

Listen, I think it’s great that so many people are acknowledging the value of self-love this week (really, I do!). But, I have worked with enough clients to know that while a whole lot of you like yourself, might even be proud of yourself, and are generally happy, most of us do not consistently Unconditionally Love ourselves.

The evidence is overwhelming. Just look around. If we all absolutely, positively, totally and completely loved ourselves that world out there, it would look (and feel) very different (oh, and we would look and feel a lot different, too!).

It’s great to encourage people to love themselves but actually DOING it?

That’s another story.

The journey to unconditional self-love can a bit turbulent and unpredictable (just like the storm that is raging outside my window).

Why isn’t loving yourself simple? you might ask. It sounds easy enough. If I can love my dog, love the beach, and love chocolate cake, then can’t I just as easily love myself?

Nope.

The desire to love yourself is necessary, but not sufficient.

You must have something else, first…

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness not just for others, but for yourself. This is a step most people skip, ignore, or gloss over.

How do you know if you have some forgiving to do?

Think about a past regret you may have had. When you think about it, do you FEEL any negative emotion, like shame, guilt, sadness or anger? Think about people who have done things “to you”; when you think about them right now do you feel any negative emotion? Do you? Well, if you do, then…

This post needs to end soon (I know you’re busy) so I won’t get into details here, but I CAN give you a very simple suggestion, that if you are willing to give it a try, will bring you results. I’m not promising you will fall madly in love with yourself overnight, but if you do this you will start to wake up and heal your heart and, with time, you may very well be the love of your life.

It’s called Ho’oponopono.

It is a powerful technique with incredible healing powers (google it and be amazed). I was introduced to it 8 years ago and at that time, mostly just played with it. Recently I am doing it more and more and love the results I see when my clients use it.

It is simple and it works.

You say to yourself (in your head or out loud):

  1. I am sorry (For what? You will know. Listen for the answer).
  2. Please forgive me (For what? You will know. Listen for the answer)
  3. I love you (Do your best to mean it)
  4. Thank you (Yep, you know the drill: For what? You will know. Listen for the answer)

No need to memorize the order–you will get results regardless. Say it over and over until you feel ready to stop. Sometimes I say it once; sometimes 100 times (or it seems like that–in truth I’m not counting and I don’t suggest you do either).

Here it is again:

  1. I am sorry

  2. Please forgive me

  3. I love you

  4. Thank you

Start this practice on YOU (meaning – you are telling yourself you are sorry, you are asking yourself for forgiveness, you are telling yourself you love you, and you are expressing gratitude to you for you). Sure you can do it at random times, but for me, whenever I feel any hint of anxiety or overwhelm creeping in, that is my signal to stop and do this quick routine. With clients struggling with certain things like addictions or health challenges, I suggest they do it every time they feel guilty or hopeless.

You can also use this when thinking of someone who causes you to feel any negative feeling. Super fun to play with while in the middle of a challenging situation (take, for example, an argument with your kid or partner) or while watching the evening news or reading certain Facebook posts. I find it works best in these situations if you actually say the phrases out loud. Yeah, you might get some looks, but who cares? When you love yourself, you don’t care when people look at you funny.

 it might seem far-fetched, but you are changing your reality.

Want to be part of a movement that is experimenting with this? Do it with me, let’s “get our love on” and watch things change. I mean REALLY CHANGE.

 

 

 

Love your NOW

I found myself at the beach again today.

I suppose clear skis, sunshine and nearly 70-degree weather in February has something to do with it.

While walking the beach, barefoot and flanked by my daughters, my heart almost exploded with pure joy.

I couldn’t help but think about how important it is to love your Now.

Yeah, yeah, easier said than done.

I get it.

I used to say the same thing.

How do you enjoy your now when your mind is cluttered with “mistakes” from the past you keep reliving, or worries about tomorrow (like how you will pay the bills or make headway on that growing To Do list).

Here is what Eckhart Tolle (Power of Now) has to say about it, and I think his perspective is worth a read:

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

Lately, I have been consciously choosing to enjoy my now. I can hear you say: “Uh-huh, sure Heather. Easy for you to do while the Pacific ocean is kissing your toes.”

Seriously, though, I have lived places that I found hard to love. Try: Boston in winter (um, I call it “cold” when it dips below 70) and summer in Phoenix (I call it “hot” when it tops 90). I have been in situations that were beyond stressful, exhausting, and heart-wrenching. Who hasn’t?

But I do believe there is something to love about every place and every situation.

Yes, Virginia, you can love your NOW.

Before you think “Well, she doesn’t know MY situation.” Why not try it? I mean, what do you have to lose?

How to get started:

  • Look around and call out things you love (even when I am in traffic I can love that I live in a place with a paved road or that the car in the lane next to me is staying in it’s lane)
  • Ask yourself: What am I learning here? (and wait for the answer – don’t think the answer – wait for it…it WILL come)
  • When you find yourself with a thought that isn’t bringing you love and light, say: “delete,” “cancel,” or “next thought, please”

Let me know how it goes. And never stop Living Love.

Broken Seashells – Love for the past

Broken seashells

Today after my morning meditation I clearly heard: Go to the beach.

And believe it or not, I don’t hear that a lot.

I envisioned a fairly strenuous hike I enjoy, thinking, “Maybe today the Universe really wants me to sweat.” The kids have been homebodies lately, so when I asked if they wanted to go with me I was shocked when I heard: “Yeah.” I actually had to ask again to make sure I wasn’t hearing things.

Well. Hmmm. They don’t like the extreme hike, so I knew my plan wasn’t going to happen. We hopped in the car and I headed west not sure where we would end up. As we got closer, Ella suggested a walk we haven’t done for awhile.

This is a walk on a paved bike path, and although you can get down to the beach, we usually stay on the path. Today, I said, “Let’s go down to the sand.” My kids aren’t big fans of sand in their shoes, so again I was happily surprised when they said, “OK Mom.”

We plopped down on the warm sand and quietly took in the view. I love to hunt rocks and shells, so after awhile, I got up, took off my shoes and wandered down to the rocky shoreline. It’s not often I find shells at this particular beach. Perhaps it was the recent storms, or perhaps I just had my eyes open today, but there we so many beautiful ones nestled in the piles of rocks.

The kids joined me and we spent about an hour dodging the waves and picking out treasures. When we sat on the sand to decide what was going home with us, I realized how drawn I was to the broken shells.

I remember being a kid, and passing up the broken ones, in search of the perfect, whole shell.

The breaks in the shells reveal their geometry, the golden spiral. So amazing. Turning them over in my hand, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a dear friend. She shared a poem by Rumi (although English is her native language, she can listen to his works in the original text and I so appreciate her translation).

The poem was about a reed flute. The flute tells the story of being separated from the reed bed and what that separation felt like. It goes on to tell what the reed had to go through to be able to make the beautiful sounds it can now make. It was a story of the journey to become empty; to be able to play the sounds that are played through you.

I thought about all the ways I have been broken. I reflected on my journey to become empty.

I held those shells in my hand and prayed that beautiful sounds would be played through me.

Today, I feel love for my past. I hope you can find love for yours…and let the music play!

Love – As a Way of BEING

 

Me with my Mom and Dad, circa 1977ish?

I am not a fan of commercial holidays, and yet today, like everyone else, I will write about love. But not as an emotion – not that feeling that makes your palms sweat, your stomach do flips, and your head spin – but LOVE as a way of being.

My Mom and Dad raised me on camping, the beach, and good old-fashioned fun. They encouraged me to explore my hobbies of rock collecting and roller-skating. My Dad modeled what grace under pressure should look like and my Mom gave me the belief I could do anything. They paid my way through college (and I know this was not easy – we weren’t wealthy) and supported my decision to get a PhD (even though they never went to college themselves and I am sure they were thinking “What, 4 years isn’t enough?”).

When I married young (to a man with long, green hair), my Mom prayed for perfect weather and my Dad walked me down the aisle. When I divorced (twice!) there was no judgment. When I left my 6-figure income job to follow my passion of “Transforming the World” they both said they were proud of me. When I made the decision to “unschool” their grandkids because I wanted them to have a chance of following their dreams, too, they thought it was cool. Over the 46 years they have parented me, I’m sure there were many moments of frustration, stress, and worry. But they never second-guessed me, knowing I am capable of directing this magical adventure we call life, on my own. Whatever decision I make they are there on the sidelines, my biggest fans.

Now THAT is love…as a way of being.

So today I express my love for the two people who have instilled in me that I am love, I am loved, and I am loving. Thanks for being such rad parents!