Letting Go -Mark Nepo

‘After feeling driven my whole life
something very near the center has
unwound and I can no longer hurry
through airports or return all my calls.

And sometimes people I barely know
swim up like old worn fish to show me
the map of their gills, and the one long
gash of something they once swallowed,
and how it has cut each breath since.
And I am honored to warm them
like a blanket. But when alone, I
find it hard not to watch
what I swallow.

When alone, these things
I’ve wanted to know since birth
feel so unanswerable, I must
have been torn from them.

I’m sure a hawk doesn’t know it’s a
hawk. I’m sure a spirit doesn’t know
it’s being spiritual. Or a screen door
slapping, like a tired life, in the night,
if it’s opening or closing.

Though we give up the murky fears,
we still can’t know our worth, any-
more than a faceless treasure
can fathom why
it was boxed
or buried
or saved.’

-Mark Nepo

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7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Start Loving Yourself More By Aska Kolton

 

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving,” ~Kim McMillen

I started learning about self-love a long time ago.

In fact, I started learning about self-love so long ago that when, fifteen years later, a shaman in Peru I told me that self-love was the answer to all my questions, I got really pissed off!

I had struggled with depression as a teenager. For about two years, I lived a very sad life. I don’t even remember much to be honest. I felt the pain of existence. I avoided people. Every day felt like yet another obstacle to overcome. I existed rather than lived. Eventually, I overcame it and discovered some tools that I still use to help me with any low moments l might have today. One of them was the practice of self-love.

I found a few helpful books on meditation, the Silva Method, visualization, and the famous book You Can Heal Your Lifeby Louise Hay.

I wrote affirmations daily. I kept doing my mirror work. I started to be more appreciative and kinder to myself. I meditated regularly and gradually rebuilt myself. I thought I had nailed self-love. I thought I had really understood what self-love was.

I was wrong.

I was in my early thirties—single and not entirely thrilled about it. Not fulfilled in my corporate career. Living in a converted garage in London and wondering what to change in my life to feel happier.

When my friend asked me whether I would be up for travelling to Peru, I didn’t think twice.

It felt like the right adventure at the right time.

We had a magical time for three weeks. We visited many ancient places, took part in spiritual ceremonies, met and worked with shamans, and visited some old communities living a modest life in the middle of the Andes. We experienced everything that Peru had to offer.

One day, my friend and I decided to go for a coca leaf reading. It was mainly out of curiosity but as with previous past readings, I wanted to be reassured that my life was going to change and that I would soon be in a better place.

Now I know better than to turn to a psychic to ease my anxiety. Once during a reading a psychic told me that there are a few future possibilities for us, based on our choices. So, I started to trust my choices more and become comfortable with uncertainty, as there is always a solution to our problems. I also trust that whatever I experience I’m having is for my highest good and the exact lesson I now need.

Back to my story: So, we went to a back room of a very run down massage place that we’d come across a few days earlier.

The shaman came and set himself up. He couldn’t speak English and had a Dutch translator.

My friend went first and asked her questions and got guidance.

When it was my turn, I started to ask the usual questions: When will I meet the love of my life? When will I find a better job? What job would it be? When will I find a better flat? When will I start earning more money?

After I asked the first question, the shaman stirred the leaves in his palms and threw them up. When they fell, he looked at them and said to me, “When you start loving yourself.”

Fair enough, I thought to myself, and asked another question.

The shaman threw the leaves again, contemplated a little, and gave me the same answer, “When you start loving yourself more.”

I thought “okay” and agreed silently with him. I still felt I could love myself more.

I asked another question and got the same answer. And another question and got the same answer.

Doubts began to appear and I started to feel a bit uneasy.

I felt like we were a bit naive going to a shaman we didn’t know and that nobody had recommended him to us.

When I heard the same answer for the fifth time, I lost it.

I snapped at the translator, accusing the shaman of being fake and not knowing what he was doing.

The translator started to calm me down and tried to convince me that the shaman was very popular and he knew his stuff. Apparently, many people kept coming back to him because of his accurate readings.

Somehow it was hard to believe.

We completed the reading and left.

My friend tried to help me make sense of this experience but I completely dismissed it.

I was furious. Not even about the reading but the realization that I thought I had done so much work around self-love and was convinced I knew how to love and respect myself. But here a stranger was pointing out to me that there was yet more work to be done.

I remember asking my friend angrily, “How much work on self-love do I need to do to actually start loving myself? Is fifteen years not enough?”

I felt helpless and discouraged.

It felt like all the work I had done on myself up until that moment in Peru had meant nothing.

I was frustrated because I assumed that after all the inner work I had done, I should have known better. I should have attracted higher quality men. I should have had a better job. I should have earned more money. I should have been happier.

My life had a few more lessons for me before I actually got what self-love really meant.

A few years later, I was even more frustrated in the new job—and still single after dozens of failed dates with men who didn’t even remotely fit the description of my dream man. Not much happier, I had a moment of realization when I was drying my hair.

It just hit me out of nowhere. I felt in my whole body what it was to love myself. I felt flooded with self-appreciation for no reason. I was overcome by kindness and compassion for myself.

In that moment, I saw how unloving I was toward myself. I realized that through my entire life I had been betraying and abandoning myself.

I completely understood what the shaman in Peru really meant!

Until I truly loved and honored myself, I wouldn’t get a better job, find a loving man, or feel happier.

I wouldn’t because I didn’t love myself enough to feel worthy of it all.

It took me a while to integrate my insights and realize how the love I had (or lack of it!) for myself was directly responsible for my unfulfilling love life, draining career, and overall unhappiness with life.

A few years later, I now have my own definition of self-love.

I believed for a long time that self-love was merely a feeling toward myself.

Now I know better. It is way more than just a feeling.

For me, self-love is a practice. It is a practice of choosing myself, putting myself first when I can, making myself important, and being kind and compassionate with myself. Also, self-love is about choosing things, people, and situations that are good for me, feel right, and serve me.

Self-love is an on-going conscious choice!

When I started to practice consciously choosing myself over others, over damaging situations, over unfulfilling friendships and relationships, things changed dramatically.

To illustrate why you need to practice self-love, here are a few examples from my own life.

1. You will start to feel more in charge of your life.

I realized that I had always a choice. I could make poor choices out of fear, guilt, and shame or empowered choices that were aligned with who I was and what felt authentic to me. So, I stopped trying to please people, accommodating men unworthy of my attention, and doing things that didn’t bring me pleasure or satisfaction.

When you start loving yourself more, you too will realize your wants and needs are important, and you have the choice to honor them.

2. You will set stronger boundaries around dating and love.

As a result of honoring my needs, I started to feel more confident and assertive. I became more purposeful with dating. I stopped wasting time on the wrong guys and started making more empowered romantic choices. The final outcome: I found the love of my life after struggling in the love department for years.

When you strengthen your boundaries from a place of self-love, you too will feel more empowered and you’ll stop repeatedly choosing partners who aren’t good for you.

3. You will stop seeking approval.

This was the most liberating thing. As I loved and respected myself more, I stopped worrying about how much others liked or approved of me. I stopped doing things to be liked. This created space for me to be more authentic, less defensive, and more my genuine self.

When you have your own approval and acceptance, you start caring less about other people’s opinion of you and living a life that’s aligned with your own values.

 4. You will start to make more courageous and conscious decisions.

I gave up my draining corporate job out of respect to myself.

I moved out of London after fifteen years to have a slower and more peaceful lifestyle.

I fell in love again. (This takes lots of courage if you have been hurt over and over again!)

I got pregnant and had a natural birth. I had no clue how this happened, as I formerly had broadcasted everywhere that if I ever got pregnant, I would be the first to ask for an epidural. But I listened to my body and having an epidural didn’t feel right.

I became a mama to my son. This is probably the bravest thing I have ever done in my life, since I love my freedom so much. But the love for my son helps me forget how important my freedom was to me before.

Self-love will give you the courage to get rid of things that don’t serve you and make space for things that will help you grow. When you truly value yourself, you make decisions that honor you rather than harm you.

5. You will start to enjoy being with yourself.

I stopped filling my days with meetings, dates, and outings, as I did in the past just so I wouldn’t feel alone. I stopped running away from myself into the arms of unsuitable men. I stopped meeting friends just to have some company.

Instead, I started to do more things I loved doing: swimming, yoga, writing, watching movies, meditating. When I reconnected with myself deeply, spending time in my own company didn’t feel scary anymore. I stopped being afraid of being alone.

You too will find that when you become more loving toward yourself, you will start being more comfortable being in your own lovely company.

6. You will develop a stronger relationship with yourself.

As I spent more time with myself I deepened the connection I had with myself. I stopped being desperate for a romantic relationship because I started to have more fun on my own. I became my own friend. I started to feel more secure as a person as I tapped into my true inner being. I started to believe in myself more. I started to trust myself more.

When you deepen your connection with yourself through self-love, you’ll connect on a deeper level with others too. As your relationship with yourself improves, your others get stronger as well.

7. You will stop seeking happiness in relationships.

Loving myself helped me realize that I didn’t need a man to be happy. All the love I needed to be happy was within me already. I took more responsibility for my personal happiness and stopped giving my power away to men.

I understood that happiness was constantly present in my life. It wasn’t somewhere in the future. I just needed to change my focus and learn to appreciate what I had rather than dwelling on what I didn’t have.

When you start to love yourself more and feel happier, you too will likely feel less desperate for a romantic relationship. You’ll realize you don’t need a partner to be happy. You just need to be happy and the right person will show up in time.

So how do you start loving yourself more? Start choosing yourself daily and doing what feels right for you.

Introduce a daily practice of checking in with yourself every time you need to make a decision or a choice.

First you ask yourself: What would feel loving in this situation?

Once you have the answer, ask yourself these thee powerful questions:

Does it feel good/right for me?

Will it serve me?

Will it make me feel energized?

These questions will help you honor yourself and your needs and stay true and loving to yourself.

There is much more I want to say on this subject, but I will leave it for another article.

Let me just say this: Self-love will transform your life—so start practicing!

 

 

Taken from https://tinybuddha.com/blog/7-amazing-things-that-happen-when-you-start-loving-yourself-more/

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“We are in this together. None of us truly walk in isolation, even when we cannot sense the presence of another for miles upon miles. Even in the worst of our desolation. Even during our coldest 3am breakdown. Even when we shut out the world and spin in circles until we collapse. Even then the light still gets in. Even then the heart still opens and reaches, tendrils of hope curling and bending toward slivers of light. Upward, outward, in all directions – seeking light at all cost. One way or another, we all grow toward the light.” – Jeanette LeBlanc

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‘You may wander, doubt, worry, and stumble, Cringing at the thought of another step, With dirty hands, teary eyes, and messy hair, The humanness in you.

But you will fight, claw, growl, and battle, Reaching deep for that extra breath, With bruises, scars, scratches, and howls, The warrior in you.

Then you will spread your wings, rise, fly, Blazing a trail of magic and light, With brilliance, genius, epicness, and soulfulness, The fucking goddess in you.’

-Creig Crippen

Allowing Ourselves to Experience Our own Beauty

 

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Happy 38th Birthday to me and all of my parts, the good and the less desirable. They’re all beautiful really. I simply need a little reminder sometimes. Thank you Ram Dass for that reminder.

‘When I start thinking, “I’m Ram Dass, and I’ve worked on myself, and I’m supposed to be equanimous, loving, present, clear, compassionate, accepting,” oftentimes I get tired, I get angry and petulant, and I close down. For a long time I’d get into those states and I would feel really embarrassed, because that isn’t who Ram Dass is supposed to be. So I would appear like I was warm, charming, equanimous, compassionate, and there was deviousness and deception involved. Then I realized that’s bad business, because that cuts us off from one another… and I had to risk my truth. I had to risk being human with other people, and realize that what we offer each other is our truth, and our truth includes all of our stuff.

The first thing I had to do was accept my own truth. I had to allow myself to be a human being.

Now, what I found was that as I started to allow myself to be more human, just allowed what I am, things changed much faster in me. I mean, things fell away more quickly. It was as if I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself; and once I just allowed myself to be human, with all the foibles, things started to flow, and I could feel change occurring in myself.

Then, I started to experience my own beauty and it frightened me, because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years. Dissonance between the idea that I had to do good in order to be beautiful and that idea that I just am… and that what is, is in its own way beautiful.

You look at decay, and it is beautiful. Laura Huxley, who is a very dear friend, in her kitchen has these jars over the sink, and she takes old beet greens and orange peels and things, and sticks them in water on these long, beautiful pharmaceutical jars. Then they slowly start to mold and decay, and there are these beautiful decaying formation of mold. It’s really garbage… it’s garbage as art. We look at it and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s absolute beauty in that.

I’ve begun to expand my awareness to be able to look at the universe as it is, and see what is called the horrible beauty of it. I mean, there’s horror and beauty in all of it, because there is also decay and death in all of it. I mean, we’re all decaying – I look at my hand and it’s decaying. It’s beautiful and horrible at the same time; and I just live with that. And also with it, I see and live with the beauty of it.

So we’re talking about appreciating what is. Not loving yourself, as opposed to not liking yourself, but allowing yourself. As you allow, it changes. I think that gets behind the polarities. I think that’s what’s important.’

– Ram Dass

Taken from https://www.ramdass.org/our-own-beauty/

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“And so I no longer hide. I finally made the decision. And soon after, it was clear to see that 90% of the stress I’d carried through out the years was because I hid myself, pretended, smiled when I didn’t want to, silenced myself when my song was emerging from my very skin. I denied myself and so my world inside was a crumbling mess. I stopped hiding and was blown away by how easy it was to live. Living became natural again. And being me was no longer a problem. They don’t teach this stuff in schools but they should. They really, really should. Real living is about unhiding. That’s when everything starts to make sense. ” S.C Lourie 

I am enough. And so are You.

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“I am so tired of how hard we are on ourselves. Not attractive enough, not smart enough, not cool enough, not purpose-full enough, not spiritual enough, not flexible enough, not creative enough, not rich enough, not happy enough, not healthy enough, not sexy enough, not wise enough. It’s like a collective shame-fest that begins when we are born and continues until we are dead. Billions of us walking around convinced we are not something enough. Methinks we are missing the point. Just being alive on this mad planet demands that we are enough. That we are here means we are enough. How about if we begin every day with an ‘I am enough’ meditation? Yes, lets begin right now, “I am enough!” I AM ENOUGH! (And so are you).” -Jeff Brown

Self Acceptance

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“…you cannot force anyone to like you, but you can like yourself for who you are. How others will perceive you is none of your business. As long as you are happy and satisfied with yourself, you are good to go. Change yourself if you have a good reason, but not to please anyone else.” ~Soma Roy Choudhary