These are extracts from journals I’ve kept over the years, put into themes that I hope give you some sense of my journey and process.

What does loving myself look like?

Loving myself is meeting my needs – for sustenance (good quality, healthy food!), rest, spiritual expression, play, human connection, movement, intellectual stimulation, being of some use to society….

Often, I’m meeting the needs of others. And it’s true, I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a cousin, an aunt, a friend, a niece – of course other people’s needs also need to be met – and sometimes, before or instead of my own. The key is in noticing – my need is not being met here – I’m choosing to meet this other person’s need instead of my own, and I’m ok with that. The trick is to notice, and to not consistently make the choice to meet others’ needs over my own.

It’s also about knowing myself – knowing how I feel, what I’m thinking – giving voice and expression to the things that are important to me – giving myself enough space to know what’s important to me!

How else is it expressed?

Doing things that support whole-hearted living – meditation is one thing I practice that connects me to all of creation – all of it – the beauty and the ugliness; the things I like and the other stuff. It’s all One – all a part of the whole; the light and the dark. If I’m able to embrace it all as one, then I can embrace all parts of myself as well.

Self-love is expressed by practising forgiveness. When I’m holding on to blame, anger, resentment, judgement – towards myself, anyone,or anything – it hurts me. It dulls my light – the light inside, and the light I emit. I find it much easier to forgive other people than forgiving myself. Why? Why do I believe at times that I am unforgivable? I know in my heart of hearts that all is forgiven, and in fact, there is nothing to forgive. So why then is it so hard sometimes to let go, and what will it take to live more from love, and less from demand that I be a certain way?

I think it takes attention. Noticing what I’m feeling. Listening deeply to what I’m subtley telling myself. Having enough love for myself that I’ll at least do that! And then tell the truth:

I am lovable
I am forgiven
There is nothing to forgive
It really and truly is all ok
There is no-one I have to be
And nothing I have to do
I am loved

Cultivating compassion – especially for myself, for that part of me that still wants to do the destructive behaviours, that still wants to overeat, that still wants to hold back from being connected. And cultivating loving curiosity about those behaviours – like taking a child by the hand and asking, ‘tell me, darling, how are you feeling inside there?’ while taking her onto my lap and gently embracing her so she feels safe, and heard, and knows, as conflicted or sad or confused as she feels: all is well.

Can I do that for myself? Can I be that kind and gentle with myself? I can feel as I write this, a big opening in my chest – expansion – an almost exquisite sweetness radiating from me – so gentle, so soft, so…. loving.

With love,
Vania

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