I have struggled with self-love on a daily basis for a lot of my life. I use the word struggle here specifically because it seems to be a word that is "bad," and associated with "blocks" and negative mindsets. Yet the inner conflict, the inner struggle, is quite real on an energetic, emotional level. For all of us.
I think we are allergic to talking about pain and inner struggle, relegating it somewhere behind closed doors, dirty little secrets or a thing we make bad or wrong. Like it is bad to be in pain; I am yet to meet a single person who is not in some kind of inner pain.
The only way out is to talk about it, metabolize it and work it through. With love.
We make pain wrong though. It's not wrong, we just don't like to be in pain. We fear if we go into it, we will drown in it forever,. But the ignoring of it actually keeps us oppressed by our own pain more than anyone or anything else.
Patriarchy doesn't like pain because healing pain awakens awareness, empathy, love and compassion which is the opposite of that gnawing emptiness inside that we search to fill with something while trying to paint perfect pictures of ourselves for each other.
We are taught that pain is a “selling point.” If we are in pain we will continue to need to buy stuff.
We long for connection. We long to be loved. We long to be free of pain.
When you gather yourself at the inner altar of your faults, lay flowers and offer incense.
Yes, I am talking about this place; this place that is barren and cold.
The space you go when you beat yourself up or try to "fix" yourself, blaming yourself for feeling broken inside, for things not working out or not "doing" life the "right" way.
This space, the place of fault and shame; a place human.
This is an invitation into the poetry of your heart.
A chance to try something new.
Every moment is a chance to start over again.
Persephone is breathing new breath into the frosty air.
Instead come here, to this place where you throw rocks and stones at yourself,
Bring flowers and candles and incense and offerings of sweet.
Rest your heart on the ground of silence.
Let the winds of mystery whisper to you.
May the sounds feel like the petals of flowers unfurling and revealing your hidden beauty.
Ask here instead to be shown where the love is. What the wisdom is.
Bow at this mystery, knowing we cannot know or understand everything.
Offer your tears but hold back the stones.
Pray instead that you may know love here, to know the gold flowing in through the cracks of your faults.
To know and embody this in-between, divinely human.
I sit in the yard collecting flower essences for the first time; really sitting and feeling into the incredible luscious energy of Spring. I see Persephone rising in the golden Iris bloom. The sun is so warm on my skin, the breeze feels good. I look up at the sky.
I want to capture the essence of the sky.
We are as much spaciousness as density.
The space between thoughts as much as the thinking.
The expansive nature of a fully felt and transformed feeling.
The space for clinging and surrender at the same time.
The space that opens up in my heart that reminds me of who I really am.
The sky reminds me of love.
I want to capture the essence of the sky.
There is so much life everywhere. There is no shortage of genius or mojo or magic or creative energy flowing. The earth is effulgent right now with this wisdom.
Pull your energy back into the center of your heart.
There is zero need to project your light and wisdom into others and then feel jealous of them. There is zero need to compare.
There is no comparison. Competition is a made up thing designed to keep us scrambling to sit at the top of the pile of a very small box with very little room for soul.
There is no scarcity to your own magic. Your own soul is expansive like the sky and as dense, solid and real like the earth herself. Roots down in the ground, essence of jasmine feeding your cells the possibility of permeating existence with your own magic and the sky reflecting the spaciousness, the possibility of the grander vision of who you really are.
There is no competition or argument once you settle the one within your own heart where self-doubt is laid to rest in a blanket of roses and divine love so your genius can rise up and dance. Remember, the redwoods and the oaks and the birch trees and the rose bushes and the clover flowers and the stinging nettles...They rise, nature is a party. Love.
Yes, we cannot see or recognize things that are outside of our awareness. It's a funny thing, so many teachings about how we create our reality when half of the equation doesn't take into consideration our incapacity to see or imagine or recognize or live outside of our level of consciousness. Trauma, in this way, is like a trance that we are living in...relationally, in the world and then in our own inner world. So, as much as we long for and desire love, we equate love with things that are NOT love and must unlearn that in order to begin to resonate with something different in our life.
We learn in the trauma bonds with our parents the their pathology, so love is wrapped up in either trying to seek and fix and get love, or trying to control. One person is the clinger and one the runner, or whatever. We develop labels - narcissist and empath/borderline, twin flame love, ascended partnership....we have an innate desire for intense bonding with another human and it plays out through the relational patterns of trauma bonding wired in our nervous system. Our mind cannot over ride this. It is energetic. It is emotional. It is the body.
It is in healing, that we start to come into deeper contact with the true energy of love as we unravel it from pain. This is the equation, to unravel the love from the pain and then heal the pain. There is nothing wrong with being in pain other than not knowing how to love it because no one taught us or love us in pain.
Trauma always has gifts in it's folds. The trauma itself is NOT a gift and it didn't happen FOR you but you have the ability to come through the trauma and receive more wisdom and strength and abilities to understand and know this kind of darkness, which is always, always an asset on the path. And, as you continue this healing work, you deepen your relationship with Source and your spiritual gifts start to reveal themselves to you. One of the side effects of trauma no one likes to talk about because our society profits off of it, is a disconnection from source and spirit. So, the more medicated you are the more you will consume and look outside rather than mend that bond. When you mend that bond, your spiritual gifts reveal themselves and strengthen like the gold poured into the cracks and holes in the caverns of broken places.
Step away from the inner blame game. Life is happening around us and through us. There is far more of a cosmic orchestration moving to the rhythm of it's own symphony that we will ever get to understand. In fact, that is part of the song, not getting to understand why or how or what is behind things happening. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes things happen that make no sense. Sometimes things happen that stop us in our tracks and look at life differently. None of these things happen because there is something wrong with you. We've been conditioned by a co-dependent, competitive culture that has placed conditions on success and wealth and love and adoration and belonging. We receive mixed messages about fitting in yet being individual. To feel feelings but affirm away anything "negative." We have created so many blocks to feeling our own hearts.
Take risks. Leap into the unknown. Do your inner work. Surrender and trust and have faith. Faith in something higher than yourself, faith in the power that connects us all together. Faith in the cosmic orchestration and intelligence that keeps the universe together, even after all this time.
Sometimes bad things will happen. Sometimes things don't happen the way you want. Sometimes good things happen. Sometimes nothing will happen. Whatever arises, its always a call to move with the tide of life, to respond to life from rather than react to life. If you don't do anything, nothing will happen and you won't really be living.
Fear is aliveness. Grief is aliveness. Rage is aliveness. Sadness is aliveness. Love is aliveness. Joy is aliveness. We must leap into the entire spectrum to get to experience it all. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with being human. Stop using spirituality and emotional tools to commit violence towards yourself because this perpetuates the exact thing you are trying to free yourself from. Use your spiritual and emotional tools to support your own sanity, serenity and well-being, not to beat yourself up by measuring yourself up on the outside. Love is love. Love is here to free you and heal you back to wholeness. From wholeness, anything is possible.
When there is no love present (or available), the truth of the heart is not welcome. Where there is love, the truth of the heart is always welcome. When we use affirmations to convince ourselves of things we do not actually feel or believe, this is not an act of love because it is not allowing for the truth of the heart. It’s the mind attacking the heart with mindsets that are lies to the body. (Patriarchy, anyone?)
When we use the mind to try to override the truth of our hearts, this is not love even if it looks like it might be. When we look at others who deny the reality of someone else or even try to convince them of some other reality that is not real, we would call that gaslighting or emotional abuse. Right? We do this to ourselves (and each other) in the name of personal growth but it’s oppressing our hearts when we try to paste affirmations on our foreheads and chant that we love ourselves when there is some part of our souls that know that this isn't true.
Isn't this causing us more pain? More tension? More stress? More pressure in the guise of inner or outer perfectionism to disguise the fear? I know we all want to feel better. I know this so well. I have managed to hit several rock bottoms in my life. There were so many dark nights of the soul. It wasn't even clear if I'd ever escape from a bottomless pit of wine bottles and chainsmoking cigarettes.
But, I did. And, at the end of the day, when I picked my tear smeared, snotty, self-loathing self up off the ground of rock bottom, positive affirmations did not make me feel better. Positive statements and focusing on the light, trying to shift my vibration did not make me feel better. What made me feel better was the truth. The truth of my situation, the truth of my sad relationship with myself, the truth of my disconnected relationship with source, the truth of my pain and the truth that I didn't know how to really love myself.
That may have been the first time I actually felt love, true love flow into my heart....when I made space for the truth of my heart to whisper to me.
This...cultivating space to nourish and listen and honor the truth of our hearts, this is the ground of self-love. A ground where we can allow for all parts to arise and have a voice, to give ourselves the most precious gift of unconditional presence and attention. And, if we do not know what to do with what we find, we ask for help. We sometimes need people to help us learn how to love ourselves, people who have picked themselves up and learned how to feed their demons love. Someone who can sit with you and send love to your soul wound until you can do the same. This is healing, this is what is created when there is space for the truth of the heart. Burn your affirmations. Burn your memes. Pull down the flags of positive statements and witty statements that gloss over truth. Put a stake in the ground of your heart, claim the space for your heart's truth. Sing your song. It's okay if it sounds a little broken at first. We are all a little broken at first.
The change of seasons brings up a lot of heaviness, the last of the Winter energies asking to be metabolized and released. This can feel like fatigue, exhaustion. It can feel like deep sadness. It can feel like depression. Depression, however, is not the same as feeling sadness, grief or tired unless you resist your experience.
Emotions are life force energy manifesting as a current of information to guide you in making decisions, in navigating life, as well as into a more conscious relationship with yourself and with Spirit. Emotions serve a lot of different functions, many of them are shut down in the same way life force energy is generally shut down, with several few acceptable expressions of it. As a consequence, many of us have come to believe that our emotional life is bad, that it isn't safe to have emotions (or be ourselves) or we fear our emotions because we do not know what to do with them.
What can happen is a shut down, which manifests as depression. All these emotions go inward because we don't know what to do with them. We turn in on ourselves. This is the birth of self-criticism, shame and self-loathing. Especially if we weren't held, seen or supported to understand our own inner experience.
Emotions are relational, they happen in response to our relationship with life. Healing relationships and cultivating a healing relationship with Spirit can be a relieving balm in our current emotionally neglectful (and abusive) society. One of the most potent ways to use ancient spiritual and soul technologies is to learn how to harness the wisdom of your emotional body to tap into the wisdom of your emotions, metabolize your emotions and experience the liberating quality of this connection with life force energy.
Rebirth. This transition time; a rich initiation into yet another mysterious unfolding of the journey we are collectively dreaming awake together.
When the butterfly is ready to break out of the cocoon, there is a greater effort required to push through the walls, to break free and shake off the final weight of the well worn, nourishing womb sheath. That effort, that final push, can feel like the hardest sometimes. We are here, being called to stretch inner heart muscles, to lean into the wisdom of unknown parts of our soul, to trust in things we have not yet seen or known of ourselves and to befriend the unknown with the courage only love can muster.
This initiation calls forth breaking through yet another unconscious cave we have been living in. Whatever that is for us. Knowing our true voice. Thriving in life as fully ourselves as we can be. Knowing true love. Embodying self-love. Mastering emotions. Living into soul purpose. Experiencing real abundance within and without. The universe knows your deepest longing. Love calls forth from the depths the things that block your way. The old selves you aren't yet done with. The deeper pains to be metabolized in order to liberate the life force pathways.
The Phoenix rises. But, what happens in that fire. This is the in-between. The bardo. A time where the richest re-generation of life, reconnection to soul and revival of innate wisdom is possible. The in-between is a space rich with possibility for liberation. It is rich with initiation. We as a Western society do not honor initiation and the soul rites that provide a healthy, emotional gateway into the next season, the next chapter and the next stage of life. We are here on the precipice, we are rebirthing into Spring, breaking out of the cocoon of Winter.
This time of year has always felt like New Years to me. Planting the seeds of intention from the deepest soul desires discovered in Winter's womb. To shed these final layers of Winter weight that the light of the sun is bringing into view. To renew faith in love and nature and goodness. To clear for fresh new ground in the heart, to find home and comfort in this new skin and safety in the soul of being this recovering human. Welcome to the mysterious miracle of this life. We don't always get to know why, but we get to live it and sometimes that's better.
The new unfurling is tender. There is more your soul is asking of you. Being born new, deeper into the familiar home of who you already are.
The world has confused tough love with emotional violence and projected pain. It has become so common place to betray our own hearts, to make our bodies, emotions and hearts wrong. To battle with our thinking and attempt to forge ourselves into something other than what we are. To wage battle on our bodies with our minds.
We are all searching to belong, to feel comfortable in our own skin.
We have forgotten the lost art of fierce gentleness, of deep, deep compassion. Of turning towards our deepest pain and showering our soul wounds with our own love. We have forgotten about our own love, what this moves like, feels like and looks like from the inside out.
We swim in an ocean of harshness and disowned pain, breathing this air while feeling intuitively confused about why there is all this hate towards mind and body and soul. It shouldn't be so radical to embody one's light. It shouldn't be so revolutionary to embody a spiritual path of radical self-love. It shouldn't be an act of courage to turn towards our soul wounds in order to heal ourselves whole. Yet, this is what it is.
This becoming whole. This recovering humanity, this is bold and radical and revolutionary. The medicine of gentleness may feel slow in a fast paced world feeding a myth of a magic pill, but in the end, gentleness is the softness we all yearn and find a way to return to in order to restore, rejuvenate and renew ourselves. Be gentle with yourself. This humanning. It is the thing. It is complex. It is hard. It is weird. It is mystery. It is funny. It is ridiculous. It is wholly. It is love. It is joy. It is everything. Be gentle with yourself.