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.
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 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.
What is worthiness? Why this word worth? What is anything worth? Where does the value that defines worth come from? Who decides this?
Worthiness is such a pain point. We all want to have this experience of worthiness, to live into the world acting, breathing, thinking and doing like people who have worth.
But, this word.
We live in a shame culture. A trauma culture. A money culture. These things are all tied in with our human need for love. Its a dangerous recipe that keeps us tied into a culture that profits off of our suffering.
We are hard pressed to find anyone untouched by the tendrils of trauma in the tenderness and fragility of what it is to be a human being. In this harsh culture, it's not okay to be human.
Our "worth" is a concocted notion that has nothing to do with love. When we live in a culture that ties so much importance to money, even the language we use to think of ourselves becomes tied to value, money. To be worthy is to charge a certain amount of money, to live at a certain level that communicates your worth, etc.
Except many people who have a high "worth" can still feel terribly empty inside, feeling even more shame and wondering what they did wrong since they did all the "things". You can pay more money believing because someone is charging a lot, it must be worth it when you are really contributing to their bank of narcissistic supply.
We are in dangerous territory with this worth game. And, everyone in the meantime is struggling with shame.
I have spent most of my life in search of this "divinity" thing, whatever it is...a lifestyle, a sparkle in the eye, some ancient knowing that everyone else had received the memo on but me. I became a doctor of the psyche and lost connection to the wise innocence of myself seeking counsel of those who I thought had answers I did not have. They acted like they had answers I did not have. The world acts like it has answers we do not have. I believed them. Many of us do. I did all the things. At some point, I think I had constructed something that SEEMED like divinity, yet something felt obscured and there was this constant aching in my heart. No matter what I did, this gnawing edge of something palpably tender, painful and raw in the center of my chest. It didn't matter how many mantras I chanted, how much karma yoga I did, who I dated, what I dressed or how spiritual I had convinced myself I was. I felt obscured from myself.
Spirituality has nothing to do with knowing one's own divinity.
I longed to feel real.
This real me had slipped off somewhere in the night outside of my awareness. I was trying on all the things but none of it worked because none if it was real, yet I thought I was the problem. It's like this in life, things feel confusing outside of us and our little person brain protects us by thinking it is something in us, so that divine light is tucked away and we forget it was ever there.
That ache. That deep ache in the center of my chest. I could hear a faint whisper deep from within. "I am real." I am real. Tears. That quote from the Velveteen Rabbit...“Real isn't how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
There is an ache in each of our hearts to know divinity for real. That ache, the sacred soul wound, IS the teacher of self-love, compassion, kindness and understanding. Its where you find your light, the love warrior you are made of. It changes everything.
We do not have to remember another time here on earth when the magic was alive. There is no imaginary space where there are beings who live in partnership with the plants and animals, where this energy is both magic and the status quo and there is harmony. That magical planet is this one. This place we are living in now. What can be more magical than this? We must not escape here in our minds but bring our love to the magic of life that wants to cocreate and coexist with us here, now. Right outside our doors.
In our enthusiasm for the power of what is possible for us to create, we got carried away and built caverns and caves and castles and cubicles and walls that we cannot find our way out of. We think that nature is "out there" as something to visit on the weekend. We got so carried away with ourselves, we've forgotten our true nature. We've forgotten the magic that is under our very feet.
Western culture makes anything remotely connected with the medicine of the earth or living in harmony with it seem "alternative" or "new agey" or "unfounded" or something to not be taken seriously. Yet, these ways persist and persevere through all dimensions of time and space, holding this quiet, still and powerful ground. A wise voice that keeps speaking and whispering and singing through all the chaos and all the noise and all the confusion.
This is the wild. This is OUR wild. We are wild. We cannot cage ourselves up and expect it to last in any sustainable way. It is like animals who do not get to walk or run and hunt and play and move in the natural rhythms of how their bodies want to move and what they need to eat. This is us. We cage ourselves up and then we cry and scream and yell and go a little crazy and then expect each other to find a way to find sanity in something we've made that isn't even natural.
There is so much we've come to assume is normal that is NOT normal, that is actually crazy making and not good for the wild in ourselves. We have it turned around. I hear a lot about why, why did it end up this way? And, I do not know. For me, it's like hitting rock bottom. Perhaps we are finally hitting a rock bottom. It's only when we really hit the rock bottom that we begin to really, really truly appreciate the gifts of the rising. It's like we took our true nature for granted and have lost it, hit a collective rock bottom so we can find our way back and never take any of this precious life, this precious earth and all it's energy and magic ever again.
The way back breaks the heart back open, the love washing the soul wound whole.
Make time for your heart, your dear, precious heart.
Cultivate this devotion to laying flowers at the ground of your heart, to listen to the whispers and prayers and longings and guidance.
Rumi wrote that the divine is in the longing, in the prayer and in the whispers. What if that greater than yourself that you seek is sitting upon a garden throne in the center of your heart just waiting for you?
This is an ancient chamber that is your own, a space that no one, absolutely no one can ever enter or know the way you can. It cannot be harmed or touched, but only forgotten. Make time to sit and cultivate the patience of mind to learn how to be in service to your heart, to honor the truth of your heart and the truth of the stories your body wishes to share with you in order to close chapters on the past. Here, the past can resolve itself. Here, in these spaces of listening and honoring, there is a love that we all deeply long for even if we aren't sure what it is or know for sure that it exists. It does. It opens in that in-between space. In between your heaven and your earth. Allow yourself be deeply moved by the awe inspiring beauty of the vastness that is you.
If we are not careful, before we know it, resistance can become a way of being and moving through the world. It can become a way of life that in and of itself blocks you from engaging with all that is possible within yourself. Resistance is a form of fear. Fear of what? Fear of life force energy, a fear of life. We often experience resistance at moments of growth, moments where life is propelling us in the direction of our highest growth, in the creative process, anytime we have transformed ourselves into a new level of life.
It happens in the in-between spaces, in the gap or void where the alchemy of transformation is possible. The opposite of resistance is letting go and surrendering, often to trusting the universe or some power that is greater than our small human beings can comprehend. The opposite of resistance is trust; it is relaxing. It is feeling.
Resistance takes so many forms. Perfectionism. Addiction. Procrastination. Spiritual escape into “bliss.” Chronic lateness. Feeling like we know everything already. Seeking a magical solution. Difficulty receiving. Anxiety. Depression. Creative blocks. Staying stuck. Self-criticism. Avoidance. And on and on.
Resistance protects us from life. It protects us from the truth. It also protects us from grief and feeling. What I notice is that beneath a lot of resistance is a range of emotions and feelings. Energy. Makes sense since resistance is often a way of blocking out life and the energy of life. Life force energy is creative, sexual, emotional, symbolic, love, clear and always oriented towards pulling us closer and closer to our wholeness.