You have a right to love and be loved.
This month of “Journey to the Peak,” February 2022, with Patrick Heffernan and myself, is about the peak pose of ‘love.’ I wanted to look at the scope of the whole month. What are different aspects of love? Where and how do we love? What does it mean to love? To receive love?
What is your concept of love based on?
As I thought about it, I knew that we must start with the place of love. So, this first week of February is entitled:
“Meeting the home of love, your heart.”
I knew that before we can expand into even listening to the heart, we first have to find it. And knowing that our heart is the home from which love comes in and love comes out, we first have to approach it.
This presupposes that you, dear reader, and that I, myself, have a desire to connect with love and therefore, with our Self.
What do you innately and intuitively know could happen if you were to offer love to yourself?
So, how do we meet the home of love, our hearts? How do we get there?
There are many ways, but in this week we move to meet our hearts through the body, the breath, and a self-reflective consciousness. A self-reflective consciousness is the essence that the heart center, the heart chakra, invites us to be in. To be aware of ourselves, our emotions, and our body. To listen to these places and to start to make meaning out of what we notice.
“Love is a bodied truth, a somatic reality.”-Stanley Keleman
I like how Anodea Judith writes about this in her book, “Eastern Body Western Mind; psychology and the chakra system as a path to the self”.
“One of the prime areas of balance in the heart chakra is between mind and body. This occurs through learning to decipher the body’s messages. This involves distinct inner listening on the part of the mind to the body’s subtle communications and often leads to recovering memories, working through traumas, releasing stored tensions, and completing unresolved emotional transactions. Through this process various parts of our experience are reconnected. Feelings are reconnected with mental images. Impulses are integrated with belief systems. Sensation is connected with meaning. This is the work of self-reflection–allowing the mind to behold our experience in the body.
If work on our lower chakras has brought us fully into our body, we are now ready to integrate that awareness into higher levels of complexity and understanding.
As we begin to understand and come to know the meanings of sensations in our body, emotions that we experience, and how our breath is moving or not moving, we begin to be able to see how we can help ourselves.
We begin to see how we can truly heal ourselves.
By doing this, we are in the act of self love. And love is an action.
We also see where we can begin to practice self-love, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-gratitude, self-respect, self-appreciation! We begin to practice listening to and loving our body, listening to and loving our heart, and learning how to discern the messages we receive; discerning with mind, heart and body!
And to get here, we must say yes to ourselves. We must be willing to begin this journey of relationship with ourselves! No matter your age, situation in life, no matter if you are partnered or not, no matter if you’ve taken a shower today or not, will you say yes to yourself right now?
Will you say yes to being in a relationship with yourself right now?!
Say it out loud! Stand up if you’d like, add a physical posture that embodies this newfound love that you are claiming! The new found love that you are committing to for yourself, towards yourself!
How does that feel? What is your body telling you? What are the emotions? Feel free to write and let me know.
I’d like to share a personal story here. At a big turning point in my life, I now realize that I was actually saying yes to my Self! This would allow me to eventually find my lifelong partner…Somewhere in my late 20’s or maybe early 30’s, I began to really desire a serious and committed relationship. Even though I was considering what I wanted my partner to be giving me, and asking myself if I could give that to him, what I was also doing was commiting to loving myself in the same way. Back then, I didn’t see it as choosing to love myself. I was focused on the characteristics and qualities of what I wanted in my partner and in the relationship. I now see that I was also naming those same characteristics and qualities that I wanted in myself.
If open communication, vulnerability, courageous support, unconditional acceptance, adventure, love of the outdoors, spontaneity as well as planning, and so much more were qualities that I was seeking in another, it was also what I was promising to myself, from myself. I can only see this now looking back. I can see how I was beginning to take myself more seriously, how I was shifting the view of how I saw myself, and was beginning to really love myself.
It feels like a paradigm shift. And to be honest, my brain feels kind of tingly from this new perspective in the way of seeing it. But it also makes me excited and emotional. It makes me get a little choked up, and I feel joy in my body, I feel positive vibration in my chest, and I notice that I feel free and I’m swaying in my physicality right now, as I write.
Anodea Judith writes in her book, “Wheels of life,” that
“Self-acceptance is our first chance to practice unconditional love”.
I remember reading this and being really struck by this message. And also how interesting, to look back upon my life right now coming up on the age of 42 this month, that this holds true.
It reminds me of the adage that goes, ‘if you cannot love yourself how can you love another?’
From certain yogic standpoints, I feel that it holds true. For example, if I did not love myself enough then I might always go seeking others’ love, seeking others approval of myself, and equating myself, my value, my worth to what somebody else determined.
Another cliche is that ‘if you love someone enough, you would let them go’. That I love even myself so much that I could release myself. That would have no fear of death. Very Yogic right there.
So, I want you to remember, dear reader, that you have a right to love and be loved.
You don’t need to do anything to earn it.
You don’t need to look a certain way to deserve it.
You don’t need to act a certain way to receive it.
You only need to be yourself.
And the best way to know this, feel this, embody this, and your first way to experience this is to give love to yourself.
Now that you’ve committed to this new relationship with yourself, and you have entered the home of love, your heart, take a deep breath! Smile at yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes deeply and lovingly. And say to yourself, “I love you”. Repeat this EVERY day.