The Potent Gem of “I Love Myself”

The Potent Gem of “I Love Myself”

Last night before bedtime my kids and I had the sweet treat of communing in our hot tub under the starlight and moonshine. It was an absolutely beautiful moment. I love it when all of us are relaxed and open-hearted together at the same time. In that shimmering warmth of connection, I found myself saying to them, “I want to share something with you guys; a really simple, precious treasure that I didn’t really figure out until about 4 years ago.”

Ezra, (10) paddled over to me, ready to listen.

Arayla (13) sat perched on the other side of the tub. She said, “So, you were like 41 when you figured this out?” I smiled: “Exactly.”

I continued, “There is something incredibly powerful about getting into the habit of saying to yourself, ‘I love myself.’ Not casually either; but in a way that you know you truly mean it.”

The kids were quiet. Ezra said, “Like, so… when do you say that to yourself?”

I answered, “All the time. I say it when I’m on a walk with myself, and sometimes when I’m driving. Sometimes when I get triggered I’ll say it to myself. When I feel alone, or when I’m feeling some shame or grief arising, or when I feel disappointment or longing.”

The kids shifted their spots in the hot tub. Ezra pushed himself out to cool off on the side, and Arayla swam over closer, snuggling into me in the tub.

I continued sharing, “The time I say it most consistently is right before I go to sleep at night. I started doing this years ago, after I’d been single for a long time, and had gotten used to just crawling into my bed alone. I found out that telling myself I love myself helps me to feel the truth of being my own Beloved.”

Ezra repeated, “Being your own Beloved.”

I nodded to him.

I said, “And now again, and still, it’s usually the last thing I say to myself, before I go to sleep. I nestle into the darkness, put both of my hands on my heart, feel the depth of my being, and say to myself, ‘I love you.’”

I could tell by the quality of their listening that they were feeling my sincerity, and taking in the deep intimacy of this sharing.

I added, “It’s quite an amazing love-affair, you know, this whole self-love thing.”

Arayla squirmed a bit in my arms in the water.

She looked up at me, and said, “But why do you have to SAY it? Why can’t you just KNOW it? Saying it feels embarrassing to me.”

I said, “Knowing it is definitely the most important part, you’re right. But when you can SAY it, especially in the moments that you really need to hear it, that’s when you feel the gift of your acknowledgment of your love for yourself. That’s when you realize that your relationship with yourself is the only one you can totally and completely count on, throughout your life. That no matter what else is happening, you’ve got YOU. You’ve got your own love, holding you up, believing in you. And even if self-loathing arises, or self-doubt or self-judgment, you know that your love for yourself is bigger. It can handle all those things.”

We were all totally quiet and still, basking in the light of the moon and stars.

After a few minutes, Ezra, who is almost always game for anything, said thoughtfully, “I’m gonna try it out, Mom. I’m gonna try it tonight when I go to sleep.”

This made me chuckle with immense fondness.

Arayla sat up and looked at me shyly, nodding quietly in my direction.

She said, “Maybe. Maybe I could whisper it.”

 

Heartbroken Love

Heartbroken Love

Today, on my 45th birthday, I’m reckoning with a broken heart. And I’m equally poised, alive IN love and FOR love, like never before.

It’s been an intensely challenging year—personally, in my family, collectively and globally. For me personally, I have found it grueling, humbling and hobbling at times, and yet not without exquisite blessings graciously interwoven all the way through.

For the last nine months I have diligently, devotedly gotten out of the way for love to write this first book of mine, called “Holy Messy Love~ A Heartening Invitation for These Harrowing Times”. It’s been such a saving grace, this assignment with my muse.

For the last six weeks I’ve been up to the creatively strenuous task of creating a stellar book proposal with my extraordinary editor to submit to publishers in this next coming week. Today, on my birthday, I’m putting the final polishing touches on this proposal. What a process, my goodness! It’s been such an incredible gestation now approaching birth….

And so with all that is falling away at this time, I simultaneously feel myself on a golden precipice of tremendous birthing; as I step even more fully into life—messy, human, and holy—just as I am.

The other day I was feeling particularly buoyant regarding these hard life-losses I’m facing, and I overheard myself saying to a dear friend, “You know? Disillusioned heartbreak at forty-five is not all that bad!” 😉 She looked slightly bewildered, not knowing whether to chuckle or to embrace me.

But then I went on to explain, “How profoundly grateful I am to stand at forty-five as the trustworthy source of my own love and wholeness. How deeply relieved I am to embody true self-respect, self-protection, and self-care. How thankful I am for this hard-earned maturity and self-compassion with which to navigate these trying times.” I could feel wisened truth shining out from my eyes. I reveled in the strength and resilience of my heart and soul—meeting deep loss with clarity and presence.

But the next day, I found myself breathless with grief. Like that kicked-in-the-gut-by-God kind of grief. I could feel the tears welling up behind my swollen eyes, rising full inside my throat. I could feel my broken heart—literally cracked, aching and throbbing inside my tender chest. I felt utterly flattened by life in being asked to meet all this loss and breaking.

So much beauty is trampled in this world.
So much we can lose, sooner or later, is indeed lost.
So much that we come to cherish we are then asked to surrender.
So much we might imagine we’ve achieved, in the next moment has vanished.

On that day I could feel the other side—how disillusioned heartbreak at forty-five has a knack for rekindling the pain of every loss and disappointment I’ve ever faced in my life.

Isn’t this the way of heartbreak and grief, though? How it changes its face and form and flow, moment to moment.

Some moments, we can stand in the radiant knowing of how hardship strengthens us; how burning purifies us; how many breathtaking gifts come only as we are humbled by life.

Other moments we simply don’t feel up to the task.
We can’t help but defend against the piercing slap we feel from life. We curl as tight as we can into a ball, weeping and rocking in the sheer pain of it all, praying for mercy.

Maybe instead of wishing life would not be so heart-wrenching at times, what’s called for is the maturity to surrender everything we had hoped life would be?

And in this sacred surrender, to discover a deeper love for life AS IT IS, heartbreak and all.

Maybe it’s more about graciously making a good home for our grief, then about waiting for our lives to finally be free of grief. Maybe in this, we get to let even our heartbreak take us deeper home to the unbreakable love that we are.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And it doesn’t mean we like it. It doesn’t mean if we are good and wise and strong and pass all our spiritual tests, then in the end it all works out the way we want it to. And it doesn’t mean we always behave with the utmost grace and dignity.

Loss is ruthless. Grief is unruly and messy.
Heartbreak fucking hurts.

Clearly, we don’t get to escape the presence and impact of life’s losses. We don’t get to be the exception to the rule. Ahhhh… to really let this in!
I notice a shimmering sacredness in the sobriety of this revelation.

And as I come to terms with how precariously and fleetingly held we are by life, I can’t help but revere the hands of loss, change, and heartbreak as the holy instruments of evolution they are clearly designed to be. Thank you, thank you.

Even in this moment of heartache, even feeling cherished dreams scattered, precious forms trampled, I can feel the way that love lives so simply and purely for love inside me.

This is clarity. This living for love and as love is the gift of all gifts. Do you find that too?

For this clarity of love I feel the deepest gratitude—even and especially when life has me on my knees. Upon the altar of this LOVE, I offer myself again and again and again.

Love in all directions ~*~ Jesua