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

Give In

Give In

Many of us carry a prayer that our lives might be of some true use or service; that we might come to embody and extend real peace and freedom within these lifetimes. And yet, how? And with so many daily tasks and this mundane grind to keep up with; the constancy of dishes and laundry and bills; some of us with children to tend to with as much presence as we can muster.

Love asks more from us than we could have ever imagined; humbles us daily, stretches our edges, and breaks our hearts open. We are tender and raw in our aliveness, in our love, in our wants, our unmet needs, our utter willingness.

Some of us get to a place where we are truly tired. We are wearied by the immense tasks at hand—for ourselves personally, and for humanity. We are tested every day in the simple walking of our talk and the living of our truth.

 

To be so tiny in this world, and imperfect and still growing and so human—and to care so much, to have so much to share—can feel in moments like a helpless conundrum. Yes?

Here is the place where at times we feel like we might just buckle under the weight of it all, and give up. Just give up. Not (for most of us) in some dramatic or overtly tragic way. But quietly, inconspicuously. Letting the light fade just a tad from our eyes, letting our dreams dissolve, our faith wither, our shoulders fall, our mouths frown a bit, our hearts cave in.

Just giving up some true piece of our soul.

When we do this, when we collapse under the weight of our burden, we only contribute to the suffering in our world. We add our weight to the burden of our world, the very opposite of what we want.

There is only one real and lasting solution, one beautiful antidote, to the despondence of giving up—and that is giving in! Giving in to this moment, with all it includes. Giving in when we feel like giving up.

Giving in to the intensity of what’s called for. Giving in to the depth of all we feel. Giving in to the passion of our own valiant and vulnerable hearts, even if it is our passionate grief or passionate fear. Giving in to the real, primal wants of our bodies and souls. Giving in to the thrust of action that follows our genuine care; giving in to the generosity of forgiveness, the courage of honesty; giving in to our laughter, our joy, which blesses us in moments, so organically. Giving in to life, as it is, with all its challenges.

I see it like this: down on my knees, my hands to the heavens, and then to my heart, I say to life: “I give in. I give in. Take me. I’m yours. I give in.”

It’s a surrender. Moment to moment. And Life knows exactly what to do with our surrender. Life knows exactly how to make true use of our earnest hearts. Just give in.

I love you.

 

The Necessity of Learning True Self-Respect

The Necessity of Learning True Self-Respect

Today as I feel into the vitality of self-love within me, it feels most essentially composed of self-respect, self-compassion, self-trust, self-forgiveness, and a generous dose of no longer giving a fuck about anything it doesn’t serve me to!

Granted, these qualities are far easier to string together in a sentence than to truly embody. I’m inspired to try and articulate some of my thoughts on self-respect, specifically. Because I don’t know about you, but for me, self-respect has been particularly hard-won. It has come with time and grit, vigilance and resolve; an ongoing willingness to intimately face inside myself that which hasn’t been respectable in the least.

Almost two decades ago, my masterful spiritual mother Gangaji said to me: “You must learn true self-respect. You must learn to be as fierce as a mother lion in your own care!” This comment did not come out of the blue. She had been watching me caught in an unbearable cycle of suffering with a lover who was not a healthy match for me. There was a way I had become oddly addicted to the painful emotional drama this relationship entailed. Somewhat masochistically, I just kept going back for more.

Due to what I now understand must have been some degree of unresolved wounding, at that stage I still lacked the true self-respect necessary to know my own worth, to value my own deep listening about the truth of what I wanted, to speak this clarity and choose to align my life with it, come what may. As I discovered the courage to break this pattern, the toxic relationship was released once and for all, leaving in its place a wholehearted prayer to fully receive the lessons I had been given, so I wouldn’t need to attract them in that way ever again.

In retrospect I can say that from that point on, I was able to stand true to my realization and my prayer to embody deeper self-respect in relationship. I never found the need to attract another partner whose qualities might tempt me to repeat that specific masochistic pattern again. However I would say that every relationship since then has profoundly served to trigger and test my resolve for true self-respect.

What true relationship doesn’t?

It’s such a juggling act— the way relationship asks us to neither abandon nor betray ourselves to cater to another’s needs, while surrendering bravely to the humbling commands of Love.

One of the most important ways we can foster true self-respect is through active inquiry; through listening to our own heart, and then daring to honor what it is we hear. When we realize we are accountable to our own living Truth, we stand tall in the self-respect this awards.

When we realize what choices are in alignment with our evolving self, and then line our living actions up with that, this tends the garden of self-respect. If instead we choose to ignore or minimize what we know to be true, the cost of this pattern over time is a vitally diminished self-respect, and a lack of trust in our capacity to live from our holy integrity.

Have you ever noticed how we become trustworthy and respectable to others only in direct proportion to the degree we trust and respect ourselves?

When we do not respect nor trust ourselves to live in alignment with our deepest hearts, how can we expect anyone else to trust or respect us?

This cycle of self-deceit and self-betrayal feeds an insidious pattern of self-loathing, potentially causing dis-ease on all layers of our being, which then easily translates to dis-ease at all levels of our world.

What does it mean to be “as fierce as a mother lion” in our own care? To me it means that we defend our own integrity, our sacred sovereignty, own tender aliveness, the sanctity of our soul’s worth, and we treasure our deepest knowing with all the ferocity we can muster. It means that we love ourselves enough to not betray our own bodies, our health, our heart’s wisdom, our sacred attention, by behaving in ways that diminish our dignity and honor.

It means that when the temptation to follow an addicted or fixated response arises, (whether that be to a substance, a person, a behavior, or an emotional/mental tendency) we know better. We know from experience what following this temptation will lead to, and we know all too well the cost to our self-respect. It means that we finally choose the delicious sobriety of self-respect over the tempting familiarity of avoidant distraction, reactivity, or some glory of fleeting pleasure.

One of the most valuable ways we can cultivate self-respect, is by discovering firsthand our capacity to meet any discomfort and challenge that comes our way. When we discover that we can face the dreaded boredom, loss, aloneness, shame, rage, futility, despair, illness, failure, and rather than indulge a habitual reaction to this discomfort, instead choose to simply feel the array of feelings rising within us— then we discover the invaluable knowing that we are capable of bearing this life, as it is.

But of course in our still-learning, ever-humbling human ways, inadvertently we fail. We fail to be sober or mature in our response each time we get triggered. We fail to be unwaveringly vigilant. We fail to be consistently respectful of another’s perspective or psychic space. Like just yesterday morning, when I lashed out angrily at one of my Beloveds, from a place of deep internal hurt. Ouch. 🙁

And yet how important to notice the ways in which each mistake serves to hone our self-awareness, while beckoning an authentic path home towards repair— inside our own hearts and that of those we hold dear.

When we recognize how to balance this fierce sword of discerning self-respect, with true respect for others, gracious self-compassion and self-forgiveness for all the human ways we undoubtedly fall short, then we know we can trust ourselves with our life. What a thing to know: we can be trusted with our own life!

When we trust ourselves with life, this is deep self-love. From resting in this love with ourselves, absolutely anything is possible. ~*~

Courage

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Love Will Not Wait

Love Will Not Wait

LOVE WILL NOT WAIT

I’ve got news for you:
you will never be good enough
for Love’s claiming.

Give up trying.
Notice Love wants you
anyway, anyhow~
just as you are: wounded
and restless, messy
and flawed.

Love has always wanted you
and Love will not wait
for you to feel worthy.

Love will not wait
for your enlightened
epiphany; your absolute,
shining realization.

Love will not wait
for you to be thin enough,
strong, healthy and beautiful
enough; will not wait
for you or your life
to look a certain way.

Love will not wait
for your fame, success
and recognition; will not wait
for you to be free
of vanity and pride.

Love will not wait
for the heavens to open
and bless your life
with shimmering grace.
Nor will Love wait for you
to release yourself
from the grips of hell.

Love already has you
in its claws, in its jaws.
Love’s got you,
and has no plans
for letting you go.

Love will not wait for you
to meditate, or practice yoga,
or chant the mantra for 101 days.

Love will not wait for you
to climb the highest mountain
and sit in the sacred cave.

Love will not wait
for our world to be saved.

Love will not wait for you
to find your ideal soulmate,
make your riches, or discover
your true life purpose.

Love will not wait
for your marriage
to become passionate
and fulfilling, nor for you
to finally find courage
enough to leave.

Love will not wait
for all your desires
to be met, your mistakes
to be forgiven; your heart
to be healed
of shame and remorse.

Love will not wait until later,
when the children are sleeping
peacefully in their beds;
will not wait
until they are raised
and off on their own.

Love will not wait
for the perfect resolution
of your traumas;
will not wait for you
to be free of addiction,
liberated of demons, absolved
of your anger, relieved
of your sorrows.

Love will not wait
for you to stop grieving
your many losses.

Love will not wait
for your loneliness
to vanish; will not wait for you
to know complete
happiness, immaculate peace.

Love will not wait
for your fears to cease,
your anxieties to melt, your mind
to become absolutely still.

Love will not wait
for your deathbed.

Love wants you now,
like this, human and holy~
just as you are, no matter
how broken and lost,
injured and confused.

Love is here, right here,
already firmly rooted
inside you; already
wanting nothing
about you to change.

Let Love handle
all that’s unfinished;
all you think
needs still to happen,
heal, transform, dissolve,
blossom, evolve.

Let Love take care of that.

 It’s a lost cause.
So give up and give in.
Love will not wait
for you to recognize yourself
as Love, in order
to claim you, to live you,
to BE you, already.

Love’s got you.
Love’s breath is yours.
Love’s heartbeat, yours.
Love’s hands are your hands.
Love’s life is your life.

Love’s life is your life.

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