A note on Self-love for my friends who work in healing~
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers
Mohini was a regal white tiger who lived for many years at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo. For most of those years her home was in the old lion house — a typical 12-by-12-foot cage with iron bars and a cement floor. Mohini spent her days pacing restlessly back and forth in her cramped quarters. Eventually, biologists and staff worked together to create a natural habitat for her. Covering several acres, it had hills, trees, a pond and a variety of vegetation. With excitement and anticipation, they released Mohini into her new and expansive environment. But it was too late. The tiger immediately sought refuge in a corner of the compound, where she lived for the remainder of her life. Mohini paced and paced in that corner until an area twelve by twelve feet was worn bare of grass~ http://itrustican.blogspot.com/2011/09/story-of-mohini-white-tiger.html
Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns with little awareness of our own Self-entrapment. Like Mohini we cannot see the box we have defined as our lives. Entangled in the trance of unworthiness and shame, we grow accustomed to caging ourselves in with Self-judgment, fear of the unknown, and anxiety, with restlessness and dissatisfaction. While others see clearly the ways in which we neglect our Selves, it is unlikely that we have the same view.
Like Mohini, we grow incapable of accessing the freedom and peace that are our birthright. We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to be held and heard, understood and adored. We may long to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small. Even if we were to win millions of dollars in the lottery or marry the perfect person, as long as we feel not good enough, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the possibilities before us.
Unlike Mohini, however,
- we can learn to recognize when we are keeping our Selves trapped by our own beliefs and fears~
- we can learn to see how we are wasting our precious lives~
- regardless of past trauma or current stress we can discover the path to freedom, peace and stillness that is fulfilling.
The way out of our cage begins with accepting absolutely everything we are feeling about our Selves and our lives, past and present. Often, we encounter feelings that are uncomfortable and we engage in behaviors that bury the feeling producing a deeply buried wound that becomes more and more difficult to heal.
Looking closely at our own resistance in order to understand and embrace the need we have had for it, gives new meaning to Self-awareness. Embracing with wakefulness and care our moment-to-moment experience even when that experience is painful, provides direction and clarity.
Why do you resist what you most want? You know how you want to feel. You know what lights your fire. You know what yearns to rip through you like a lightning bolt. You know who you really love.
And yet, sometimes, you resist the very thing you crave. And in this experience, you deny our Self. As you begin this journey of wondering, ask yourself these questions:
What love based, positive feelings/emotions do I resist?
- What love based, positive feelings/emotions do I fear searching for?
- Why? What happens in the stillness as I search for this feeling? What surfaces? Can I stay here, for just a moment?
- The longer I stay here, the deeper I feel, the closer I come to those buried feelings that I have believed needed to be put away in order to protect myself; from what? What comes up as I stay here?
- Write it down, pray about it, meditate about it, wonder about it; don’t put it away, welcome it as a fully embraced part of your Self.
(a note to those who work in healing; I use these statements with children and adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, loss and trauma histories. As you become comfortable with your own process, you may find these helpful in your service to others as well.)
As we wonder about our resistance to freedom we come to realize that we have a loving, miracle mindset within us that longs for peace and healing; yet we also have an erroneous mindset that says, ‘I don’t want to be free. I don’t want to give up judging others. I don’t want to give up my righteous indignation. I don’t want to give up my need for control. I don’t want to give up my victimization. I don’t want to give up my need to be neglected or to neglect myself. I don’t want to lose these parts of me. I don’t want to change, to become new, to grow.’
How do I know this to be true, because if you are honest with yourself, you knew as you were reading the lines above, that they are true. For if you wanted to do any of the above, you simply would.
This is an inner process of accepting our actual, present-moment experience in each distinct part of our Self. It means feeling sorrow and pain without resisting. It means feeling desire or dislike for someone or something without judging ourselves for the feeling or being driven to act on it. It means discovering which part of our Self feels these feelings and which part of our Self needs these feelings, and which part of our Self might be ready to move way from these feelings.
- Which part of your Self needs to feel your love? Find her/him. Hold her/him. What age is he/she?
- Which part of your Self needs to feel protected? Find her/him. Hold her/him. What age is he/she?
- Which part of your Self needs to feel worthy? Find her/him. Hold her/him. What age is he/she?
- Which part of your Self is ready to feel powerful again? Find her/him. Hold her/him. What age is he/she?
Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Self Love. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if we continue to move forward with shame or guilt about any part of our Self, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Self Love directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.
Return to the questions above, sit in silence as you wonder about each one. Give your Self ample time to write as you slowly move from the silence.
It may give us confidence to remember that the Buddha/Christ/Creator nature, that is our divine essence, remains intact, no matter how lost we may feel. The very nature of our awareness is to know what is happening. The very nature of our heart is to care. Like a boundless sea, we have the capacity to embrace the waves of life as they move through us. Even when the sea is stirred up by the winds of self-doubt, grief, trauma and loss, we can find our way home. We can discover in the midst of the waves that freedom awaits on the closest shore.Be still, listen, your soul is ready and waiting. Click To Tweet
Each morning and each evening you might add this mantra to your experience, as I do:
Their anger is not my anger.
Their abuse is not my abuse.
Their pain is not my pain.
Their fight is not my fight.
I Am a Conduit to Healing Through My Own.
I Am Peace.
Big Love, Jules
“Self Care for those Who Care” is one of Jules most requested Key Notes and Trainings. She also offers coaching for individuals.
This is very helpful to me, personally and as a counselor, mother and friend. Step by step, day by day….