What do you think of when you hear the word “self-love?”
Do you think of someone who is selfish, self-centered or egotistical?
Or do you imagine someone who is healthy, vibrant, wise?
“Often, we are reluctant to promote self-love mostly because we confuse it with selfishness. Since we are humans, we ought to have a healthy love for ourselves; it is from this fount that love flows out to others.” ~ Mason Olds
As I continue to travel around our sun, I have come to realize that love truly does emanate from within. When we feel love for another or a situation or a place, that love is a reflection of the love we carry within. We have opened to it, releasing it thus allowing for its reflection.
Unfortunately, we have attached conditions to love:
if you do ____________then you will receive love.
if you have __________ then you will be loved by others.
Our educational system trains us that when we do something well we will be recognized and rewarded. If we don’t do well, we are less than.
Our society idolizes singers, actors, politicians who “do important things” and are therefore “loved.” What you do seems to determine if you are worthy of love.
Is this true?
What is love?
The image of the old cartoon Love is… comes to mind. https://loveiscomix.com/
… being tucked in with a kiss every night.
… when actions speak louder than words.
.. happily doing the chores so she can study at evening class.
… making your own sunshine.
These images and notes regarding the little things and times when we feel love are so simple and so deep. Love doesn’t take an earthquake, just a simple gaze, thought or action freely given from an open heart.
How do we keep our hearts open?
Start with the practicing the little things, such as:
- Find the joy in simply opening your eyes in the morning.
- Relax around the driver in front of you – whatever they do… leaving their blinker on, going too slow.
- Embrace the weather – sun, rain, wind or snow.
As we realize these “things” are not ours to control we can mindfully create a practice and training to remain open with all the little things right in front of us each day. As we practice on the little things we create a natural set point of being open. Therefore, this is where we naturally feel into when the big things occur.
The two-year anniversary of my son’s death at the hands of a drunk driver is approaching. Because I have made it my practice to relax and learn to love what is, I can honestly share that throughout processing this ordeal and the subsequent court case, I have remained open. Open to the love I hold within for my beloved son. Open to accepting our new reality. Open to the capricious court proceedings. Open to being held by others.
When anger and injustice wanted to rear their heads, I could feel that they could close my heart. If knew if I closed my heart I would be disconnected from the beauty, love and joy of what was, what is and what will be. This love comes from within me and if I shut it off, I would only be harming me. I was hurt enough, so I choose to remain open and in the flow of love.
I am the source of my love. The love I give and the love I receive.
I have learned that grief is another facet of love. The deeper you love someone or something, the deeper you will grieve. And both are beautiful and necessary.
Do you desire to feel love?
Start within, with the little things. Build your practice to create your setpoint of an open heart and you will have the skills to navigate your experiences remaining open.
Love comes from within and is reflected back to you by the people and events around you. Polish your inner mirror and reflect the beauty, love and joy you hold within.
I share tools for this practice to guide you towards the inner set point of love you desire here.
It does help to have tools and a community in which you can simply show up as you are – without judgment and are seen, heard and held yet not fixed. The fixing of you is only for you, your work, inner work.
As you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you will see the world around you with an open heart and deeply know that self-love is true love.
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Since moving to Flagstaff, AZ, I have connected with people who follow the moon cycles, honor the Pagan rituals from which many religions started and simply connect more with the earth and nature. Nature has always held a special place in my soul. Growing this connection has truly fed my soul in countless ways.
Several years ago I followed the moon ritual from the Wild Women Project and the ritual at year’s end really made an impact on me. When I worked through the above process and came to step three, I had such a creative download. I strongly felt the call to create prayer flags for sharing my dreams and visions in the new year. This would definitely get my messages, dreams and visions out to the world on the winds.
I do see prayer flags hanging from homes around my neighborhood and they abound at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park in Sedona where people not only hang purchased flags but also ones of their own creation – what a profound concept! Creating your own prayer flags.
I started with a small pile of articles of clothing which were my favorites but had holes in unsightly places. I was unable to part with them, yet they were unwearable. I choose to use these clothes to make my prayer flags and repurpose something special to me into something else special. If I cut from some of the edges, there would already be a finished seam to string the rope through for hanging, bonus!
I came across information on prayer flags offering the colors and their meanings as well as the facts about when you remove prayer flags they are traditionally burned. Granted my clothing didn’t meet the traditional colors fully, but somewhere I read that there are typically 10 flags, so I asked my family if they wanted to make a few flags too and we could hang all our visions together. With this in mind, my daughter brought a few articles of clothing to add some of the missing colors. I got out the permanent markers and we all created our visions and intentions for 2019.
Our aim was to have them completed and to hang them on New Year’s Day.
We had just created a family ritual! I shared this vision with a friend who jumped on board too, loving the idea.
She even added some good thoughts for the ritual, that we could remove the old flags on the winter solstice and ceremonially burn them and then use that time when we start to move into more light to create our new flags which will be hung on New Year’s Day.
Over the years we have experimented with different media for words and images on flags. Media used include:
- permanent markers
- acrylic paints
- stitching with colorful threads
- regular markers – these fade away as the year passes fully releasing your prayer
The first year I shared the creation of ten flags with my family, now I have no problem filling all ten with my own intentions for the coming year. Another great lesson learned is to release perfection of your creation and focus on the energy you give to your intention. As these flags will be subjected the elements all year long and eventually burned, allow yourself to simply take action without judgement of the results while expressing your intention. Errors or mistakes are simply judgement – there is always something learned from the action. I truly felt this when stitching my images as the threads would get out of hand and I had to simply trust and let go.
Our new prayer flag ritual —which I encourage you to try, adapting it to your own ideas—has manifested as follows:
- Save old clothing or sheets to create flags, or purchase fabric scraps. You may honor a lost loved one by using items of theirs.
- December 21st - Winter Solstice: Remove and burn past flags. Ceremonially review your past years intentions and how they unfolded (or not) and release them to the fire.
- Feel into your intents or wishes for the New Year and craft your new flags.
- January 1st:New Year’s Day or the first New moon of the year: Hang your new flags and spread your message all year long on the winds.
The winter solstice is just around the corner. If you don't have flags for this current year you may always write your intents on paper and release them in a ceremony during the solstice and create the space to feel envision your intentions for the coming year.
Here I will share my poem for 2019, which came out of this process:
Honor the whole, the broken and create anew
All is Beauty
All is Nature
All is Creation
All is You
As the new year approach us, I encourage you to develop your own personal rituals for intention-setting.
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