A love revolution

25 02 2016

 

picture by Mike Swope

 

Okay, I’m just gonna say it: unconditional love really is the most ridiculous term ever invented. I mean, really, as if there is something called ‘conditional love’. There isn’t, because then by definition, it isn’t love anymore. Love is inclusive. There are no exceptions. I’ve been practicing this concept for quite some time now. I’m not fluent in it yet, and most of the time I f*ck up big time, but as it is a life-long practice in love, that just extra practice. This week, I realized that I have mostly focused on loving that which is outside of myself as perfect as it is, that as much as I am compassionate towards myself, I don’t love myself unconditionally. I don’t include all of myself. There are things about myself that I have real issues with. nothing new there, but the realization that this habit of judging parts of myself as not up to standard has contributed nothing to my life is. So I have decided to throw it out of the window and do something radically different; I have decided to love all of myself. All. Of. Myself. Everything. Every habit. Every thought. Every emotion. Every quirk. Every square millimeter of my body. Everything I create. Everything I don’t create. Everything I say. Everything I don’t say. Everything that I regard as brilliant, and everything I judge as unworthy. Everything. Including the things I have up to now not been able to accept about myself at all, the things I keep actively resisting. Even the feelings of resistance themselves. I will just love.

Part of loving is allowing. I will allow everything to be as it is in this moment. I will allow it to feel as it feels. I will allow it to change when it does, because it will. I will not judge any of it, because I am deciding upfront that it is worthy of love, no matter how it feels or what it looks like. This is an inside job. Imagine that I am feeling very angry. Instead of suppressing that anger, or judging it as not good or unhealthy, or being angry at myself for feeling angry, I am simply going to allow myself to feel angry. I am not going to act out my anger, not towards myself or any other living being, but I am going to allow myself to feel angry. And I am going to love it. I am going to allow it to be without judging it. And I am going to allow myself to feel it until it subsides. Because it will. That I know for sure. Every part of me is worth of this loving attention, even or maybe especially the parts of myself that I feel aren’t worthy of love. In a weird way, this is the only thing that makes sense, because not loving has proven not to be effective

I am going to practice radical self-love, and I would love for you to join me. What would it feel like if you loved every square millimeter of your body? If you allowed every emotion and thought to just be, and love them as they are. “Yeah, but…,” I hear you think, “this thought / emotion / body / habit is really ugly! Loving it would be condoning it.” Not necessarily, loving simply means being present without judging negatively. So while thinking the so-called ugly thought without judging it, you may become aware of the feeling that is beneath it, and allowing that feeling to be felt without judgment, it may simply dissolve. Or it may not, there’s no way to tell. But I can tell you this, you will feel better for it. Not because facing the shadow parts of ourselves is a breeze, but at least we are loving ourselves to the best of our abilities. And tell me, how would that feel? To just love yourself for no other reason than that you decided that you are worthy of love! Pretty amazing, huh?

 





The Hermien Show

4 02 2016

 

 

If I were a sitcom, it would be hysterical! Imagine a zealous Mother Superior, a pretentious artist, a wannabe guru, a mysterious mystic, the glamorous yet capricious Miss Piggy, and an assertive six-year old Mouse named Ieniemienie all living together in one house in the Big Apple.

 

This week I met up with the characters. Here’s the cast:

Mother Superior
is everything you expect from an abbess. Think Sound of Music and then make worse: super strict, extremely organized, highly efficient, goal-oriented, task-focused, and no fun. She was in charge, leading all the other characters as if they were nuns in her abbey Needless to say, everyone suffered. When Mother Superior is out of control, she is like a tyrant who expects everyone to be just as disciplined and austere as she is, which is basically impossible. All she really cares about is the well-being of the whole system and what she wants most is for the system to thrive.

The pretentious Artist
is kind of a drama queen, who is never satisfied with what he creates. And yet, he believes he is above all others, destined to make Art, capital A of course. To do that he needs freedom to explore and create, something he doesn’t get from Mother Superior, who believes he should get a job and do something useful with his life. All he really cares about it is inspiration, and what he wants most is to create a sublime piece of Art.

The wannabe Guru
is an autodidact with confidence issues who doesn’t know if he’s got enough credentials to tell other people what to do. All he wants is an audience of eager learners with whom he can share all the lessons he has learned himself in order to create a better world. He never is convinced his ideas will help others, and usually abandons his projects before he is well under way.

The mysterious Mystic
doesn’t care about outside validation. All she is interested is uncovering the truth, get to the heart of things. She needs the freedom to explore the inner-world, and only wants to understand the Meaning of Life, or God, or the Universe, and be it.

Ieniemienie and Miss Piggy
really are the same, with Ieniemienie wanting to play in the sandpit and catch frogs, and Miss Piggy being the adult version, wanting to play with one particular Frog. They both have a certain need for attention, most of all want to feel good, love flirting, one innocently and the other not so, and can throw a power tantrum when they do not get what they want.

 

No, I’m not schizophrenic, not more than most of you at least, but yes I do have voices in my head. We all have. I just decided I wanted to get to know them. So I befriended them and hung out with them, I found out what they love, what they want in life and what they need most. To fully function as a human being, I need to understand their personal dynamic, the function they hold within the group and the group dynamic, because as successful as this combination may be for a sitcom, for a successful life it can be a total disaster.

In order to make things work, I have assigned myself the role of leader. I have put up some new guidelines and function descriptions. For now, it will be great if Mother Superior can support the artist, the teacher and the mystic, help them organize the practical side of their life and motivate them to get the best out of themselves, without interfering with their creative expression, if Ieniemienie can help them access their inner-child and miss Piggy can help them access their own pizzazz. Later on, it would be great if the artist, the teacher and the mystic could work together on a project, and if Ieniemienie and Miss Piggy can not only respect Mother Superior and vice versa, but truly understand each other’s value. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time.

So here’s my question for you: what does your personal sitcom look like? Who’s your cast? What are the characters? What are their names? Where do they live? And how are they making each other’s lives miserable? Just listen for their voices. If you have trouble distinguishing, look into archetypes and see of there are types that resonate particularly with you, then just see if you can hear what they are saying as you go through a typical day, make notes, finetune, and most of all have fun! And then, when you have a cast, just see how they treat each other, what they say to each other. Don’t judge, just observe. Make notes. Until you can clearly see the characters and how they relate to each other. Find their strong points and their weak points, and imagine how they could work together more cooperatively. And then find ways to make that work. Break a leg!