The Love Challenge

10 03 2016


photo by Carlo Lazzeri



Most of us feel not enough as we are, we feel we need to do the next thing to become better, and somehow that next thing doesn’t fill the void, because somehow we still don’t feel enough. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve things, as long as we’re not trying to fix ourselves. All we really want and need is to feel loved, to feel enough in this moment as we are, to feel supported and cared for.

What I have learned over the past years is that we can give ourselves what we want most, by being that to ourselves. We can love ourselves, be proud of ourselves, treat ourselves with generosity, we can be enough to ourselves. And if that feels like a stretch, you can love the part of yourself that feels the lack. You can say: I love the part of myself that feels unloved, that feels unworthy, that feels unsuccessful, that feels undeserving, that wants to eat that muffin for all the wrong reasons, or that wants to scream Get lost! And then love what comes up in that moment, don’t push it away as stupid or unworthy or whiny or scary, just allow it and hold it as you would a child that just hurt its knee, knowing that it hurts and that it will be okay, and when the crying stops you give it a kiss and let it run free again. And then you cherish the gift you have just given yourself, don’t brush it aside as if it was nothing, acknowledge the courage it took, be proud of your success. This is an ongoing practice, it’s like learning to play the piano: you practice, you practice, you practice. Not because one day you will play in Carnegie Hall, although if that is your dream by all means, pursue it with all you heart, but because you have come to the conclusion that it feels really good to play the piano and it would give you great joy to be able to play that piece by Rachmaninov, and you have decided to make it a reality, even if that seems completely unattainable at the moment. The same goes for loving yourself: you practice self-love because you have come to the conclusion that it feels great to be loved, to be enough as you are, and there would be nothing better than to give that to yourself, and you decide to practice loving yourself as long as it takes to feel loved and supported by yourself.

Love is the gift you give yourself. You love yourself by allowing yourself to be who you truly are, by not forcing yourself to be someone else or live up to someone else’s expectations. You love yourself by allowing yourself to be enough as you are, by not trying to fix yourself, because you aren’t broken. You love yourself by focusing on your capacity to love, tapping into your true nature, letting your inherent goodness emerge, not holding it back. By loving yourself, you allow Love to fill you, until it breaks through the surface and ripples outward. There is no greater gift you can give yourself and the world than to be loved by yourself. All you have to do is stop hiding your inherent goodness. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to give yourself what you are longing for the most? Yes? Then how about a love challenge? Thirty days in which you intend to love yourself as you are. Thirty days in which you are kind to yourself, and patient with yourself. Thirty days in which you focus to your inherent goodness and allow it to flow. Are you in? Great! Let’s get started!




Love is…

2 03 2016


Photo by Boris Benko



Love is like a great parent, (s)he will address you at your own level, speak to you in a way that you will understand. And when you fall, (s)he will assess your resilience and give you the help you need to get in the game again. (S)he will never tell you that you are stupid, or no good, but will emphasize how much you have learned already, and that you will do great things one day. And when you are hurting, (s)he will not belittle the cause of your pain no matter how small, because (s)he knows that pain is a gas that fills the heart, and (s)he will hold you tenderly, rock you lightly and know that all is well, because (s)he knows that you can handle anything that comes your way. Faith transpires in everything (s)he does.

All Love asks is that we do the same to ourselves, and others. We think of Love, capital L, as this big, unreachable concept. It isn’t. It’s in the smallest of ways we treat ourselves and others. The great parent image helps me do that to myself. (If you haven’t met my inner-cast yet, you might want to read The Hermien Show first.) Suppose I am making breakfast: Mother Superior thinks card board has enough flavor of its own, Miss Piggy wants a Sunday breakfast every morning, Ieniemienie will throw a tantrum if she doesn’t get a slice of white bread with chocolate sprinkles in the shape of an ape head, the Artist wants a pretty breakfast with lots of colors, the guru wants it to align with its teachings and all the mystic is interested in is if it will align her with Source. Self-Love acknowledges all of these needs AND my body’s needs, loves them equally and makes something that is appealing to all – oatmeal with raspberries and fragrant coconut oil is high on my list at the moment, as is fresh fruit topped with roasted almonds. Self-Love is inclusive. It is a conversation we have with ourselves, in which we are willing to listen to what every part of our being is trying to convey. It leaves no one out, hears everyone, acknowledges all needs and comes up with a solution that aligns our needs with our values, that reflects our commitment to love all of ourselves, that allows us to thrive.

Love wants to be allowed to move through us. It wants to move through us and work through us. It wants to be heard and acted upon. Love allowed to ripple through our bodies manifests as health. Love allowed to flood our thoughts creates peace. Love allowed to ripple outward without hindrance is what we call success. Last week, I said that to love is to allow without judging negatively. That is the beginning. This week, I learned that to love is to know in my heart of hearts that all is becoming perfectly, to expect success without manipulating, to listen without preconceptions and obey a holistic impulse to act. It seems the Beatles were right: “Love is all you need.” My question to you is: How can you be a better parent to yourself? What parts of yourself do you need to include in the conversation? How can you acknowledge them as part of yourself? What are they trying to tell you? How will their presence enrich your experience? Because they will. They are part of your becoming, a process that may have flaws from a human perspective, but that is perfect from Love’s point of view. All is well.