How does self-love make you feel?
Tracy and I have been joining a friend for Friday night concerts in her neighborhood. The series is called Summer Nights in Suburbia. Local bands play for a couple of hours at an amphitheater. We set up camping chairs and eat from food trucks. Sometimes I bring a little mini box of wine.
It’s really not about the music, although the music is nice.
It’s about sitting outside with friends while the sun sets, feeling the evening air on our skin, relaxing.
It’s about pleasure.
It’s a small thing we can do that feels good and over the past few weeks, it’s become our ritual.
I engage in other pleasurable things:
I take hot salt baths.
I go to yoga class.
I wear pajamas and watch my favorite movies.
I have my morning coffee on the back porch and watch astrology videos.
I arrange altars.
I burn incense and diffuse oils.
I go to church.
I drop flower essence blends onto my tongue.
I love these things and when I do these things, my heart expands.
When I do these things, I am in a state of love.
These are my self-love rituals.
Self-love is a pretty hot buzzword, and sometimes when I hear it, I reject it.
I reject it because it sounds selfish and I don’t want to be selfish, or self-centered.
I want to be heart-centered.
I want my life to impact the lives of others in some positive way.
I want to walk like a healer.
I want to be a lamp.
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. – Rumi
And I do not believe it is sound spiritual practice to always put yourself first.
Sometimes I resist ideas of self-love because it sounds like standing in front of the mirror and being completely happy about everything I see there.
Sometimes when people talk about self-love, they indicate there’s something wrong or less than loving about wanting to improve or change things about one’s self.
But I hope to always be improving.
I hope to always be somewhere in the dance of transformation.
Sometimes self-love sounds to me like arrogance when what I wish to be is humble.
But I don’t think that’s actually what self-love is at all.
I don’t think that’s what self-love is because I don’t think self-love is something we generate.
We don’t invent it.
We open to it.
Because self-love isn’t some different brand of love, it’s just love.
Love is love is love is love.
And love is all around us flowing toward us, holding us, sustaining us in every moment.
When I engage in one of my rituals, I’m not thinking to myself, I’m engaging in a self-love ritual right now, I’m just doing something I love.
I listen to my desire, to my heart, and I follow its lead.
Take a bath, my desire says, make a painting.
Do something you love to do.
When I’m doing something I love to do, I’m noticing what I love, and when I notice what I love, my thoughts are loving.
Engaging with love is self-love.
When I’m in a state of love, I’m loving myself.
When I do something I love, I’m loving myself.
When I step into a state of love, I am reminded that I am a beloved creation, and when I remember that about myself, I automatically remember that about everyone else.
I literally put myself in love.
I step into the flow of love.
I am meant to hold others, all of life, in love and compassion.
If I begin where I am , with love and compassion for myself, the love and compassion for others will follow naturally.
When I see myself with love and compassion, I see myself the way God sees me. When I see others through the eyes of love and compassion, I see them the way God sees.
The more I live in the state of love, the more love I will have to share and the easier it will be to share it.
The love will be overflowing. It will drip off of my fingertips and get all over you. It will pour out of my heart and straight into yours.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2
If I walk through my life in a state of love, that love will rub off on every single person, plant, or animal I encounter.
If I step into a state of love, my house will feel that love and everyone who enters my house will feel it.
I am meant to serve others.
True self-love could never come at the expense of another because then it wouldn’t be love.
Self-love is a lantern.
It shines through your heart into the world.
And the way you get there, the way you engage with it is so simple.
You follow the feeling.
So what have you done today that feels like love?
What can you do to step into that flow?
Be in love with yourself today.
If you’re looking for new a way to explore self-love, I’d love for you to paint with me.