There are so many wonderful concepts in Terri St. Cloud’s recent blog post, “real feel“. I would strongly encourage you to take the time to visit her site, Bone Sigh Arts, and read the post on her reflections on self love. Near the end of the blog post is one of my favorite parts where she says she wants to swim in the sea of love, but then realizes that she may in fact be more in the pond of love. Ha, I loved that!
Its so easy to be vulnerable and open after reading Terri’s writing and art. She’s a master at self reflection and being vulnerable. Seriously, Brene Brown should be studying her!
Figuring that I have to start somewhere in the monumental task of unlearning unloving behaviors and learning to practice self love, I find myself more in the puddle of self love. Not swimming in the sea of love, or being in Terri’s pond of love but a big puddle of love. Its an okay place to be and I’m happy here. I’m splashing around, discovering what works and what doesn’t, clearing out the muck to see the treasures hidden deep in my puddle.
Following Terri’s lead of vulnerability and self disclosure, I will admit that I don’t take as good of care of myself as I could and certainly not as well as I care for my daughter, husband, pets, garden, friends, community, job etc. And the answer to the why don’t I take better care of myself question is that I haven’t fully learned how to yet.
There is great comfort in seeing that I’ve taught my daughter how to love and accept herself. I’ve been a consistent reminder to her (actually she sometimes compares me to an annoying gnat buzzing around) that she is a beautiful creature with extraordinary and unique gifts. I see how she cares for herself and I feel great pride in that. But still it gets me wondering why I don’t practice it more with myself.
Actually, over the last 5-10 years but self care has increased exponentially. And like Terri, I’ve had so many, many moments where I didn’t know who I was, what kind of life I wanted, what sorts of books I enjoyed reading. For myself, it comes from not only, lack of a role model but actual negative reinforcement to the concept of caring for one’s self. Coming from a family that was bred on stoicism and weaned on martyrdom, I was taught and shown that life was a chore and one didn’t complain about it. It was nose to the grindstone, don’t look up until you’re done, giving yourself a break was a sign of weakness kind of attitude. Any peeks to the inside of ourselves could reveal our true selves which in my family, was the sworn enemy. There was no telling where that kind of selfishness might lead you.
Geesh, so here I am. Solo from my family, learning to splash in my puddle with my friends and acquaintances who believe in vulnerability, authenticity and the power of whole hearted love. I like it here even though it still feels foreign. Making major life changes do feel foreign for a while, until you reach a crossing over point where you look back and can’t believe that you ever lived as you did. As I’m playing in my puddle, learning how I might swim in the pond of self love, I watch and model others who are practicing the same thing. Some are in front of me, while some are behind me. We are all learning at our own rates, blossoming in our own time.
I continue to thank everyone I’ve met along the journey who has challenged my old patterns of thinking and inspired me to adopt a more loving approach to myself. I’m an eager student willing to learn. I send gratitude to the universe for placing the perfect people and events in front of me.