I've been a bit tortured by my ambitious spirit over the past few days. Feeling loads of anxiety around not doing enough of this or that... navigating insecurity around how in the hell to show up. It's been exhausting, as "trying" always is.
Today I'd like to express gratitude for the *unique imprint* that you make on the world by just being *you*. I'm not talking about the things you do or have because you try, work hard, learned how, made it happen... but the things you simply can't help but offer. Your way of being that takes little-to-no effort.
That's what we love about you most.
You touch more hearts that you could ever know. Truly, you do. Please take a moment and feel gratitude for the grace of being just as you are. Right here. Right now. Complete while unfinished.
Does this exercise in gratitude sound selfish to you? Then you're missing the point. Self acceptance is the quickest way to open your heart... and spread love all around.
Do your inner work, first... then go love somebody real good.
<3 Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.
And then yesterday happened. Life stepped in to put me evermore to the test. My stepdad, who has been ill for some time now, died early Tuesday morning. I woke to a message from my mom sobbing; no matter how old I get the sound of my mom crying tears me to pieces. I won't go into the countless layers of emotion surrounding his death for me, but suffice to say it's complex... since then it's been roughly 24 hours of on/off self-torturous inner dialogue.
As it typically is with emotional surges, deep cravings rose to meet them on cue - techniques of self-soothing I have used most of my life to medicate through emotional pain. Last night, I wanted to crawl inside of a loaf of bread slathered with butter and let it cushion me forever. Lattes, martinis, french fries... they called out to my heaviness with familiar and intoxicating recognition.
And I said no... I said, "no thanks" to every. single. urge.
Not because I have to say no. Nor because I believe it's wrong to engage the pleasures of food and drink. (ha! I'm a total foodie, are you kidding me?!) I'm not at all interested in being some sort of nutritional martyr - self-righteous denial has nothing to do with my choices here.
I won't give into my cravings because I made a promise to myself... 30 days, no matter what. Every single day that I wake up in integrity with any vow I make to me I gain - not just greater health (that's just the icing) - I gain confidence that I have the power to design my life as I see it. Not to mention I gain access to yet another beautiful-ugly blessing; this time I deal with my emotions by looking at them versus drowning them in denial. I'll let you know how that goes. ;)
In the meantime, how about you? Are you keeping the promises you make to yourself?
How do you know it’s high time to LOVE thyself?
You spend time being agreeable, when you could just be happy. Secretly, you may be terrified that others might somehow learn how needy you actually are, so you put on a good face... you give rather than take... you fight to win favor through your smile and the ‘incessant yes’, pretending it doesn’t piss you off when you overlook your desires yet again. You say to yourself, it’s okay... at least I’m not selfish. But it’s not okay... and seeking approval is in fact selfish; it only serves to isolate you. When you repeatedly leave yourself behind, drama eventually knocks at your door to remind you where you are... shivering apart from others out in the cold. And that’s sure to piss you off...
In fact, that’s why you can be a real bitch sometimes. But it’s okay; I get it. Life’s a real pain-in-the-ass when you feel stuck. You have grown far too attached to the reasons why-not. I catch you looking down at the hand that you have been dealt, pointing to stories you’ve long outgrown. It angers you to feel trapped and stuck in a cycle. Understandably! Yet feeling small, fearful, or powerless to change... those are all habits that have unfortunate side effects. But it’s all just an excuse to hide. I’m calling you out. The truth is, you define yourself by limitation because freedom scares the shit out of you. You defend your limitations, trumpeting your so-called truth - why you can’t leave that job... take that trip... work on that project... or be free of that pain. You’re just afraid. We all are. But that’s no reason to stop reaching for more.
In fact, in this age of diagnosis we are all clinically ape-shit crazy with fear half the time, yet you assume that everyone else couldn’t possibly be as screwed in the head as you are. So you hide out. You shrink wrap your feelings and tuck them under your bed. You deny what is real... and you devour anything that might negate your discontent, reaching for food, lovers, or accolades to support identification with your shadowy dysfunctions. On the surface, you present a facade of togetherness... working hard at denial, taking a *spiritual bypass around that which you’d rather not face in order to feel you’re making a credible effort.
Yet you still feel broken somehow... like your past mistakes have a choke-hold on your future. Why? Because you mistake growth for advancement toward perfection. Needless to say, you’re often disappointed. Looking out at a world full of other people cloaked in pretense, you compare yourself with the distorted reflections you see. You stand before the mirror, obsessively comparing yourself to airbrushed personas, crying out in frustration at your failed attempts at such-and-such.
You CAN break the cycle for good. I did it... many of my clients have... and you can, too. You can develop new habits and ways of being that will change your life forever... giving you more power than you could ever imagine.
Take back authority over your life. Trust and lean into the life you were meant to live. Be vulnerable. Roar your truth freely. Create a space that’s just for you. Push through fear and move anyway.
Love thyself and live as such.
Not sure how?
I can help. Promise.
But you’ve gotta act quick.
Self-love awaits you.
In the meantime, read this love letter to you.
A Love Letter to The Real You:
I have no interest in your credentials, your street smarts, or your childhood wartime anthem. I welcome the raw and rowdy shit-storm that would erupt were you to explode your ugliest truth, the angry pent-up power buried beneath the story. I dare you to show me YOU in all your dancing naked singing karaoke at the top of your lungs no holds barred glory. I want to see you as you are - beautiful broken bits and all.
On this Valentine’s Day, I invite you to step outside of pretense with me. For regardless of your orientation in body and heart, when you come out, you eventually fall in love with who you were meant to be in this world. The real you is sexy as hell.
Take an emotional romp in an unmade bed, touching upon your heart’s forbidden places so that you might cry out in the ecstasy of releasing fully to what is real. Like your body’s yearning, so does your soul’s cold hard truth soften in the sharing. May your self-seduction stir you into silent contemplation of the beauty and the beast within - the universal ugly that you share with each one of us. In exposing your madness, you permit me to find peace in my own.
I want to tell you something about perfect love. It’s all a lie. Perfection, that is. Every single person you admire is secretly flawed and unwillingly imperfect, too. Everyone makes a mess from time to time. Especially me.
But ya know what? I’m tired of apologizing for it.
I’ve come to discover that it’s not my flaws that cause me and the people around me pain. It’s pretending not to have them... fighting to be above it all wreaks havoc on our lives. It is our denial that breeds anger, drama, and dysfunction. It is our self-abandonment and presumption that we can offer ourselves unconditionally and fully to another that gets us into trouble. Surrender of sovereignty gets in the way of offering real love. And spiritual bybass is a convenient excuse to avoid being vulnerable; it’s time we call ourselves on that shit.
I think you’re smokin’ hot when you forget to put on good face.
Can you love me there, as well?
If so, I think we have a chance to change this crazy world where secret selves cry out by inflicting pain on one another. But we gotta start with each other.
I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.
I love you,
P.S. Learn to Love Thyself First
Candice Schutter - theMessenger, February 2008
Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.
- St. Thomas Aquinas
In recent weeks, I have become more aware than ever that I have much to learn about self-care. It's a common paradox for those of us in paths of service. Continually we encourage others to honor personal rhythms of healing, while ignoring the lights flashing in our own hearts. It's true indeed that we teach what we need to learn. I have come to notice that, quite often, in coaching sessions I am the messenger administering the medicine to us both via intuition and unexpected verbal elixirs.
It has been said before, love is an action. It is a series of choices. And so, when it comes to shining love inward, we must compassionately observe the choices that we make repeatedly throughout the day. How often are we present to what is alive in the moment? Do we sometimes override impulses to self-nurture in order to feed perceived urgencies in our environment? It takes only awareness to rewind, and re-choose.
True Self-love is hardly a singular or selfish pursuit. In actuality, it is blatantly spiritual - an act of reverence for the energy from which you came. Honor your body as a sacred temple, your mind as fertile ground for divine awareness, and your heart as a blessed antennae steadfast in rhythmic dance with all of life.
We only appreciate our good or evil
in proportion to our self-love.
François de la Rochefoucauld
It is a worthwhile practice to meditate on the quote above. It is our relationship to self-love that guides our perceptions in life. Take any event in your life and hold it inward in your awareness. If the light of self-love is dimly lit, you may see yourself as a victim of circumstances. Lack of light may taint your view of What-Simply-Is to incorporate a poor self-image, feeding inner drama and suffering. Depressing stories are built - not upon circumstances - but upon forgetfulness of the worth within.
If, however, you have access to the abundance of light inside...if you see yourself as an essential aspect of the light of goodness, suddenly the world around you looks much different. You will see that each and every response to circumstance is built upon the choice that you make in the moment. Heightened self-love results in acceptance and self-empowerment, and both are unattached to storytelling as a means to justify feeling good. Loving the light within is timeless and unconditional with practice, regardless of what happened "once upon a time."
Investing in mini-acts of self-love is the greatest gift that you can give to those around you. Over time you see that your inner light needs to be fed with awareness in order for you to give the best of you to others. So take that walk in the park in the middle of the day, feed yourself healthy perpectives, and surely it can't hurt to give yourself a hug from time-to-time. In re-igniting your bliss, you become evermore committed to passing it along.
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