I Love Me, I Love Me Not…..A Valentine to My Self

As I write this month’s newsletter, I find I am in the middle of a miracle. We have all experienced miracle in our lives whether or not we have recognized and/or acknowledged it. Perhaps it is the birth of a child, for others it’s passing a class when we know in our hearts it is a gift that we did pass, for others it might be getting to a loved one’s side just before they transition giving us time to say good bye. For me, today, it is the miracle of accepting, truly accepting, my earthly body just as it is, which is the missing piece for me with the idea of self-love. Self-love, in the midst of this month of love, is finally becoming a reality.

What has shifted? This is not an overnight wonder believe me. I’ve spent at least 65 years searching for a form of self-acceptance, especially acceptance of the body I have been gifted with. My body is sturdy (a nice way of describing a short, stocky physique!), strong, healthy and has taken me all over the globe. It has given us three amazing children, allowed me to enjoy great cuisine, laugh, swim, play with grandchildren, talk and share with friends. It is this wonderful, amazing body that has allowed me to experience this life with you, and that has carried me many a mile along the path of life.

I have just taken an amazing course with Pippa Merivale (www.metatronic-life.com) who works with the energies of Metatron. In this course, Physical Vitality, I became keenly aware of the miracle of the body. Each system is so precise, so wonderfully perfect in its functioning. Yes, we each have our physical challenges. Maybe our ears don’t hear well enough, or our eyes don’t see well, and for some of us we have great challenges such as auto-immune diseases, mental challenges, and other debilitating issues.

But the body, as it is designed to be when all is working as it should, is brilliant in its design and function. Wow. Think of it. Think of all the things our bodies do for us: our hearts beat without our thinking of it. Our livers and kidneys, pancreas and reproductive systems, nervous and digestive systems, endocrine system and brain, …all go about their business 24/7 without a vacation, a break, or a rest.

In the class I took with Pippa, (Physical Vitality) she examined our body’s systems and created a meditation of sorts that explained how complex and miraculous each system is. I particularly loved her description of the digestive system when she explained that light is absorbed by our foods and then we eat the foods, effectively ingesting the light! Imagine, then, the light flowing from our foods into our cells and blood, into our organs, the brain, and throughout the entire physical container that we are. Isn’t that just a miracle? We eat light and it then spreads throughout us. It takes my breath away to imagine that.

This Valentine’s Day I will be celebrating a new love: my body. I have ignored it, abused it, hated it, yelled at it, despaired of it, cried over it, said hateful things to it and hidden from it. And it has been nothing but loyal to me. It has served me for 70 years. It has never asked anything more than that I consider treating it as well as I can.

So now when I exercise and when I eat consciously, both of which I have been doing for a long, long time, I will do them with more love, more awareness, more prayerful thought. I will tune into my body more, honor it more, and listen to its needs. My head will not be separate anymore from the rest of me. I will be incorporated into one, into one amazing miracle.

How about you? Are you loving your self, your body, you as much as you can? This is what I wish for you on this day of love: that you look in the mirror and say truthfully, “I love you.”

“The Universe is not outside of you. Look inside of yourself, everything that you want you already are.”  Rumi

“It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.” Voltaire

“I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don’t have respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?” Shailene Woodley

Ding Dong Merrily on High

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We are just about the two luckiest people on the planet. We live next door to two very artistic people, one plays the oboe and one is a painter/pastel artist. The other night we were invited to a little Holiday concert in their home and one of the songs was the Christmas carol, “Ding Dong Merrily On High”. Its jaunty little tune is one that sticks with you and lifts you up over and over.

A few nights ago, Bill and I actually did “ding-dong” for two hours as we stood outside a local grocery and rang the bell for the Salvation Army. We had such a great experience. First of all, I am floored by how generous Americans are. There were by far more givers than not. Even the ones who had little to spare would chuck in a little change. We could tell that they could very well use that change for themselves, but no, they chose to give.

Most folk, even if they couldn’t give or chose not to, were very friendly. Of course there are those who walked right by not acknowledging our “Merry Christmases”, not daring to make eye contact or even crack a smile. There were those who smiled and said “I already gave today” or who would greet us back with a hearty, heartfelt greeting. We had no expectations that everyone would give, far from it. But by the end of the two hours, the pot was full to bursting with the generosity of our community.

There is something wonderful about how giving blesses the giver. Last month we spoke about gratitude and how it prepares us to give. Gratitude begins to open our hearts to all the blessings we have received. Remember the story of the Fleas from last month? And how even seemingly bad things can end up being blessings? Well, with feeling thankful comes the added benefit of the heart opening. When the heart opens, even a crack, it lets in the Light and the blessings begin to enter. The more this happens, the more our beings want to pour out gratitude and generosity to the world. It is a beautiful cycle.

The energetic pattern behind this is so amazing. You can find images on the internet of what this looks like: the energy forming a big figure 8 of the in and out movement of energy through the heart, out into the universe and back again. The idea is that the more we give, the more we receive. Isn’t that just the most amazing thing? What a blessing.

Whether it’s the familiar Salvation Army red pots or your community charities, or any one of a number of worthwhile charities, I encourage you to give whatever you can. The gift of giving blesses the giver at least as much or maybe even more than the recipient. It is a wonderful way to open your own heart, and feel the blessings rush in.

The Blessings of the Season to you……..

Gratitude Begets Generosity

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Gratitude and Generosity

Inspired by One Simple Act by Debbie Macomber

 

I have written extensively about gratitude over the years and have had a gratitude practice for ages but it wanes at times and I admit to being inconsistent with it. By inconsistent, I mean I don’t always do it the same way day after day but I vary it. There is rarely a day I don’t do something at all about gratitude, even if it is only giving thanks for our food.

But Debbie Macomber writes eloquently about how important it is to have an “attitude of gratitude” before we even begin to think about generosity. Because to her, it is the foundation of giving.

FLEAS:

In the first chapter she mentions one of my all time favorite books, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten-Boom. In the book Corrie tells us of how she and her beloved sister hide escaping Jews in Holland and are eventually found out, placed in Ravensbruck, and end up in a barracks designed for 400 people but jammed with 1400. They have a forbidden Bible with them hidden in their barracks and it is this Bible that they all turn to and read from to sustain their spirits while in this horrid place.

Of course the barracks becomes contaminated with fleas, who bite and chew on the inhabitants relentlessly. It is Corrie’s sister who insists they all be grateful for the fleas because their presence is what keeps the guards from inspecting the room, thus preserving the presence of their Bible. Corrie resists this for a while but later realizes her sister is right, and begins to give thanks for the fleas.

“Fleas” in our own lives can be any one of a number of inconveniences, disappointments, things we don’t like or want in our lives. But to Corrie, and to Ms. Macomber, “Fleas” are things that appear in our lives to help us, not hurt us. We are not meant to judge the wisdom of nature or the will of God but find the silver lining in things and trust that all in the end will be well.

 RESEARCH:

Ms. Macomber highlights the research on gratitude by R.A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and M. E. McCullough of the University of Miami. These researchers found that those who kept a gratitude journal “exercised more regularly, reported fewer illness symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week…..” p. 14

She also states on pp. 15-16 the findings of Stephen Post, PhD. and professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. He found the following 5 things that gratitude does:

  1. Gratitude Defends (increases your body’s natural antibodies)
  2. Gratitude Sharpens (helps our brain focus and helps avoid depression)
  3. Gratitude Calms (which in turn helps our blood pressure and heart rate)
  4. Gratitude Strengthens (helps us in stressful conditions: think of the Fleas)
  5. Gratitude Heals. (when we are sick, we can heal faster when we focus on gratitude)

Ms. Macomber states: “When gratitude becomes a habit, then generosity seems to follow naturally.” P.15 So giving becomes a natural outgrowth of our gratitude practice.

GIVING AND GENEROSITY:

Here is a basic truth about generosity:

“Cultivating the habit of good deeds will not only affect those around us, it will improve our own emotional well-being” p.49

TO BE CONTINUED……

We will address GIVING in the December issue of our newsletter. Meanwhile Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your gratitude practice!

 

 

 

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