Love: because our lives literally depend on it and that has been proven time and time again. I believe it is the highest call for our Spirit and it’s up there with forgiveness (but that’s another conversation). Love has one of the highest energetic vibrations. It can feel like the hardest thing when we resist it and yet when fully embraced, it
D I S S O L V E S all
R E S I S T A N C E.
I started a post about Ahimsa: Non-violence, right after my workshop on the Yamas & Niyamas and today felt like the perfect day to finish it. The part about the practice of Ahimsa that moves me is not the reminder that we should not harm others physically, verbally or emotionally through words, thoughts, and actions. That seems obvious to me. The part that shifted my perspective on Ahimsa in my own life was the idea that our capacity to give love or to practice non-violence in the world depends on our capacity to give love and be non-violent with ourselves.
“Non-violence is woven with love, and love of other is woven with love of self; these cannot be separated.” - Deborah Adele
I’ve always had the mindset that I am kinder to others than I am to myself. That has been kind of true but when I really started to look I began to realize that my capacity for kindness, love and generosity was actually L I M I T E D. I was only giving to a certain extent. Physical violence is definitely not my thing but if the right buttons were pushed, I could easily slide into a gossip session or become judgmental and reactive. Once I really started looking at it, I recognized quickly that, the slippery slope into judgement, gossip, or hurtful words/actions once I had reached a certain edge, all pointed back to my own insecurities. The fact that the people around me were/are mirrors reflecting back the things I am unhappy with in my own life was not actually news to me but I saw so clearly how that was affecting my capacity to practice Ahimsa.
It must start at home.
Pema Chodron speaks about the Buddhist teaching, Maitri: loving kindness towards oneself. From her powerful words, it is about seeing all your parts, beautiful & ugly and loving and forgiving yourself relentlessly, unconditionally, without spite, regret, fear or resistance.
You cannot skip this step because guess what, you cannot give away what you don’t have! I’d even add, you cannot give away what you don’t have *in surplus* because giving anything before the point of surplus(even a small surplus) will run you dry quickly. Once you’ve filled your cup with love, and I mean daily, it becomes easier, more authentic and much less challenging to pour that love into the world.
Look at how you live. Are your choices made with your highest good(your full potential) in mind or are they made impulsively based on someone else’s agenda, or out of selfishness, fear, anger or any other form of negativity. Does what you S A Y is important to you match what you actually D O? The question ultimately becomes, are you making choices that actually make you happier, healthier and more energized, choices that feed your V I T A L I T Y? When you mess things up or when you feel like you've failed, what do you say to yourself? All of these things will tell you how much you are actually loving yourself! Disclaimer and I do say this with L O V E: Hashtagging #selflove #livingmybestlife, doesn’t count if you’re only loving yourself/living your best life in that one photo #letsbereal #yourebetterthanthat !
Only you can answer the questions above honestly and only you can make the shift into radical, relentless, unconditional self love. You cannot skip this step because ultimately, what you think, say, do, and intend will only reflect how much you love yourself. Non-violence: in thought, word & deed and the loving kindness that you can offer the world, undoubtedly begins inside of you. Violence-physical, verbal, and emotional of any magnitude, begins with a love deficit I N S I D E and regardless of how the deficit came to be, the only way to fill it is to make a conscious choice to do so.
What you say to yourself, how you treat yourself does make a difference in how you show up in the world. Trust me when I say, the more I work on L O V I N G myself R E L E N T L E S S L Y through the good, bad, ugly & beautiful, the less I need to control other people, the less inclined I am to gossip, the less jealous I am, the less times the words “it’s just not fair” go through my head or come out of my mouth, the less lost I feel. I am E N E R G I Z E D, I am V I T A L, I am K I N D, I am J O Y F U L, I am F U N, I have D I R E C T I O N and I am a positive C O N T R I B U T I O N to the world around me.
Fill your cup. Look in the mirror and say I love you. Write it down. Flip the script when you’re being too hard on yourself and remember this is a P R A C T I C E not a P E R F E C T. Be kind to yourself and watch your relationships transform: starting with that beautiful person in the mirror.
***This is the truth as I know it***