Self-Love is such a common term these days; it’s like the american cheese of self-help. But it’s way easier said than done. What do you need to do to love yourself? Just be REBORN and undo the limiting-beliefs, negative self-talk, and trauma over every minute of our existence. The mythical phoenix was a sacred fire bird that would live for 500 years, immolate itself, and be born anew.
So yeah–if you only had to do that every 500 years, maybe that wasn’t so bad. But for those of us who make mistakes daily and have to look at everyone else’s nearly perfect Facebook feeds, looking in the mirror daily and saying “I love you!” is not an easy task.
This is why affirmations, oracle cards, and crystals are so helpful. They seem silly, but they fall whole-heartedly in the “any help you can get” category. We desperately need companions on the journey, little ways of holding ourselves accountable to our own greater good, and reminders that we can, little by little, move towards a beautiful new self that was really there all along, just waiting to catch flame.
Let’s talk sexuality. This is one of the huge areas where people are distressed, concerned, insecure, triggered, or just plain nuts about. And it’s at the deepest core of our identity, so being able to understand it so that we be our authentic selves is truly important.
Our culture, quite oddly despite its focus on individuality, tends to define sexuality in terms of the other, the observer. How we dress and present ourselves (women, especially) is interpreted as being “for” other people — to “look good,” to “be sexy,” to allegedly telegraph to other people who we are. Sexuality becomes a commodity. Our identities become a commodity. This is wrong.
Before the Greeks and the Romans and the fear of sexuality (and especially the demonization of women’s sexuality), sex was sacred, vital, and literally connected to the health of the land. In the cult of Demeter (read about the Eleusinian Mysteries) people reenacted the story of Demeter, Persephone and Hades as a way of ensuring that the cycles of the earth would continue, and sex was an important, and sacred part of this. Women were priestesses, and sex was a sacred act.
So what does this all mean now? We’ve intentionally co-opted the word sacred (defined as “dedicated or set apart, devoted exclusively”) to reflect our own fear and desire to control what we know we can’t. Instead, how wonderful would it be if we understood the word “sacred” in relation to sexuality as expressing our deepest identity in a way devoted exclusively to our own desire, intentions, and highest good? What if we realized our sexuality was the key to our own power, and that desire and knowledge was not evil, but the source of our vitality, our connection to nature, and our appreciation of ourselves and others as individuals?
“Joy in Every Moment” by Tsivia Gover is, predictably, a joy to read — for much longer than a moment. It reminds me of years ago when I used to enjoy books by Alexandra Stoddard about creating a beautiful life, but it has a much more practical, action-oriented bent. The subtitle of the book is “Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life” and it doesn’t disappoint. The book is a series of bite-sized nuggets of wisdom with specific things that you can do to improve the quality of your life. You’ll need a little packet of post-it flags for this one!
For me, the size of a book really matters; I do most of my reading in bed at night, and I love a book that’s cozy and tactile and a joy to actually read. This one is 6×7, wonderfully typeset, and full of beautiful purples and pinks and colorful illustrations. It’s a great companion to have at the bedside, or to look through over the first cup of coffee in the morning.
The dictionary definition of resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Resilience is an important aspect of your emotional toolkit, especially if you’re at all empathic or sensitive. Do you take on other people’s problems? Do even small things affect you and throw you off course? If they do, it’s vital to be able to right yourself and get back to a sense of stability. This ability is often a matter of constitution, but it can be learned, though your success will depend on your willingness to practice, notice your own inner state, and hold yourself accountable.
It’s ok if that’s hard! It can be much easier (or at least more tolerable) with assistance and a willing listener, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is when a life coach can be handy, because they can either just help you out in a pinch, or help you practice understanding and changing how you react to things.
Here’s three tools from the life-coaching toolbox:
ENERGY WORK: Emotional work does have a physical component, even if you can’t see it. In physics, resilience is defined as “the ability of an elastic material (such as rubber or animal tissue) to absorb energy (such as from a blow) and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape.” Learning how to work with energy is an important aspect to maintaining your own health.
JOURNALING: The biggest aspect of any effort is the initial self-awareness. You need to keep track of what’s going on in your life and how you’re reacting to it in order to figure out what you could do differently and when.
BODY AWARENESS: How do you physically respond to things? What “gets” you and where do you feel it in your body? Being able to sense this early on can help you notice when you’re starting to become stressed out or in danger of overwhelm.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the events of the world, issues from your own past, and current challenges and troubles. Sometimes what we need most is to be reminded of our own power. With intention and focus, you’re capable of way more than you think.
Of course, intention and focus can be tricky. Very often, we say we want something, or think we do, but we don’t take the time to really clearly spell out what it is we want and — most importantly — what we’re going to do in order to get it. This is where things fall through; either we’re not sure about what we want enough to really go for it, or we don’t translate our desires into action steps that will get us anywhere. And once we do figure this all out, very often we lose the excitement of the initial planning and don’t maintain focus on achieving our goals.
These goals don’t have go be big. Do you want to make the world a better place? You could just start the intention of making one person’s day just a little bit better with a smile or an act of kindness. Or, you could be kind to yourself. But keep at it, and find a way to hold yourself accountable!
Summer’s over, and the work of Fall begins. This is a good time to remind yourself of how powerful you are, and what you can do if you put your mind to it. But yet…have you ever really, really wanted something and tried so hard to get it that you just tired yourself out and got nowhere? There’s a simple reason for this. Whether you believe in God, some form of Great Spirit, or just good old Murphy, you need to be able to relax your ego a little bit and release your intention into the world and give it time to work. Whether you call it patience or magic, it’s not all in your control.
You can look at this from a mystical mindset, or a purely practical one. If you want to get all woo-woo about it (though modern physicists may agree), you need to give the vibration of your intentions time to work with the threads of possibility at work in the universe. Thinking you’re doing something entirely by yourself is pure hubris (any why it doesn’t work sometimes).
If you’re just being purely practical about it, what it comes down to is that we often sabotage ourselves by trying so hard to get what we want that we overlook things like our own limitations, other people’s volition, and realistic time frames. We get so attached to our own ideas that we’re like a dog with a bone that doesn’t even taste good anymore.
Regardless of how you think about it, releasing your intention into the universe also frees you into the mindset of being able to accept alternatives that come to you. Sometimes we don’t really know what we want, or what we need, until it surprises us. Be a partner in your own surprise!