We are at a time of year that draws our attention to love. This is the time that focuses on Valentine’s Day. It is actually “Saint Valentines’s Day”, but the Saint has been dropped for the sake of pleasure and profit. So I am going to attempt to nudge some of the sacred back into the festival and add a big dose of self-reflection.
What if we looked at St. Valentine’s Day as a time to explore the mysteries of true love that can only come about through self-love?
I have been romantically in love, deep, passionate, erotic, demanding love enough times to write a pretty juicy memoir of dreams come true, hearts broken, of the slow death of adoration and the growing nightmare of unavoidable boredom. In all these love stories, I was always seeking a sense of myself outside myself. I wanted to be made whole. I wanted to be seen and known but instead of taking the steps to be vulnerable and transparent, I projected all that I wanted to find and know and become in myself on to my lover. And vice versa, I was loved because I could carry their projections.
I now realize the only love that endures the challenges of time is the love that springs from the fulness of self-love. No holes, vacuums, or voids that need to be magically filled by another. Nor do I feel any need to be a filler of holes, vacuums or voids in another. I can just be me, full of self, eager to embrace the fulness of the other just as they are.
Old habits, hormonal leaps and collapses, and the great love scripts and vanities still smell sweet and seduce me, but self-love has strengthened my soul. I am no longer seeking the love found in Hollywood or Hallmark, I am still tempted, and may briefly succumb, but I know the spoilers.
Maya Angelou in all her outrageous wisdom shared it this way:
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
And let me take Maya’s wisdom further: You cannot love the world, if you don’t first love yourself. You cannot love the unknown future, if you do not love the unknown, unfolding mysteries of your own soul.
I do not want to be a naked person, I want a closet full of shirts!
Through sacred self love our inner attention and activity would be to know the pure sweet joy of self-loving free of should’s, wishes, judgments, and inflations. Neither overvaluing aspects of yourself nor undervaluing them. Neither obsessive fascination with yourself nor anxious avoidance…just self-love as a solid ground and an ennobling goal for meaning, significance and purpose. And the recognition that self-love is the true path to loving all other human beings.
Self-love is not about a passionate, driving desire to adore, possess, or surrender to an object. It does not take hold of you nor promise ecstasy. It is not about falling, but rising. It is not about madness, but sobriety, temperance, and serenity.
Self love is about living at your core, your holy of holies. It is about being observant, about attending to the configuration, complexity, coherence and changes of all that you consist of in your individual expression of being human.
Oh, how love for another soul, for the world, and for the future can flow freely from the fountain of self-love.
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In a couple of days, I will be sending you your invitation to enroll in the Core Imaginations Curriculum, a schooling for self-love.
Meanwhile, contemplate loving yourself, and if you find self-doubt, self-fear, or self-contempt give yourself some flowers, chocolates, essential oils, a beeswax candle and take a nice warm bath. Call on St Valentine to stand behind you and place his hand at the back of your heart and then go to your heart and revisit yourself with loving interest. Put on a shirt and drink from the fountain.
If you still struggle, please schedule a complementary call with me.