I woke one night thinking of a client who had chosen an action step of taking a 5 minute walk outside each day. I had this image in my mind of her in a field – a midwestern corn field in early spring, still brown and wet from winter snows. And I could feel the hug. I could feel that as she walked the wise, peaceful, loving part of herself was embracing the part of her that is working so hard just to survive her days. I could feel that part saying “thank you” with kindness and compassion. Thank you for working so hard for us.
There was the sense in the scene that the wisest part of her knew that the striving and hard work she’s doing isn’t really needed, that there is another way, but still wanted her to feel was a great big genuine THANK YOU for the part that’s trying so hard to do what it thinks is needed. Love meets us where we are.
This scene that woke me up in the night reminded me of a meditation that I learned from Amanda Kemp – Ho'oponopono. It’s rooted in native Hawaiian traditions — “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” You can use it with a focus on relationships with other people, but she taught it to me to use for myself first.
In this case, it felt to me as if the wise grandmother part of my client in the scene was wrapping the so, so tired hardworking part of her in a big hug of wind and sun and earth and sky and birds and winter seeds under the earth, waiting to burst open in new life and saying just the last part. “Thank you. I love you. Thank you. I love you.”
I think so often that the most powerful thing, the most healing thing, the wisest thing we can do for our tired, sincere, often misguided hard-working selves is just to say, “thank you, I love you.”
I was also reminded of a time when I was finishing up my dissertation, asking my body to do so much – to stay up late, to manage a whole lot of stress etc. — and I started dreaming of nutritious soup. I remember that I realized that I was being so unkind to my body and that it really wasn’t fair to ask it to do so much, to work extra hard, without giving it what it needed.
My typical pattern in times of stress was to eat more of the kinds of foods that aren’t particularly helpful to my body. And if you had told me prior to that moment that I would be able to decrease my intake of white gluten-laden foods, sugar, wine and dairy products in the middle of a particularly stressful time I would have said, “No way – that’s way too hard to do right now.” But in this case, the call of kindness to myself (“rather than I SHOULD eat better” energy) was so clear that I was able to do it—as a gift to myself.
Susan Hyatt in her new book Bare – a good read if you struggle with body image or dieting—encourages her readers to ask a similar question, “What feels like love?” when starting a journey towards a friendly relationship with their bodies and food.
Thank you. I love you. Thank you. I love you. What feels like kindness? What feels like love?
I hope you’ll take a few moments to offer thanks to your hardworking self. And then ponder what feels like a step towards love, a step towards kindness. And take it.
If you need help finding your way shoot me an email. I’d love to help.
Here’s to thriving and equity (on a path of gratitude, love and kindness.)
P.S. This week I was thankful I got to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. It’s a must see! Visit their site here.