Monday, January 30, 2012

Reflections & Musings: Experience the brilliance of love.

"But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tonight, I saw a shooting star. Sitting alone on the sands of Paia Bay, waves crashing on the beach before me, in the darkness of night and the slightly blurry sight through my glasses. This was after my beau and I found ourselves in a disagreement, where the resolution was to end the discussion, as daybreak would likely bring a better understanding of everything. 

He and I, we are two very independent and strong-willed souls. At times, it's like reading the same page out of a book we both love. At other times, it's as though we're playing tug-of-war, only we're both pulling on the same end of the rope, trying to go in opposite directions. Our differing temperaments and distinct personalities also mean that we can be amazingly insightful for one another, especially as we grow to understand and respect the other person's unique life path and spiritual journey. Altogether, we have a very balancing and real partnership. 

Often, I wish that our relationship could be a bit more like the romance of the movies where without saying anything, the perfectly happy ending simply appears amidst a soundtrack crescendo that inspires grandiose gestures from the heart. After all, wouldn't that be the easy way out of challenging situations? 

What I've come to realize again and again is that I'm now in a grown-up relationship. I'm no longer the kid looking for guidance from the parent; I'm not the mom trying to take care of everything; I'm not an inexperienced lovestruck girl with a crush; I'm not a damsel in distress calling out for a hero; and I'm definitely not a broken person searching for someone to put me back together again. Sure, remnants of these stories still pop up now and again, as if they were soap bubbles suddenly floating into my realm of awareness, and I do my best to dissolve them as quickly as they appear.

I am me. And, I'm lucky enough to be with someone who loves all of me. The hard part about that? Well, I just don't always believe it, because now and again, I myself have a hard time loving all of me. In yoga, there's a saying, "So within, as without," which can be interpreted that whatever we're feeling on the inside is what is being reflected on the outside. If I don't love myself unconditionally or whole-heartedly, then of course it'll be hard for me to believe that anyone else could!

How do I love myself more? I do the things that make me feel good to my core. We all know what this feeling is like, though for some of us, it can be a rarer experience. Luckily, practice makes perfect! It's that moment where we feel such a chord struck within us as though we're large orchestral cymbals and the reverberations move through our layers until the sensation finally dissipates into the ether.

  • Every morning and evening when I brush my teeth, my SonicAir toothbrush has a timer set for two minutes. This could either seem like a tedious task or it could be an opportunity for me to look in the mirror and repeat affirmations about myself! I choose the latter, and it makes the time go by so much more enjoyably and quicker.
  • The simple things make me happy. Writing in my journal while sitting outside with a hot cup of tea and maybe playing a little music in the background, this makes me feel at peace.
  • I fall into a quick meditation where everything tangible and outside of me melts away, so that I find myself letting my imagination expand to the far reaches of possibility in a way that when I come back into the "real world," everything seems to have re-set itself, just a lil' bit.
  • I create a gratitude list that immediately puts me in a much more humble, loving, and wondrous mood. 
  • I sit outside in the sunshine, which living by the beach in Southern California, is an easy thing to do. Nature and brightness are immediate mood-boosters for me.
  • I listen/watch a great TED Talk, because these are always inspiring to remember how great we really can be (and already are).
But, these are all "doing" things and one of my favorite sayings I learned when I first began this yogic journey is, "We're not human doings, we're human beings." Recently, I came upon a teaching that encouraged us to understand we don't need to "do" to be loved and that we really have to remove that notion from our minds. It's too much pressure, and has to do with factors and outcomes outside of ourselves.

How do I love myself more just by being? Well, I'm working on that. If y'all have suggestions, I'd love to hear them! What's worked for you? How have you grown more into the person you've always wanted to be? How have you fallen in love with yourself again and again?

Tonight, for greater peace within, I felt inspired to go outside. Sitting on a soft mound of sand beneath a blanket of shimmering warmth from the heavens above, I looked up to the half smiling moon and asked for clarity. As I came to realize that it's time to truly, really, finally, genuinely, sincerely let go of my past rather than continually bringing it into the present — this is when the shooting star danced across the sky.

May all of us experience greater love, compassion, courage, and kindness with one another in each moment of every day. Let fear be a thing of the past. And, most importantly, may we all love ourselves deeply, because as Carl Sagan said, we are all made of star stuff.

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