It’s so interesting how when one journey completes a new one emerges. On the last day of May Is For Metta 2013, I was preparing to lead a workshop on Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Your Inner Cheerleader the following day at a women’s recovery retreat. One of the points I share in that workshop focuses on loving ourselves as a key to healing and transformation, which is at heart of my personal journey and my work. It is a major focus here on The Heart Of Awakening Blog as well. I often like to close my workshops and gatherings with a poem and although I had one in mind, for some reason, I felt to google “self-love poems”. I was surprised to find a poem by Charlie Chaplin on this subject, but as I read it, I was just amazed and inspired.
I ended up sharing the poem with my writing group a few days later and we were all really touched by it in a deep way. What emerged was the idea to use this poem as a practice. So for as long as it takes, we will be working with one stanza a week as a prompt for writing and for life. We are just coming to the end of the first week and I have found this prompt to be a great catalyst for self-exploration as well as writing. The focus of the first stanza is on Authenticity and is as follows:
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.”
Although the concept that Chaplin shared is not new to me, by holding that awareness in the forefront of my consciousness, I found was more able to recognize when I was in a place of alignment and when perhaps, I was going against my truth. I wasn’t focused on changing anything specifically at this time, rather, my focus was just about noticing when I felt anguish or emotions arising and what that was about. It was almost like the breath in meditation. Each time I felt something, I checked in with myself. I believe one of the great “dis-eases” in our modern world, and perhaps, one that causes many of our illness and imbalances both individually and societally, is our disconnection from our feelings.
It is a very common experience to learn or be taught to suppress and override our feelings and it takes practice to begin to allow them to just be. I found this exploration really helped with that practice and in a way that I was not attached to changing or working with the emotions but just noticing. That’s all it really takes to allow one’s feelings. I shared a bit about this exploration in a guest blog post on the Heal My Voice Blog. Here is a link to that post, “A Journey Into Awakening”.
I’ll be sharing more as this exploration continues. Feel free to join in as you feel to and as always, your thoughts, feelings and reflections are always welcome here or on HOA’s Facebook Page, too.
Here is the full poem for you to read:
As I Began To Love Myself By Charlie Chaplin
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!