This is a loose transcript of the video below–
I wanted to share it a little bit with you about how important it is to learn to love ourselves. I just finished up a meditation with a corporate client that I have on Thursday mornings. I have been doing this since May, and today we used loving kindness as our practice.
If you are not familiar with loving kindness, it’s where we offer love to ourselves and we offer love to other people. We love a neutral person, all beings, and it is really important that we do that because I know coming out of just teaching the practice now how open my heart feels right now.
There’s been some things on my mind in the last few weeks, I’ve come across some different posts and videos and ideas that have really made me think about this idea of how I love myself, how you may love yourself or not love ourselves, right?
And our practice, our mind, body spirit practice can really make a difference in that. For example, we can love our body or hate our body. I know I went through a lot of times where my body has been up and down in size. And I cannot say that when I was at my fittest, that I was my happiest or, feeling most peaceful. What I do know is that I feel peaceful now. So the thing is, if I’m not okay with how I am now, right with the body, with the mind, with the spirit I have now, well then if I say, well, if I lose weight, if I was a smaller weight ….
Let me share with you a quote that a friend posted recently. It is a quote by Anne Lamott.
And it says, “If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150 or even 135, the self-respect and peace of mind you long for, okay, it’s within, it’s within us. And I hate that. I resent that more than I can say, but it is true. “
And it is true. We must love ourselves where we are each day, because our mind-body-spirit can change every single day because of how we’re feeling from time to time, moment to moment.
Now, certainly I went through times where I went through body shaming, myself feeling disconnected from my body growing up with a mother that would judge everyone, by the way they looked, especially their body shape. I mean, I don’t know how many times I heard that, or if I gained weight or I lost weight, there was always some sort of comment. So, I became very self-conscious about that. And over the years, as I have practiced meditation, certainly and yoga I felt stronger. There is an internal shift that can occur and that when we are doing these practices for ourselves, including our spiritual practice and looking at those judgments that come in.
As I said, I have been teaching this mindfulness class. I teach several mindfulness classes right now, but this one for this corporate office today was focused on this idea of loving kindness. So mindfulness in itself is being in the present moment without going to opposites, loving only what’s good and wanting more of the good in my life and then resisting or pushing away what seemingly bad. I can be here now in the present moment and be at peace. I can be calm and just allow things to be as they are to allow myself to be exactly as I am. And certainly I’ve had my days and my times over the years where I’ve had to work with those past thoughts that come out you know, the past voices of you’re not good enough, or your body’s not good enough or that, or anything similar to that.
Certainly, during this time of COVID and we have been isolated within our homes maybe alone, maybe with our families and a lot of that anxiety and depression could come up about comparing ourselves to what other people were doing. Maybe you’re seeing different posts. Maybe you are watching this post, maybe other posts that people are making, like, they are baking bread. And they’re doing all these wonderful things with their family, and you say to yourself, “I’m not, I’m trying to just deal day to day with what’s occurring. You know, maybe I’m out of work, maybe this, and in my case, my business, you I’ve had to temporarily close my business, my office, but I can still keep moving on.
I think that is what drives me is because of the practices that I have that I have put into my life, that I can feel stronger about who I am. One of the videos I saw recently was the cast of the Broadway show, Hamilton. I guess it was from 2015. I do not remember the year, but the cast was doing a celebration of 40 years of the show, A Chorus Line. And so, the Hamilton cast came out and they started singing a few songs from A Chorus Line.
One of the songs they sang, I think it is called “I Need This Job,”, but it’s starts off with “Who am I anyway?” while one person is collecting resumes. So “Who am I anyway? Am I, my resume?” Is this who I am? Is everything listed here, or is what I look like, is that who I am? But I know there is something so much deeper to that, right. We may need the job. We may need this. We may need that, but who am I truly? I want to be a person That is compassionate and loving to all.
I have a quote and it is from the Buddha. And it says, “If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it is in complete.”
We must have that compassion for ourselves. And that is something that is important to me, self-compassion. Having that self-compassion for ourselves, because without ourselves, how can we support anyone else? Right? How can we do that? How can we give love if we don’t even know how to do that for ourselves? So it doesn’t matter what size you are. You can still do movement in yoga.
I was just was interviewed for a podcast yesterday. And we talked about this idea is that it does not matter what your body shape is. You can still bring some movement into your life. It doesn’t matter how old you are. I will be 57 later this year. It doesn’t matter your age. It does not matter your ability, your flexibility level, etc., and the same is true with meditation. If you have never meditated before and why not do it now, try it now work on this idea of self-compassion so that you can be a light into the world.
And one of the other things I want to share with you before I leave with you today, this was in Lion’s Roar magazine, it is a Buddhist magazine. This is a recitation that is traditional and the Shin Buddhist communities. It is called The Golden Chain” and children recite this. And it’s just beautiful.
“I am a link in the Buddha’s golden chain of love that stretches around the world.
I must keep my link bright and strong.
I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who were weaker than myself.
I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts to say pure and beautiful words and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on what I do now, depends not only on my happiness, but also that of others may every link in the Buddha’s golden chain of love become bright and strong.
And may we all attain perfect peace.”
It’s beautiful. This issue the theme is “The Healing Power of the Heart.” Once again, it’s Lion’s Roar magazine.
So those are some other thoughts I have. And certainly keep doing your practice. If you need help with your practice, if you want to start a practice, I may not be able to meet you in my office right now, but I can meet you via Zoom online by phone, I’m working with someone by phone right now as well.
So, whatever you need, I am here to support you. Just go to the website – www.peacefulwellness.org – and I’m here to assist you in any way possible, because it is so important that we love ourselves. It is important to keep working on that area. I’ve been doing that with groups, with individuals for a long time, and we need to release those limiting beliefs that we have, those judgments that we have. We do this so our light can shine forth just as “The Golden Chain” said. We can be a beacon to others, and certainly that is what we need to do.
Keep loving yourself. Namaste.