I've been thinking a lot about words, and the ones in particular that have been special to me this year... words like mystery, heart, stillness, retreat, nature, prayer, spiritual, and my very favorite word this year, sacred. I think it's actually my all-time favorite word ever, it's just so beautiful, so infused with meaning and feeling... And then there are the three little words that I have bandied about almost carelessly, tossed like stale breadcrumbs in the wind...uttered casually out loud in a phone conversation, written naively in a journal, whispered silently from the depths... innocently, blindly, as though words aren't energy, sent quietly or not so quietly out into the Universe, as though they aren't prayers in and of themselves. as though they don't have the power to radically change everything.
Self and Love are pretty much self-explanatory. Self = Me, Love = well, love is love, though that could be a whole other conversation - and most likely will be. But here are some synonyms for the word radical:
Profound self love. Drastic self love. Cutting-edge self love. Deep-seated self love. Foundational self love. Extreme self love. Exceptional self love, Unconventional self love. Sweeping self love. Rigorous self love. Life-altering self love.
Quite out of my own conscious hands, radical self love has arrived at my doorstep as my theme for the new year. Along with it's cousins, radical self care, radical self acceptance, radical self tenderness, radical self honesty, etc., etc. Not an easy assignment, and already the ripples are spreading out from the pebble tossed in the pond. Things, people, ideas, beliefs, activities are all coming under the intense scrutiny of radical self love: How does this make me feel? How does it serve me? How does this impact my life? How does this affect my energy? Is this food for my soul? And on and on... putting everything through the radical self love filter. There is a serious urge to purge... radically... to eliminate all but the fundamentals from my life, all that does not truly serve, nurture, inspire, energize, and expand my heart, mind, consciousness, being - and begin again from that emptiness.
Years and years ago, when I first began therapy, I started taking a two to four hour bath every morning. I'd get up, get the kids ready and drop them at school, come back and run a hot bath and lay in the water for hours. I read books, had phone conversations, opened to memories, soul searched, cried, survived. One day a good friend told me that to take so much time in a bath every day was selfish. But honestly, I think those baths saved my life. It's the same thing here... there could be accusations that this is selfish, self-indulgent, narcissistic, even, but I don't think so. People in the spiritual and psychological know tell us that we can only truly love if we love ourselves first. Put your own oxygen mask on first...
I'm putting my oxygen mask on and securing it in place. I know this is not going to be easy. There may well be earthquakes, great or small. Tears in the fabric of what has been my life and way of being. And I'm thinking maybe for the year, this space will be dedicated to the journey. A safe place where I can explore, and write about what it's like, about changes and challenges and letting go and the exact and true nature of rigorous, radical, sweeping, challenging, potentially-painful-but-also-potentially-life-altering-in-a-most-amazing-way self love. Maybe you will join me.
A Blessed New Year,