“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
Although I’m not crazy about the commercial hype attached to special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I am all for celebrating love. I have learned that truly loving others starts with loving ourselves; for me that means taking the time necessary to honor body, mind and spirit by eating healthy foods, obtaining sufficient rest, regular exercise, sunshine, meaningful connections and meditation.
Meditation has proved the most challenging yet most essential element on my path of self-love. Without it, I can too easily find myself swimming in a surrounding sea of negative thoughts without sight of a peaceful haven. The consequent choices I make color my life, affect those around me and influence the surrounding environment.
Last year I adopted Sammy the cat in celebration of Mother’s Day. Day after day, I sat cross-legged on the floor for hours playing with my new friend that, I told myself, would not leave me alone. That was my justification for lazing around the house more than was good for me. What’s your rationale for indulging in too much of anything to the exclusion of a healthier, more balanced life?
Through the years I have rationalized inaction for any number of reasons; the beauty of it is that each excuse has a natural feel-good remedy. My latest regimen is to get up early no matter when I went to bed, drink a cup of green tea with caffeine to combat any mental fatigue, explore different body positions and techniques for meditating and sometimes try audio aids or a group; it all helps me start my day off well.
In just the first week, this new approach to freshening my day has made a world of difference to me, enough that other people have noticed. Sammy likes to curl up in my lap and quietly purrs while I meditate, keeping me warm on winter mornings.
I feel good about myself for sticking with this commitment thus far, which brings me to my favorite subject: rewards! It always helps to have incentives. One of my favorites is a “Feel-Good Massage” like those explored on pages 21and 22. Austin is blessed with a wealth of skilled bodyworkers, some of whom contributed welcome tips for this issue.
Regardless of how you come to love yourself, it starts with the simple act of boldly choosing loving kindnesses instead of being bound by disguised fears.
I choose love,
Shelly Searle, Publisher