"Love, to be really love, has to be being-love, gift-love. Being-love means a state of love. When you have arrived home, when you have known who you are, then a love arises in your being. Then the fragrance spreads and you can give it to others." (Osho, “Tantric Transformation”)
I know this to be true, for my own journey . . . after several years of collaborating with my spiritual teacher, I gradually began to arrive at a deeper knowing of my worthiness to be loved and accepted unconditionally. When I could give this love and acceptance to myself, that same unconditional love and acceptance began to flow outward into my relationships and to the world. It felt utterly electrifying to experience this revolutionary shift.
Around the time this outward flow was starting to happen, I remember having a conversation with my former husband Jim to whom I’ve been married twice. As you might imagine, Jim and I have been through a great deal of pain and confusion during our two marriages/divorces. And yet, I was feeling a growing ease in being able to accept him for who he is and to release my judgement and woundedness. He was asking me how this was possible . . . and I explained this principle, of coming to the place of embracing who I am and feeling tender and patient with myself . . . and how when this truth is present at my core, I can share the same essence with others.
Really, it’s miraculous.
What are your thoughts about coming home to yourself? Where are you in this process? How do you feel about who you find there?
“You almost have to step outside yourself and look at you as if you were someone else you really care about and really want to protect. Would you let someone take advantage of that person? . . . Or would you speak up for them? If it was someone else you care about, you'd say something. I know you would. Okay, now put yourself back in that body. That person is you. Stand up and tell 'em, 'Enough!' ” (Queen Latifah, "Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom")
How easeful or challenging does it feel for you to say "no?" How does it feel to you to set boundaries to ensure care for yourself?
This is an enormous issue for many people – especially women - this matter of being honest about what we do and don’t want in our lives. The pattern of pleasing others, swallowing our truth and keeping the peace runs like a vast subterranean river deep in our codependent souls. We have learned how to navigate it all too well.
For years I struggled in partner and marital relationships because I lacked the self-love to declare who I really was. I was so busy being agreeable, trying to create a flawless world for those around me, but I lacked the tools to confront natural differences in desire and perception. This self-protective approach only ended up wounding those I loved as well as myself.
However, my pain invited me to head in a radical new direction, toward truth. My turning point came when I realized that if I remained in my marriage (my second marriage to the same man), I would be choosing slow death. And I wanted Life, with a capital “L.” I didn’t know it then, but that’s when I began saying “no” to living inauthentically and started taking my first steps toward unconditionally loving and accepting myself.
Where are you in your journey of standing up and declaring, “Enough!”?
“Remember that introverts react not only to new people, but also to new places and events. So don’t mistake a child’s caution in new situations for an inability to relate to others. He’s recoiling from novelty or overstimulation, not from human contact. Introverts are just as likely as the next kid to seek others’ company, though often in smaller doses.” (Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
I was a shy and keenly observant only child. When I was about 5 years old I went to a community picnic with my mom and dad. It was a sunny summer afternoon and I wanted nothing more than to sit quietly and eat hotdogs and potato salad with my mother.
On that day I received from my father one of the harshest scoldings ever, because I wouldn't go play with the other kids at the picnic. He berated me all the way home in the car and let me know how ashamed he was of my behavior. I cried for hours - one of those crying jags where you get the hiccups and can hardly breathe.
This incident was the beginning of my belief that something was undesirable about my introverted ways. My comfort with being quiet, listening, solitude, peaceful and unhurried activities. As time went on I became increasingly aware that parents and teachers and even friends had an expectation of more outwardly energized behavior. And so I began to practice being more "out there," more extroverted.
Some of the practice was beneficial . . . and some of it was not my truth.
Our world needs all of us showing up in our authentic gifts. The sensitive, empathic gifts of being an introvert and the more outgoing, competitive gifts of being an extrovert. Many of us are somewhere in-between.
How do you see yourself on the introvert/extrovert spectrum? Are you aware of past and/or present efforts to be someone you're not, in order to be more "acceptable" to others?