Good writing is re-writing and I guess part of blogging is an opportunity to re-write my madness. I’ve been looking at some of my older posts and sometimes I wonder who wrote these things. LOL One year, for the months of January and February all I wrote about was change LOL…
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-=[ The Power of Love/ Love Power ]=-
“To love is not a passive thing. To love is an active voice. When I love I do something, I function, I give. I do not love in order that I may be loved back again, but for the creative joy of loving. And every time I do so love, I am freed, at least a little, by the outgoing of love, from enslavement to that most intolerable of master, myself.”
— Bernard Iddings Bell
I believe that the Beatles song , “All you need is love,” is true. The current of love is what flows through everything. No healing techniques in the world, all the fad diets, all the self-help books, will not really help unless love goes with them. Too many of our problems — physical, emotional, even spiritual — have their origins in the lack of love. My experience has taught me that people generally need to love themselves again in order to actually heal themselves.
I have found that many problems come from a form of self-hate or self-rejection to one degree or another. Check it out for yourself: many people, for some reason, keep creating uncomfortable experiences for themselves — substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, smoking, or through food abuse, for example. Until they are willing to release the need to punish themselves, there is not a lot that can be done for them. I think this is why people who, lets’ say, manage to lose 100 lbs often experience the yo-yo effect and end up gaining back 150 lbs later on. In too many cases, there are signs of healing, but the results are too often temporary.
When love is present, things are different even when it is a life-threatening illness. For example, I have witnessed amazing changes in consciousness within people in an AIDS ward where I once volunteered. In fact, I see such changes all the time when love is present.
How to start? Well, the first thing we need to do is stop criticizing ourselves, because it doesn’t help — it actually only helps in keeping us stuck in our problems. It is only when we are willing to love and accept ourselves — even those aspects of ourselves we like least — that we can begin to create real change.
A large part of loving ourselves is actually nothing more than accepting ourselves as we are. Most of us (and this is especially relevant at this time of the year), have long mental lists of what we must do before we will love ourselves. We have to lose weight, or get an academic degree or new job, get a raise, or get a new relationship, a new car, new apartment, or whatever. In actuality, what we really create with these lists are more reasons why we can’t love ourselves. In addition — and this is the kicker — if we do manage to accomplish those things, we still don’t love ourselves; we make a new list of reasons why we can’t love ourselves yet…
Can I get a witness?!!
Don’t misunderstand: when we make the conscious decision to say that we will love and accept ourselves as we are, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to change. What it does mean is that we’re going to change by starting with the idea, “This is what I’d like to do,” rather than with, “What a bad person I am to have this problem” — eating too much, drinking too much, or whatever. What’s important to note here is the subtle shift in perception: the positive idea, so much more open to possibilities, is more powerful than the negative idea.
The difference may seem small to you at first glance, but it’s extremely important. It’s the difference between feeling that we are inadequate or insignificant, or instead saying, “This is me as I am, and I think I would like to change some things.”
In my work, I often encourage my clients to move away from using the word “should” and replacing it with “could.” That’s really a small thing that huge ramifications. When people work with that, it helps open the door to the awareness into how rigid their thinking is. Many of us have rules about how things should be, rather than allowing ourselves to enjoy what is.
We also create certain kinds of illnesses within ourselves. We actually cause our minds and bodies to go off balance to the point where they disrupt our lives. At first glance, this may seem like a totally negative thing. But there is a hidden benefit even from such experiences — a learning that can arise from illness — if we are willing to see it.
A large part of what I do is to try to show people how they are not loving themselves, then asking the question, “Are you willing to let that go? Or do you wan t to hold on to it.” There’s always this choice. I realize that it’s way too easy to intellectualize what I am writing — I am sure almost everyone reading this honestly believes this doesn’t apply to them. But before you condemn, realize that many of us hold on to what hurts us most because it is what we know and to let go is to jump into the unknowable. And you know what? We are never wrong if we choose to hold on to it for a period of time.
If you want to argue this point with me, I would suggest you first look into your past relationships and try to notice if there are any patterns…
When I first decided that I wanted to be a healer it was because I wanted to “fix” things (control freak! LOL). Then I discovered that I didn’t have to fix anything if I could teach people to love themselves. Because if you truly love yourself, you automatically stop creating problems for yourself. Gradually, I realized that what I really am is a conduit for this love — this unconditional love. I have to say that my “work” has had the most impact on me.
If you doubt the power of love, think about the work of Dr. Bernie Seigel, who wrote, Love, Medicine, and Miracles. He has demonstrated that love actually has the power to stimulate the immune system. He says that the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system is love, and that love heals. Imagine for a moment if you added this dynamic to your exercise or diet regimen? That’s why we’re all here today — we crave this love, but too often we seek it from outside of ourselves.
I was struck by this when I went to see the movie Monster about the tragic life of killer Aileen Wournus. Do you know what she wanted more than anything in the world? She wanted to be loved and accepted. She never in her dreadfully abusive life ever knew true love. As children, what we wanted more than anything was to be loved and accepted as we were. That’s still what all of us want, only we’re not going to get it until we’re willing to give it to ourselves first then to others.
After we stop criticizing ourselves, the next step is to be gentle, kind, and patient with ourselves. We’re learning new things and we can’t learn them all in one day. That’s the major drawback to diet fads: how can you expect to lose in a month or two what took you years, sometimes decades, to gain? One of the best things I heard recently was someone commenting that she lost fifteen pounds last year. To many people that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I am struck by the amount of self-acceptance embedded in her comment.
I think we also need to praise ourselves much more. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit; praise builds it. We need to love to our negative patterns because we created them to fulfill a need. Those chichos (love handles)? That cellulite? That flab? As long as you despise them, you will despise yourself and stop yourself from finding more effective means to fulfill that loving need.
Yes, we need to take care of our bodies, to treat them as the precious creations they are. We need to learn about nutrition and exercise (just because a fad diet helps you lose weight, it doesn’t mean it’s also “healthy”). We need to look at the kind of fuel we put into our bodies and the consequences of those choices. But more than anything, we need to love ourselves.
I’m a great believer in affirmations and looking in the mirror and saying to yourself, “I love you.” That works well in moving away from self-hatred. Wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “What can I do for you today? What can I do to make you happy?”
As simple as this exercise is, very few people will practice it. It never ceases to amaze me that most of my clients have never tried these things. Then I have to remind myself that people don’t come to me because their lives are filled with joy
In retrospect, I really don’t do anything for anybody. But perhaps I am a bridge — an instrument — to something more genuine. And I’m meeting more and more people like that; people who are finding real lasting change.
In the end, when you are dying (and we are all going to die), what will have mattered?