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What started your descent into love with yourself?

In my 30’s it began.

I romanced myself in the gothic bathroom of the old semi in Balmain. Jasmin grew from outside in the cracks of the rotting window sill and hung long down into my bath-tub. I lit candles. The floor was concrete, the room was big, it was a dreaming space and a sexing space. I sang made-up songs loudly with the shower steam amp on full.

I bought a big case of chalk pastels from the lovely old art supplies store and sat in bed playing with colour. Some nights I traded the chalk for paint and allowed the energy within to create shapes and colour and movement on the page, and sometimes on the bedsheets. One night I did this with a friend. We drank vodka and created an art show of woven limbs on a page that really could have exhibited anywhere.

Workshops. Journals. Books and books and books until no books had anything to add to what had woken up inside. The Hum. The every question has it’s own answer; question and answer being one, no more questions. I dreamed big dreams. I played happily in small moments. I cried and ached and dreamed again. I started a business to bring spiritual awareness to the corporate world and pounded the pavement and achieved some perhaps, a little here, a little there.

I walked down into the cliff face at the Dawn Fraser pool and sat on the rock in the middle of the amber wall and meditated, merging with the water, the trees and the old town.

I danced through many, many nights, running across the city with my heart open and heels high … heels … high and made very many new best friends.

I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and in my room I was all kinds of ill and lonely and desperate and wise and expanded. So much life inside and so much watching and waiting as the world went by over there someplace. Day turned into night, then day and night waiting endlessly for my body to fire up with energy again.

I got clear about all the things I wasn’t – I wasn’t an “ungrateful child”, I wasn’t the awkward fat one (or maybe just a little, but with all kinds of deeply sensual woman love fuelling me), I wasn’t the ambitious career woman (except when I was), I wasn’t the suburban girl, after a time I wasn’t Little Miss Inner City either, I wasn’t a hippie (although a sweet flower child resides inside), I wasn’t a push-over, whilst sometimes in desperate straits I wasn’t a desperate person, I wasn’t much of a follower … so freeing to experience and notice this, one by one.

In my 30’s I experienced wild freedom and great limitation. Somewhere, in the tension between these two forces, I fell in love with myself.

Something woke up. I touched my body as a lover would. I offered the same touch to trees I befriended (no drugs involved, honest). I looked in the mirror and it warmed and stirred me. No matter what pain or darkness followed, and it did, my primal state, the ultimate known truth, was of being in love and absolutely lit in joy and awe and wonder at the energies that moved through me.

Looking back I guess I see some kind of imperfect alchemy between expression and containment, the feminine and masculine and a burning desire for truth and wholeness.

So, I ask you, what would it take to fall in love with yourself?

Not to hate yourself, not to have a balanced view of yourself, but to let go and surrender into yourself, so that each breath beats alive with the pure joy of being you. So that you lose yourself as in a lover, but in truth fall more deeply into and through the layers of you; an open heart field through which universal energy flows. Welcome flow, river rising you to higher and higher. Expanding you way beyond places fumbling lovers touched.

You and the flow are one … and not. For the dance remains. And the dancer being danced. A delicious all that melts your field and changes what your eyes see.

What would it take?

For me it was chalk and tears, midnight and mad dancing, rising, falling, rising, falling, til it no longer mattered if I was rising or falling, or maybe a little, but the essence of me remained, the voluminous river running through, ever expanding me.

What would it take?

Some places to start.

1. Retire the tired.

Notice what is tired and old in your life, the roles you’ve outgrown, the mental habits. In the slowing down and noticing, you may find you have less energy or desire to keep it up. Notice the needs you were trying to meet in this way and hold them kindly and consciously.

2. Tune in to you.

Think about the people and places where you are most yourself. Notice how that feels in your body, how you behave and express yourself. Now imagine expanding this way of being into other areas of your life.

3. Love into the closure

Become aware of where you may suppress you true needs and desires around certain people. Take a moment to really notice and be with that. Feel into the closure, the state of protection and from this safe place, what would be the next small step towards opening. Even staying present in the dynamic, but consciously opening up your chest and your breath, connecting your belly and your breath, while the same-old, same-old is going on, will start to change things.

4. Find it and amplify it

Now let’s try the other way, think big. If you knew you would always be safe and respected and accepted, what would you like to explore, speak or play with? Be known for? If you took the essence of you-ness and turned up the volume to 100, what would that look like, who would you be with, what would you be doing, what would that feel like?

5. Never forget to breathe

With your whole body and all five senses.

 

See the article in “elephant” conscious living journal here:

 

Why is self-belief important?

A student at Bond asked me some questions today about self belief:

1.    Why do you think it is important to believe in yourself in order to succeed in life?

When someone believes in themselves they are likely to take little risks, to embrace opportunities to approach life from an open place, know that they have the resources within them to deal with whatever may arise.  Without enough self-belief we can find ourselves shrinking back into an avoidance pattern that limits our opportunities for connection and achievement in life.

2.    What is your advice for people who want to start thinking more positively about themselves?

If you feel that your self-belief could be a little shaky … slow down a moment, get a little reflective and start remembering the good times, the fun times, your past achievements, times when you felt in the flow and in the zone – what personal qualities were you drawing on in those moments … how did you help create those experiences?  Now become more aware of when those qualities are at play in your own life, draw on them consciously as you go about your day, to deal with challenges, to create connection, to step towards your goals.

3.    Do you come across many patients who struggle to believe in themselves?

Most of us struggle, on some level, to believe in ourselves enough.  Life can be quick to put barriers and challenges in our path.  It’s a very human trait to focus on the fear or worry, rather than on the personal strengths that can help us navigate the worry.  But with practice it gets easier.  Start to notice the strengths in others too and reflect it back to them. This way we can start to create mini communities or networks of people who support each other to operate from their strengths and the whole thing starts to get easier.

There’s a link here to a scientifically validated strengths assessment tool – VIA Character Strengths. 

There’s a short and long version.  If you have 20 or 40 min free, do the questionnaire and it will reflect back to you your top 5 unique character strengths.  Notice how they operate in your life today.  Bring them into play more consciously and start to experience the rewards of feeling more authentic, at ease and creative.

Consider personal coaching to get more from working with your strengths.