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The Love that Stays: How To Find Self Love

cheerful woman standing near silver tinsel

Welcome to my valentine’s day post about finding that mysterious self love everybody talks about but nobody seems to know how to do.

This will not include tips on how to make your lover never leave you.

I have a secret to share with you; and it is as beautiful as a sunny day after 5 days of rain. It is as refreshing as a cold cup of lemonade in scorching heat. This secret is an answer to the undying mysterious feeling that something is missing.

Just know that the love that stays is the best kind.

It is the peace beneath every breath be it a short one or a long deep one. Surely, let’s not kid ourselves, some days are so terribly hard and some breaths are suffocatingly shallow. Unfortunately too, some people leave us when we don’t really want them to. Simple.Emotions can get stormy and messy, but know that there is a love that never leaves.

There is Hope for Love

Hopefully, you are latching on to my stream of thought here. You were born with the love that never leaves. It is that breath of life the moment you opened your eyes. Love is always there in our bodies, but our clash with the external world silences it. The love in your heart is always there it just gets mocked, locked up and deserted. Love for the self is innate, and not a solid thing contrary to what you might think, it is like water, it flows wherever there is space, and no matter how much it is pounded it will not get bruised. You could feel like this love can be beaten down, and torn to pieces and shredded because It has the capacity to look like other things. Just rest assured that its innate quality remains eternal from the day you were born until the day you die. The love that stays is absolute and complete inside of each one of us.

You might be thinking: But how come I don’t feel it?

There are many reasons for that, and I will help you look at them.

We place so many layers of protection over that sweet love inside of ourselves. In the beginning that love wants to grow and expand into everything we touch and everybody we meet.

But one bad look here, one disappointment there, a good old heartbreak follows, then sprinkle that with different types of rejection, neglect and egoism. That little love now rests underneath every possible defense system you could develop. We want to protect ourselves from pain.

It is a sad story to see that most of us by age 30 have almost forgotten what it feels like to experience that little childlike affinity for things and people. We start experiencing mind love, you hear people say I love with my mind not my heart and that’s ok; but its also a dysfunction, because mind and heart go together. If you don’t uncover, dust off and free that internal self love, then it becomes difficult to use that heart.

How do you find Self love?

Sit with yourself and truly check how you feel.

Really try to answer those questions

Just know that the more sincerely you answer these questions, the more you awaken the love within. There you find the beauty of feeling a sense of connection to yourself. The more you ask and answer, the answers will get sweeter and simpler. The simplest form eventually will appear to you as the love that has always been there, and the love that will never leave you.

You are there for yourself, you can overcome and float, you have pure potential for explosive beauty. Let your heart speak again, let your body feel again and experience those emotions that keep you locked in.

Love yourself first. Self love is eternal and beautiful; once that is done everything else falls into place.

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The Way out of Struggle

Do you ever feel like nothing is working in your favor? As if the world is conspiring against you, forcing you to struggle, and the more you push forward, the harder everything pushes back?

This is a tricky situation that can usually leave us hopeless and in a state of fear and eminent defeat. The good news is that there is a way.

There is always a way to get through the tough phases in our lives!

Handling External Resistance and Struggle

It requires a step back first. Once we step back from the mess we think we are in, we must acknowledge things for what they are. AKA accountability.

young asian female looking at reflection
Photo by JESSICA TICOZZELLI on Pexels.com

Accountability helps us define the problem we are in, and sometimes we are the biggest culprits in said problem simply because we refuse to (breathe, calm down, say something to somebody, move, take action, cry, confront, walk away…) Choose your poison.

In other words it all goes down to this:

Repeat after the chorus:

I AM NOT A VICTIM. I AM NOT A VICTIM.

However, if I believe that I am one, then I will surely keep behaving like it and guess what? An oppressor will always find me even if I were trying to sleep at night. The oppressor will come in the form of insomnia.

The Alchemy Between Internal and External Release and Resistance

You see, life is an exchange of beliefs, actions, energies and space. Our beliefs determine our realities, and our limiting beliefs determine the limitations to our actions towards growth. The energies are not only positive and negative, light and dark but also, can be anything from confusion and clarity, chaos and order…so on. Space surrounds us all, and we live by function of the beliefs, actions and energies we feel define us. As a result, we are met with what we put out. And if my partial spiritual mumbo jumbo has lost you by now, tell your science brain to read on confirmation bias. We are constantly met with the things we believe to be true.

So if we believe that we cannot move, then we will not be in motion voluntarily. However, something external could move us, but it will only move us into a smaller corner, simply because that is what our belief system and our energies allow into our space; restraint.

What we believe about ourselves is usually echoed back to us. What we have to do is notice it and be vulnerable with ourselves. The words make it seem easy to do, but in all honesty this is a difficult thing. Embracing our struggle with compassion and assertiveness, allows us to be vulnerable and hopefully courageous enough to admit to ourselves what our limiting beliefs are. We can then see clearly where we engage in regressive actions and in self sabotage.

The Way Out of the Struggle

Everything is temporary; let’s get that out of the way first. So take it in and recognize the short time we all have on this glorious planet, with our loved ones. Presence is the first exit from the mental struggle. Presence and gratitude put everything in perspective no matter what. When we drop the victim state, or narrative or grand story line, and let presence and gratitude in, clarity becomes easier. Honesty becomes easier. The only way out of the mysterious struggle is to recognize that most of the times, we are in the center of it; and changing ourselves allows us to change perspective, treat it like fertilizer and grow gloriously and graciously out of it.

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Never Late to Start a Different Life

Killing The Childhood Dream

We have a problem. Many people are unhappy, and unsatisfied with the lives they lead. Most people stop dreaming because it is not sustainable in modern society, and only fantasize about a different life. People are manipulated into believing that they need so much more than they really do; and with that they become slaves to a system that murders every child’s dream in its wake of adulthood. There is an alternative though. We can be happier and healthier.

The desk to bed life never compelled me in any way. Imagine growing up with a passion for learning and exploring but never picturing a future that included a job. I was very good at school because I enjoyed it, not because I wanted an awesome job. Don’t many – at least those of us who had been privileged enough to have dreams- start off like this?

The perfect story goes that we get to choose what we love and pursue it, if lucky, we can excel. However, we must also make decisions that shape our lives at very young ages. The dreams we had as children would only make sense at that point if they could be transformed into money making careers. Understandably so.

The problem is though that we are so young at those times that most of us have barely experienced any alternative options. At 17, 4 years after I got my period, 5 years after I stopped playing with Barbie dolls, 7 years after I stopped being afraid of the dark, I had to choose what my adult self would do for money. And stick to it.

INSANE.

Truthfully I never bought the story too much. Since the beginning i was looking for a way out. I never wanted too much money, I didn’t expect to find happiness in mansions and fancy jewels. I always imagined travel, walking through different places, smiling at faces from different races and that was the goal. Happiness to me was simple; its headlines were good people, good food and beautiful places, at the heart of it all would be a love so deep. The rest was background.

A white picket fence life looked good in the American movies I saw, but then the husband or wife either ended up cheating or dead or with Alzheimers. So that didn’t appeal too much to me either. This teenage girl was more cynical than the rest; now more than 10 years later; I stand my ground with similar cynicism and a little more wisdom and faith.

The white dress seemed like a distant vision, one that I also never dreamed about. I did however get to experience wearing it; my joy lasted for a short while until things ended, thankfully neither with death nor Alzhiemers, but a very broken heart. That, I could handle.

Bringing the Dream Back to Life

Now I know. Life is NOT only black or white. Life is NOT a matter of living up to standards set for us by others who have not had our dreams and visions. We must be more vigilant to the fairytales, and less cynical about what’s real. Children know something we as adults forget. Dreams are the fuel of joy, and experience is our best shot at learning something new. When we finally harmonize the child within with the adult that operates now, we can finally make our dreams materialize and live a different life.

Living goes forward and it never stops, it will never stop as long as the universe continues to expand infinitely. So planting ourselves in one version of the truth is imprisonment. The only surreal thing about life is our assumption that we are in control of every aspect of it, surely we can control a few things at a time, but not everything. Regret is the opposite of learning, and joy is the center of all that was, is and will be.

The Old Self Looking Back

black and white photo of clocks
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

I always picture that adorable 80 year old lady sitting on her old bones and staring into the ocean. Her eyes look like mine perhaps yours too, but a lot older, and she nods in approval. Life can be well lived if we allow ourselves the full experience. If we accept the ultimately wide spectrum of emotion, and navigate it truthfully and with grace. So if my old self looks back at me now, from where she is, with all of the wisdom she has carried, will she be proud of the life I’m living right now? I would sure hope she is.

Now my friend, enough about me! Imagine yourself in your later years, what do you look like? what and who do you love? Is your elderly self happy with the life you lived and are living today?

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How are you living?

A description of my personal experience with inspiration

Inspiration hits in the weirdest of moments, sometimes in the most inconvenient ones too, but that’s OK!

This writer is a sucker for inspiration, I float around the world and brush over people here and there, hoping to catch a spark! Our eyes meet, our shoulders shudder and our fingertips grace coffee cups and wooden tables. I then let myself fully refract every particle and piece of truth uttered by honest lips around me. Sparks fly and all I need to do is to catch one spark that is strong and bright enough to set me completely on fire. I combust in ways new to me every time and my body feels like a flare waving lonely in the dark but with little awareness of her own form; only conscious of that need explode into billions of little flakes of flickering lights that brighten up the world around even if for a few seconds.

This is how inspiration comes to me. It begins in its most unreliable form as friction between my reflective surface and the world’s need to be seen and it bursts out into the open as words that cannot stop torching down my white pages.

What does your relationship with inspiration look like?

I think about you and me and I wonder: what inspires you to live your life everyday? Is it purely the need to survive? I hope not, because surviving is so empty of inspiration and love.

May you wake everyday with an aching state of presence, receptiveness and acceptance of life’s mysteries. Open your eyes and your arms to opportunity even if it were dressed in her shabbiest clothes. You can slowly learn to recognize her and welcome her in.

What kind of pain have you been through? Have you managed to learn a few lessons from it? I hope you managed to articulate your frustration to those who have failed you and created peace in your solitude. Do you treat your body with compassion and know that emotional pain can be felt and embodied physically too? Hopefully, you learned to acknowledge that and forgive your nerves for behaving too compulsively to warn you. I pray that you find dignity in standing up for yourself and your own health and that nothing hurts you deeply anymore. Know that you can face anything with fortitude and grace.

We can only do so much. So pray to your God if you like, count blessings and chant to your heart’s desire. Do whatever it is you need to. Just live so brilliantly that the ash you leave in your tracks is fertile enough to feed earth and its beings. Let your living be beautiful and abundant. Allow it to flow and explode endlessly in experience and expression. Maybe that is the way you build your wildest dreams with intensity and insanity and love.

And sit with me now over this half full cup of coffee and tell me: Are you merely surviving? or are you relentlessly exposing your self to the vast world of purpose, pain and passion?

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What if the only thing in life you can control is your response?

She clicked her blue ball point pen twice and looked at me. I curled a loose piece of hair over my index finger and smiled. I like her, she seems to get me; unlike most people. A bunch of papers in her lap gather information about me, including my limiting beliefs and my date of birth. We both know that the papers don’t mean much. Nothing is as intriguing as sitting in front of an honest person who is wiling to tell us everything about their experience. So i embody that and listen intently to her. Tell me about a time when you overcame something you didn’t think was possible, describe the situation exactly as you remember it she said as she sat up straight and square in her chair. She usually does that as she prepares to alter my perspective about something. I answered her giving a simple example and chuckling, I quickly followed it up with a statement to discredit and undermine my triumph.

She then gathered her breath and spoke, you see? We don’t give ourselves enough credit. We tend to remember our failures, our weaknesses and our pains more readily than we do our triumphs. We think we fail a lot more greatly than we overcome. Notice your ability to respond and adapt; you will learn to pay attention to that. Know that you are capable of so much more than you think.

That was our last meeting, after that, life changed forever.

What is an experience that you overcame against all odds? What does your triumph story look like? How does it ring in your ears? Does it have a special taste on the bitterness averse buds of your tongue? Do you tell it to yourself more often than you dwell on your misfortunes and failures? Or do you shy away from the victories and lean in a little too closely to the victimized self?

There are some things that we cannot fathom happening to us, but they do. People we love can die, people we love can leave. Worse yet, we can live despite those things. We can still breathe even though we think that the only way through is out and under, suffocating beneath the immense weight of our exploding hearts. Yet, contrary to what we may think, we are not wired to die out of heartbreak and heart ache; we are made to live through it and thrive because of it. Our human experience must not be limited by the temporary comforts of our existence. We must expand and explode into billions of pieces of who we used to be and gather again. We must mend because that it is the only way.

We ought to live like stars floating in a dark universe, we ought to collide with one another and implode like big bangs dispersing love and light and sheer tragedy into nothingness; only to experience rebirth in form, spirit and depth again and again. That is the continuity we can aspire to and not immortality...

Fear can only be met by experience, as unfortunate as that sounds for my anxious self. The only weapon that can completely obliterate the fearful is deep living; and nothing is more contradictory. Yet, all it takes is a deep breath in, and an acceptance of the impermanence of being here right now.

Imagine your temporary existence as a simple coin, with “You are here now” engraved. There are two ways of responding to that; heads or tails.

Hand flipping a coin in black and white in slow motion

What does temporary existence and a tossed coin have in common? Well, both require a choice and a response. What is your primary choice when faced with life? Expansion or contraction? What is your response after the outcome presents itself? Fear or courage?

Fear is one way to respond. It is the nod of understanding that we can simply die, things can easily end and living is not to be taken for granted so our minds meet that with cowardice, with contraction and the need to preserve the sanity and safety and comfort we have in the split moment of being. We make believe that if we contract and limit our experiences then maybe nothing will happen to us and we can live much longer. The truth is however, the coin is being constantly tossed, comfort isn’t so comfortable when you are always meeting every toss with the fear of losing it all. Its like you are always betting against yourself, and holding your breath.

The other side of meeting that toss of the coin however, is living so unapologetically wild and open. Meeting life with courage because everything can end in a split second; our lives can change and twist out of control and we, the most vulnerable of beings can only respond with embracing the experience no matter how complex, terrifying and extraordinary it is. We accept our odds, we enjoy the comfort but we don’t get attached to it. We take our chances and we acknowledge that this is the game. We meet every toss with a deep breath and an exhale, and we believe in our ability to respond and experience living in our own unique way.

Just don’t live in fear of that coin getting tossed; trust in your ability to respond to the outcome no matter what.

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The Thing about pain is

Let’s face it, it is impossible to live life without experiencing any form of pain. Pain is a part of living as much as love and joy and fear. When we talk about the inescapable nature of living with one pain or another we must also consider healing.

Healing is not the reversal of pain. It does not come by through pleasantries. Healing is not something that we just receive by choosing to get rid of the pain. We do not simply ignore powerful profound pain, because then we are suppressing that hurt into our psyches and our cells and into every memory. Pain doesn’t leave until it is felt in the utter depths of our spirit, and explored with our minds and bodies. It lingers below one trigger maybe even 10, but it never simply leaves. It festers and grows more violent and more furious. It needs to be seen, and our bodies keep it for us, hoping that we address it so we can move on. Pain, must be felt in every form that it presents itself, with every piercing thought and emotion. We must go through it in its entirety, we must experience the fear of its endlessness, we must face it bare and respectful, because it is yet another teacher in disguise. Yet we must when the pain has served its purpose to awaken us to a truth, ultimately and unapologetically heal.

And here i tell you my beautiful friend that to heal is the biggest triumph of spirit. We break and we combust into millions of pieces of what we once were, but we are never beyond healing. We were gifted those bodies and those minds to experience living with our eyes wide open and our hearts on the verge of being crushed by the next best thing. Our bodies however are blessed by an internal and eternal grace, one that shines when we smile and when we wake up in the morning and feel a glimmer of hope that we are deeper than the deepest hole, stronger than the hardest blow, and liberated beyond every social concept that has ever been coined. We can heal, unlike anything dead. We can heal because we are alive.

Meeting Pain; a short story

She finds herself bursting awake in an alternate world. She is small and weary, her body aches and she doesn’t know how or why. In a vast abandoned piece of land she cannot see anything clearly but she knows what she must do. She presses her toes into the sand and makes her way to the darkest corner. That was her mission after all, She promised to heal no matter what that took. Unprepared but determined, the darkness grows and she starts losing the feeling in both her feet. She falls to her knees and continues to crawl out, her skin burning as she glances out in front of her. There it is with its might and glory, it sees her but doesn’t move to meet her. She is averse to it, but it holds something she needs.

Pain shows her its teeth and she falls at its feet begging it to hand her that wisdom because she cannot stand up anymore, She has finally come to see pain for herself, She is ready to learn. In that moment of surrender she removes her armor and unravels showing her eagerness for shedding her now tight old and broken skin. Pain unleashes itself into her mind, onto her body, her muscles tense and it pulls at her heart and her skin. She feels every bit of it, senses every bit of herself, She can follow everywhere it goes. and it burns with might..

She wants to ask it why. Her mind starts needing reason to carry on, but there was not enough time. She notices that with every blow and every shockwave of emotion the pain gets softer, it grows smaller as she gently gets bigger. Pain then pours itself into a glass between her shaky hands and asks that she accept it for what it is, whether it had reason is not important, whether she deserved it or not doesn’t matter; her questions will only be honored by a single exchange if she is to allow it.

“I accept, she cries out, just let me heal!”

She receives strength in return, one that was meant just for her; for this body… A strength that was there with the pain all along. Light creeps through that corner and nothing hurts when her heart continues it’s beat and she takes in a deep breath. She exhales as she pushes herself head first standing up. She finds that she had been in an arena, filled with souls and bodies that look just like hers, but her path was paved different by the walking and crawling towards her pain. Her space allowed for something new exactly where she was standing. She then feels her eyes grow wider as she towers over old skin, and all the armors she has outgrown.

She begins to heal.

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Our Way Back Home

Words had never intimidated me until recently. Words started to gain weight and lay shamelessly on pages I had grown to trust, eager to expose me and provide relief to whoever was seeking. Words slowly stopped being only mine and gradually belonged to others; using my experiences to tell stories and i sit here looking, reading in retrospect and watching as my words live on and out of my world and into yours. Knowing that, I decided to muffle myself and my words in turn would always be mine, never shared and never exposed.

I did not anticipate that that would come at the expense of drowning out my truest voice. Little did I realize that the words I used were never mine, because what is mine anyway and what is yours at the end of the day?

I write now, knowing that my words are travelers and that I no longer provide them a home, perhaps I never have. The music I had missed helps me find my voice again in hopes of catching a thread, a life line back into this empty space where you and I can leap in, without judgement without blame and say what we really mean because what else is there?

I let the writing happen through me, and I sit back and watch; ego and all, my humbleness and humility rooted in the ground; I become fingers and a beating heart capable only of singing at the top of those words that hell; belong to no one and everyone all at once.

So if you’ve been reading on with me, and living true with me, I say thank you because the space grows as we become better able to recognize one another between the lines and over the noise of everything that remains unsaid.

So pray for this world my friend and do not fret because nothing truly belongs to us after all, not these words, nor our faces or our lives. So trace your hand gently over everything you touch and remain honest and true, because what is work after all? what are words and promises and relationships but paths back into ourselves trying to find meaning and glory in the little things and in the greatest things?

So let this take form, and become something; let the world find its place inside you because in the contrast of it all; in the nonsense of it all- I write for you and through you to myself in hopes of remembering that here too in the constant shifting waves, we have a home.