Spring is a time of new beginnings
It’s a great time to give yourself the gift of “loving kindness”. This concept comes from the Buddhist tradition. We spend so much time giving attention to all the people in our lives, our family, our co-workers, and our friends, but seldomly to ourselves.
We rarely take time out for nurturing ourselves. In many faiths, emphasis is put on love and compassion for others and we can easily overlook our own needs for self-love.
I had a milestone birthday this week, stepping into a new decade of my life’s journey. This is one of my goals, to love others as I love myself. It’s that “as I love myself” that’s the rub. Being female and having been raised during the 50’s-60’s, in our culture I was not encouraged to love myself. That was very selfish and considered inappropriate especially for a young lady!
From growing up in an intense family with alcoholic parents and becoming hyper-vigilant to others in my environment for my own safety (since I experienced that there was a correlation between anger and violence), I learned to suppress my own needs to the point of no longer knowing what they were. As I began my studies in college and graduate school of being a “learner-centered teacher or facilitator” and a “client-centered counselor,” I continued to hone my skills to be “other-oriented” to a fault. I knew others better than I knew myself. I was very skilled at reading a room, finding the powerful one(s) in each situation, aiming to please and be whatever they needed or wanted of me.
This sensitivity to others was useful in my role as teacher and counselor, but not helpful in my private relationships when I needed to stand up for myself or disagree. I discovered Carl Jung and the Myers Brigs personality assessment materials and then later the Enneagram literature around age 33. That is when I really began to get an awareness of my personality preferences and persona, as well as learning about my “shadow” that had been hidden from me for so long. I saw what had helped me to feel safe in my childhood often got in my way in expressing my voice as an adult.
That led to my current path about how to transcend these models and evolve spiritually toward a deeper connection with Spirit from the inside out. Self-compassion and self-love are prerequisites for this journey toward oneness with the Divine, whether it be for a brief glimpse and transitory delight or for the gradual development of joyful bliss as a way of being. The latter is my choice at the occasion of my birthday this week.
I highly recommend the exploration of Mindful Self Compassion at https://centerformsc.org/practice-msc/ where you can read a lovely definition and try an actual mindful self-compassion meditation. They provide 8 sessions of examples of great articles and meditation practice at https://centerformsc.org/practice-msc/guided-meditations-and-exercises/
I encourage you to start your spring with some “loving kindness” for yourself, so you can be even more loving, kind, and compassionate with others in your life.
Spring provides great energy for new growth! Enjoy!