Love is Who We Are
I am beyond excited to introduce you to an incredible Unscripted Woman. An Unscripted Woman is a woman who is writing the script of her own life, one breath at a time. Meet a dear friend, Marissa. Marissa and I met during our meditation teacher training and there was an instant heart and soul connection. Marissa embodies compassion and the wisdom she carries in her practices radiates to everyone she meets. I am so grateful for Marissa's unscripted life and her beautiful words that are full of heart and soul. Marissa is a PhD candidate at UT Austin with a research focus in self-compassion. She sees spiritual practice as a remembrance of our wholeness, with every breath an invitation to rest in the love we already are. Marissa is an Embody Love Facilitator and also teaches yoga and meditation, steeped in her studies of Tibetan Buddhism, iRest® Yoga Nidra, and Mindful Self-Compassion™. I have learned a lot from this amazing unscripted woman about self- compassion and self- love. Today is Valentine's day and I am reminded of how powerful it is to remind ourselves of the love that we all are and the connection we share when we connect to love, especially the practice of loving ourselves. Thank you Marissa for your strength and sensitivity as well as your courage and vulnerability to share this message with all of us.
In our relationships with ourselves, we see it all. We see the hidden pride, the toxic shame, the harsh judgment, the persistent fear, the habitual self-doubt, the curtailed pleasure, the unexpected patience, the undervalued generosity, the conditions for our love. So when we try to befriend ourselves, tend to our needs, and offer ourselves love, kindness, and compassion, it can feel a bit awkward, if not completely fraudulent. Our tendency to disavow the parts of ourselves we dislike breeds mistrust. The feelings we get when others are hiding information from us, such as feelings of suspicion and betrayal, apply just the same when we attempt to keep aspects of who we are buried in secret. Our own love can feel counterfeit if we aren’t being honest with ourselves. This may be why our efforts to establish a loving relationship with ourselves have fallen flat or become stale after a period of time. If we are not telling ourselves the truth about who we are consistently and wholeheartedly, there is no self-trust. Without trust, our love has nowhere to land.
Yet, to be radically honest with ourselves, we have to see a lot that is not so comfortable to see. We have to see our full, naked selves.
This means seeing clearly the pride, shame, and judgment. This means being willing to notice the humiliating, painful, or confusing thoughts and emotions that flit about in our awareness. This doesn’t mean identifying as and fusing with any single idea that pops up in our minds – we are so much more expansive and mysterious than any concept – but it does mean honoring that whatever shows up is part of our experience and need not be rejected.
This means reclaiming the parts of ourselves we have disowned and welcoming them back home into the wholeness of our being.
To cultivate honesty and trust in our relationship with ourselves we have to keep showing up and meeting ourselves in the middle of the messes, without trying to fix or change who we are in the midst of it. We have to make the choice over and over again to not abandon ourselves in the moments we don’t like, don’t want, or don’t understand. This is an invitation of radical intimacy – a promise to stay close to ourselves when everything we know feels far away.
It is through knowing the truth of who we are that we can access the wellspring of love that is already and always abundantly available within.
The journey to remembering our truth may be rocky and uncertain. We may stumble upon broken glass and scars and question if we want to keep looking into the depths of our shadows. But with compassion for our tender humanity we embody our luminous divinity. And it is from this sacred place in our own hearts that grace pours forth and we remember we are and have always been held in a loving, connected presence. There was never anything to hide, prove, defend, or deny. It is here where we can feel free, our breath can be happy, and our hearts can be however they want to be.
Learning to love myself has not been easy, but it is the most important journey of my life. This is why I’d like to share some truths I have discovered on this path of learning to embody love:
1. Self-love is uncomfortable.
I remembered the love that is always abundantly available and already within me.
2. Self-love is letting go and exploring the unknown.
In the mystery of not knowing, I return to trusting in the love of my heart.
3. Self-love is a compost pile.
Shitty feelings can offer nourishment to the soil in which we can plant seeds of self-compassion, acceptance, and peace with what is and this helps us to grow.
4. Self-love is fierce, glorious power.
When we love ourselves just as we are, then we remember that who we are is part of the divine, interconnected wholeness of all life. Every being contributes an integral part to the shimmering kaleidoscope of our shared humanity. To love ourselves is truly to love each other. When we recognize and appreciate our own strengths and wisdom, we can share our gifts and benefit all those around us.
5. Self-love is showing up to the here and now, just as you are, over and over again.
Self-love is a way of being as we meet ourselves in any given moment. Love is not about getting rid of any part of ourselves. Love is letting go of everything we think we should be and resting in the sacred presence of who we already are and always were. Everything that we think takes us away from feeling love has the capacity to show us the way home.