I’m not sure if you’re someone who has a reputation of being hard on themselves, but I sure am. People who really know me will often see that in the darker parts of my being lives a self-projected being that stands over top of me with a hammer just waiting for another reason to strike me back down to the ground. Enter the saintly messages of beings like Pema Chodron who teach the art of loving kindness to oneself, or Maitri in Sanskrit.
Developing compassion for oneself, being loving to the parts that seem hardest to love is a profound way to develop the ability to accept the world around us. It takes the pressure away from having to be perfect and allows for our inner most shadow to step out into the light.
In my seated meditation practice I’ve always secretly chastised myself when my mind is being particularly active, and silently celebrated when it’s doing what I want and being still. Yet meditating while practicing being sweet to myself simply means that regardless of what my mind is doing, i’m still choosing to love myself in any given moment. It makes accepting the way things are inside much more manageable, with each and every thought being an opportunity for self-love, self-care and self-compassion.
Curiously it’s also challenging to love myself when I’m revealing my greatest gifts, when I’m at the height of my unique self expression as a human being. Finding ways to celebrate who I am, love myself for it, and allow others to see me shining in the light also takes practice, patience and presence of being. Many times I shy away from stepping fully into myself out of a fear that I might be judged, ridiculed, envied, or seen as being a ‘show off’… my least favorite adjective for human behavior. We all want and need to be seen doing the things that we came here to do, so as long as it’s not hurting another I say go for it! Show us what you’re made of!!!
But back to the title of this post, the art of being sweet to yourself. The world needs more than ever for us to be loving and kind towards ourselves first and foremost. From that place we are able to cultivate our gifts, be of service, and shine our love light upon the world. By sitting with our hopes and our fears, allowing them to be greeted with a kind heart, and letting them dissolve back into awareness of the present moment cultivates a profound ability to live in this world and not get swept up by it.
A playlist that I practiced to this morning starts and ends so sweetly, that I figured it was a good mix to pull out of the archives. It was also inspired by the concept of becoming fully awake – which is of course a process, not a destination.
“This mix was inspired by the Sanskrit word ‘Awake’ which is Prabuddhah – it’s our deepest desire for all beings, that they awaken” -EOTL