Last weekend, I indulged in one of the only award shows I LOVE to watch - the Grammys. As I was turning them on, I started thinking about a year ago, and Whitney Houston's passing right before the grammys. Growing up in the 80s, her voice, her lyrics, and her heart were a huge inspiration to me. My eldest sister loved The Greatest Love of All, so I have heard that song at least 100,000 times and know every word by heart. The line that always touched my heart was, "I believe the children are our future, treat them well and let them lead the way". This was my personal vision statement for many years and I have dedicated heart energy to encouraging young people anywhere I encounter them.
But, what I am realizing now is significant about that song, is the line, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. I have a history of capturing verse lines of songs and missing the chorus and major meaning of the song - this was no exception. This song has been an inspiration to me for the potential of inspiring those that come after me and I until recently, I had not fully understood the main message about loving yourself. It has taken me until now to really understand that line. Like many of you, I love loving others, taking care of others, and giving to others. I have been an addict to approval - it just feels so good when people tell me what am amazing person I am, what a great heart I have, how they can always count on me, and so on. It makes me feel like I am adding value and achieving something. And, that addiction has driven me to continue to give to others at the expense of following my dreams. My story has been that this is "good, honorable, kind' but the truth is it is limiting my potential and eventually hurting those that I so want so much to please. And, when my biggest fans encourage me to take care of myself, I have gotten frustrated and angry, wondering how they could ask me to do more when I am giving all I have to take care of them. The very love I am creating is always on the edge of turning into resentment.
Awareness is at least half the battle, maybe even more than half the battle. And, once I am aware, I move rapidly to action. Learning to love myself has been ridiculously hard - like physically causing me to shake hard. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I have an abundance of love. I have no problems handing it out to anyone who needs some. I wanted to fix major world conflicts by handing out hugs - really feeling that if people just got hugged more and felt more loved, maybe they would not hurt so badly and not want to hurt others. But, turning that love inwards, was a whole new skill set, one that, up until now, I had not been equipped to handle. Like all great discoveries, the process started so small and very quickly grew into a new way of looking at myself.
The week after my birthday, I was sitting in a conference and our surprise guest speaker was Daniel Amen, a man who has dedicated his life to studying brain health. I was so excited to see him (and maybe meet him) that I could barely stay in my seat. His talk changed how I look at food and changed the conversation I had (in my head) about what it means to take care of my body. Learning techniques to care for my brain, and realizing I was already doing the first three HUGE items on the list, gave me confidence to finally take on the BIGGEST challenge I was not doing - eating clean. Three months later (it took that long to figure out how to change the way I eat), I added back into my life one of my passions, yoga. For 10 days straight, I went to yoga class, and fell so in love with the grace, beauty, and power of my body and the spirituality of combing movement with spirit. Finally feeling so empowered in this area of my life, I have been able to apply this great care of my body to great care of me.
Don't get me wrong - I have been doing a lot of self care activities. I live in a place that totally inspires me. I spent time in quiet and meditation. I travel around the world to see lighthouses. I spend a great deal of my life living my passions, but I am always doing something, achieving something and very rarely just allowing myself to indulge in whatever I feel like in the moment. I live a planned, organized, life. Even my free time is time bound and planned out :) But, part of this journey has been checking in and seeing what I truly want in each moment, connecting to my heart, and then allowing myself to want what I want and relax into the moment.
As I said before, once I am aware, I move quickly to action. Remember the shaking I was talking about... full disclosure, authenticity and transparency. I put myself to the ULTIMATE test on Valentine's Day. Could I take my favorite holiday - the one dedicated to the heart and love, and turn the entire holiday inwards and just focus on me? Turns out, it was harder for me than you might imagine. I had one of the best Valentine's Days ever! Not only was I surrounded by flowers, I even had a piece of chocolate (which made me sick, but was so yummy in the moment I was eating it), got a massage and took a long bath. It was also probably one of my most productive days, funny how that works out... I spent the entire day madly, deeply, in love with - well, with me! I made myself the object of my Valentine instead of spending the day giving out love to others. I gave out love to me.
February is national heart month and as a way to honor your heart, my request of you is to be still for a moment, and check in with your heart. What do you need right now? What is the best way you can love and honor yourself. Each of us are such a magnificent creation full of beauty and potential. How are you going to honor yourself and ensure you are experiencing the greatest love of all.
It may have taken me 26 years to figure out what Whitney was talking about... but I think I am finally catching on.
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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