What does self love look like? I am seeker of truths, knowledge, and practices that provide healing. I always dive deep into my life to search for meaning and understanding. We all want to live a happy, joyful and peace filled life, do we not? I have become a practitioner in self love. It is a practice, not to be perfect, but to begin each day with self love, respect, and consideration for my life. Not in a narcissitic way, but in a nurturing and healing way that honored my life's path.
Self love is something that did not come naturally to me. I share some of the practices I have brought into my life that have helped shift how I am in the world. Allow shift to happen in your life and see miracles unfold. "In case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist anyone else." Perhaps the airlines were on to something...
Breathing deeply is a practice and an act of self love. When I see this beautiful sign and read the word breathe, I do just that. I breathe. I breathe deeply in through my nose and exhale slowly out my nose...several times. It is a grounding practice that brings clarity and calm to my center and brings my awareness into the here and now.
The breath is an anchor and a wonderful teacher that brings us back to our center. Our thoughts can so easily take us out of the present moment, but when we consciously breathe deeply, we are brought back to the present. Our bodies are messengers that reside in the now. Pay attention to your breathing. Is it shallow or is it deep? Do you feel anxious or calm? Breathing deeply with intention will positively shift your life.
The breath is a gift of love from the universe. We are being breathed. We breathe automatically, but when we consciously breathe deeply we are bringing in self love filled with nourishment and energy to replenish our whole selves...mind, body, and spirit. When we are calm we have access to the peace within. A centered place where we always make better choices and we are open to the limitless possibilities that life has to offer. Our breath is the living spirit within us. It is sacred, it is our life force, and it is filled with love. Breathe deeply and fill up with love and tap into the dormant forces and gifts that lie within you that you can only access from a calm place.
Forgiveness is another amazing tool that ushers in self love, peace and has the ability to ripple out to others. I am not going to lie, forgiveness is hard. Deep breathing is a practice. Learning to forgive is also a practice. Both bring great shifts in our well-being and take time to put into a daily practice, but always worth the effort. When I feel tightness and constriction around my heart when someone has hurt me, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, old hurts and old stories start to rise up within me. Our thoughts have the power to ruminate like a run away train. When I move away from feeling the truth of a situation in my heart and react only to the thoughts in my mind, it immediately takes me out of the present and can so easily rob me of inner peace. I can choose right then and there to shift the direction of my thoughts by pausing, breathing deeply and not adding to the story or the drama.
It is a perfect time to practice pausing. Pause before you say or do anything you may regret. Pause instead of reacting when you are stressed, angry or tired. When you pause instead of reacting you can come from a neutral place of observation and make better decisions. When you pause, you can feel your feelings and feel what is happening in your body. If you want to lighten the burdens you carry on your shoulders, in your heart, mind, and in every cell in your body, learn to forgive. Humans have the ability to hold onto things for years...it is not healthy for you. Learn to let go. Begin where you are and start to practice pausing, breathing deeply and forgiving yourself and others. Set the intention to forgive even the things that are unforgivable and your life will shift in a beautiful way.
A gentle and beautiful tool I have learned to use in the practice of forgiveness I learned from Belinda Womack. She is the author of Lessons from the 12 Archangels Divine Intervention in Daily Life. Violet is the color of our crown chakra. It is the color of the energy of forgiveness and transformation and it is connected to our higher consciousness. Envision yourself standing under a violet waterfall or standing in a violet colored lake washing away all of your thoughts that are less than pure love and send them back to source with forgiveness and transform them into love.
Practicing gratitude is another great practice to invite self love into your daily life. You cannot be grateful and fearful at the same time. There are a hundred things within your reach that you can be grateful for each and every day. Wake up feeling grateful. When you go to bed at night, try counting your blessings instead of sheep and see if you fall asleep more peacefully. If you struggle with making a list of the things you are grateful for try saying a prayer or setting an intention to be grateful for all of the things you don't know you are grateful for. It works.
When you feel alone and not connected to the universe go outside and be in nature. Nature always heals. It is another practice in self love to walk in nature. Breathe in the fresh air, turn your face towards the sun or the moon and remember how strong you are and feel the love they so freely give to all of life without asking for anything in return. Go walk in the grass or in the snow. Listen to the wind. Feel the rain on your face. There are messages of love from the universe all around you. These are messages of love from Mother Earth, the animals, the trees, the flowers, the snow, the birds, the rain and all of the bodies of water that surround you. They are
giving their love so freely to all of us all of the time. We are made of the same things that you find out in nature. You are never separate. You are always connected to everything in life and you are loved.
We are also always connected to the magic of the spiritual world. I call on my team in heaven for support and guidance several times a day. I talk to my angels, spirit guides, loved ones in heaven, ascended masters, and divine source. I say thank you, thank you, thank you. When I began to consciously implement these beautiful practices of opening my heart, mind, and intuitive insights into my life, and asking for help, my life began to magically transform and heal parts buried in my subconscious that I wasn't aware of. I was not alone. You are not alone. You were born with a guardian angel by your side. All you have to do is ask them for help. You have free will so you have to ask.
When I quit my job at the middle school four years ago to help provide childcare for some of my grandchildren, I was reminded by being around them that children are some of our greatest teachers. They love so easily. They are able to forgive and be filled with gratitude and joy. They are made of pure love. They are newly here and come from the source of love. They feel and do everything in the moment with their entire body. I bought painting supplies and when they painted, they painted with their whole self...body, mind, and spirit. They used all of the colors, all of the paper, they used their paint brushes and their fingers. They didn't judge what they painted...they just painted. There was a feeling of utter joy and freedom when they painted.
When we ate meals we would practice gratitude. We would thank the plants and animals for giving their lives to us by providing milk, eggs, fruit, veggies and meat. We would thank the farmers, the grocers, the bakers, anyone and everyone who has a hand in providing easy access and fresh food and water for us to live. When you truly stop and think about how we are all connected to everything in life...it is something to be grateful for.
When they were happy they smiled from ear to ear, laughed, sang, and danced. When they were angry they yelled and screamed. When they got hurt or were sad they cried. When they said, "I love you," I could see the love in their eyes and feel it in their hugs. They hugged me as hard as they could and I hugged them back. They felt every emotion openly and did not stuff any of them down. They were able to practice forgiveness rather easily, too. It is powerful to be able to feel your emotions. We need to feel our emotions, honor them, and learn to forgive them if they need forgiveness. To feel is to heal.
When we were outside we drank in the fresh air, rolled down the hill, and walked barefoot on the grass. We would walk in the rain with umbrellas and sometimes without so we could catch the rain in our mouths and feel it kiss our skin. We would stomp in the puddles and play in the mud. In the fall we raked into huge piles all of the fallen leaves of many colors and jump in them. When it snowed we walked, played, built forts and went sledding. We always made snow angels and some of us would eat the snow. We lived in each moment.
We hugged and climbed the trees in the yard and on our walks and we played in the woods. We listened to the wind. We watched and talked to the butterflies, the birds, insects, frogs, toads, rabbits, ants, and the bees. I was teaching them to respect all of life and that everything has a purpose and a reason for being here. We planted flowers, herbs, and vegetables. We took care of the plants and watched them grow. We watered them when they were thirsty. We drank water when we were thirsty.
I bought some magical wishing paper when I was on a trip to California years ago. I found it in a beautiful little store called, The Potting Shed. I brought that special tissue paper out to the patio one day. I wrote down their wishes and dreams and some of my own. We rolled the paper up as per the instructions on the package and I lit them one by one on fire. As the paper burned it would turn to ash and would float up into the air and be caught by the wind to fly out in all four directions.
When we would get in the car to drive to school we would ask the angels to please protect us and all of the cars around us so we would get to school safely and on time. We would sing and ask the angels for all green lights. Miraculously the lights would turn green one after the other the entire way to school. We would giggle and say, "thank you, angels."
I was able to put into practice looking at everything as if for the first time like a child. They look at everything with wonder. They want to taste, touch, feel, see, know and experience everything. I was remembering what it is like to be a child. They are open hearted, they love easily and forgive easily. We learned and grew together.
I painted a large chalkboard and hung it in my family room downstairs where we hung out. On that chalkboard I wrote a list of affirmations of self love. I was teaching them to love themselves. We are all human so some days are harder than others to remember to practice love, forgiveness, gratitude,
We would begin by closing our eyes for a moment and putting our hands over our hearts and breathing deeply. It's an opportunity to get out of your thoughts and into your heart space. I would read them out loud to the kids. I drew pictures next to the words so they would know what the words were before they were able to read. They memorized the words.
I encourage you to make your own list of self love practices and affirmations to shift your life. Here are some of ours. We wrote them in chalk because they change and evolve just like we do. Get into your heart space and read them out loud and affirm that love you have for yourself. Feel in your body how your energy shifts and moves to a higher vibration. You are loved.
I love my life
I love my body
I love my mind
I love my health
I love my family
I love Rosie
I love animals
I love my friends
I love my heart
I love to dance
I love music
I love movies
I love yoga
I love to sing
I love to be outside
I love my home
I love to laugh
I love my sense of humor
I love my eyes
I love to be inspired
I love water
I love to eat healthy food
I love to bake cookies
I love to say, "thank you"
I love to say, "I am sorry"
I love to paint
I love my treasure/prayer boxes
I love to draw
I love to dream
I love to wish
I love magic
I love to play
I love trees
I love plants
I love sunflowers
I love angels
I love to breathe
I love to feel good
I love to plant
I love my loved ones in heaven
I love to create
I love to write
I love my spirit
I love to walk
I love to run
I love to swim
I love to ride my bike
I love to read
I love to learn
I love to be loved
I love my soul
I love my humanity
I love me
Put your phone down, turn off your devices and look into the eyes of someone you love. It is like looking into the vast universe. You can see and feel their love and get a glimpse into their soul. It is an intimate act to gaze into someone's eyes. It is an intimate act to gaze into your own eyes in the mirror. Try it sometime and see what you see. Send yourself lots of love and let go of any and all judgements that may rise up. Because they will. It gives you a glimpse into your own soul. You might just feel the need to ask your soul a question. "Soul, what are you trying to teach me right now?" It is an opportunity to send love and forgiveness to your self and to who you meet in the mirror every day.
Angela O'Brien-Greywitt, Intuitive Mystic
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