We give a lot of lip service to putting ourselves first. Although we are aware we need to know and respect ourselves before we can really be present in relationship to others or fully commit to any course of action, we still put ourselves last in order to conform to social niceties. How is it that putting ourselves last still gains approval in some circles? How is it that selflessness is so often equated with kindness and generosity? How is it possible that dishonesty in the name of "being nice" still prevails?
Traditional wedding vows included a promise to "love, honor and obey" but have, in many cases evolved to say, "respect" rather than "obey." Hopefully, these are vows marriage partners think deeply about before stating them at the altar.
What are the vows we make to ourselves? Can we vow to love, honor and respect ourselves? If so, what might those vows require of us--not in theory, but in real practice? How might these vows impact our daily decisions, our relationships our other commitments?
One of my daily prayers includes the promise, "In my wholeness, I would love, honor and respect myself."
"Wholeness," means that my Genius, Wild and Divine aspects are aligned and in agreement with one another.
Can we love ourselves even in our apathy, insecurity, greed? Can we honor our need for good food and rest? Can we respect our decisions, which mean following through on them? How do we foster this kind of self-awareness, honesty and integrity within ourselves? Just as importantly, how can we generate and abide by such high ideals in our relationships with others until we embody them in our selves?
This week's Daily Commitments:
11-20-09. Today, and over the weekend, let's bring it all together. Aligning with Love, Honor and Respect within our Genius-Wild-Divine Wholeness.
Take some long, slow, cleansing breaths. Imagine the air coming into your body is opening you up. Feel your chest open. Feel your pelvic floor relax. And as you exhale, imagine the air leaving the body carries with it the tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, fists, calves, spine. Take as long as you need. If your thoughts drift, gently bring yourself back. Allow for opening and relaxation.
Now, breathe into the belly, the center of the body. This is where your Wildness lives. Breathe into the Wild in you as you allow yourself to be bathed in Love. Feel Love welling up in your heart and overflowing into your belly. Feel Love pouring into you from the top and center of your head, which is called the crown. Feel each breath bring love into your body. Open to it. It cannot hurt you! It's love. It is unconditional and non-threatening.
Next, breath in Honor. Feel honor arise in you. It begins in the area of your throat and shoulders. Feel your posture change. Recall the honorable life you live. Remember the honorable acts you have committed. Let honor flood all the cells of your being. And breathe that into the Wild at the center of the body.
Your Wild Self may very well feel excited at this point. That's good! Just note the pleasure and move on to respect.
Feel Respect for yourself. Respect starts in the lower belly and pelvis. Feel it bubbling up into the belly and being caught by the Wild in you. Good. Recall the things you most respect about yourself. Remember that you are Loved and Honorable and deserve respect. Fill your Wild Self with Self Respect.
You are engaging your Genius, who is directing all this thinking. You are engaging your Wildness who is directing all this imagining and sensation and gathering all the Love, Honor and Respect you are sending her/him. Now, let us engage the Divine.
Continuing to breath--expanding beyond the edges of your skin, like a ballon. With each breath, fill the balloon with Love, Honor and Respect for your Self. If you are really excited, that's good. If you are weeping, that's good. Let whatever arises, arise withour judgement.
When you feel as though the balloon is filled with these emotions, and the life force which is a part of the air you are breathing, take four more breaths, and release the excess air in the balloon upwards, to just above your head, with the last exhalation.
Sit quietly for a few moments and notice any sensations you might feel. All your parts--Body, Genius, Wild and Divine--are aligned now with the powers of Love, Honor and Respect. Thus aligned and embodied, move through your day as usual, noting anything different about your actions, responses and relationships.
Have a gorgeous weekend.
11-19-09. Now, we come to respect for ourselves. Today, as you go from task to task, as you walk through your home, as you look in the mirror, ask yourself if you are respectful of yourself, your situation, your body-mind-soul.
True Self-respect is not and cannot be ego-driven or derived from the opinions of others. True Self-respect arises when we are certain we are making good decisions and engaging in right action.
As we progress through the day, there will be incidences where you realize you are behaving in ways that are disrespectful to the Body, the Genius, Wild or Divine aspects of yourself. Perhaps you promised yourself you'd exercise today or make that phone call and didn't. Perhaps you had fully intended to meditate or write in your journal but didn't prioritize your time.
What happens inside of us when we make ourselves promises and don't keep them? What happens when we repeatedly do that, as most of us have? What happens is the same thing that happens in our relationships with others who make promises and fail to keep them. We loose respect for them. We stop giving them our trust. When we fail to make good on our Self-promises, the same thing happens. And out negative self-talk drowns out any chance for self redemption.
Today, commit to keeping your promise to yourself about just one thing. Follow through. Start earning your self-respect back.
11-18-09. Invoke honor upon yourself. What does it mean to honor oneself? To be honorable? It's a good idea to get a sense of what you think and feel about the word "honor." You might look it up in a dictionary or write in your journal about it until you get a conceptual and emotional sense of the word.
Once you have defined "honor." set aside five to ten minutes to do this exercise.
Take a long, slow breath to deepen and center yourself. Relax the places in your body where you habitually hold tension--the jaw, forehead, neck, pelvic floor. And, using your breath, allow your fingers, chest and heart to soften and open. Each in-breath opens. Each exhalation deepens. Good.
Next, say out loud, "I honor myself." Feel that resonate within you. Your breath should be natural and relaxed as you name what you honor in yourself.
Honor your honesty and integrity, your passion and will. Honor your kindness and generosity. Honor your skills--list them. Honor your Genius self who is thoughtful, rational, logical and precise. Honor your Wild self who is intuitive, instinctual, emotional and signals us when we are in trouble or in love. Honor your Divine self who loves the whole self without condition. Let your Honor for self wash over you in waves.
Right now, you are honorable. If there are things you know you could be doing which would bring you more fully into a relationship of honor with yourself, what are they? Can you commit to pursuing those goals.
May you live honorably. May you behave honorably to yourself and others. May your actions be honorable.
11-17-09. Take a long, slow breath to deepen and center your attention. Let your jaw, shoulders and pelvic muscles relax. Allow your belly, chest and heart to open. Imagine your exhalation is ridding you of the armoring around your tender heart. Imagine your in-breath gently opening the heart while simultaneously carrying into you the courage to do this. You are being en-couraged and heartened.
If you can, allow yourself to feel love for/toward yourself. If you cannot really access that emotional state, that's okay. Pretend or imagine that you can. Make believe you are able, right now, to love yourself. If you feel silly or sad, or if reasons arise in your mind concerning why you are unlovable, just let them go. Release them with your out-breath. Be gentle.
Here, we are bathing in self love. Feel it wash over you and also through you. Feel (imagine or pretend) that everything which makes you you is being bathed in love. Imagine this in the way that makes sense to you, seeing your Genius Self--your mind being bathed in love. See your body, all its cells and organs being bathed in love. Your Wild Self with your memories, intuition, instinct and playful nature is loved. The Divine Self with your perfected wisdom is bathed in love.
Love all your parts. The beatiful truth is that we don't have to do, change or heal anything before loving ourselves. We can bathe in love right now. We do not have to earn it or prove we are worthy. We do not have to wait until we are further down our paths.
Allow love to wash over and through you. Immerse in it. Revel in it.
Breathe this feeling deep into you so you can carry it with you and access it always.