Day 31!!!! Self love challenge complete!

It’s the final day of the blog component of the self love challenge. The practices will continue for who knows how long! For as long as it seems useful. Although I am noticing subtle shifts, it feels like a long way to go to significantly improve my relationship with myself, impact my self worth and alter my day to day existence.

I have really enjoyed this challenge, especially writing every day. Although this is my heart-mesecond blog challenge, this is the first one that was self initiated and one I felt I fully owned. I certainly have experienced a shift in how I relate to my blog, including more personal experiences and events. I’ve been reluctant to bring that into a public space but from the feedback I’ve had, it’s mostly people I know reading this anyway. I’m not yet at the stage where people not known to me are reading my blog and keeping my distance isn’t going to change that.

Today I got my hair cut. A few hours later after accomplishing a big task I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and felt very appreciative and delighted! Interesting that I find it easier to be self loving in the mirror when I have short hair. I was saying to the hairdresser that when it gets too long I stop recognising myself as an expression of how I feel. I get a lot of people saying they like my hair when it gets longer, I really don’t like it at all! It just doesn’t feel like me.

So on this last day it feels appropriate to share some of the key things I have learned.

  • Some meditation is better than no meditation.
  • I know I’m doing well when I do several of my practices. Yoga is a given, plus meditation, plus writing or mirror work, reading etc. The more of these I do, the higher the indication that I’m in a good space.
  • Conversations with others help me see things I can’t see on my own, put things into perspective and illuminate progress.
  • Repeating the “I love myself” mantra is a practice that is worth sticking with, and staying present for. The longer I do it, the closer I get to actually experiencing self generated self love.
  • When the self love practice becomes reality in the moment, it feels sweet, nurturing and like I’m getting a really nice hug. This is something to cultivate.
  • I’ve come a long way and I have a long way to go!

Thanks for all your support. Your comments really make a difference, even on past posts. Feel free to read the others if you haven’t and let me know what you think, what difference it makes to you. With deep gratitude for your attention and support!

Day 30: Standing tall

I’ve been watching videos of when I was a baby. I’ve seen them before but not for at least 10 years. My mom sent them to me on DVD from Canada. Lots of me learning to walk. I look a bit like a zombie with my arms out.

A metaphor emerged from watching the film. As I fell down and got back up, there was always someone to help, my parents, my aunt, my cousin.  Sometimes I’d get back up on my own, sometimes I’d wait and look around for someone to help me up. When I was all bundled up in snow gear, I would make a bit of a game out of falling back down after being propped up. I even did a faceplant in the snow and didn’t seem to be too fussed.Jacket_Picture

It had me thinking about my life now, especially my entrepreneurial ventures. It’s all about standing up and falling down and getting back up again. What I learned from watching myself as a toddler was that help is never far away. I can use it or not, and when it’s not as easy to get back up, it’s a really good idea to let someone help me. I am getting better at this and I think it will be a theme this year, collaborating with people and being more open to the contributions of those around me. And even seeking out the support that will get me standing tall.

In conversation with a client today, I asked about what she could do to transition out of being disempowered. I loved her answer, “Straighten my back.” Just yesterday I was reaping the benefit of that, how a simple posture shift can alter one’s experience. What a remarkable gift our body is. Feeling grateful and self-loved up!

Day 29: Back at it

Back on track, yoga with “I love myself” mantra, meditation, mirror work (ok a loving glimpse!) and the mantra much more present in my mind in the last 24 hours. I was a bit surprised to go a whole day without it yesterday! I’ve been in service mode, with a friend staying with me because she’s unwell. I actually quite enjoy being of service, it feels purposeful, tho at times I lose myself and my practices!

After some co-working via skype I was wiped and went down for a rest. Could have stayed but after what felt like a couple of hours, I got up and started cleaning the kitchen and prepared some food for my guest. As soon as I started into it my tiredness loosened it’s grip, and a sense of purpose felt quite strong. self-love2

In my meditation I noticed a lot of oscillation from warm fuzzy self love to neutral numbness, almost mindlessly repeating the mantra, and then more sweetness and self nurturing feelings. I think the resistance was just under the surface of the neutrality and greater focus could have brought more of the warm fuzzy. Being present was also an issue. My mind is SO all over the place, it starts writing this blog post, thinking about today’s conversations, what’s on for tomorrow, what else I could be doing….. and then reminding myself to be present and adding “& I’m present” to the mantra!

I noticed as I became present to my body that I was hunched over. I straightened up and was brought back to the experience of improving my posture in the early part of the meditation when I was filling my body with light. And the same experience came to mind, erect posture brings light filled body. Yes, more of that please!

I have two days left of this blog challenge. I’m really quite pleased with myself and anticipate continuing the practices for a while yet, tho I may not write about them daily. You’re welcome to check in with me and ask how it’s going, that would be a great way to support me to keep it up! Thanks in advance for being on this journey with me. Your comments and likes have made a huge difference to me!

Day 28: Hot Nectarines

Today is the first day that I haven’t done any specific self love practices! I honestly don’t recall using the mantra at all! And am loving myself regardless! It’s been a full-on day and the challenge continues. From greeting a chook at the back door before she came inside, to watering before the heat set in. Walking the dogs quickly before 9am, vacuuming, preparing the house for a guest. Rolling with the changes as they came. Plans? What plans? Good thing I’m flexible!

Co-working with my business partner via skype for a few hours amidst the changing current. Flowing with flight arrival changes for the afternoon airport pick up of a friend from Canada. Responding to a client’s request for feedback on a code of conduct. And then the cool change came!

It was expected to get up to 39 today, it got up to 40.3 and has now cooled right down to 22! It was also quite windy so lots of windfall from our nectarine tree. I went out and got a nectarinesfew more ripe nectarines from the ground and a few from the tree that came off easily. They tasted cooked after being in the hot sun all day! The bucket of nectarines in the kitchen was becoming remarkably pungent, calling to be processed before rotting. I managed to pit the whole bucket and put them in zip lock bags for freezing to make smoothies and other nectarine flavoured delights in the coming months. All while talking to my brother on skype!

As I went outside to take out the bowl of scraps from the nectarines that had ugly inedible bits, I heard a thud as another stone fruit dropped to the ground. A large bat took flight, away from the human threat to it’s peaceful meal. The night air was cool, such a contrast to the heat of the day. The last thing I did before bed was wash my feet, perhaps the most directly self loving thing I’ve done all day!

Day 27: Dancing with Avicii

Four days left! Wow, pretty impressed with myself that I’ve made it this far. And enjoying making it my own, bringing in other elements, not just about the self love challenge, it’s all connected isn’t it?

There are so many things I want to write about and some of that is starting to come through here. Once the self love challenge is over I will take a bit of a break and then start up again with what wants to be written.

It’s 34 degrees outside, tomorrow, and both weekend days are forecast to top out at 39, Wednesday is the cool day with a high of 24 expected and the other two days mid 30s. Another warm week coming!

Last night I took Emma to Avicii, her xmas present. It was a beautiful night, really warm and festive, on Australia Day. A handful of times I stopped paying attention to the mindless party goers, most of them half my age, and allowed myself to be free of concern. I was able to simply enjoy the moment, the music, the atmosphere, and just move to the music.

2014-01-26 20.34.58There was a couple of guys near us, my gaydar was going off. It became clear to us that they were a couple, but only subtly apparent. I became present to the privilege of being able to be in public with my same sex partner and be affectionate, dancing together. The guys were more reserved, no PDAs, didn’t even put their arms around eachother when a straight couple took a pic of them after they took a pic of the straight couple, a nice gesture as they were doing a selfie.

I was really struck by how reserved guys are. Another straight couple near us had a tall dude with tattoo sleves but looked more like an athelete than a biker. He hardly moved, almost like he was on duty as protector of is girlfriend dancing gently in front of him. A single woman on the other side of us was totally going for it, not wildy but clearly really enjoying herself, not to impress the friends that weren’t with her, just responding to the music expressively. Quite a fascinating range!

 

 

Day 24: Worth it?

I’m impressed that I’ve made it to day 24! Woo hoooo! Celebration! I even meditated for the second day in a row this morning. Not a great quality meditation but gives me more incentive to keep going and do another one tomorrow. I’ll do it after a dog walk, today it was raining so the girls were itching for a walk but sat with me while I meditated, not so subtly dropping hints for attention.

Just before I went to sleep I saw that I’d been tagged in a facebook post, it was a discussion about questioning the anti-wealth sentiment in our society. One of the things I’ve noticed and uncovered in myself is tied up in my fear of becoming wealthy (that sits beside my desire to earn a lot of money, and grief about not earning as much working for myself as working for ‘tha man’) is about my relationship with myself especially worthiness. Brene Brown talks a lot about this in The Gifts of Imperfection.self-worth-matters-300x220

It’s one of the motivators for me to do this self love challenge, to improve my relationship with myself, which you’d think would have a positive effect on my self worth. When my self worth has improved, ideally that will help me shift out of the rut I’ve been in about earning money. The transition from employee to entrepreneur has been a rocky one for me.

I have an infinite amount of motivators to earn more money, yet it feels like there’s a glass wall that I keep hurling myself at. With this challenge, I’m stepping back to see if there’s another way to remove the wall, to enable me do things like get a new hot water system and fix a growing list of things around my house. Not to mention paying the mortgage and not having to worry about what happens when my old dogs need more vet care. And on a grander scale, I envision being a philanthropist, supporting some of the great initiatives that are making a difference and advancing our society toward a more enlightened existence.

As I begin to love myself more, will I free myself up and value myself more so that I attract what I’m worth? I don’t know. I can only guess and do what I think will hit the mark. I’ve done all sorts of things that seem like a good idea, that might dismantle the wall and provide some new tools or clearer direction for getting me where I’m going. I know I’m capable of greatness, I help my clients uncover theirs all the time, just can’t do it for myself. I’ve had some great coaches too and still it feels like something is missing. I’d much rather write about what I’ve accomplished and how well I’m doing but it feels important to be real as well. Watch this space, I know I’m on the precipice of something big!

Day 23: Unconditioning

It’s baby day. We have had the pleasure of spending time with two different friends that both have kids under two. Both are very environmentally conscious moms using cloth nappies and parenting according to what they believe is right in combination with the research they’ve done, not just what they learned by default from their own parents. I really appreciate that. How else are we going to progress our conditioning from bad to slightly less bad?

One of the moms was saying ‘yes’ to her child a fair bit. She explained that she was aware of how much kids hear the word ‘no’ and for many it’s one of the first words they learn. Sure, they’re differentiating themselves, learning boundaries and asserting their power. All of that is really important but perhaps there’s a balance to be struck. Learning to love ourselves includes saying no and having clear boundaries AND it’s also about saying yes, yes to ourselves, yes to receiving love and contribution from others and saying yes to life.

We learn to limit ourselves so quickly. We are conditioned to respond to limitation and curtail our expression from a very young age. Our parents thought they were teaching us how to safely and respectfully be in the world, to fit in, to behave appropriately. We also learned that we can’t have what we want, can’t express our desires and of course many of babyTus interpret it ever further to believe we can’t be who we are. So how the hell are we supposed to be authentic. What does that even mean? We are conditioned to move so far away from the essence of who we are that we spend the rest of our lives trying to find out who we are at our core, the long process of rediscovering ourselves, letting go of conditioning, baggage and false notions of who we think the world wants us to be.

Perhaps this is the human journey, perhaps it is what we are here to learn. To forget who we are and rediscover ourselves. What would it be like if we didn’t forget? Who would we be if we didn’t have to spend so much time rediscovering ourselves? Imagine what we could achieve if all (or even some) of that was out of the way and we were encouraged from birth to fully step into our authentic selves, valued for the unique, wild, wonderful and exquisite beings that we are! Would it be chaos? Would it be a harmonious existence that enabled the development of new ways of being on earth that was starkly different from the existence we have now? What would the planet look like?

I wonder if we would grow up loving ourselves and not have to spend time learning how to do that as an adult. Can you imagine?

Day 22: All of the things!

I’ve just read back through most of the blog posts I’ve written since I started this Self Love Challenge. Lots of intention, allowing it to emerge and flow, wishing I were more diligent as well as accepting what is and letting the learning take me in all the different directions that this journey offers. The darkness, the light, the supportive subconscious waking prompts, the self sabotage. All of the things!splicing_tree_illustrator_03_vector_181907

Perhaps the next exploration to open to is about what the parts of me that aren’t so keen have to offer. What is the message, the gift in the snarky self sabotaging aspect of myself? What modesty can be gained by heeding the call of the discomfort of looking in the mirror with admiration? What will come of practicing the mirror work more often, will I befriend my modest self or cast her aside and become arrogant and conceited?

Today I have been feeling tired. I thought if I put some music on and got a bit active it would help. It did for a bit, it warmed me up at least and the other thing that came of it was including the “I love myself” mantra as part of the exercise. I’m liking these spontaneously emerging practices to integrate self loving activity and the mantra. Yay me!

What practices do you have in your toolbox that started as a spontaneous happenings?

Day 21 : What I’ve learned after 3 weeks

It’s been three weeks since I started this Self Love Challenge. Every day is a new day of learning. Here are some of the things I’m present to at the moment:

  • The different parts of me are becoming more apparent as I continue to embark on this journey, some want to sabotage my efforts and others connect me to the essence of who I am.
  • Working with these parts is a continual journey and there is always something to learn from them each time they surface.
  • Even when it feels like I could always do more, the fact that I’ve stuck with it this far is worth celebrating!
  • Making the practices my own, such as connecting the mantra to the steps I take on my walks, is an important way to personalise and sustain the process.
  • Being honest about when things are hard is self loving.
  • There is a lot of space to take this process deeper and there is plenty of time to do that, it doesn’t end when January ends.
  • Mastering self love is a life long learning.

Day 20: Self Aspects and Mirror Work

I’ve noticed some things about what happens when I use the “I love myself” mantra. Sometimes a voice in my head gets really snarky. Or when I do something self loving and make a mental note of it, the inner critic can have a response that is not very nice at all! If I keep going, which I usually do, if I don’t get distracted of course, another voice emerges.

Eventually, if I stick with it long enough, and sometimes that’s only 30 seconds or so, the
Kitten Mirror Lion
part of me that believes I love myself responds with sweetness. It feels loving and nurturing, agreeing with the mantra, and helping me connect to the self loving aspect of myself. It feels like the essence of who I am shining through all the crap the other aspects of myself tend to hide or keep me from accessing without some real focused intention.

I also did a bit of mirror work today. After imagining doing it a few times over the last few days, actually doing it was far easier. Didn’t feel confronted at all this time. It was more like, “yeah I really do, it’s not just a contrived thing.” It’d be pretty easy to ride this one into complacency, I know that keeping that going is important.

In many ways it’s not so much about what I see in the mirror but how I regard what I see and how I relate to the person looking back at me. I have had a few instances in my life where I had a striking experience of recognising the person I see in the mirror. It’s only happened a handful of times but each time it felt incredible. It was like I had an amplified awareness of who I am, self recognition in a way that defies who we think we are.