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 18: Continuing Practices

Practices returning after the heatwave subsides. This morning walking my dogs I used my steps to mentally enunciate each syllable of the “I love myself” mantra. Made it a bit harder to get distracted. It worked quite well actually, I think I’ll do that more.

I’m finding that in the last 18 days I’ve been pretty good at practising the mantra at least a lovemindhandful of times each day. The meditation less than every day, perhaps every two or three days. That’s been quite useful. However the mirror practice has not been something I’ve done much of or feel very comfortable with. I really don’t look in the mirror much as it is, and to tell myself I love myself or give myself a compliment, far from the top of my list.

It’s not even that I don’t like how I look, I am pretty content with my appearance, even as I age into my 40s. And I’m still reasonably thin. Sure there are things I would like to improve, get more fit, get my hair done, my roots are getting ridiculously long, but overall I don’t have any specific negativity about my looks. If anything I suppose I’d be neutral, rather than complimentary or appreciative of the person I see in the mirror.

There is work to be done here and although I am almost two thirds of the way through the writing challenge, I don’t plan to stop the practises at the end of the month. In February I’m doing a hypnotherapy course and want to see about incorporating self love into self-hypnosis to allow my subconscious mind to more fully integrate these practises.

Day 11 : In Brief

It looks like I had two Day Six’s so I’ve corrected that now and am actually on day eleven, being that it’s January eleventh, that makes sense. Really appreciated my self loving meditation today. No interruptions from the dogs this time. Am coming into acceptance and appreciation of the momentary nature of the self love practise.

It’s ok and natural that it’s a gradual process. It wouldn’t be real otherwise. It’s been a week and a half and it’s creeping into my consciousness and brings a nice awareness of the moments where the subconscious elements surface. The tennis game between the two is a fascinating thing to notice. As I become conscious of the self love, it brings more of the subconscious patterns to the surface. Much of it is helpful and supports my journey and expanded capacity to love myself. And some of it presents as another opportunity to work through stuff and let go of what doesn’t serve me, another gradual and tennis like process!

Today is a short one, without getting into the reasons, I’ll invite you to take the next three minutes, that you might normally spend reading the rest of the blog post, to consider what self love means to you. I’d love to hear your reflections and practices in the comments. And if you notice anything like having two Day Six posts, please let me know!

Day Eight: A week of Self Love!

The teenager in me snickers at the words, immediately assuming it’s about masturbation. That can be part of it but isn’t the entirety of it. I don’t need to tell you that, unless your inner teenager is also snickering.

There have been times when it feels like going over the “I love myself” mantra in my mind, without much beyond repeating it to myself, is a bit mundane. Usually I can get to a point where it becomes real for me and I have blissful moments of self appreciation or simply feeling blessed. It feels like I’m filled with light and have a heightened awareness of the entirety of my awesomeness, which includes the darkness, the shadow and of course that part of me that loves to distract me from getting shit done!

I’ve learned that this part simply wants me to avoid burn out and being super driven. Lots of work to integrate that one! I’m aware that I want to be successful at this challenge, I want to be good at it and report good things here. I know I’m great at starting things and am getting better at finishing, but fear I will lose steam with this. That may happen and if it does, that’s ok too.heart mirror

When I got up this morning it was the second time I didn’t have the mantra in my head and the second time in a row I did the meditation. And as I went through my day I found snippets of self loving moments. Times where I found myself feeling great and thinking, “It’s because I love myself!” as if I needed to source the feeling. Or perhaps give the challenge some credit.

Some unusual behaviour could have this challenge to blame or a range of other things, it matters little why, really. I cleaned a mirror that has been hanging on my wall for months. I looked at myself and complimented the person in the mirror. It felt foreign, contrived. I continued to clean, the walls, and some of the cobwebs off the ceiling. It needed to be done ages ago. I just did it without thinking. I can’t explain it. I’m afraid to dig and find out, I almost just want to leave it a mystery but it would probably helpful to know what motivates me to clean my house. Does loving myself inspire me to clean my surroundings? Bring it on!

Day Two: Unconditional and Vulnerable

After my luxurious bath last night I was so keen to get a blog post done that by the end of writing it i was aware of how dry my skin was. I went to put on some moisturiser, especially on my feet.foot-reflexology-massage Practised the “I love you” mantra and found that resistance I was expecting. It felt a bit contrived, and got a bit of ‘yeah whatev’ going on. I didn’t let my inner cynic deter me. I moisturised my skin and even gave my sore limbs an extra rub, amplifying the self love.

As I write, I’m very present to how much of a wank this feels like. That part of myself that subscribes to the default self loathing mentality is really strong right now, it’s not interested in how I noticed that I was scrimping a bit with the lotion and overcame the scarcity crap, using more where I’d normally finish up with ‘good enough’ and not really honour myself. It really doesn’t give a shit about realising how much I gloss over taking really good care of myself, how much I cut corners and find other priorities, other than loving myself. So make sure you don’t read any more so that part of myself can feel powerful and have some control over how much I divulge and how much light I cast on this shadow.

The other thing that occurs to me is to love that part of myself too. Hmm. How do I love a part of myself that is presenting me with barriers to self love or at least to sharing it here? Of course there’s a message, something to learn, a gift from this part of myself to become known. It’s there for a reason. Probably wants to protect me from some pain or prevent risky behaviour. Of course! That’s it. Doesn’t want me to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is risky. Risks exposure, being seen as weak, wants to protect me from showing that part of myself that ain’t so capable and composed. There is a lot of my identity that is caught up in being seen as competent.  Over-compensation for something, I’m sure.

Today I woke up with a positive regard toward myself and this challenge. I wondered what I’d do if I loved myself, I might be more diligent with self care stuff, like washing my face, using cleanser, I even found myself combing my hair. Not something I usually do when the only thing on the morning’s agenda is walking the dogs. I usually just put on a hat. It felt natural to do these nice things for myself. I was pleased that I was doing all the good things, felt really present doing yoga and in my meditation did what the book suggested, breathing in “I love myself” and breathing out anything else. At first it felt fine, simple, light. Then some cynicism poked through. Boring and pointless, yup. Thought again about loving that part of myself and then got distracted.

As I went through my day, I noticed more “If I loved myself” stuff. To the point where it became conditional. I could love myself if I did the right things, that massive list of things I could do if I had/made time or if I loved myself enough. Then a new challenge emerged. Love myself unconditionally! Love the part of me that is a bit of a task master, the perfectionist. That old chestnut. This one might take a bit. It might take some diligence and commitment. I guess that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?!!?

One resolution: Self Love

It’s January first, day one of 2014. My Facebook feed is full of well wishes, reflections and intentions for the new year. The one that really struck me was from Louise Hay; “What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more?” What a novel idea! Because what it all comes back to is love and loving myself has been a bit of a theme lately. Plus it’s something that came up strongly in the coaching group I did last year. In the end, most of the goals set by the participants came back to self love. And in applying some of this stuff to myself I was shocked to discover that I’d been taking myself for granted and assumed my relationship with myself was pretty good when in fact there was some work to do! heart lights blue

The contrast that emerged from the practice of simply regarding myself with kindness and fondness was a bit disturbing. The discomfort I felt in being loving toward myself was almost embarrassing. I thought I’d dealt with this stuff, I’ve done SO much personal development, surely I didn’t need to work on this too! Clearly some blind spots here to explore.

The post about the single self love resolution struck a chord and several people adopted the idea and shared the post. A friend posted a link to a book in the comments. “Love yourself like you life depends on it” The cover image had a silhouette of a person with a gun to their own head and a red heart in the chest. Not an image i felt drawn to but the concept appealed and I looked it up. It’s a fairly short book and less than $5 on so I started reading it. The concept is very simple but powerful, as most powerful ideas are! So I’m taking it on. Loving myself as a practise.

I started to explore a few things and also found this 31 Day Self Love writing challenge, so I’m taking that up too. (This is day one.) I have already started to incorporate the “I love myself” mantra and doing things that are self loving. So far I haven’t experienced the resistance I anticipated.

I had a bath tonight, as an act of self love, luxuriated with some honeysuckle bath gel. It was nice, simple. Might not always be so simple as the year gets busier. I don’t expect this Self Love journey to be an easy one but it feels important, worthwhile and compelling. Buckle up babes, we’re going for a ride!

Subconscious Mind Matters

I have just finished listening to the audiobook of Dr Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief. I am still reeling. It was full of a lot of concepts I mostly already knew about but put things into a sharper perspective and affirmed what I already understood, with a new sense of depth and gravity.

The idea that our subconscious mind controls most of what we do isn’t new to me but hearing Bruce talk about it and gaining a deeper understanding of it brought up all sorts of questions and feelings.

subconsciousI searched ‘subconscious mind’ on google and found this list of ways to control your subconscious mind. Not that control is my pursuit at all, more a dance or synergy. I’d love some kind of relationship that is functional and feels balanced, if that’s even possible.

I started on the first suggestion, stream of consciousness writing, again, not a new practice but doing it brought up some things I’d learned in the past. And my writing became about connecting with different parts of myself that are likely impacting what I’m doing and not doing and giving them a voice. I discovered that the reason I feel Continue reading

Thoughts on Voting

In Australia voting is compulsory.
However, it still feels like a privilege, and I felt quite emotional voting today.
I felt emotional when I stepped in line behind a father with two children waiting to vote.
I felt emotional when I saw a young mother put a handful of ‘how to vote’ flyers in the recycle bin.
I felt emotional when I saw a woman with a handful of surely every single possible ‘how to vote’ flyer in one hand and, slowly, her elderly mother’s wrist in the other hand.
I felt emotional when I thought of how many people would vote based on old, traditional (read outdated) values.
I felt emotional when I thought about how many people would vote for the ‘single issue’ or minority parties.
I remember overhearing a woman at work saying ‘I hate single-issue parties’.

I felt mixed up thinking about the importance placed on this right or obligation or duty we have to exercise our democratic freedom, while it feels incredibly tokenistic.Ballot Continue reading

[Day 14] Questions for you on podcasts and e-books

What are two key ways you could use the habits of a millionaire to monetize your blog in the next month?

Oh boy, another one I don’t feel inclined to jump on answering! But perhaps it’s a chance for me to ask you some things! question-mark

Firstly, finish my e-book! I can see how valuable this would be, not just for me to get the momentum going, but for the people who will eventually read it! I think getting a marketing plan happening might also spur me on. I plan to offer a complimentary copy of the e-book to my readers at first and then start selling it for a reasonable price.

Questions for you: Do you buy e-books? What do you normally pay for the books you buy? Where to do you buy them from? What are your favorite e-books? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Secondly, start my podcast! This is another idea I’ve had and not acted on beyond a practice interview. I will make a list of the people I want to interview and the basic questions to ask about leadership and change.

Questions for you: What do you want to know about leadership and change? What do you want to know from people who express leadership in a changing world? What kind of struggles are you having in terms of leadership, your own or others and how do you and others deal with change?

Thanks in advance for your support and answers!

30 day challenge