"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." ~ Buddha
This thing called love…
The month is September. A sunny afternoon brings the desire to get out and explore. Just a short drive and I'll be there.
We're getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let's take a step back.
The day, I'm not sure. There were many. Let's say it is a mid-morning in June. I'm hanging out in the sandbox, loading up a dumptruck with sand and dirt. The grass, the trees, the plants…they are growing around me. I don't notice. The sand has my attention.
I'm maybe eight years old.
Fast forward back to September.
The sky is big, the shadows from the mountains an instant reminder of the vastness and grandeur of this land. I start out along the "safe" routes. Traveling down the highway, stopping at well-marked and easily accessible landmarks. The tree lines, the waterfalls, the mountain peaks – views that are incredible to take in.
(am I really taking them in?)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
Traveling along, I turn onto a much less traveled road. The views more obscured and fewer places of "interest" has made this road less traveled. I drive, wondering at what point I should abort this route and turn back. Something (that little voice within) says "go a little further". I happen upon a parking lot tucked back off the road. Maybe two other cars are here, and it seems so quiet, so still, so peaceful. A small pond is the playground for a couple of ducks. A man is fishing nearby, and a mother and daughter are returning from a walk near the pond. Another trail leads up into the deeper parts of the forest.
…the deeper parts of the forest…the deeper parts of me…
The crunching of leaves as I walk along this trail, that's all I hear. When I stop, silence. I wander, deeper into this part of the forest, none of it known to me, and all of it known to me.
I wander into a clearing, and the path and direction become not so clear. I wander, not knowing I'm wandering off the trail. Soon enough, it's clear I've found my way off anything resembling a trail. There's a hill, and a stream down below. The flowing water draws my attention, and I make my way toward it. The carcass of some animal is near the stream. The mountains surrounding me are no longer visible in the denseness of where I'm at. Footsteps along the stream, as I feel really at peace being here.
…and then I stop.
My gaze turns back, back to that small hill which brought me the stream. It's still there, except, it is different. Where was that rock I climbed over? Wasn't there something that looked like a path, leading down to where I am? None of that is here.
…and the sun is setting as a coolness begins to fill the air.
My heart begins to race a bit, as the thought of "lost" floats through my head. Quickly and without much thought, I begin to travel back up that hill, looking for something familiar, something reassuring.
Back to that sandbox for a moment.
Everything around me, I know it's there – the grass, the trees, the plants. I know, and I don't notice.
And to that forest deep within…
Today I'm keenly aware of the trees, the plants, the rocks. I notice my footsteps..does anything look like what I saw just ten minutes earlier? A sound…what was that?
And as quickly as it began, this feeling of unsassuredness…it passes. A familiar sight, this big group of boulders, and the trail right around the corner.
Back to the Sandbox
That sandbox, it is like me. There is love in that old box (or tire, as was the case for me). What was outside, it was amazing and incredible. When I was in that sandbox, though, I was focused on being in that sandbox. I didn't really think about it – at eight years old it was just a sandbox. (and so much more) See, I think that intrinsically, we are love. And at eight years old, while I didn't define it as such, I loved life…and that was something that started within. Love the sandbox….love the world around me. Love me…love the world around me.
And That September Day
That September day. Just me, far from home and all alone. Does love for self ever feel like that? Has the love I feel for myself ever felt like that?
I'm reminded of a time a few years back – a time where love for me wasn't really present. And with my own personal love (real, genuine love) not present, my outside view of the world (both near and far) was much more jaded, much more "seeing the negative", much less openly loving.
Like this visit to the mountain, love…it's like that. There's this path, that is much like the surface of who we are. Facial expressions. Appearance. Friendships. Family. Etc. Etc. There's also a deeper part of us, too – that getting off of the path. And these places "off the path", the inner part of who we are – they can maybe seem unknown, scary, unloved, ignored, new, exciting, off the wall, etc, etc.
Do you play it safe, and stay on the trails, the trails of you? It's so nice, this path that's known, comfortable, familiar. Except, are you missing out on something even greater – are you missing out on connecting fully with who you are and the real that comes from knowing you, seeing you, loving you?
…and I wander off the trail, the nicely marked trail called "my life"…
And I find these amazing things that are me. (and maybe some things I don't really like all that well, too…the messy part)
That is me, though – all of these parts, and it's so much more than the clearly marked trail (the image we present to the outer world).
Self Love Is
…connecting with who I am
…the imperfect me, formed in perfection
…the nooks and crannies that are part of me, the things that no one sees and only I know
…the dark corners
…and the light
…is like a sandbox and veering off the trail
…starting within and going out
Here's How It Works For Me
When I choose to love me – the whole me – for who I am, it's a selfless love. It's a selfless love as I'm connecting with me on a deeper and more personal level. And when I do, I love the world around me more fully, more genuinely…
How about you? When you choose to get off the clearly marked trail of "you", what do you see? And do you love what you are being?
L O V E
Enjoyed reading my story of self-love? Well, there’s more! You can also read the rest of the stories written by online personal development bloggers in a Self Love Stories Report. Evelyn Lim started the ball rolling by sharing her story in the post Self Love Story: Lessons from the Heart. She had written it in response to an intuitive call to create greater Self Love Awareness. Evelyn and I are compiling this report together, and it will be available as a free download soon!