I sat at my little bistro set, trying to read from A Course of Love, while my heart drifted lower into my chest. The weighted heaviness of the past few days clung to me like secondhand smoke. My father was in the hospital, hooked up to a series of tubes while cancer floated throughout his system. I was seven hours away while my dad’s body made command decisions none of my family was privy to. In addition, I had fallen for a man that only led to a dead end street, and the harshness of that reality shattered my me every bit as much as my father’s illness.
And yet, life was still going on. The appliance man was coming at 1:00 to fix the dryer, the deadline for a writing project needed cleaned up and submitted, and my friends texted me plans for a birthday celebration that evening. But I sat on my porch, unable to do more than stare at the ponds and oasis of trees before me.
Move! the voice inside me screamed. C’mon! You’ve got things to do and we don’t have time for this now. Get up, do something, and push through it. It’ll go away. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself.
Part of me wanted to listen that voice, believing taking time for myself would indeed cause things in my life to spiral out of control. But another part of me was looking for a comforting hug. And so, against orders, I dared to test the waters of self-kindness and see where it led. I took myself to the lounge chair and gave myself space to feel what was going on inside of me. After a moment, a sleepiness overcame me. Thirty minutes later, I awoke to the same weighted feeling. Nothing much had changed except I felt more rested, which was something.
“I’m not going to push you away,” I told it. “You’re allowed to be here.” And though these words didn’t change the sadness, something else began to grow. A warm, slow tenderness spread and grew stronger as I focused upon it. I soon began to notice other things – the scent of sweet honeysuckle, the trickling of the waterfall, and the chirps of song birds. A small joy sprouted inside of me.
Suddenly, the world didn’t seem so burdensome. The losses I was experiencing blossomed into moments of love and appreciation for the lives of these men and how they had touched mine. The heaviness began to lift like morning fog and in its place a light feeling of acceptance arose.
Refusing ourselves will never bring the peace we desire. It is by our very allowance of “what is” that restores us to sanity. In my moment of permission, I found comfort. And within that comfort, love. And within that love, peace. And within that peace, acceptance. I was free.
Don’t be afraid to love yourself – your heart is the channel for miracles.