January 2012 – It’s time for a paradigm shift. How often have you looked at a sunset and said, “I love that sky!” Or you listened to the radio and said, “I love that song!”
Recently, I realized that it’s time to experience this differently. These past few weeks, walking on the beach early every morning, contemplating the years past and the years ahead, filled with intense emotion, relentless thoughts, and focusing on the steady rhythm of my bare feet on cool sand, I continued to long for stillness, peace, and even joy. It all seemed so
But after several days I finally heard something – a voice, a feeling? I don’t know. But I heard it distinctly. It said: “Listen to the waves.” So I stopped and listened for a long time, hour after hour, hearing as though for the first time all the subtleties of the waves, the deep, booming roar of the ocean, the crashes, the whispers, the rustle of the foam on the sand, the sweeping in and the sweeping out of so much water, the endlessness.
The process was like getting to know a strange language I had never heard before. I realized the waves are not individual entities: they speak for the whole ocean. And this is what the waves say, over and over: “I only want to love you. Let me love you.”
In that moment the world shifted. I realized that everything in the world longs to love us: the birds, the sky, the wind, the light. Even people! You might think that you want to be loved, but imagine or remember the joy of yourself being in love. And so with nature, or the sand under our feet, or the nose of a puppy. It all wants to love you, as much or more as you love it.
So the next time you look at a sunset, hear it say this to you: “I only want to love you. Let me love you.” And when you feel the breeze on your face, or you watch a star twinkle – let it love you. Because that’s all it really wants to do.
Now that you have spelt your lesson,
lay it down and go and play,
Seeking shells and seaweed
on the sands of Monterey,
Watching all the mighty whalebones,
lying buried by the breeze,
Tiny sandy-pipers, and the huge Pacific seas.
Robert Louis Stevenson
from ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’
Writing Practice – You Are the Beloved
We’ve been programmed to think that selflessness and doing good deeds for others are vital for our wellbeing. We’ve been told that sticking with a lousy job, an abusive boss, and bleak sacrifice is what life is about. Self-denial is part of our existence.
That’s all true, to an extent. But it’s not the whole story. What matters most in the world is you. You need to care first and foremost about yourself. Everything you do and care and feel and think needs to be with you at your center, no one else. You are the dearest, the kindest human in your life. You are the sun – let the others orbit around you. And that way your light shines on them and they flourish and grow and shine as well.
By loving yourself, I’m not advocating selfishness or greed! It’s the opposite, in fact. Greed is not loving yourself – greed and selfishness will make you sick, just as it makes the world sick. Loving yourself means being as kind and loving toward yourself as you would be toward someone you love very dearly.
That’s all very well and good, I hear you say, But how can we do it? Years of conditioning, of people telling you the opposite or setting your value in terms of wealth or attractiveness or success makes it impossible. So what is the process? How can you practice this?
Since you love to write, begin by using Writing as your main practice. How often have you said, “I love that poem”” Or, “What a great word – I love it!” Now turn the experience around: Words, sentences, grammar, stories – they all want to love you. Let them. Let a word adore you. Allow a sentence to speak its pleasure in being with you. Enjoy the poem’s gift of loving you.
Look at a phrase or a paragraph in your story and surrender to it. For this writing practice, the effort is not to feel you are the master of your work. Let it love you. Let it pamper you, take care of you, worship you, adore you. Let the poem say, “This is for you. Enjoy!” Surrender to the love your words have for you.
Think of surrender not as giving up, but giving. Think of it in the same way the sun surrenders to its orbit and the moon surrenders to being a reflection in silver light.
Or the candle surrenders to being lit.
Or a flower surrenders to its own fragrance.
Surrender to being your own light, your own happiness, your own fragrance, your own beating heart. Surrender to yourself.
All else falls into place around you.
You are the beloved.
- precision as you cut the diamond
- a flight of fancy
- nestled under the wing of a chicken
- what the raven said