No, not that kind of self love. Tut.
Today, day sixteen of my thirty day yoga journey, was the first full day of having a patient at home (the hubby wth his healing lung) and also - just to test me that little bit further - was my busiest day of the week as far as work and child-related commitments go. A heady cocktail of swimming lessons, after-school clubs, workshop preparation and dinner strategies, and now Adriene had threw in a forty one minute practice too. Nice.
But, I had yet another pair of magic leggings on so I was fit to take on the world. Or a yoga mat at least.
Like Adriene, this subject of 'Self Love' has to be one of my all time favourites. Too many times in the past, I've gone through something hideous emotionally and thought 'right, I need to find a way to love myself again'. But let's face it. That shit is HARD. Finding a slither of love for yourself when you're at rock bottom feels nigh on impossible and you need to do A LOT of work and have A LOT of patience before you feel anywhere near even liking yourself. Sound familiar?
About eleven years ago I went through a series of emotionally devastating blows and found myself in such a place. The efforts required to build up my foundations again were huge and exhausting and confusing because I didn't know where to start. It was through meeting some amazing people, saying yes to some outlandish opportunities and generally blasting open my mind and my heart that I finally got there. I've written a novel about that whole year, because it was so life-changing.
After that, I knew I had to actually make some concerted effort to make sure I didn't go to that place again. I'd learned a whole heap about myself that year that I loved. Yes - loved. And I wasn't going to let anyone or anything distract me from that fact.
And so began the next ten years of loving myself to the max. Yoga, swimming, eating cake, laughing with friends, walks by the sea, baking, painting and more have brought me to where I am now, sitting at this laptop, writing this blog and living this crazy self-made challenge. This whole month - whilst challenging on more than one level - is an act of self love in itself.
Even now, with my Lads, I'll say to them, "Who do I love?"
And they'll gleefully cheer, "Me!"
Then I'll say, "Who else do I love?"
And they know the drill: "My brother, Daddy, Granny Flo, Uncle Matty, all our Turkish family . . ."
Then I look at them expectantly. "Correct. And who else do I love? You've missed out somebody important."
They look at each other and grin. "You! You love yourself very much!"
Then we hug a lot and I shout that yes, they're right, I soooo love myself.
Just as often, we reverse the whole thing with "Who do you love?" And nine times out of ten? They themselves are right up there in the top five. If not, number one. Right where they should be.
So what I'm saying is that although a hefty forty one minutes long, today's practice was MADE for me.
I loved Adriene's invitation to 'give yourself an image here' during a specific pose (just to keep things fun) or her suggestion that we could choose love, when holding up a mirror to ourselves. She wants to make self love cool again like it was in the 1960s. I'm totally with her on that, but I guess that rather than making it cool, we need to make it rad or sic or litty or whatever. Whatever it is, we all need to do more of it, be more of it, feel more of it. Don't you think?
Anyway, my self love yoga slotted nicely into my mental day and as well as noticing my legs felt stronger throughout (that half moon's a killer, right?), I just felt better. And that's enough, isn't it? To feel better than we did before? To open the pathways, to loosen the grip, to #findwhatfeelsgood?
And right now, exhausted but happy, tapping away at my laptop, my patient in the next room and knowing it's going to be yet another late dinner, I know I have found what feels good. At last.
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