There is so much information about self love and self care these days, which is a welcome and needed salve. Self love is a profound path to healing. For many of us, we have been the one person who has been left out of the love equation as we’ve done for others, considered others, served others, and cared for others. Most of us know now we can’t fill others’ cup if ours is empty. Self care, nurturing, gentleness, and tending, are essential for our thriving and well-being. And they are also only the beginning.
Once we begin mastering self-care, such as taking time for what we need or choosing relationships that celebrate and encourage who we are, we often discover the deeper road to self-love, which is internal. Many times the ways we are most unloving (shall we say non-loving?) to ourselves are an inside job. They manifest in the dialogue in our own heads as the voice of our inner critic or the way we hang on to shame or regret. As we begin shifting our relationship with what a friend calls the “small selife,” we learn the more subtle ways of self-love and self care.
This mastery of self-love (for which all other relationships are the great reflection) leads to more. Of course! We are now ready for deep discovery of the core of “self love” and what its deepest expression is.
The truest expression of love is always unconditional. It is love without agenda, judgment, requirement, or need. It simply is. In this way, unconditional love shows itself as presence. Indeed, presence is unconditional love. We all know what it feels like to have someone see us, understand us, hear us, and love us without offering advice, correction, or suggestion. We know what it feels like to have someone simply be with us. We breathe a big exhale and relax. We know we are not alone. We feel loved by their very presence.*
So when looking at things we can choose or do for ourselves that are unconditionally loving, one action rises above all of the others. It is this: Pure Presence. What is this? Complete and neutral non-identification with the small self. Isn’t it ironic that the deepest expression of self-love, what is at the core of it, is a complete transcendence of the self!
This may sound a bit abstract or conceptual at first, but stay with me. This is where the amazingly good stuff is, the deep freedom, and the most profound healing. It is what every ounce of us that craves love is looking for.
Most of us are identified with our small self, i.e. our personality, thoughts, identity, roles, accomplishments, gender, history, story, culture… you get the picture… these are all the aspects of what we call the small self because it is finite. It is what we think of as “us.”
However, these parameters are specific to this lifetime, which is only a small portion of what we truly are. Yes, we are what we are right now, and we are also fully beyond it, so in another sense, we are not it at all. This would be what is often referred to as the “illusory self.” It’s your current role in your divine mystery play. For me, the character is as real as the vast space that creates it. To dismiss it as “only illusion” is to negate the magnificence of this divine being. I see the small self as a beautiful expression of the infinite, a concentrated alchemy of creation: wondrous, unique, and brilliant. And it is like a crystal the size of a grain of sand in a great expanse of endless shore. It is both complete and discreet as a creation, and it is inseparable from the whole. They are the same thing.
Letting go of our attachments and identification with the finite self and moving into experience of our life from the great space of wholeness is not a single step process, or something we usually do overnight. In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at one of the most powerful ways to unfold through our identifications into the wide open expanses of love. We’ll look at how these opportunities show up in your life, and how to navigate through.
Loving you infinitely and unconditionally, one complete presence to another –
*If you’ve never experienced this in your life, please contact me. Your first session might be one of steeping in presence where you encounter unconditional love for the first time. I’m always honored to be your guide and mirror in this!