Loving yourself is the root. Loving others is the flowering


One of the reasons I love Facebook is that it is like a never-ending gathering of friends and acquaintances, and that I get to evesdrop on conversations of all kinds.  Yesterday, I say a thread where the original poster was speaking of the damaging messages received from parents in childhood, and the conflicts and stress those instructions have caused.


The basic wiring of the human psyche is to grow, seek pleasure, learn, and avoid pain.   When expressed healthfully, and given the right resources, we explore the world, imitate our mentors and role models, discover our own essence, and discard whatever is “not us” and begin to express ourselves as works of living art.


We develop the capacity to hunt and gather (make money), find love and sex with integrity, and most of us bond and raise families.   About the time our parents die, most of us awaken to the actual flow of life (the more fortunate ones accomplish this earlier) and we deal with our own fear of mortality, often by focusing on what we will contribute to, and experience of, the world before we leave it.


But  our parents, the god-like figures who provided food, shelter, and love…who were sources of affection and discipline, have a very special place in our lives.  In our early days, our neurology is totally “open” to their programming.  We trust them because we must, and are genetically programmed to do so.


What happens if their instructions are poison?  If our childhood homes were not safe?  If we received conflicting instructions or philosophies (“find love!” vrs  “relationships are pain!”.  “Be free!” vrs  “Seek security.”)?  If we were manipulated with guilt and pain and fear, and haven’t the energy and focus to break free of that toxic orbit?  Locked into a web of co-dependent relationships where we cannot approve of our own lives, but must eternally seek the approval of people who cannot or will not give it?


Then we will either live a life of pain, our dreams crash and burn. Our relationships are struggles, our bodies dump sites for our emotions.    It can be awful to watch, and worse to live.   We must find a way to break free, to heal and nurture ourselves, love ourselves ruthlessly, and find or fight or grow our way to freedom.


The daily ritual of meditation and motion, of creating an avatar of an “inner child” to nurture and protect; simultaneously learning to move our bodies as if we were healthy animals and move through the world like autonomous adults; and at the same time keeping our eyes on our ultimate spiritual reality…


Well, we can extract the positive lessons from our childhoods (and trust me, they exist, or you wouldn’t have survived) without being defined by the negative.  Not being your parents, nor not-being your parents, but rather simply being yourself.   Some of what you are will be like them, some will not.  It is only a matter of interest, not a confinement or predestination or adolescent rebellion. Just…being you.


This is something worth seeking and cultivating, and totally possible, if you’ll just spend a little time every day listening to your heart, embracing your deepest dreams and values, and raising your energy.


You’re worth loving. You’re worth fighting for.

Make 2015 your best year ever!



Steven Barnes


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