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Love Matters Most

In the wake of yet another mass shooting, occurring on a day meant to symbolize and celebrate love, I feel a sadness and heaviness in my heart for all the lives lost. I am sending love and compassion to the friends and families of the victims, and all the faculty, students, and parents that are dealing with the trauma and grief they are experiencing as survivors. Additionally, to anyone like myself that is feeling shaken and disturbed.

Like most people, I wonder, why does this keeping happening? I understand that we might not be able to pinpoint the exact answer to this question (though I think this article offers a lot of truth to what might prevent it, besides the obvious need for gun reform.) I am holding on to hope that as the collective energy shifts, and we address the underlying issues, we might see less of these tragedies occur.

What I do know is that LOVE matters most.

Photo Credit: Avelon Art & Photography

Living from a place of love and connection is of the utmost importance and adds so much value to our lives. Living from an open, curious, compassionate, accepting heart creates an abundance of joy and health for you and the ones you hold dearest. Living from this place changes the way you interact with the world.

What I have learned from my studies of yogic philosophy and personal practice, is that much of the pain and suffering we experience comes from our hearts energy and wisdom becoming blocked. A condition that is often created by getting caught up in our heads, with the habitual thought patterns, fears, and self-limiting beliefs that we march to without question.

In my observation and experience as a Wellness Coach, it seems that it is easy for most people to express love towards others, at least those closest to them. I believe overall we can do better with offering love and acceptance to all beings. And to the earth, we have got to love up mother earth better for sure.

Speaking of mothers, I notice we are especially prone to the caregiver syndrome, and the mantra "must love others before self." I get it. I know the moment Leif arrived I seem to have slipped into a love coma from which I am confident I will never awake. But it is just too important for so many reasons, for all of us, and our children; we have to practice self-care and love ourselves fully. We have a pivotal role as mothers (and fathers!). When we care for ourselves and model healthy behaviors and ways of coping, we are teaching our children to love themselves and be kinder to others too.

Putting myself down was second nature for much of my life, all the while maintaining an exterior of having my shit oh so put together. I am a mild example of this, and I know that I am not alone on this front. There are many self-critics out there, perhaps some who haven't even realized yet just how hard on themselves they are? As a woman and a mother, this seems very commonplace. In fact, it just seems the norm of our society if you ask me. Just look at what is happening in politics, with our capitalist framework, and with what is portrayed in the media. We have a negativity bias and focusing on our shortcomings comes easy for most. Looking for self-esteem outside of ourselves is not uncommon. The “keeping up with the Joneses” mindset and attempting to meet societal expectations, doing what we think we should be or what someone else expects, it all takes away from living as your true self and with authentic purpose and fulfillment. Furthermore it seems to serve as a distraction for caring for ourselves. Is it any wonder that so many people are depressed and anxious, that the physical and mental health of this country is poor at best.

Curious cat wonders… If there was more language in our society, homes, and in our classrooms about self-love and acceptance. More teaching of how to self-regulate and effectively manage our emotions and stressors. If mindfulness practices were mainstream and we all focused on raising children that are more socially and emotionally intelligent. If we shifted our educational focus to be less about academic success and more about supporting the unique interests of each child while developing actual real-life skills. If it was widely understood and accepted that we are responsible for our own health and happiness... How different would the world be?

My child motivates me to want to make the world, or at least the one I can impact, a better place. Some of the troubles of our society seem so big, insurmountable at times, but I believe it starts with each one of us shifting our priorities and energies. We effect the next generations with the examples that we set and the values we attempt to instill in our children are of significant importance. I am certainly not implying that there are a bunch of unloving, self-loathing parents out there or that our country's problems boil down to parenting alone, but I do think every little bit counts, and we all can make a difference. We carry great responsibility as parents, and this article provides ample science and perspective on how important the role of a parent is in shaping a child's brain: emotionally, socially and academically.

I have been working on my self-acceptance and offering greater endearment towards my soul for a while, but just like anything, it is a process. It requires staying present to those old thoughts and habits when they come creeping back in. It is a matter of making time for just me and the activities that bring peace to my mind. I have shifted my mindset, declaring that I am no longer willing to settle or put myself on the back burner. It means not letting myself get caught up in undue concern about what other people may or may not think of me. The reality is I cannot control any of this anyway so I might as well just keep working with what I can, which is my intimacy with myself. I am facing fears and letting myself be seen. I am even learning to appreciate the parts of myself that I don’t even necessarily like. I know now that having a relationship with myself of this nature offers all that I have been seeking. It provides the greatest health and happiness, and enhances all my other efforts to live well. I hope to support my child with developing this type of connection with himself. Who doesn’t want their child to be happy and healthy, kind and well-adjusted?

I believe wholeheartedly that cultivating an awareness of your inner world is an act of self-love, from which you can offer higher love to the external world. A higher vibration of love is especially important in this world that sometimes feels like it's spinning out of control. In a world that at times seems like there is more bad happening than good.

Love matters most.

Love yourself, so you can see with eyes that are more understanding and patient for all beings.

Love for each other so we can we all feel the sense of true belonging that we innately desire.

Love to those who are experiencing greater challenges and those we struggle to understand.

Love, respect, and gratitude for our planet that provides everything essential for living.

Love matters most.

Questions to ponder, as always I would love to hear from you!

How do you connect lovingly with yourself?

What practices or activities help you to honor your relationship with yourself?

How do you experience love in your body?

Who do you love unconditionally?

What values would you hope to instill in your child?