~ The Art of Self-Love ~
Love, what a big word. We all know it, we all want it, we all need it. There is so much that has been said and written about love. So many songs, so many movies, theatre plays, even philosophical ideas about our interaction, ability, and craving to love.
What is love for you? Is it a feeling? An action? A noun? A verb? A choice?
Last Saturday 12th of December, we sat in our Women’s Circle to talk, explore, and dive deep into Love. We took the time and space to immerse ourselves in the exploration of The Art of Self-Love.
We took time to ground ourselves in the space of the circle, connect with ourselves and with each other, and set an intention for the evening. Following, we dedicated time to moving mindfully and caring for ourselves, and then we jumped straight into the topic of the night.
‘What does love mean to you?’
‘What does loving mean to you?’
‘What does loving yourself mean to you?’
What is Love?
Big questions with which we opened the discussion that took us to many places, both deep within, and into the bonds and connections we have with others. ‘Love is a feeling’ – one woman said. ‘Love is a choice’ – proposed another. ‘Love is what we all have at the center’ – concluded a third woman.
Some women thought first about their romantic partner, their loved ones, their close family members. Others thought about themselves first. While many ideas, understandings, and concepts came up as we navigated these interrogants, there were two thing we could all agree on:
- We could all connect to the idea and experience of love in one way or another
- This is a pretty big question that more than answers, left us with even more questions about how to even begin to define such a universally relevant state of being
How is love different from loving? This is something we moved on to explore from here…
What is to Love?
As we moved on, loving was defined more in the light of the actions we take in order to show our love for others. Maybe caring for someone we love when they are sick, or calling someone when we know they are having a bad day.
One participant included the idea that loving can also be the act of not doing something, like not doing harm, or not saying something or reacting in a way that could be not loving.
We talked about romantic love being the most common understanding we have not only of love, but also of loving, and that sometimes it can be hard to always be loving to the people that matter the most to us. Especially if we live together, or in difficult/stressful times as the ones we have experienced this covid year. Is it possible to be loving to someone all the time?.
The idea of kindness also came up. A woman present claimed that to be loving is to be kind. Another challenged that idea: ‘Can you be unkind and still be loving? Are there ways of loving that don’t allow you to always be kind?’…
And a beautiful quote that came up from this discussion was: ‘When we love, what we experience is our ability to love. When we have the opportunity, the gift to love, we experience the love we have inside of ourselves’.
When it came to loving ourselves the conversation got even more interesting.
What is to Love Yourself?
How does one love oneself in a time in which there are so many different ideas of how that is done?
I truly believe that there hasn’t been a time before, at least in the past centuries, in which we have talked so much and so openly about the importance of loving ourselves, of honoring who we are, of taking care of our bodies, minds, and hearts. While, at the same time, we live in an era of fast-everything. Fast food, fast loving, fast living. Where the idea of efficiency and speed have trumped the idea that nourishment is a slow process, and a mindful one.
Is loving ourselves giving ourselves time to do things we love? Or giving ourselves time to rest without needing to do anything in particular or be productive? Is loving ourselves listening to what we want? Or questioning if what we want is what is best for us? Is loving ourselves looking/eating/living in a certain way? Or becoming flexible and fluid with the myriad of internal states we transit through? What is the right answer? Is there a right answer at all?
In the scope of this circle, we came to a beautiful agreement and conclusion.
For us loving ourselves had more to do with being able to hold space and listen to ourselves, rather than having a set of rules or a formula to do so.
Loving ourselves, we decided, began the moment that we took time to connect deep within, so we could listen to the voice of our heart above all the external noises telling us how to live our lives. It is from that listening, that loving awareness arises.
From this awareness, our ability to respond to life how we need and want to, accepting who we are in the moment, so love can be the practice of being who we are, in the here and the now.
Not a noun, not a fixed concept or moment, not a goal. Rather a constant practice of listening, from the heart to the heart.
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May you experience the infinite love within you,
And direct it to you, and from you, to the world.
Thank you for being here,
Camila ~ Journey Within Coaching
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