Perfecting Your Love
Thinking of so many of you, and holding well wishes for everyone as we move through the weirdness together. I’ve been personally touched by messages from several community members, including one with a podcast recommendation featuring the poet-hearted Jack Kornfield. In it, he mentions one of his most profound teachings: that the point of spiritual practice is not to perfect ourselves, but rather to perfect our love. As I witness my own vacillation from shock to numbness, overwhelm to longing, feeling normal to feeling trapped, and back again, his message provides relief and I loosen my grip. There is no perfect way to navigate this, but I can move towards perfecting my love by surrendering to exactly where I am and loving myself all the same. Some of us are experiencing high levels of anxiety, feeling headaches and discomfort in our stomachs. Accept it and love yourself. Some of us are numb and checked out. Witness that and love it. A lot of us are loathing these feelings and trying desperately to hold ourselves above them to skip over to what’s next; and some of us are still coping by “perfecting” ourselves. Love that too. And if you need help, love yourself and reach out to someone and love each other. If you want your feelings to change, allow yourself to experience exactly what you’re feeling now and watch it flow into whatever is next. If the whole thing sounds selfish to you, know that self-compassion begets compassion for others, and this is how we can start to heal en masse. If you’re not used to being kind to yourself, I offer some suggestions below. Always Love, Jen
Witness your thoughts and feelings with LOVING awareness
There is no right way to think or feel. Don't judge your reaction or your lack thereof. Be kind to yourself. Your thoughts are just trying to protect you.
Look for Comfort in Your Body
Here’s a short meditation to help you get space from your thoughts and find comfort in your body. If you don’t have time for it, simply notice the feeling of your feet connected to the ground.
Listen to your system
What activities feel good right now? Who is a calming, supportive presence to connect with? Do you need a nap? Allow your system to guide you to make healthy decisions that support you.
Connect and set boundaries
Stay connected with loved ones and support systems online. Notice who makes you feel supported, and limit time with those that contribute to feelings of unease.
As we discover how our loved ones cope and how it makes us feel, set and communicate boundaries. If someone compulsively shares bad news or their anxieties with you, let them know if it fuels your own and set a limit on the topic. Discuss other ways you can connect and support one another.
Nurture yourself with soothing choices in what you're consuming - not only in the foods that you're eating, but also in the content you're consuming. Continue the self-care practices that have always made you feel supported and enjoy finding new ones.
Give yourself a break
There's never a time to uphold yourself to a standard of perfection, but a pandemic is especially not the time. Polish off a pint of ice cream? Find yourself staying up late into the night? (We have no experience with these things ;) If it's not hurting you or someone else, forgive yourself of the slips.
Engage your senses
Sense the little joys in your day. Feel the warmth of your tea pass your lips and enliven your chest as it goes down. Close your eyes and listen to the furthest raindrops you can hear as they wash the city clean. Allow these moments to pull you away from overthinking and towards gentle moments of beauty.