Part 2: Caring, Sharing The Love
We are all part of the One—that endless loving cosmic energy-stream that created the wonderful, mysterious universe, and gave our bodies self-healing intelligence. We know this at a deep level, yet in everyday life the practice of caring about ourselves by caring for/sharing with others seems to be a paradox. How can we care about others if we don’t truly care for ourselves?
It’s true that one valuable way to find the love we need for ourselves is in reaching out to help others. Many people find a great source of joy in sharing love. Some go to local animal shelters to cuddle animals waiting for adoption (many shelters have such volunteer programs). Others visit a retirement facility to offer classes or entertainment, or just to chat with those living there. Then there are those who just make a point of being a friend in need to others in their lives.
Finding someone else who is suffering more than you are, and showing them some compassion and lightheartedness, or administering a loving hug, can be a wonderful way for both of you to lighten your hearts, especially if it’s done without expectation of reward.
It’s important, however, not to depend upon these outward connections, no matter how rewarding and valuable they are, as the only way of inwardly loving ourselves; we must take care to remember that who we are does not depend on the outside world.
This is where perception, constancy and patience come into play. It is wise in these situations, to have realistic expectations of yourself and others. Making mistakes is normal, and is part of the learning process; beating yourself up over and over about mistakes, so that you become incapable of movement in any direction, is not. (Modern Bible translators have learned that the word in Hebrew for “sin” means only “forgetfulness,” or “to miss the mark,” as happens when we are practicing or learning any skill.) Sometimes the mark we miss in our well-intentioned sharing and caring is the practice of loving ourselves.
There are not enough people, pets, or worthy causes in the world to counteract the depth of dissatisfaction we tend to release upon ourselves, or the lack of self-love we sometimes experience. This lack of self-love may manifest in our lives as health issues, dissatisfaction, depression, addiction or sometimes just the attempt to ground ourselves through overindulgence in food.
The beginning of the practice of self-love through caring and sharing with others takes a willingness to be patient and observant; to slow down, breathe deeply, soften the body, step lightly, speak softly, and relax the mind. Remember that some people (you may be one of them) and animals have been abused or betrayed, and may be guarded against being held or hugged, or be resentful if approached too lightheartedly.
Don’t expect miracles at first; watch and listen carefully and quietly show others and yourself the joy you take in their/your presence. Let respect go hand-in-hand with your love and care.
Become a miracle in your own right.
Be Well ~ Melinda
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