I’m currently finishing up my second year of Grad school at University of Santa Monica where I am studying Spiritual Psychology and it has been quite a ride. If you are wondering what spiritual psychology is, here is the best way I can describe it: We learn how to relate to ourselves on the soul (growth) line vs. the goal (ego) line. Everything I have been learning here is teaching me how to be more gentle and loving with myself in any given situation, even ones that are painful, and how to keep taking action and really come into a place of love & acceptance within – one of the most challenging things I have ever done!
In class we often have large group sharing where people share breakthroughs, breakdowns and everything in between. It’s a very loving and supportive space and the amount of vulnerability that is shown always blows me away. One of my classmates stood up last Sunday and shared how he finally got what it meant to really love himself, not from an intellectual POV, but from an internal, connected, spiritual POV…really feeling it…not just thinking it, which so many of us, including myself, often do. He then expressed how he had been looking for love outside of himself all his life. He would jump from one relationship to the next, or put everything into his work to get some kind of acknowledgment that made him feel like he was loved, when all that was really doing was feeding his ego. He then expressed, what I consider to be a huge breakthrough, that he felt like in the past when he was going to all those external places, it was like chasing a drug and now he didn’t need to go to his “Love Dealers” anymore to get that drug – he could just turn inward to himself for it.
When he said all of this, I really got it…for him, not quite yet for me. I can still say that I do go to my “Love Dealer,” whether it is in the form of attention on Facebook, compliments from friends or looks from the opposite sex. All of these things somehow spark something in me that says, “I’m worthy.” Now mind you, I am definitely working toward moving away from this, and I have in so many ways from years of work, but this is how I have operated all my life – it’s a deeply ingrained pattern; get love from someone else, from the outside world, not myself and all will be good. We see it everyday in movies that are overly romanticized, which can lead us to believe in a false love.
So, my lesson and/or challenge is this; how do I really FEEL love for myself, not THINK I feel it? Well, I tell you…it’s not EASY…in fact, it’s hard as hell…and sometimes it feels downright impossible. I definitely have glimpses of it, but then sometimes one small thing can set me back, and there I am on Facebook searching out the next feel good quote or picture that will “make” me happy, when all I have to do is turn to myself, go inward and find compassion. I am definitely on the track and I now know what it really means to have compassion for myself and how to feel it.
If you are wondering how the heck to do this, the thing I find the simplest is to think of either the person in my life I love the most, or even my dog, who I am madly in love with, and when I really feel that love, then I bring it inside to myself and flood myself with it. I stay present with that feeling and I find that it shifts everything for me, especially if I am having a painful moment or moments. The more I keep doing this, the more and more the love will grow inside and I won’t need to seek out my “Love Dealer” anymore. I won’t need to get that injection of external love from anyone or anywhere, but myself and the Uni-verse.
So, I ask you…where have you been seeking out your “Love Dealer?” Can you find that place within yourself where you really feel the love inside? What are the small things you can do for yourself internally to start to cultivate more loving in your life?? And remember, loving is a way of being, not doing. Loving is not something you have to do…
With much love and compassion
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Melissa is personal chef , wellness coach and nutrition educator. Check out her website here.