Practicing Maitri [Unconditional Friendship with Oneself]

“Spring is about growth and easing into the light. When we practice maitri [unconditional friendship with oneself], we feel unconditional love and kindness toward ourselves. Extend this practice to others.”


~ Monika Carless, Elephant Journal,

“Spring Equinox: The Astrological New Year Begins”

Unconditional love and kindness towards ourselves. What if we grew more of that? What does that look and feel like to you?

It’s lovely to receive compliments and kindness from others. It’s amazing to feel compassion from those around us, especially at our most vulnerable and self-critical times. And. Partnered or un-partnered, living with or surrounded by others or living alone, we are “in”–privy to–our own heads and hearts more than anyone else. Our thoughts and feelings about ourselves–expressed in self-talk, acts and thoughts toward self, our priorities–create a structure that can support us or break us. Relying on others for friendship, love and kindness will only go so far; we need to have a wonderful friendship with ourselves.

Depression, grief, loss and other life experiences, as well as unhealthy mindsets created and shaped long ago or even more recently, can offer challenges to our relationship with ourselves. And understandably so. I’ve also realized even more so with more of the grief support I’m offering that when we depend so much–too much–on others to keep us lifted, we can be even more devastated when that person is no longer physically with us. What, then, is the source of our self-esteem and worth, if not within? So, what do we do about it?

Small steps. Important steps. Commitment. Any steps towards kinder self-talk, thoughts and priorities for ourselves. A couple of months ago, I (again) ventured into the on-line dating world. I’ve felt ready for partnership after lots of healing this last year-plus of time. And in six weeks with seven dates, I didn’t hear compliments, I didn’t receive any financial generosity even when I gave, and I was reminded of the ever-importance of my own self-view and self-treatment. (Note: I know this is not everyone’s experience.) What a gift! I felt relieved to pull my profile and realize that there are other ways to meet people and that I’m still intact. My self-care and self-talk are even lovelier. Mr. Partner will merely offer icing on the cake.

In this time of new, this time of excitement, this time of unfolding… how can you strengthen the friendship with yourself? How can you be an outstanding, unwavering, loyal supporter of yourself? Do one new thing this next week. Try it on. Feel free to let me know how it’s going and feeling.

 

© 2017 Erika M. Schreck. All rights reserved.

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Centering in the Quiet Self

Some of you kindly read my recent blog post, “Resurfacing: Digging Out of the Dark Night.” I continue to dig, as life continues to shift in surprising ways that demand recalibrating, but I have brought more calm and quiet into my life and practices through more often prioritizing my Quiet Self.

Earlier this month, after a conversation with someone really down on the world, I followed said conversation with a snowy walk with the dogs. I kept thinking about the following.

No matter what hardships we experience, no matter how gloomy certain outlooks may seem… let us not be bitter. Feeling sad sometimes happens. Other tough emotions also make appearances. Bitterness and resentment assume lack of control, hold us prisoner and create dis-ease within our bodies. Developing and practicing helpful, healthy tools and responses to fermenting negative emotions will deter bitterness and resentment.

© Erika M. Schreck. Harley,

© Erika M. Schreck. Harley,

When we’re confused and need to sort difficult and mixed emotions, we often really need to move more deeply inward to our Quiet Self. While talking with select people can be helpful, we will often only realize our most authentic feelings, answers and needs when we’re not distracted—by others’ opinions and judgments, media sources, and, well, noise and whatever else distracts us.

My hope for all of us is that we consider ways we can increase self-love and honor our Quiet Self—an authentic state of resting and being in a meditative, open space.

And in truly honoring our Quiet Self, we not only insist on time to be in this state, but we also integrate our feelings, answers and needs found in the Quiet Self into aligned actions and forward steps.

© Erika M. Schreck, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Love Every Day™… and Radical Self-Care

A few months ago, I awoke with an idea.

Perhaps it’s not the most original idea, but it was one of those don’t-let-me-go, write-this-down-now types of concepts that I knew I had to (1) do something with and (2) trust that the foundation and what-I’m-going-to-do-with-this-idea would evolve. I even tried to purchase the domain, but someone is trying to sell it for $2,000. But I don’t need the domain to share this important message. 

And it looks like the following:

(c) Erika M. Schreck, http://TurtleHealingEnergy.com

(c) Erika M. Schreck, http://TurtleHealingEnergy.com

 

Love Every Day™
Erika M. Schreck

Love every day.
(read love as verb)

(Receive and Give) Love every day.
(read love as noun)

How can we promote love–self-love
and love for others–every day?

In recent meditation and contemplation, I’ve heard and seen the words “Radical Self-Care.” Sometimes when we’re in situations depleting our joy and well-being, we not only need to take care of ourselves “extra,” but our own self-care will also make a difference with our relationships and in others’ lives.

Like spending some time outside, drinking enough water, exercising, eating… walking, feeling, acting and talking even more often from a place of love will change us. It does not matter how others are acting or speaking around us; we first need to shift ourselves. Self-care and self-love—and I’m learning this so strongly right now myself—are essential.

I remember when I was teaching writing (a nearly 14-year gig!) at the university level. I’d grade and grade and grade, often skipping social opportunities, not always eating properly, losing so much sleep… but it was when I actually took more time outside, had dinner out with a friend, spent even more time with my dog and took the time to do my own writing that I felt whole and refreshed again. I was more energized. I was reminded the importance of taking time to just “be” and rest and do the things that filled me with joy and peace again. We too often convince ourselves that we don’t have enough time for the very things we need to stay in healthier states of being… yet if we don’t make and take that time, the lack will catch up with us, often physically and definitely emotionally.

Teaching writing in the environments I chose for that long time period taught me contrast with self-care and lack of self-care. When I decided to leave teaching college-level writing, I left with the mantra, “Choose Joy,” and since then, those words have become a reminder and instruction when I’m realizing that my self-love level is low. I actually, perhaps like many of you, have no problem in GIVING love—as much love as I can—most of the time. But in my adult years, I’ve been earnestly efforting to release unhealthy caretaking.

I invite you to take on this idea of Love Every Day™ and perhaps even track for the next seven days—maybe even 30 days—what you do to (1) love yourself each day and (2) love others each day. Remember that part of loving ourselves is allowing others to love us in their own ways and in ways that support our needs. Act and think from places of love and not fear… and notice what that feels and looks like. Out of fear, we may say “yes” to a commitment that really only feels like something we don’t want to do; acting from a place of love in this same situation, we say “no” because we’re loving ourselves and honoring what we need.Try it on.

Watch things unfold. Be open to shifts. But especially be open to LOVE.

© Erika M. Schreck and Turtle Healing Energy, 2014. All rights reserved.