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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Infinite Love and Gratitude for Our Pets

© 2015 Erika M. Schreck

© 2015 Erika M. Schreck

Harley and I “lost” a dear friend a couple of weeks ago–a friend of the furry, four-legged kind. Pepper, a sweet and spicy short-haired dachsund, was a little love. Okay, actually, he was a BIG love in a tiny body.

If you have pets, have had pets or hold others’ furry loves near and dear, I wish to share a couple of quick thoughts. First, my friend and client and trusted expert, Amy Miller, amazingly gifted and skilled animal communicator, just published her first book: Beyond Companionship: Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions. Learn more and order by clicking here. I also want to promote Amy’s lovely, unique, SPOT-ON Animal Communication cards–I’ve done readings with Harley and friends’ animals, and these cards’ accuracy is stunning. For example, as sweet-pea Pepper was getting more challenged, I pulled cards several times for him and kept getting the “Transitioning” card. Wow. Click here to learn more about and order these excellent cards.

Secondly, one idea and practice I want to encourage you to try and use often with pets still here on the planet and pets on the Other Side is a simple one. In addition to the love, care, kindness and exercise I hope all animals receive, I recommend saying to them, preferably with one hand in the sign-language formation of “I love you” pressed gently on their chest or somewhere else on the animal’s body (on a picture or on your own heart if your animal has died), “Infinite Love and Gratitude” repeated at least three times. Simple. Love-Filled. Necessary expression of love and sweetness.

These days, in addition to expressing “infinite love and gratitude” often to my lovey (dog) Harley, I tell him every day, given his heart condition and uncertain longevity, “Harley, I love you so much. And I am grateful you’re still here. I want you to stay as long as you can and want to stay.”

Let us love and respect all animals–and let our loving, kind example shine brightly to others.

© Erika M. Schreck, 2015. All rights reserved for photos and words.