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Why Write? Part Three: As An Act of Self Love

“I celebrate myself and I sing myself.” Walt Whitman

Writing in a journal is a holy act of self-love.  It is deciding that our thoughts and our lives are important and rich enough in which to dwell.  It is creating a space to listen and to understand the voice of our deepest selves.  It is going deeper and deeper to discover our personal wells of inspiration and strength.  It is a communion of our inner and outer worlds.  It is an act of bravery to find the truth–the beautiful and the ugly–of ourselves.

“My primary relationship is with myself- all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically recieve the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am commited to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.” -Shakti Gawain

It is clear, and it becomes clearer to me every day, that my own happiness and well-being grows in proportion to my awareness of love.  As I grow wiser with the years I gather, I understand better that love is not a reaction, but an action.  It is not enough to offhandedly say, I love summer, I love chocolate, I love my husband, though it is good and true to realize these things.

When we take time to notice the love in all of the little moments throughout our days, we can begin grow love as much as we grow plants and flowers in our garden by giving them attention.  When we love the little things–the way the snowfall sparkled Monday night like being caught in a glitter storm; the way fresh ground coffee smells in the morning; the way I feel when I write an essay or a chapter and every word seems to flow perfectly to say exactly what I want to say; the way winter air feels on my face when I am skiing through the woods; the way Paul brings a cup of green tea to me when I’m taking a bath.

There is so much to love every day of our lives.

So why do we find ourselves at times ruminating about what is not going our way, or what is bugging us or who is bugging us?  If there is so much beauty, so much to love in every moment, why do we choose to let our minds rest in the shadows of what we don’t have or what we are not yet?

I don’t know.

It’s taken me all of my 37 years to begin to understand that the cultivation of love is a practice.  It’s an act of recognizing our thoughts and bringing ourselves back toward the lightness and miracle of being.  Writing is a profound way to intentionally bring these thoughts to the fore.

This morning at South High, we wrote about what we love about ourselves and our lives.  I wish you could have seen the faces of the students when they shared what they had written.  As each student took their turn to give voice to that which they love, their smiles lifted their faces.  As they spoke about love, they sat up straighter and their eyes sparkled. It was a testimony to the power of simply honoring all of the beauty and joy of life and living.

Why Write?  Reason #3: We write as an act of self-love.

As far as we know, we have this one life.  And we ourselves are the ones who will carry us through to the end of our days.  So why not decide to focus on the beauty, the joy, and the miracle of being ourselves on this Earth, right now?

Writing Exercise: What do you love? Beginning with the words, “I love…” write about everything you love about yourself and your life.  Don’t think too hard.  Just keep coming back to the words, “I love.”  You may do this for five minutes or for twenty minutes.  It doesn’t matter.  Just pay attention to how you feel before and after the writing. Notice how this simple exercise has the power to elevate our moods and bring to our awareness of all of the gifts we possess right now.

Enjoy the writing…

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