Recently I had the opportunity to do some teaching to brand new yoga teachers in Madison, Wisconsin. While I was there, I went to a predominately Black Baptist church on Sunday morning.
I love how when we make the space to try something new, we receive generously.
From the moment I entered the space, the energy was high and loving.
My husband and I were warmly welcomed by everyone there.
A woman named Cecilia gave the sermon, which was titled “How to break up with your issues.”
She said that in order to let go of old patterns and things that make us miserable we need to make space.
We need to break away from what ails our hearts.
And we can’t do it if we just keep imagining that our life is already set.
Or if there is nothing new on the horizon.
We may know this intellectually but still we don’t act on it, or make space for it in daily life.
When we make space to feel more Loving Kindness, we have more space for our own humanity. And the humanity of others.
Cecilia’s sermon reminded me of how much I long to help people make new space for Loving Kindness and true self-care. It’s something I care very deeply about and I aspire to keep teaching and exploring this topic in all that I do.
I wrote extensively about this in A Heart of Gold and I want to share with you a few thoughts from the book and also a meditation that you can use to re-imagine a more beautiful way to live. More space for you, dear heart.
From A Heart of Gold:
Deeply embedded in our culture and way of being is the profound need to produce, move forward and compete to make our way to a successful happy life. Living this way is so common and habitual that we don’t always know how deeply entrenched we are. We have been wired to think that we are supposed to be busy and tired, so it’s going to take a huge shift in awareness to bring us back to wholeness.
Loving Kindness helps us get off the train of continuously suffering and longing to be a different version of ourselves. When we get off that train, we can sit still and know that we are okay just as we are.
Of course this practice is not easy, because the world is constantly trying to bring us back to a different wavelength, one of struggle and striving.
Women in particular have a really hard time leaning into self-love. We are so conditioned to care for children, partners, family members and others then we often come last. Culturally there is a huge push on women to excel at everything for everyone else, and then maybe if there are a few minutes left at the end of the day, they can squeeze in five minutes of yoga.
Self-love is one of our greatest struggles. Most women I know are exceedingly hard on themselves. We’re pretty sure that we have to accomplish a huge list of things before we can be worthy of our own love, let alone anyone else’s. We don’t really like who we are so we keep trying to solve something, which keeps us stuck in an exhausting daily grind.
Often in order to let ourselves off the hook, we need one-on-one intimate helpers, guides, wise woman mentors.
Helping women tend to their own self-love has become my life’s work. I began teaching yoga out of compassion for myself, and for the women around me who needed permission to love themselves. Then I started leading sacred retreats out of a desire to help women clear space, make time and embrace the importance of loving themselves.
I have had retreat students tell me that being on retreat is the first time in their lives that they actually felt self-love and had the space to fully embody it in real time.
I long for women to love themselves in daily practice, not just once or twice in a lifetime.
I want women to have all the space they need and desire, so I wrote you this meditation. Use it today or print it out and carry it with you as you consider making space for your beautiful self.
A Meditation For Women To Make Space For Something New
After all the time you have spent tending to others, now is your time.
You are a magnanimous human being and you deserve all of the love and tenderness life has to offer.
I give you permission to take your foot off the pedal. Your body won’t tolerate the pedal-to-the-floor stress forever.
Your life is too precious not to generate more qualities of equanimity.
You need cozy little nooks of inner okay-ness.
You need a place for a respite. Where can you rest, dear one?
Your life is not a race to the finish line. Where can you just stop?
You are beautiful just as you are. Your heart, your soul, whatever is emerging as you begin to know yourself, it belongs.
You are worthy of all the love you can give yourself in this lifetime.
You can love yourself without conditions and without limits.
Every moment that you take your gaze inward and love yourself is a moment that you are coming home to your true self, who you really are.
Let yourself pause today. Leave the dishes or the laundry. Take some time to sit in your own love for yourself and be warmed by it like the sun thawing out the ground in spring.
Begin to notice if there is something new on the horizon for you?
Can you sense something else coming?
In order to make space for new growth, maybe there is something you can let go of that is no longer serving you.
Where can you open your hands to let go?
And then hold them open to receive?
Begin to imagine a world in which you live fully awake to that which the universe is generously giving to you.
I wish you generous amounts of true rest, wide open space and love for yourself, dear heart.