The ‘dark’ side of self love (Love, part 4)

In our last episode for the month of love, we look into cultivating the feeling of love including going through our darkness and our shadows. We came into the human experiments to grow as souls, and we do that by fully feeling everything that comes through. I invite you to fully feel through a challenging experience this week, whatever that may be for you, love yourself through it and to journal about it in reflection.

I spent a week outdoors hiking up in Jämtland, took the night train to Undersåker and then was out with two wonderful friends. We were in the middle of nowhere, just hiking through the forest and through the open areas the meadows, up on the hilltops, mountains, across the rocks, bouldering, it was fabulous. Very recharging, grounding and restoring.

This weekend was a big full moon – maybe you felt it. Always comes with a lot of emotional intensity for me, and that is okay. It’s a beautiful part of the human experience that we get to feel so much. Today’s topic is around part of that feeling – cultivating the feeling of love, and also what I’m tempted to call the dark side of self-love. We’ll get to that in a second. 

The Missing Piece

The first point that I would like to bring to you is when we feel like we’re missing some love in our life, or we need something from somebody else. I have found it to be tremendously helpful to ask myself “what am I not giving to myself right now?”

If I feel like I need permission from somebody else to do something that I know is good for me, or if I feel I need appreciation from somebody else, or I need whatever it is – it turns out, even if I feel like I need a hug – yes that is always a good thing, I love hugs, I love physical touch (if you’ve been following me for a while you know that). Whenever these needs and wishes and desires come up, then I ask myself “what do I really need right now? Is there something that I’m not giving myself?”

Sometimes, especially when it comes to this permission, sometimes it is the permission to just take a break. The  permission to take good care of myself. This morning I woke up with a feeling of “I got these 10 things on my calendar that I care about and that I wish to get done” and yet I felt a headache left over from yesterday, due to the weather circumstances, and just due to the fact that I’ve been doing a lot, and not resting sufficiently. It was almost like I was gonna call a good friend (and I’ll definitely still call her) and instead of waiting for her to confirm that I have permission to rest, I realized “wait, I can just give that to myself”. It’s okay, I can take a breather, maybe not all the things that I put on my calendar for today are getting done, and that is a consequence of me always being overly optimistic when it comes to timing in the first place. See, that’s the thing that I’m working on, and to see what is it that I truly need. What I needed was to sit deep in meditation to allow myself to ground to just come back home to myself, and to then be out here for a little bit.

When the answer that comes up is “an ice cream” or “some chocolate” or “a glass of wine” then I question that a little more. If it’s for the pure enjoyment of the taste or whether I’m trying to not feel something that just wants to be felt. This is where we move into the second point into the “dark side of self-love”.

The Darkness

It is about feeling the things that maybe we think are the good ones or that we tend to label as the good ones and then it’s a lot about allowing ourselves to fully feel whatever comes through. To feel everything, because everything is part of this beautiful human experience. That’s what we signed up for when we came into this world as a soul. That’s exactly what was our plan – the experiences we put ourselves through to grow from.

I’ll give you an example for that. When I say feeling everything I mean leaning into the things that are uncomfortable. I received a message on Sunday night that came a bit unexpected and that was not what I was hoping for in a particular relationship in my life. With that came some heaviness in my heart. On Monday, I felt that really strongly in the afternoon, and on top of that I got a headache because of the muggy weather here. So I took the time when I realized that this headache was getting worse instead of better, and there was a need to just tend to that sadness in my heart, and to my body needing to rest. 

I laid down on my bed, put an eye mask on, put some peppermint oil on my temples and on my neck for the headache. Then I just laid there and breathed. I was fairly wired because I had two cups of coffee earlier that day. Yes, I am back to drinking coffee for now. I allowed myself to feel the heavy heart, to feel the sadness coming through, and to just allow it to weigh me down. It felt like there was a lot of darkness within me that just needed to be acknowledged and that wanted to be accepted. I welcomed that darkness and breathed my way slowly through it.

After a while where I kept breathing, taking really long deep breaths, and just feeling what I was feeling in every part of my body, I sensed that there was a slight opening up. That this darkness wanted to be felt, to be able to then pass through and be transmuted. It took quite a while for me to lay there. I had set a nap time aside. I was comfortable with that and I just thought to myself: “I’m going to let this pass through. Let’s see how long it takes.” And it took almost the full hour that I had set aside as time. Then I had a distinct feeling that the darkness was flushing out of me, slowly but surely making its way out and being replaced by pure white light. If this sounds too woo-woo for you just go back to that feeling of sadness that I started with, and the physical headache – allowing myself to process that.

After an hour I felt a lot lighter. I was still breathing very slowly, and I noticed that I was making deep pauses in between my breaths, and it felt completely natural. It was not like I was holding it in or out or anything. I was observing what was going on and it was fascinating. I allowed myself to just love every moment of that experience.

We learn from going through our darkness. Our souls grow. Our capacity to love grows the better we can hold ourselves in the moments when it’s not that easy. So I want to encourage you to lean into everything that you’re feeling, to hold yourself with grace and to be grateful for all the experiences that you get to make.

Especially the uncomfortable ones. Those are the ones we grow from a lot. They’re not the only ones we grow from obviously. We grow from all of our experiences, and let’s welcome the ones that may feel dark, or that may feel heavy, or that may feel challenging. Whatever that is in your life currently. You got this.

Feeling Ourselves

As you hold yourself with grace and gratitude through those experiences, the third point is to always come back to feeling ourselves. That is a daily practice that’s at the very foundation of this. If I don’t feel where I am, why am I even doing this ‘life’ thing. The purpose of life is to be fully alive. It can be as simple as that. You choose your freedom. I choose mine. 

This is a simple yet to me it feels profound insight on the purpose of life. Maybe it’s as simple as ‘I am fully alive, being fully alive, and feeling the range of the human experience. That’s what I’m here for, and then it’s my choice to turn a lot of that into love and bliss. To allow myself fully feeling everything and thereby allow it to turn into bliss. That for me entails breathing deeply, dancing, moving.

I’m sending you so much love on this beautiful day. I want to invite you to pick something this week that feels challenging, where you may be struggling at the moment, and experiment with how you can love yourself through this. Journal about it. It helps to take the reflections deeper.