Woman outdoors in sunlight

©iStockphoto.com/magdasmith

Self-love above all else. That’s the title of my last post. We cannot give what we do not have, I wrote. To give love—and to receive it, I might add—we’ve got to live love. It’s got to come from who we are and the way we be with ourselves, from deep inside out. All well and good so far.

But now it’s time to get real, and really personal. It’s time to acknowledge that I can occasionally still treat myself like dog doo, and that if I want to be the source of love and light I know I’m capable of being in this often dark world, I’ve got to clean up my act. I’ve got to keep this love and light that I am, and that we all essentially are, alive and kicking in me, any which way I can.

How do I do that? How does anyone? We do it, I think, by learning to stay so present with ourselves and the feelings in our bodies that we can tell at once when we’re going off course and can choose to make a correction. We all know when things feel right and when they don’t and, fortunately, our bodies don’t lie. Too often, though, we override our best instincts in the interest of something other than taking care of ourselves. We ignore the promptings of our hearts and guts in favor of the dictates of our ego-minds. And that is being just plain mean to ourselves.

For me, time is of the essence here. I have an underlying, sometimes overriding sense that there isn’t enough of it, it’s running out fast and if I don’t hurry up, I won’t get whatever it is I think I have to do done in time. (Notice I say “think” I have to do.) I can end up pushing against my best instincts to do whatever old ego-mind insists on, my true feelings and love of self be damned.

I don’t always operate like that, thank God. I am often kind to myself, taking time to breathe and feel and return my attention from monkey mind to that loving heart of mine. I am much better at remembering to do that than I used to be. But habits die hard and monkeys hate to let go.

Today is a great example of letting myself forget myself while a false sense of urgency rules. Today is one of the most glorious days of the year, and instead of sitting out in our beautiful garden, where I dearly want to be—and from my sore, weary body’s perspective, probably need to be—I am forcing myself to sit inside and write. (No wonder it’s taking forever!)

This post isn’t due for more than a week, if you could say it is “due” at all. I decide when to post my entries. But having lost my way in the scramble to get ready for a big trip, I’ve convinced myself I have too much to do before we leave that I can’t afford the luxury of not doing this now.

There is nothing wrong with blog writing, even on a beautiful day. Putting words to page is a large part of what I’m here to do. The problem lies in how I do what I’m doing, whether with self-love and respect or with the whip of ego-mind at the helm. Am I writing now because I’m really moved to or because I’ve set a false deadline for myself so as to garner others’—or perhaps only my own judgmental ego’s—approval?  I think we know the answer to that one.

Still, let’s hope that somehow, through a crack in today’s rushed girl, suck-it-up armor, a little light has made it through and onto the page. I count on you to let me know about that and, if need be, to set me straight.

P.S. I’ve just been set straight. Before sending this off to post, I asked my husband to take his usual look. He did and had this to say: “Your post shouldn’t end with you hoping light has made it through onto the page. Light always makes it through in your writing,” he added (which made me very happy). “That’s not the point,” he went on. “The only thing that matters, according to you yourself, is whether you were honoring your own light in the process. And you weren’t!”

Right you are honey, and thanks for helping me see that, thanks to rushing and pushing, I’d managed to miss my own point. It’s true I want what I write to be full of light and thus of service to others. But I want me to be full of light too. I really do. The good news is that remembering to honor my light first is the very best way to ensure that my words for you continue to shine.

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.

21 Comments

  1. Rachel July 5, 2012 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Bravo, Trod!! My thoughts exactly. As I was reading this entry I was hearing in my head “do as I say, not as I do”. Your readers love YOU, not if or when you show up in a book or on a blog, but because you’ve already shown up in our hearts and minds.
    As always I thank you for your openness and willingness to share, flaws and all. But I encourage you to be, just BE – the world at large is as patient as you (we!!) force it to be…
    Happy travels! xoxox

    • Rachel July 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      Forgive my spelling error, TROND.  That’s what happen when you speak messages into a darn smart phone as you’re driving!  Multi-tasking at it’s less than finest to be sure….

      • Suzanne Grenager July 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm - Reply

        Not to worry, dear Rachel. He’s been called a lot worse, though he deserves only the best. Multi-tasking is a whole other story.

    • Suzanne Grenager July 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you, dear Rachel, for your always eloquent and uplifting comments. I am touched by your confirmation that all I — and *we* — need to do, really, is show up exactly the way that we are. books, blogs and other public expressions aside. It’s our presence that matters, and we make the most difference when we do as you (and I 🙂 say and “just be!” And yes, the world is a lot more patient with me than I have been with me lately. It’s definitely time to slow down and get in sync with that kinder, gentler rhythm. And so I will.

  2. Mmetner July 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Get out in the garden honey!! I love YOU. M

    • Suzanne Grenager July 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Thank you, dearest Marian. Devoted gardener that you are, I know how well you appreciate the healing bounty of our beloved Mother Earth. This week, it is the sea swells that beckon and soothe my weary self. As soon as the sun comes out–later today, we hope–I’ll plunk myself down on our favorite little local beach, toes in the sand and soul soaring with the gulls. Thank God for the privilege! I love YOU too!

  3. Dagmar July 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Recently I celebrated my 61st birthday, although celebrate isn’t exactly what I feel about this Crone phase of my life. I was with family and met my new just born grandniece Madison. While I was holding her I kept thinking about all of her potential and all the life ahead of her and at the same time contemplating my own mortality. Someone took a picture of us, which I just saw and I was so disgusted with “how old I look” that I cut myself out of the picture. It’s painful to say that, but I was always extremely photogenic and now I hate the way I look. In addition to my own lifelong issues with loving self, I now have this person looking back at me in the mirror who I don’t recognize anymore. As Woody Allen famously said “I wouldn’t belong to a club that had me as a member”. Today before reading your blog Suzanne, I was looking at another copy of this same picture and decided to hang it on my vision board, where I would have to look at it every day. This is who I am for better or worse and I have this beautiful baby in my arms sleeping peacefully dreaming her new life into being.     

    • Suzanne Grenager July 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Wow. Dagmar! This is such a powerful offering. I am beyond grateful for your searing honesty. Though I realize this is not about what anyone else but you thinks and feels, I must start by saying that I met you once and you looked beautiful to me. So it gladdens my heart to know that you have put yourself back in the picture so to speak. What a self-affirming act to post the photo you cut yourself out of *up* where you can look at it and, I trust, begin to see the beauty that is far deeper and more meaningful than what you happened to look like as younger, photogenic woman. I can’t wait to hear more about how your relationship with your appearance and Self develops, so please let us know if you would.
       
      Meanwhile, I want you to know that I can relate to what you are saying, as I’d imagine other of our mature readers can. Starting about 10 years ago, I began seeing a number of photos of myself I found shocking. Gradually I have gotten used to my more aged appearance and learned to see the light in it. My sense is that our fading youthfulness may be part of what is needed to open the door on a chapter of our lives where we can fully focus on cultivatng the inner beauty our soul longs for us to recognize and the larger world needs us to manifest. All love and support to you in this! 

  4. Karen July 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    As I was reading this post I thought, “it’s good that Suzanne is authentic, humble, and ‘Bare Naked,’ and yet I’d like to see her talking about the bright side of herself too.”  So I guess I was looking for the light that I know is there, just like Trond and the others below.  Would you be willing to love yourself enough to go into the garden when you “need” it, and let the inspiration to write spring from that?  I hope you are enjoying a “lighter” schedule up in Nova Scotia, which is allowing more of that inner love to brighten your life.  Be well!

    • Suzanne Grenager July 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you, dear Karen, for this *fresh perspective* (something you are known for through your ezine of that name!). *I* would like to see me talking more about “the bright side” of myself, too. And I’d definitely like to give myself permission to head for the garden–or now, more likely the ocean–when I need it. So many thanks for your encouragement. If it seems to you I have been focusing on the humble and vulnerable so-called “darker” side , that must be because that’s where I’ve often found myself lately. There have been moments of self-care and light as well, but what I’ve been moved to write about apparently are the struggles. I suspect that’s because, as I got in the habit of doing with my journal, I like to use the writing as a means to move through the darker places back toward that brighter “inner love” you refer to. I never know what I am going to write till I sit down to write it. Still, I assure you I will be keeping your gentle admonitions in mind, both in my life, and when I am ready to compose my next blog post. 

  5. Dagmar July 7, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I’ve been reading and writing on this blog for a couple of months now and I’ve noticed that many of the comments tend to focus on Suzanne-maybe I’ve got this all wrong, but I view Suzanne’s posts as a catalyst to encourage our own self reflection and to share our own feelings and struggles. A large part of my inner journey right now is to acknowledge and heal the parts of myself that block my light. I appreciate the honesty and courage of owning both our shadows and light.

    • Suzanne Grenager July 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      I am grateful for this comment, dear Dagmar. Appreciative as I am of the outpouring of support–and of people sharing whatever they are moved to share here–you’re right I want to be a catalyst for self-reflection. Thank you for choosing this forum in which to acknowledge your deepest concerns and for encouraging others by your brave example. (A comment on your earlier post coming up!)

      • Dagmar July 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm - Reply

        Thankyou Suzanne for that validation- I appreciate your honesty and fearlessness. I recently encouraged a friend of mine to check out this blog and hopefully more of us will be inspired to share on a deeper level.

        • Suzanne Grenager July 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm - Reply

          You are most welcome, dear Dagmar. I look forward to connecting with your friend and am very grateful you are moved to invite others to join us. That is SO helpful!

  6. Suzanne Grenager July 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Wow. Dagmar! This is such a powerful offering. I am beyond grateful for your searing honesty. Though I realize this is not about what anyone else but you thinks and feels, I must start by saying that I met you once and you looked beautiful to me. So it gladdens my heart to know that you have put yourself back in the picture so to speak. What a self-affirming act to post the photo you cut yourself out of *up* where you can look at it and, I trust, begin to see the beauty that is far deeper and more meaningful than what you happened to look like as younger, photogenic woman. I can’t wait to hear more about how your relationship with your appearance and Self develops, so please let us know if you would.
     
    Meanwhile, I want you to know that I can relate to what you are saying, as I’d imagine other of our mature readers can. Starting about 10 years ago, I began seeing a number of photos of myself I found shocking. Gradually I have gotten used to my more aged appearance and learned to see the light in it. My sense is that our fading youthfulness may be part of what is needed to open the door on a chapter of our lives where we can fully focus on cultivatng the inner beauty our soul longs for us to recognize and the larger world needs us to manifest. All love and support to you in this! 

  7. Dagmar July 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I just read your response to my earlier post and have to share something that happened to me today. I was meeting a friend for lunch and as soon as she saw me she started telling me how good I looked- I reacted with surprise and said “really, I don’t feel that way” but she kept right on insisting that it was true. I kept thinking about this on my way home, esp the timing of it and I couldn’t stop smiling. Then I came home and read your email- I surrender- no more negative thoughts about my appearance. Thankyou again   Much Love

    • Suzanne Grenager July 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Love it, Dagmar! Thanks for sharing the good news — about the surrender of negativity and, okay, your *looking good* after all! I knew it.

  8. Karen July 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzanne, I appreciate your comments about writing to move through darker places, and certainly agree.  We just need a lot of light shining forth these days, and I guess that’s what I was longing for, yet some of both keeps us on our toes, balancing:).

    • Suzanne Grenager July 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks, dear Karen. More light to come, God and Goddesses willing!

  9. Heatherehughes July 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Suzanne, as a mother of young children, I read a lot of child-rearing advice books.  A common thread currently is that children are more… honest, authentic, gut-based… than their limited parents.  Not sure just the right term for it.  Of course the devil is in the details of age and stage, but when I reflect on that trend and on your efforts to avoid ego influence and monkey mind, I get confused as to the goal.  Are you advocating that we are seeking a more childlike attitude?  What of children’s insensitive non-empathetic times?  If the goal is to share love through … presence, peaceful ways in the world, enlightenment(?) then for me a logical muddle ensues.  

    • Suzanne Grenager July 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Interesting question you raise, Heather, about finding the balance between a childlike openness, spontaneity and, as you say, gut-based approach to life and the requirements of being a mature, responsible and empathetic adult. While I think (but am not sure) I understand your “muddle” I wonder if I can help sort it out. Let me try..

      My strong sense is that when we follow our gut and stay open and responsive to our own emotional experience (as a healthy child would), we, as adults, will also stay open-hearted and thereby inclusive of others in our feelings and doings. Our best (gut-driven) instincts are not entirely selfish. The more sensitive I am to myself, to what does and doesn’t move me, the more sensitive I am likely to be to you and your needs, as well, though our needs may, of course, sometimes be — or seem to be — at odds. That’s a very short answer to a very big question and I’d love to know how it lands.We can continue the discussion right here, if you like.

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