Learning to Love.
I consider myself a strong woman. I can handle difficult conversations, I’m okay with confrontation and I’m more than willing to be uncomfortable to do the necessary work in bettering myself. If I am feeling fragile, emotional or like I’m barely holding it together no-one would have a clue. Until I see or talk to my mother or my husband. I can be holding my own bravely and strongly but if I’m on the verge, these two humans are my safety, my comfort and my refuge. Because of their unconditional Love and support I can go to pieces in front of them knowing they will hold me, respect me and allow me whatever I need in that moment. The unconditional Love of these two people allows me to be there for myself, my family, my friends, my students and my mentees. Their Love and absolute acceptance of who I am is all I need to be the strong woman I am out there in the world. As long as I know Jo-Ann and Nick have my back, I can literally do anything. This is the power of unconditional Love. This is the power of being so certain in your relationship and your love with someone that their Love can buoy you, grow you and feed your soul. Without this Love, my own self-love, self-acceptance and self-confidence would be lacking. Their Love has taught me how to Love and accept myself, unconditionally and to be brave enough to stand up for everything I believe in.
Shri Krishna sharanam mama - I take refuge in Love unconditional.
This mantra was given to me by my teachers, Sharon Ganon and David Life, in the most remarkable and powerful celebration on my Jivamukti teacher training. This mantra has sat with me in my heart, in my head and in my meditations for the last 10 years. It is always close at hand and always works when I need it. This powerful mantra circles in my head on a daily basis and guides my actions every day. It is the underlying voice in my head and the comfort I come back to when I am out of control or anxious. It is my safe place and my home. This mantra itself is my refuge. Being given this mantra from my beloved teachers, being reminded every day that I am loved and I am Love, is the most powerful lesson and reminder I have ever learned. I am so grateful that I have this lesson and reminder in the form of this mantra but also in the form of the unconditional Love I have in my life.
Being able to give and accept unconditional Love is not necessarily something we are born able to do. More often than not it is a lesson we learn, if we’re lucky enough, from our parents, friends, partners, our children and dogs (we cannot possibly leave them out as they are the keepers of unconditional Love). This being my first pregnancy and not having any kids just yet, I cannot speak to the unconditional Love felt by parents when their new baby is born. In saying that, learning to Love unconditionally those who are not your children is a really difficult lesson to learn. Learning to Love unconditionally means there are no conditions on your Love. Nothing can make you stop loving. When you learn unconditional Love, that Love is present in your heart for everyone. The ability to distinguish where that Love goes disappears. Unconditional Love is the most powerful force in the Universe, it is the power of the Universe and when you open your heart to this power it is absolutely mind-blowing. I am not saying that I am an expert in this practice of unconditional Love but I do practice it every single day.
When I learned this mantra 10 years ago, it was during the most emotional and beautiful ceremony I have ever witnessed. Those 3 hours of non-stop chanting, which felt like 10 minutes and eternity at the same time and had us all floating in bliss for days afterwards, solidified my commitment to learning to accept, but more importantly, to offer unconditional Love to the best of my ability. It is the lesson in seeing divinity in all others, in seeing Love in all others, in seeing the teacher in all others, no matter who or what they are. This is the practice of learning unconditional Love. Some days it’s easy, and I can find Love in my heart for even the vilest of creatures and other days I have to really discipline myself in remembering that we are all made up of unconditional Love. Learning unconditional Love isn’t only reserved for others, a big part of the practice is learning this Love for ourselves. This is where the practices of self-Love and radical self-acceptance are so necessary and SO important and are, in most cases, the most difficult to achieve. Forgiveness is a huge lesson here, as well as understanding that Love is sometimes uncomfortable. It’s not necessarily how you feel about someone but more to do with how you act towards them. Unconditional Love is about adapting your Love to suit the way others understand and feel Love and making your Love knowable to them. The way I show Love to my mom is very different to the way I show Love to my friends, for example. You have to learn to read and understand people and be able to give them a Love they understand. Small, random acts of kindness towards strangers is an amazing way to start to learn how to give Love unconditionally. The biggest way we can learn to understand unconditional Love is to teach ourselves that we are deserving of this power, that we are worthy of it and that we are capable of receiving it. If you can believe in your own worth, you start to accept yourself and show yourself Love, then you start to accept others and show them Love.
This is what this powerful mantra given to me by my teachers has offered me. This is what the Love my mom and my husband give me every day has made me capable of. This is what the teachings of Yoga have helped me understand and put into action in my life. That without learning unconditional Love for all beings, this practise of Yoga is quite pointless, being here and living this life is quite pointless, all other actions are quite pointless. In my life, if it is not done with Love, then I don’t see the point of doing it. I try to weave unconditional Love into each thought I think, each word I speak and each action I take. I try to teach this and encourage it in my students and it will play a huge role in how I raise my child.
I take refuge in Love unconditional, not only feeling it from myself and others but in giving it out every day.
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