Love (you)

Step by step

To seek to love others seems universally accepted, although we may all draw the line differently on whom we choose to seek to love. And we probably all agree that love is wonderful but also complicated.

To seek to love ourselves may receive a more mixed response. Many may react with diffidence.

And yet how we perceive – and treat – ourselves (loved or unloved) has a big impact on how we perceive – and treat – others (to love or not to love).

Religious traditions and ancient and present-day cultures share common ground on emphasising the need to love and care for yourself and those around you: ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’

We’ve just had Valentine’s Day, mercifully marked with less commercialism due to lockdown! Some may love the day; others may detest the day. For me this year I was drawn to reflect on the source of love – the Divine: ‘we love because God first loved us.’ It is experiencing being loved – for me, with a love stronger than any human being could possibly show – that makes it possible to keeping taking steps towards (albeit with hesitancy at times) loving myself and thereby being more able to love others.

This is Mindful Monday on 15 February 2021. Join others for an evening of virtual mindfulness on Monday 8 March, 7pm (UK time). Just email hello@essencecheltenham.org for details. There is no charge.

Wonders in tough times?

Be well, including in tough times

We remain in winter. We remain in lockdown. While some have had an initial dose of a vaccine, others wait. Inequalities are widening in the UK and across the world. Those living in war torn and economically destitute countries are badly impacted. Tough times.

Helen Keller was blind and deaf from a young age (tough times). An American, she lived an extraordinarily full life as an author, campaigner and traveller (1880-1968). She wrote, “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

When we look, we too will find wonders in the coming week. Note them. Treasure them.

There is challenge in her words to accept our situation: to be thankful for what we have rather than wanting what we do not have.

The life she lived shows her to be an activist – a campaigner for change – and yet it’s action based on the foundation of contentment in her own situation. Maybe when we are contented we are able to reach out to others – to show love – in a way that we can’t when we focus on achieving more for ourselves.

On first communicating with another person about God, Helen Keller said, “I have always known about God, but until now I didn’t know His name.”

It is in tough times that we may reach out to the Divine. We discover we are loved. We discover contentment.  And then just maybe we too can bring about change; we can begin the journey of learning how to love others as ourselves.

Be well – even in tough times.

This is Mindful Monday on 1 February 2021. Join a virtual evening of mindfulness – with time for individual reflection – on Monday 8 February, 7-8.15 pm (UK). No charge. Email hello@essencecheltenham.org for details.