The Ying and Yang of Self-Love & Self-Giving
It starts out as constant tension in the shoulders, at the base of the skull.
It begins to ooze inside the veins boiling the blood, as rivers of tension run throughout the body.
It’s there, beneath the skin: needle pricks of fear, angst filled with worry, pressure that builds up from the demands of daily living tugging, nagging like a jealous lover who won’t let go, pulling our lives in whirlwind directions. It may even disguise itself within the ego as Superman or Superwoman.
Other people can trigger it—that free-floating anxiety. An unkind word from a mate, a slow driver, an obstinate business colleague, soon life’s frustrations cumulate within the body rising up as anger seething within like a black cat snarling, arching her back, ready to attack her prey.
That feeling of being constantly overwhelmed, the churning irritation ready to launch a self-protective attack is a trigger, a reminder, a nudge that we have given of ourselves too much, forgotten to find the balance between self-love and self-giving.
Life is a dance, a balance between two twins: self-loving and self-giving. And when either of them is out of whack, they must be attended to in order to restore inner harmony and peace.
Listen to the twins. They are the ying and yang of a balanced life. Just as water must flow into a lake from a stream to keep it fresh and pure, so too our lives must be nourished by the self-love that flows from the Creator.
Let yourself be loved. Let the God of love embrace you. Say yes. It is not selfish. It is self-actualization. Take time to nourish yourself. Find solitude. Turn off the computer. Turn off the news. Leave your daily tasks behind for a while. Light candles, sit, and let your life speak to you. Take a long bath. Take a walk. Go to the woods. Let nature help you find your soul again.
And after having been bathed with compassion for yourself, allow the Creator’s love to flow in and through you, like a conduit, out into the rest of the world. Create the kingdom of love here on earth, now, as it already exists in heaven.
brian j plachta
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.