Giving Back Your Heart to Itself
Sit, feast on your life.
That is the last line of one of my favorite poems, Love after Love. It speaks of arriving back home to yourself – taking the gaze away from external longing, and turning towards the inner you, who knows you by heart, (who at times you may have ignored).
We have had so much time at home in 2020-2021. So. Much. Time. At. Home. Somuchtimeathome.
But are we truly home? Walcott writes, "give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life." We can ask ourselves how we resist loving ourselves, our experiences, our day-to-day. Today, we can honor ourselves by asking our inner-most well of wisdom, what we need to return to loving ourselves. It might be a series of things! Make it a practice. In what ways will you give back your heart to itself? What is something out-of-the-norm that sounds so nourishing, just for you? Recently, I took a bath in flowers. It was an image that came to me not too long ago, and I decided to answer the call. It was glorious.
Love after Love by Derek Walcott The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
5 Minute Healing Exercises: 1. Journal A Declaration of Love: Spend 5 minutes writing down everything that comes to your mind about your life – not just the things that feel good, but all the things. Before each one, write, "I love." Make this today's meditation. If you can't quite get to "I love" for certain experiences, you can write, "[X thing] is here to serve me."
2. Visualize: Envision your life experiences on a table as a buffet – the good, and the painful. As each one gets added, say, "I love you." Imagine it is "love after love" being served. Love them all up.
3. Mantras: “I am worthy of abundant love," or "I love my whole self in my past, present, and future."
4. For Healing: Place your hands on your heart. Say, "I am full of love and understanding" three times. Repeat throughout the day.