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Can I Give You a Hug

Updated: May 13, 2021

Let me stop what I'm doing to give you a proper hug, said my friend to her 20-year-old self. We were having a conversation about how we'd love to go back in time and tell that girl who spent two hours or more in front of the mirror every day that she was not only alright but damn fine in every single way. My friend said she'd love to tell her 20-year-old self that she didn't need to wear high heels on her bike rides around Montreal and that when she got to be older she would opt to wear comfortable shoes--even Birkenstocks--and leave the house without makeup. Not even lipstick! She imagined her 20-year-old self would gasp and say, "I don't believe you. I will never do that." But then my friend said to me, "well, I'd tell her it's all true, and that today when I look in the mirror, in spite of noticing the dark circles under my eyes and some wrinkles at the corners, I say out loud, I love you." And then she asked her young self, "how often do you say those words to yourself, younger version of me?" Even if you're in a relationship, the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one of all. So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, why not write a love letter to yourself? Tell yourself how much you appreciate you, and what you most love about yourself. I'll get you started: Hey ______, I love that you're _____, ______, _______, and ________. Did I ever tell you that I love the way you ____________________________. And then especially how you ______________________________. Happy Valentine's Day, ________! I love you very much! _____________ If you have a few extra minutes this week or weekend then why not try out this 5-minute Heart Meditation (audio clip below) and Writing Exercise. Writing is a great way to open up your creative channels and connect to your emotions rolling around inside you. Try it out! It's like magic! Heart Meditation Find a comfortable place on a sofa, chair or on a cushion on the floor. Make sure that you support your back and are sitting upright. You may cross your legs or rather sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Allow your hands to rest on your thighs or knees, palms facing upwards, and gently close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Letting go. Feel the sensation of fullness in your lungs as you inhale. Sense how your lungs and abdomen contract as you slowly exhale. Shift your awareness from your mind down to your heart. This chakra is the place of unconditional love, a creative force that may help you through troubled times. You can use the loving energy of the heart to free yourself from grief, sadness, and fear. Take your right hand and place it on the left side of your chest as you breathe deeply into this area—maintaining your awareness of the in- and out-breath. Acknowledge any feelings you are experiencing at this moment, all the while resting in the breath’s inflow and outflow. See if you can relax a little more as you let the breath flow into the heart and unite in a sacred dance of love, compassion, and wakefulness. Feel your heart expand as you notice any blockages and release any arising thoughts or emotions. Emotional wounds can arise here that stem from childhood or later. Sadness, when blocked in these areas of the body, can lead to heart or lung problems such as asthma, throat or voice problems, and eye issues. We all experience the energy of the heart in different ways. Perhaps you feel a pulsing or warmth in your chest. Or maybe you sense an expansion or a pleasing flicker of light. Each day that you practice tuning into this area you will witness the heart awakening a little more as if from a deep slumber. Until one day you are living in the heart. In meditation you come to know the heart more each day, allowing it to share its wisdom and love. The more you understand the ways of the heart the easier it will be for you to fully open to others and to the world. In the subtle heart, there are no judgments, no criticisms, and no self-sabotage. The heart accepts you and allows you to be yourself, to make mistakes, and explore your creativity. Keep breathing consciously as you shift into yet a deeper state of relaxation. Heart Writing Exercise When you begin your writing exercise continue to stay in the place of the heart. While the meditation you just did, revealed how you can soften and open your heart little by little each time you practice, you will see that writing also provides a way to access and benefit from the subtle heart energy. Now take a few conscious breaths, sensing the breath moving into and through your heart. Be aware of the inflow and outflow of breath as you begin to write. Witness any thoughts or emotions that arise, and use these—if you desire—as inspiration for your writing. Think of yourself as residing in your heart. What does it feel like to live in the centre of your creative being, and to imagine making decisions from a place of love, compassion, and wisdom? Acknowledge any judgments or criticisms that may come up as you write freely, not stopping to examine what these are. Continue to write as you relax your heart and deepen your experience of writing from that place. Write to the end of your page or until it feels good for you to stop. Consider the meditation and writing exercise you just did. Practice going back to your heart over the course of your week and as you breathe consciously, allow it to open a little more with each breath.

Happy Valentine's Day, beauutiful!! photo credit: hello-revival-VPpTlTD0Ylk

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