The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom.
~ bell hooks, Outlaw Culture
My journey of self-integration and healing can be narrated as a journey of commitment to love for my inner tribe of selves.
I have come through many stages of committing to loving aspects of myself, building habits and practices of self love and care, and slowly and gently acknowledging, facing and loving shadow aspects back into a more whole and hale self. This is an ongoing journey, as it is all too easy to fall into unloving thinking, feeling and acting towards myself when I am low in resources and energy.
And yet I have come a long way on this challenging road to freedom.
Of course that was only half of the commitment to love journey I have consciously committed to. The other half is equally important and challenging in its own ways. To learn to love another in all their aspects, light and shadow, to extend compassion, kindness and generosity even when they prick and pain me, to protect them from unconscious hurtful expressions and actions from me and to do all this from sovereignty feels quite daunting at times.
To balance self love and love for another, to let it flow in a circular system of reciprocal nourishment, inspiration, joy and compassion is the holy grail for a fractured and traumatized self. A goal that can only be achieved by the alignment of self, higher Self and consciousness for more and more extended periods of time until it becomes our default setting. At least in my perception and experience.
This year I am called to teach my wounded and shadow aspects, which were created as per our soul contract with my mother, to CHOOSE to be loving, act with kindness and compassion even in moments of triggered CPTSD while being true to my own needs and boundaries. I am not saying this is what everyone has to do, nor that you are not entitled to your emotions of anger, resentment, hate and whatever else might arise for you in your primary wounding relationships. This is what I have been called to do after years of expressing openly my anger, sadness, grief and hate, a new stage, a new way of relating opening up for me now that foundations for self nurture and self love are firmly set.
Embracing on a mental level the commitment to love and choosing to be loving to others as an expression of my core being and not because their behavior deserved it was easy. For it is comparatively easy to disentangle from the concept of giving people what they deserve and drop the distorted concept of deserving/undeserving on the mental plane. Doing this on an emotional and physical plane is a decidedly different dimension of challenge to my self leadership.
Higher Self and consciousness lead the way to more equanimity in the mental/emotional which allows me to gently magnetize the emotional/physical into a state of homeostasis or balance. It is an excruciatingly slow progress for the mind, as the wounded parts and shadow feel like running towards old soothing strategies and reactivities at the slightest discomforting trigger and I observe the old scripts play out with all their negative ramifications for my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It takes many repetitions and regressions as well as the unswerving love and support of all other aspects of self and higher Self before the wounded and shadow parts can acknowledge the futility of their go-to-solutions and concede to trying something else. And much cheerleading, loving reminders and celebration of small wins is necessary in order for them to stay on course. Especially when their first attempts and steps are not reciprocated in kind.
Another layer of learning lay here for me: We (inner tribe of selves) are not loving to others in a game of barter or in expectations of getting our needs met by them. We are loving because this is our true nature to which we choose to return. Being loving is all the reward it needs.
It will still take a while and many repetitions of consciously choosing to be love and act as love in a variety of relationships until I can even remotely say that I have laid a foundation similar to the one I have built for self love. And yet I am already reaping the rewards of this work by virtue of the feeling of alignment within, the joy of oneness within and embodying integrity and love in relating whenever I wholly choose to act from love. It feels good to extend myself in love to others knowing that I can and will do my best to show up, be accountable and responsible, caring and mindful in my relationships. No longer having to fear being helplessly highjacked by my shadow aspects into painful catastrophizing abysses or loops of hurtful behavioral patterns towards others. Knowing that I have what I need to see and stop these patterns, and if they manage to bypass my awareness, knowing I have the tools, knowledge and commitment of my inner tribe to repair and make amends best we can in cooperation with another.
This is what empowerment through love feels like to me.
Grateful for the selves, people, lessons and experiences which help me anchor more deeply into my nature and lighten the heaviness of trapped distortions in my field.
May we all be free from suffering,
may we all be love.