Thursday, August 18, 2011

Selfish or . . . . ?

If we love our heights, if we overcome our fears of cultivating the seed of divinity within us and if we reach the stars, we will have the feeling of returning home. The highest and the holiest are inside us. We start discovering the kingdom of heaven by loving, affirming and empowering that part of the universe over which we have responsibility - ourselves.
                                                                                       L. Robert Keck, Sacred Eyes

The underlying message of so much that I read is that I need to love, affirm and empower myself. At first glance, it sounds selfish – selfishness being one of the worst possible offenses, in the culture in which many of us were raised. But if I think about flying and oxygen, it starts to make sense: the flight attendant advises, if oxygen masks should become necessary, put your own mask on first in order to help the people around you. Without helping yourself first, you are no help to those around you.

And life can sometimes seem like a flight in peril. I spent many years doing what I thought was right and good: I took care of everything around me first, including children, family, home, profession, etc. I remember many years ago, when my children were young and my job extremely demanding,  I traveled to Atlanta for business and had an unexpected free day. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m not sure that I can find the words to express what I felt. I had no idea what I wanted or liked to do. It was a feeling that scared me; I hadn’t realized that I was lost, or how long I’d been lost.

I remember finding a book and I read it in a hot bath. I enjoyed a long, quiet walk and met old friends – people who knew me when I was full of enthusiasm for life – for dinner. I felt very lucky and blessed for having had the experience of reconnecting with myself.

Now I understand that I need to love, affirm and empower myself. “Love others, as you love yourself.” I guess I need to remember that relationships require time, effort and energy – and that includes my relationship with myself.

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