|"We all desire happiness" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.|
"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.
#32 out of a thousand ways to have a happy life; love again the stranger who was your self. Of course that's a little easier to say than to do. We grow up thinking it's our job to be good so that our parents will love us, and to keep them happy and everyone safe. It takes a while to realize that the world is not our family and it's no longer our job to get people to love us, but rather to help ourselves learn to love the stranger who was our self.
Lucky for us there are some experts in the self-care/self-love field that can be called upon for assistance when needed. One of these folks is Jennifer Louden, who was a pioneer in the self-care movement with her first best-selling book The Woman's Comfort Book. She's written 5 more books including The Life Organizer, which I'm just exploring with great joy.
Basically Jennifer uses daily creative/self-care practices to lead a fully humming creative life, and The Life Organizer is structured to help us do just that, lucky for us! She has noticed that between the struggling to survive the chaos and busy-ness of our lives and the awesomeness of leading a fully humming creative life, lies a middle ground where we find our minimum requirements for self-care, where we figure out what we absolutely must have to stay in touch with our center. Basic needs, or minimum daily requirements, can be simple things like getting enough sleep, moving our bodies, eating fresh food, or being touched. But they can be big things like connecting to something larger than ourselves, and listening to our dreams.
Jennifer has noticed that it can be easy to dismiss the importance of the basics practices (and maybe even let them slide), because somehow getting enough creative alone time or taking time for a nap when we are tired just doesn’t have the excitement as realizing our most fabulous dreams. Of course we can't get to those dreams if we are running on empty or if we have even forgotten how to check in with ourselves. But that's where this book is such a help. It provides a way of creating a mindful year, using journaling/art journaling and self inquiry. It can help us with this daily practice. The book is full of inspiring stories, mood shifters, happy reminders, prompts and wisdom. It's exactly like sitting in a kitchen over coffee with a best friend. You can take quite a big peek at it over at Amazon, certainly enough to see it's usefulness! And you can actually get a free app to use with the book and some other goodies on her website! So don't delay, come meet yourself at your own door, and find your humming creative life!