Today February 14th is widely celebrated as Valentine’s Day. A day of the heart. A day for relationships. A day for declaring love, commercially feted as the day to buy flowers, cards, chocolates, dinner, and more. But for me the most important relationship we can cultivate is perhaps that to the self. The self we often forget, ignore, pretend was not quite the way it is, and show up as another. Derek Walcott has it completely accurate when he speaks about loving the stranger we have ignored for another. This stranger we have tried to mold into another, that we have not loved, and whom we have abandoned. So today on this day of love, remember this stranger. And peel that image off the mirror and feast on the one that has always been there. That patiently resides at the very heart of our being.
This month’s Wholeheart Project theme is cultivating authenticity, letting go of what will people think. “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that makes us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown.
These past few days I have spent time with one of my children struggling with exactly this. How to move forward with courage and conviction for this one life of ours and make choices that support our own needs, regardless of the fall out that it may have. To allow our own authenticity to show, and be vulnerable in the face of what people think, is indeed perhaps the most courageous act we can make.
So for now I have little more to share. Perhaps just some curiosity about how you see yourself showing up in your own lives? What do you see when you peel the image away from the mirror and feast in that which you already are? May you have courage and conviction this month to live your own life, to peel the image off the mirror and get to know the stranger you may have ignored. Have courage to be vulnerable in the face of living your own authentic life. There is no other.