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Posts Tagged ‘I love you’

I remember sitting on the beach in La Jolla doing the beach-bunny thing while my boyfriend surfed the waves with his friends. I was in high school at the time. I was full of my youth, full of myself. I was lookin’ good and I knew it, even if I did get insecure from time to time. Youth rocked (so we thought).

I remember a woman walking by who caught my attention and the words I said to myself:

I hope I’m like her when I get older.

She was probably in her 50s or 60s. Hard to tell. At 16, everyone over 30 looks old. She was very tan, wrinkly and very round like an apple on two poles. She had a long gray braid down her back and she wore a bright orange one-piece swimsuit. She was walking with no noticeable trace of self-consciousness.  She was out there, hiding nothing. She was absolutely beautiful in her ease.

“She wrinkled, but she lovely” (1)

I wanted to be like her when I grew old, to feel free and comfortable in my own skin, happy to walk along the beach in a swimsuit. I wanted to keep my long hair. In those days, I held the assumption that you had to cut your hair short after your 20s, because all the magazines advised us that short hair “lifts the features and gives women a more youthful appearance.”

grand canyon late 2002

Grand Canyon 2002 (K Loh)

I remember a moment out of time during one of my many hikes in the Grand Canyon. We’d just spent two nights at Phantom Ranch and were coming up the Bright Angel trail. At one point, nearing the last portion of the hike, we rested, taking in the stunning view of the Coconino sandstone walls rising toward the rim. Standing at their base, feeling very small, I felt their grandeur suck all the air right out of my chest. I was mesmerized, immobilized.  And then I heard myself utter:

This is so beautiful! God made this and God made me, so I must be beautiful too!

The tears rolled down my face and I felt the first healing of the wounds of years of self-denigration as I received the truth of Beauty with a capital B. It was an epiphany, a moment of insight. It was one moment to combat the constant bombardment of cultural youth worship.

“You are so beautiful" (2)

I remember standing in line at a drug store looking at the faces of models and celebrities on the magazines filled with make-up tips and the latest diet craze. I’d just come back from a mirror-free week of camping in Baja. I was still in travel-daze, that feeling of having been to another planet and back. I remember wondering, “what is this all about?” I also remember that a week later, it was all too familiar again.

I remember hearing a woman in the gym locker room say to her friend that, although she had smile-lines around her eyes, she felt lucky that she didn’t have that sagging jaw line that other women get. I remember the first time, 10 years later, that I looked in a mirror and realized I was one of those less fortunate ones. I remember when the first age spot showed up right near my left eye. I can’t fathom how many times I’ve used my fingers to pull my face taught in an attempt to see what I might look like without all those wrinkles and sags. I walk around feeling 25 and then catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder “Aak! Who’s that?”

“...man you're old
 Getting old
 Old
 Getting old.” (3)

I say that I want to age gracefully. I used to think that meant aging slowly and remaining youthful in my appearance. You know, the kind where people are amazed to find out how old you really are because they think you are 10 years younger.

Now, I hold aging gracefully as being filled with grace.

Something has washed over me in recent days. Something about surrender. Something that snake is teaching me. (The second striped racer crossed my path this week) Snake is about transmuting poison. I want to transmute the poison of comparing myself with air-brushed women in media or women half my age into the golden grace of self-acceptance;  loving myself exactly as I am: curvy, sagging, with cellulite, healthy, strong and wrinkly, and ok, with a lot of blond highlights.

“Will you take me as I am, will you? Will you take me as I am” (4)

I am beginning to know my Beauty:

The Beauty we all are and can’t help but be

The Beauty that can’t be bought by dialing a phone number scrolling across the bottom of the screen during an  infomercial.

The Beauty of our stories of triumph and grief.

The Beauty of our scarred, courageous hearts and wild, winged souls.

The Beauty of being completely and wholly ourselves, loving and nurturing ourselves.

OK people…listen up!

No more holding ourselves as problems in search of the next solution.

No more berating and shaming.

Stop it!

Everything is our mirror; the soaring redwoods, the majestic mountains, the silvery moon, the deep brown earth, the billowy clouds. I want to be that kind of Beautiful. I want to stand tall, know my majesty, light up the darkest of nights, be a solid place to land, and dance across the sky on a windy day.

I want to hear myself say to me, “You are Beautiful” and receive the gift and grace of that in every cell of my being.

Something tells me I don’t need botox to do that and I think my thighs can walk the path of Beauty without liposuction.

Who will walk this path with me?

Suggestions for remembering your Beauty:

  • Find a tree, sit beneath it and listen. It will tell you of your Beauty.
  • When you look in the mirror, let your heart be your eyes.
  • Treat yourself as you would the most beautiful of orchids; nurture yourself completely.
  • Listen to your self-talk. Track it for a full day and then a full week. Write down the most common things you say to yourself that are unkind or mean. Change the way you speak to yourself. Give yourself the respect you deserve.
  • Do the “I love you” exercise I wrote about in an earlier posting.
  • Look for Beauty everywhere. It will show itself to you in the most surprising ways.
  • Listen to this song and imagine God/Source/Divine is singing it to you. Let it in. You are So Beautiful!

Songs referenced in this post:

(1) “Trinkets” (Emory Joseph) on Bonnie Raitt’s Souls Alike

(2) “You are So Beautiful” (Billy Preston & Bruce Fisher) sung by Joe Cocker

(3) “Old” on Paul Simon’s You’re the One

(4) “California” on Joni Mitchell’s Blue

 Copyright(c) November 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I love you.

The words we long to hear.

The words we hear and don’t believe.

The words we say to another to express the depth of our feelings.

The words we hope there’s time to say to someone (and to hear) before passing.

The words we often toss off as mindlessly as “I’ll have fries with that.”

Words have energy. The sounds alone are energy. Words spoken from mind, from heart, from spirit, from body….all have different impacts. The speaking and hearing of words is a cycle of giving and receiving.

Earlier this year, I posted a practice I call “I love you,” which is to simply say out loud to ourselves those very words. Today, my focus is on saying I love you to another.  I did not use quotations, because what I’m going to speak to is awareness of the impact of our words upon those we love and expressing appreciation.

Country singer-songwriter Hal Ketchum sings “It’s more than just I love you baby. It’s every little word.”

It all counts. You can’t whitewash a powerful shaming or belittling with “I love you.” There was a couple who attended a few dinner parties at which I was present. She noticeably made him the butt of every joke. She was cynical and ridiculed him at every opportunity. I laughed along with everyone else at first. Then, I had to wonder how it was that anyone could laugh at this cruelty. No matter how funny it was meant to be, it was at the cost of another human soul’s dignity. She was a teacher to me in that she made me aware of my own tendency to make jokes at the expense of another.

Love Connects (clipart)

Love Connects (clipart)

I teach my relationship clients to offer appreciations to one another at our first meeting and it is how we close every session. It’s a practice I learned in my training with both The Coaches Training Institute and  Center for Right Relationship.

Because this is a practice, it is something I ask my clients to do every day, whether they feel like it or not. It’s easy enough to offer appreciation to someone, to say “I love you,” and to receive these words when we are feeling good. It’s near impossible when we are distressed and that may be when it is needed most. Practicing during the comfortable times makes it easier to use during the tough times.

Here are the steps:

1. Face each other and take an ample and easy clearing breath.

2. Keep your eyes on each other’s eyes, windows to your souls.

3. Energetically drop into your heart and allow yourself to connect with love. Love does not imply approval or even like. It is love from the Source and no matter what is going on, we are all capable of connecting with that Source when we are willing.

4. Begin by saying the other person’s name. Saying our names out loud is powerful. It is an announcement to the Universe that we ARE.

5. Then, say “I appreciate” and follow it with a quality about the other person that you want to acknowledge.

This is KEY – find something about who they are BEING rather than what they are DOING. We want to be loved for who we are as much as, if not more than, for what we do.

Examples:

DOING – I appreciate you for helping John with his homework.

BEING – I appreciate your kindness, patience, willingness and love that is so evident when you are helping John.

DOING – I appreciate you for standing up to Jack.

BEING – I appreciate your courage.

If you are having trouble moving from doing to being, consider this. Take what it is that the person did that you appreciate. Then discover within your heart who that person had to be, what qualities of character they drew upon to create that action. Those qualities are your being words.

6. Finally, the recipient of the appreciation simply opens their heart and allows this gift of acknowledgment to sink in.  “Thank you” or “I feel  seen” is all that need be said.

Sometimes the more challenging of giving and receiving appreciations is receiving. We want to slough it off, make excuses for ourselves, hand off the credit to someone else.  So, as the one hearing the appreciation given to us, the practice is to be with the unfamiliarity of opening our hearts to receive.  It may be uncomfortable at first, like a first sip of water through sun-parched lips. If you are like me, you’ll get used to drinking it in pretty quickly.

If you practice this with another on a regular basis, you may find that you have a very small vocabulary for appreciative adjectives. It’s not surprising really. In my own search for a broader spectrum of words, I’ve looked through the dictionary. I’m certain there are many more negative words in the English language than there are positive. You can also build your positive vocabulary simply by looking into your heart and finding words that truly resonate with what you feel. Be patient with yourself and take time to let it come to you. And yes, there is always the dictionary or thesaurus.

Don’t be shy. Practice with the dog or the cat first, if you must. Then, invite your partner to practice with you. Soon enough, you’ll be offering your appreciations to sales clerks and postal workers in simple sentences creating smiles all around. Honestly, I’ve never met one that didn’t just beam with joy when offered an appreciation (sans hand-holding, of course, but looking them in the eyes is always good). By the way, have you ever noticed how little we actually make eye-to-eye contact with say, the grocery clerk?

More heart, smiles and positive words…soul to soul connections…I’m thinking the world can use a little more of this.

Closing note: The entire time I was writing this entry, two butterflies were dancing around outside my window. Symbols of beauty, aliveness and transformation….how might this practice enliven and transform your relationships?

If you need a little coaxing watch this: (Thanks to the soulful Lori Tuttle for finding this fun video)

Copyright (c) July 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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