Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Why is it so hard to remember self-love in the face of life’s many obstacles?
I have done much work in the realm of self-care, mindfulness, and yoga… and yet when I find myself spinning out in the realities of the world, it’s as if I blackout on all the teachings and techniques I know serve. This experience is ever humbling, frustrating and ironic given one of the roles I wear is “ life coach” and I spend most of my time helping people through their day-to-day tough stuff. I am convinced forgetting is simply a part of the human experience. We dance with this pattern: forget, remember, forget, remember, and forget again, until we remember yet again.
There are days when I wake up forgetting…and feel all of life’s weight, burden, and annoyances, making it difficult to be in the world at all. On these days, I’m utterly reactive and irritated by the smallest of things …like a dirty sock sitting just outside the laundry hamper, my mind spouts off silent comments like… “wow, really, the extra half-second it’d take to place the dirty sock INSIDE the hamper was just too much for you?” My inner critic feels ready to pounce and deem someone or something guilty without the slightest resemblance of grace on whatever enters my line of sight. The possibility of the hamper getting hit by the dog and causing the sock to fall out without anyone being at fault is not an option. The judgment, excuses, and victimizing beliefs I can conjure in mere minutes are impressive… enough to qualify me as an unrecognized Olympian of the sport or your favorite Disney villain.
Then there are the days when I remember and deeply feel the oneness, Spirit, radical power in self-love, interconnectedness, etc. Drug-like, it overwhelms my system with a felt-experience so pure that it sends me to a place far outside the sphere of the mundane. The day-to-day to-do list is lost and I catapult into a different reality entirely. Fully blissed out — I see the man in the car next to me at the stoplight truly as family and have the capacity to love him as profoundly and deeply as I do my own family. In these moments, the silent prayer that fills my body and mind sings, “this person next to you is doing the best they can with what they have, just like you. You both breathe the same air, rely on food, need love to thrive. He’s a member of your same species, in the same global tribe. The makeup of his cells is the same as yours. You are him and he is you. Love him as you.” I tear up when looking at him and wish him the best in his day and life. Forgetting and remembering are two sides of the same coin called, being human… one is a gift, the other a curse. The good news is we have a choice in which we’d like to live in more often… the bad news is it takes practice.
For me, in some moments the act of choosing to remember is a blessing nearing miracle… pulling me through and out of despair, resistance, or grief. I’ve come to decide that whenever I’m forgetting and therefore suffering with(even if I don’t know what I’m suffering from) is because I have forgotten something. It could be that I am frustrated with the way a work project is going, or an interaction I had with a loved one, or simply that it’s cold in the house… no matter how big or small the suffering, I have forgotten something. The problem for me is in the act of remembering that I’ve forgotten. Like showing up to the register to buy something and realizing I’ve forgotten my wallet. When we forget our wallet we don’t try to buy whatever we’re trying to purchase anyway, we stop and begin working to find the lost wallet, because the wallet holds the currency we need to buy what we want. Remembering is the wallet, what we want is to end our suffering, love is the payment we need.
So, for this shopping experience in the checkout counter of you, the key is in our realizing we’ve shown up to the register without our wallet. As soon as we realize we’ve forgotten something we can begin looking for what’s lost. This means that when we recognize our suffering as having forgotten something, we can then ask the universe to remind us what we’re forgetting… some would call this a miracle. How? Simply saying, “in this moment, I recognize that I’m suffering, I realize that I’ve forgotten love - the main currency in relieving me from suffering. I ask for help in remembering Truth and returning to love.” A return to the path of remembering love buys our way out of suffering and it’s at our disposal in every moment.
In my own life, when I started being more conscious of when I was forgetting love and was therefore aware of my suffering, I found that I could actually be freed from my experience pretty quickly if I was willing to simply state that I was suffering (even if I didn’t know why) and choose again. The impact of this… I started to notice when I was straying away from love and forgetting Truth with more ease and had less judgment about the forgetting too. The focal point for my sight changed, now I stay in remembrance more often than I used to and as a result feel less self-created suffering in my daily reality — regardless of where the sock is in relationship to the hamper. As a result, I show up for myself and those around me more with more to give and am an active member in my world with excitement to participate in life rather than be a victim to it.
Each time we forget and then choose to remember, new and different things about ourselves and life generally are captured. We have an opportunity to integrate the remembrance as learning and re-write codes in the internal operating system of YOU. All we need to remember is when we are suffering, we’ve forgotten something. What we’ve forgotten is usually playing a part in furthering our growth and when we remember it, we’ll be lifted from it.
And so, may we strive to be more responsible for how we show up in the world with more conscious choosing, while also remembering to be gentle with ourselves in practicing this art wherever we’re at on our journey, for we all are beautifully human and doing the best we can with where we’re at.