More and more I have come to see my mindfulness meditation as a practice of self-love and self-care. It’s this quiet space that I take for myself to build a friendship with what is really there from day to day, to listen deeply to what is present in mind, body, and heart, to try to love myself harder.
This week at Candlelight Meditation I read this poem written by Charlie Chaplin, the famous mime, on his 70th birthday:
As I Began to Love Myself – Self Love Poem by Charlie Chaplin
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this
connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born.Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!
After reading this poem I shared my own personal struggle to make time for self-love and how our society doesn’t really teach the beauty and power of it on a regular basis. So often, because it’s not taught, it can feel like practices that care for the self are selfish but, in reality, they’re essential to feel our wholeness.
As a group we shared the difficulty we can often face when trying to make time for stillness within our lives and that urge that can arise to be doing, moving, or producing something instead. We talked about the resistance to using the “L word” with ourselves because we have been programmed to believe that it means we are egotistical or narcissistic. But, love isn’t about glossing over our faults or mistakes or humanness, it’s about showing up for ourselves and embracing everything that’s there: the invited and the uninvited.
It’s a choice that I have to make everyday. To show up for myself and to be with myself. To allow space for the stillness so what needs to be revealed to me will have the opportunity to do so. And so I can really, fully love myself, one breath at a time.
What would it take for you to love yourself a little more today?
by Miranda Chapman, Program Director at Copper Beech Institute
Copper Beech Institute is the nation’s newest retreat center for mindfulness and contemplative practice located in West Hartford, Connecticut. We offer more than 40 transformational retreats and courses, as well as mindfulness practice and mindfulness at work offerings to help you find the calm, compassion and true happiness you seek.