Module 1: Learning to Love Yourself to Success & Fulfillment Think about the life you really want to live, and all of the wonderful experiences you’ll have. Imagine how it will feel to be happily involved in the relationships and projects that really matter to you, to be vibrantly healthy, at peace and trusting in the goodness of life. Really let yourself feel what that kind of life would feel like. Relish the feeling. Yes! Now, notice how utterly impossible it would be to create a life like that in the presence of self-doubt, self-criticism or self-judgment. It cannot be done. They are completely different states of being. Doubt and criticism arise from a fundamental feeling of lack, or “not enough-ness” of some kind—which is the opposite of feeling whole, at peace, and fulfilled. Many of us, however, have been conditioned to believe that in order to really succeed in life, we have to work on ourselves. We have to buckle down, get serious and apply strong doses of willpower to overcome our many flaws. We have to be on constant watch, lest our laziness, bad attitude, or poor judgment flares up and ruins everything. We often don’t realize that the very act of judging and doubting ourselves creates the reactions and results we see as bad and in need of correction. When we judge ourselves, we create an inner environment of conflict that literally diminishes our energy and clouds our perception. Self-doubt has a similar effect. It dams the flow of inspiration and enthusiasm, slowing us down and eventually stopping us altogether. We become paralyzed with indecision and give up. Through our judgment and doubt, we have created experiences of low energy, diminished perception, and paralysis—all the things we were judging in the first place. And then we go another round, and another. This is hardly a recipe for inspired living. This course will show you how you can lift yourself out of conventional living and choose to live an inspired life instead. It’s a whole different way of being, thinking, and acting, one that arises from your true nature as a magnificent being who is inherently worthy of living a joy-filled life. It is a way of living that celebrates the abundance and diversity of this world rather than narrowing your perceptions to see only lack and limitation. It is a way of living grounded in self-love. And to underscore how incredibly essential and potent self-love is, I want to briefly share the story of best-selling author Anita Moorjani. In her book, Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing, Anita reveals how she miraculously healed from stage 4 terminal cancer through a consciousness-expanding near death experience (NDE) that awakened her to the truth of who she really is – and who we all are. The details of her experience are stunning, and I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of reading her book. But what I want to emphasize here is her profound message of self-love. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book: “It’s all very well for me to talk about healing after I’ve experienced it, or for me to tell you to just trust and let go, letting the flow of life take over; but when you’re going through a really low period, it’s difficult to do – or even to know where to begin. However, I think the answer is simpler than it seems, and it’s one of the best-kept secrets of our time: the importance of self-love. You may frown or cringe at the thought, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to cultivate a deep love affair with yourself. I don’t recall ever being encouraged to cherish myself – in fact, it would never even have occurred to me to do so. It’s commonly thought of as being selfish. But my NDE allowed me to realize that this was the key to my healing.” (p. 138) See if you can let that sink in. Self-love heals. Self-love transforms. Self-love is the most natural expression of our true, magnificent nature. I had the deep pleasure and honor of interviewing Anita Moorjani for a series of articles I wrote for Living.Well Magazine in 2012. I’ve included the first of those articles as one of the addendums to this course, because I don’t think the message of self-love can be overstated. Please read it at your leisure (PDF: All We ARE is Love – Anita Moorjani). This course is devoted to helping you experience a deeper level of self-love than you’ve ever known. It is about cultivating self-love as a state of being from which you can create a life you truly love. And this state of being can be understood, experienced and expressed vibrationally – because, as noted in the foundational premises of this course, we are living in a vibrational universe. As you start thinking, perceiving, and sensing experiences in terms of vibration, things start to make sense that didn’t make sense before. Pause right now, and consider judgment and doubt in terms of vibration. I’m sure you can immediately sense their energy as harsh, dampening, confining, and depleting. Now consider the vibration of appreciation—particularly self-appreciation. It is relaxed, expansive, loving, and supportive. And that is exactly what you need to create a safe inner environment for the birthing of your dreams. I’ve created this course to guide you in giving birth to the you that is ready to emerge, and in learning how to support the growth of this new you rather than trying to whip it into shape in a marathon of self-improvement. Imagine a healthy, vibrant three-year-old child. You would never expect that child to be able to drive a car. You would understand that he’d inevitably grow and develop the skills needed to drive, at just the right time. You’d recognize that he is a perfect, whole, and complete three-year-old…who will keep evolving and expanding into endless new versions of himself, with newly developed skills and talents and passions. Every one of us is that three-year-old, perfect and whole yet still growing and evolving. But all too often, we treat ourselves as if we should be able to do something we’ve not yet grown into, and we judge ourselves for not being able to do it. That kind of judgment is, frankly, ridiculous. And it’s not at all helpful. Even so, we’ve been conditioned to judge rather than support ourselves, so learning to genuinely appreciate and, yes, love ourselves requires a conscious intention to do just that, and a willingness to practice new ways of thinking and acting that support our intention. In a fundamental way that’s what this course is all about, and I’ll offer plenty of perspectives and practices to support you in making the shift from self-judgment to self-love. Right now, it’s time to set the intention. It’s time to fully acknowledge and declare that you are worthy of treating yourself with kindness and respect. It’s time to decide you’re going to love, not criticize, yourself to success and fulfillment. Pause now to get quiet, go inside and imagine how it would feel to accept yourself unconditionally. Imagine what it would be like to be your own best friend. Notice the levels of clarity, purposefulness, and ease you could experience if you really trusted yourself. And sense how much easier it would be to give generously to others from such a full, supported place. It may be helpful to create a statement of intention, given how powerfully our thoughts and language shape our experience. Keep it simple, inspiring and memorable. Here are some examples to get you started: I am creating a life I love by loving myself unconditionally. I am committed to loving myself to success and fulfillment. I am worthy of treating myself with kindness and respect. Play with the words until your statement feels good and right for you, but don’t work at this. If the exercise itself feels mechanical, hollow, or frustrating, let it go. Just set the intention to cultivate the deepest experience of self-love you’ve ever known, and get ready for your world to change. But what about…? What if I have traits and habits that really are negative? If I just accept them don’t I keep myself stuck? There’s a huge difference between accepting yourself and justifying behaviors that are harmful to your well-being, or the well-being of others. If there is something you are doing, or not doing, that you genuinely feel is negative, pause to acknowledge that your actions arise from a vulnerable place within you. Compassion and understanding are needed here, not judgment. Whether the habit you have is overeating when you feel stressed, shopping compulsively, putting in countless hours at work to avoid facing uncomfortable situations at home, blaming others for your problems rather than taking responsibility for them, or—you fill in the blank—see if you can recognize an underlying sense of powerlessness giving rise to the habit. When we feel powerless to address situations and create what we want, we take action to cover up or avoid that hugely uncomfortable feeling. In this course we’ll learn to navigate uncomfortable feelings in a healthy way, but for now just note that accepting ourselves doesn’t mean justifying the negative habit. It means understanding why we do what we do, and learning to support ourselves as we evolve to our next level of healthy and harmonious living. Activities & Practices Expanding Your Concept of & Experience of Self-Love Read the following statements slowly, one at a time. Pause and feel how you feel about each one. Is it true for you, or is it far removed from your personal experience? Do any of them light you up? Are you repelled by any of them? Just notice. I respect myself. I trust myself. I appreciate myself. I honor myself. I celebrate myself. I cherish myself. I have compassion for myself. I am kind to myself. I support myself. I speak my truth. Choose one quality that you would most like to cultivate, right now. Write at the top of a page in your journal, “How might I begin to __________ myself more?” (e.g., “How might I begin to trust myself more?” “How might I begin to respect myself more?”) Then pause, close your eyes, and quiet your mind. Let go of any busy thoughts or preconceived notions about the right answer. Be open to a new level of inner wisdom as you pick up the pen and write what comes to you. Commit to doing at least one thing you identified in this exercise that feels right for you to do. Getting Back to Your Own Natural Rhythm This activity is one I strongly recommend as a regular practice. Its purpose is to help liberate you from self-judgment and reconnect you with your natural rhythm of productivity and rest. When practiced regularly it subtly and powerfully enhances your abilities to get the “right” things done and reconnect with your innate creativity. It is also a loving act of self-respect. Set aside a chunk of time—at least one hour, but ideally several hours at a time or a whole day, when the only things you will do are those for which you have the authentic impulse (no “shoulds”), the willingness, AND the energy to do. All three conditions must be met before doing anything. Do not limit the field of possible actions—or non-actions—in any way. Regardless of what is currently on your to-do list, choose what to do based only on these three criteria. If you need to take a nap—take a nap. If you suddenly have the impulse (and the willingness and energy) to work on your tax return, do that. Do not rush around getting things done prior to the time you have set aside. This practice is not about scheduling time for rest and relaxation. It is about shifting your relationships with both time and productivity in a way that moves you into a more natural flow state. Be willing to be surprised at how creative and productive—and rested!—you can be when you suspend all judgment about what “should” be done and allow your innate rhythm to guide you into what is good to do, right now. Maintain an Eyes of Love journal Read the article, “Seeing Through the Eyes of Love” (PDF: Eyes of Love Journal). Using the suggestions in the article, start your own Eyes of Love journal and commit to maintaining it throughout this course…and beyond. Love Yourself to Success and Fulfillment Homepage Receive a fresh dose of inspiration every month! SUBMIT You have Successfully Subscribed!