“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” ~ C. JoyBell C
We went to a New Year’s Eve party at MJ and Cassie’s last month that had a game theme. Guests were divided into teams and each team was asked to come up with a team name, a “party pose” and a motto. The games involved things like trying to knock over an empty bottle with a ball that was placed at the end of a nylon stocking which you wore on your head, and trying to avoid the whipped cream in Pie Face. Points were given but never counted. Prizes were awarded but never given.
Whenever someone from either team competed, my teammate, Holly, cheerfully yelled, “good job!” and started to clap. When she shouted it to me, I swelled with pride, thinking, “she’s right, I did do a good job of avoiding that whipped cream.” It was typical Holly, and I thought how great she was at encouraging others.
I sometimes go through phases where I become self-critical, lamenting about things I wished I did better (gardening, decorating, singing loudly, handstands at the wall…), but the other day I decided to make a mental list of things I’m good at (organizing, cooking, grammar, keeping secrets, teaching yoga…). It was an expression of gratitude and self-love, which we all know is the first step to―as Holly does so well―loving and celebrating others. Try it some time!
Charlie Chaplin wrote this poem on his 70th birthday:
AS I BEGAN TO LOVE MYSELF
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 the 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 worryng 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!
Wow, Charlie, what a practice. Good job!