With the “New Year, New Me” memes all over social media, I think about the differences between setting intentions, and thinking that we need to change who we are.
My friend E sent me a great post from Wanderlust (www.wanderlust.com) with this message of her own: “I like this post…! Is it an unusual message to like yourself as you are? Every other message seems to imply that we need to change, to improve. What a refreshing perspective!”
YES! I know! I agree! I hear you! I wanted to reach through the computer and hug her (which I always do anyway, but it felt reliving to know that others feel the same way. Sometimes, I just want to “be”).
Just as often as we hear about the many ways that we can work to change ourselves (be kinder, forgive, workout more, workout harder, eat less sugar, eat more veggies, and the list goes on and on…), these days if you’re on the spirituality path, you may also hear the words “self-acceptance” and “self-love.” Somewhere, deep in our hearts (and social media outlets), we hear that call. I must admit that when I used to hear those words it was as good as somebody speaking a foreign language to me. “I’ll never get there,” I used to think.
And I’m still not there. But I’m closer, which seems ironic given that the older I get, the more I know that I’m set in my ways. Loving myself seems like harder work than ever, and yet more important than ever.
Here is what I know, now:
I love intentions over resolutions, revelations over regret, and magic over mayhem.
The days when I set an intention in my heart, and keep it close, are usually the days when I am better able to spot miracles. The days when I’m better able to manage any calamity, work or otherwise, that comes my way. The days when I am more present. Present for the most part, but still me. (Which FYI could mean “Freaking out Sam.” I’m still human. If I didn’t admit that I still freak out ALL OF THE TIME over LOTS OF DIFFERENT THINGS than eventually the jig would be up. Somebody would find me out.
Or SHL would rat me out!). Never!
But it is within this groove of self-love that I find intentions sprouting from my heart organically. As I did some loving yoga stretches the other day, after three days in bed with a cold and feeling icky, I stopped mid-stretch and thought, “I love you, you.” WHAT?! It kind of came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. Throughout the last 3 years I’ve very much wanted to love every single inch of me, especially the part of my body where the tumors reside, but that seemed impossible. How can you love your liver when you have liver melanoma? But when you change the way you see things, the things that you see change. I suddenly realized that my liver is, thank g-d, still functioning well. I started to see that gratitude leads to insight which leads to confidence which leads to learning to love yourself for exactly who you are today. And while this may sometimes feel like climbing a very steep, very scary mountain, the hard work has its benefits.
I guess my intention is to see the good. The view from up here is beautiful. And while I know it won’t be my view every day, today I cherish it and accept its beauty in the moment for what it is.