Love’s Liberation and Bright Blue Toes

This is Lilly. She is a rescue black lab that we adopted three years ago. She is the funniest dog I have ever known. She had a horrible life of abuse before we saved her from a shelter. She’s a bit rough around the edges when she’s scared, but once she lets you into her heart she will love you with unwavering intensity and devotion. Every day Lilly greets me with such love. I wonder if anyone else in my life loves me so deeply.

When she first came to live with my family she was described as a savage. You couldn’t even look her in the eyes. Well, I could. She trusted me within the first five minutes. She has come to be a different dog. Love, family and belonging gave her a second chance to blossom and thrive.

I caught the last ten minutes of a new program called Master Class on the OWN network yesterday. This show featured the incomparable Maya Angelou. I wish I could have seen the whole show.  She spoke in those last few minutes about the power of love and liberation. I thought of Lilly. I thought of myself. As I sat there, listening to her harmonious voice, I started to cry. Even through the t.v. screen her eyes bore into mine and her wisdom shook me.

Her words of love and liberation echoed what I have been reading/learning about in the lessons in A Course in Weight Loss. How can I expect my body to change by hating it. Only the power of love can liberate and release. It seems so simple…

I wasn’t taught to love myself unconditionally. There are always strings. I was only truly worthy of love if I looked or acted a certain way. Even when I’ve tried to conform, there is still some aspect of myself that just isn’t up to snuff. This is one of the major reasons I want to change this year. I want to be a mother someday and I don’t want to pass this on to my children. I don’t blame my mother anymore…she taught me the lessons she was taught by her mother. I was instructed to hide my unique magnitude. I had to refrain from bragging about my talents or bright light. It is any wonder I have rebelled and found another way to be large.

I want to stop this cycle. I want the hereditary skill of self-hate to end with me.

In an effort to connect my mind, body and spirit – I wanted to include a meditation practice in this experiment. I wanted to use the visualization techniques in A Course in Weight Loss but since I’m still working through the first lesson, it’s too soon to start these meditations. Luckily, I remembered about a technique I read about in Prevention magazine some time ago.

The technique is mentioned in an essay called, “Happiness Is a Choice” by Ann Patchett. She recalls attending a meditation workshop and learning a technique for seeing the goodness in others. Ann sat for 11 minutes every day, her hands in front of her heart, palms spread apart by a few inches, and visualized her husband as his best self inside that space between her hands. She was to do this for forty days. If she missed a day she would have to start over again.

Ann realized that as the days increased, she was responding to him in a different way. She was grateful to have him. She says, “The more goodness I saw in him, the more goodness he showed me. I didn’t change my husband, I changed myself, and in doing that I opened my eyes to what had been there all along.”

I decided today that this would be a good meditation to start with. If I could see my own goodness for 11 minutes every day, maybe I could have my eyes opened as well.

I have tried meditation in the past and have failed miserably. My mind wanders. The incessant chatter in my brain drowns all my good intentions and I give up. This morning, I tried this meditation. I set my alarm for 11 minutes. Every time my mind wandered to other thoughts, I would bring my focus back to my breath. I would breath in the thought I am. I would breath out love. In – I am. Out – love. In – I am. Out – love. I am love. I am love. Soon I had my focus back and I could think about my goodness again.

My goodness seemed a bit of a stretch this morning so instead I visualized all the things I wanted to be good at. I saw myself teaching a class full of engaged children. I saw myself writing books, singing in front of a captive audience, laughing with friends, enjoying a date…

When the alarm sounded, I jumped. I couldn’t believe that 11 minutes had passed so fast. I also couldn’t believe that I was able to do it and keep my focus. It was the first time I have ever felt successful at meditation. I’m actually looking forward to doing it again.

Afterward I felt more focused and centered in my own skin. I generally rush through getting ready, but today I took my time. I used a face mask and almond body butter. I painted my toe nails bright electric blue.

Since the meditation is meant to be at least forty days, I will be adjusting my grid accordingly. I’m excited to heed Maya Angelou’s call to love and liberation. I showed Lilly how to love and watched how it transformed her. I want to love myself with the same adoration that she shows me every minute of the day. I have spent many years wallowing in self-hate, and was crazy enough to expect things to change. This year I’m learning to be present. I looking forward to liberation.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 11:12:58

    So beautiful, honey. I am proud to know you–and ALL of your goodness and magnitude! Love, love and love to you,
    me

    Reply

  2. MT
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:29:47

    Mary, you’re beautiful. Lisa sent me to this post and you’ve inspired me to try meditation again. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Mary
      Feb 16, 2011 @ 22:04:16

      MT,
      Thank you so much for the comment! I’m glad you’re ready to try meditation again. I am still trying to make it a part of my life, but I already feel like this technique is helping me.
      Good luck and thanks for checking out the blog!
      Mary

      Reply

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