Happy Valentine's Day my friend. I hope you have been keeping well these last couple of weeks. February seems to be going by quickly, so perhaps these dark pandemic days will soon be more behind us than on the horizon. A thought to which I subscribe.
This week while I was setting my intention and laying gratitude in a morning meditation, I had a memory of being in a confessional box. This was strange and out of the blue. Growing up Catholic, with a mama who was a nun before marrying, you can rest assured that we went to confession pretty regularly.
It's been decades since I have had a confession in a Catholic church. Here I am in meditation with a memory blast going back maybe fifty years. "Bless me Father for I have sinned, I confess to you and Almighty God. In the past two weeks, I have coveted my neighbour's toys, I have lied to my mother, I stole fifty cents from my sisters piggy bank and I have taken the Lord's name in vain five times."
Here I am, setting up the intention for meditation, where did this come from? I was bringing to mind all that I have to be grateful for and what has supported me through my years. It's possible the flash of a confession was a call for honesty. It's easy to whitewash challenges in our lives, especially when it might be painful to go deeper and we are all in compromised energy levels these days. An honest check-in with an openness that it's okay to be not okay. Where may I have let myself down? Honesty that can only ever start with ourselves.
How can we ever heal the whole without the embrace of honesty. If we are unwilling to see the cracks, the juiciest bits of life's joy will seep out without us even knowing. Honesty with curiosity, love and understanding, I believe can take us into untethered awakenings. Leaning in with open honesty may take us to a mirror we need to sit with awhile. This may be a little scary or it may be a most profound delight, or both. Thich Nhat Hanh says "to understand is to love".
If you are not left with love you are probably not left with a compassionate understanding either and therefore you are not done. Today, Valentine's Day, as Hallmark as it is, could be a wonderful day for an honest sit with a mirror and truly give thanks for every opportunity to love. Starting with your magnificent self.
Years ago when I was going through a separation I kept a Dalai Lama book beside my bed and would read a chapter to bookend each day. I was determined to remain compassionate. One day I read "all compassion that is not firmly planted in the self, is null and void." Wow, this was an incredible teaching that took my hand and led me to the mirror for a long sit.
Perhaps our next sit with a mirror can leave us with the same love and lightness of being that is portrayed on this Orangutan's face with the sleight of hand. ;-)))