Happy New Year. On these early days of the year I am reflecting upon Love. Closing 2017 marks the end of a 10 year period that was my initiation into Love as a spiritual path. I did not know it at the time, but when I left my friends, family, med school, and country to ''follow my heart'' to Europe in 2007, I was following a call that would reveal to me some of the most profound teachings on what it is to be a human being living the Mysteries of Love. I kept a blog in the early days called ''Adventures in Love'' not realizing just how adventurous things would get. As it turns out, becoming a disciple of Love is no light matter. I am reminded of the words of Kahlil Gibran:
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Though this intense pruning, I have grown tremendously. I have been completely transformed. Multiple times. Have watched my internal and external realities crumble before my eyes and have been left with nothing but the choice to Trust. And trust more. To trust so much that the feeling of falling through open space actually becomes exhilarating. The falling becomes flying.
I have developed the skills and courage of a warrior in these last years and the stamina and perseverance to stay open and keep loving that often surprises me.
But the ultimate lesson I received?
All Love begins with Self Love.
Yep, just like the clichè.
It starts right here, right now, standing in front of a mirror, looking into your own eyes, unabashedly, and feeling deep, passionate, appreciative love for the miracle that is you. As you are right here, right now.
It is not easy. I know. But it is a choice that we can make to learn to love ourselves, to reveal ourselves to ourselves, to forgive ourselves, to accept ourselves as we are, and eventually to fall passionately in love with ourselves! It is a choice, or rather a series of continual choices that end up defining our life.
Everything is born out of Love. Everything. All you are longing for, your hopes, desires, and dreams. And it all begins with Love of Self.
So as we begin 2018, I am wishing for you and for me and for all us that we focus less on lists of things that we must do to make us better, and simply make Self-Love our number one priority.