I went for a jog.
It felt good. Enlivening. Alive.
I didn't go for long. A half hour. Walk. Run. Walk. Run.
Rather than compare myself to a yardstick from the past, I applauded myself for the steps I was taking right now, today, in the now, that took care of me. I celebrated doing it. Rather than regretting not doing it.
Today, I can feel my muscles. Not sore. Just more tender. A reminder that they exist and need exercise to be fully alive.
Like my mind. Like my heart. Like me.
Life is not a spectator sport. Life is not meant to be watched and passed by, passed up, passed over. It's not a passing commentary, a passing fancy, or past tense commentary on who I used to be. Life requires my involvement. My commitment to do. To participate. To be a part of its unfolding, the centre of my folding out, blossoming forth, spreading open of my wings, my dreams, my fancy. When I sit on the sidelines cheering on other plays, I atrophy. Little bits of me dry up. Shrivel up. Muscles once toned and agile become brittle. Like my heart. When I put it away on a shelf, keep it from getting touched, or felt, or bruised, it becomes more fragile. The veins carrying life-giving blood harden, constrict. The muscle contracts until eventually, each little breath hurts, each movement causes pain.
When I came out of an abusive relationship I wondered if I would ever love again. Would I be willing to trust, myself? Another? To expose my underbelly, my sentimentality, my vulnerability to another?
For a long time I have avoided stepping into the relationship waters. Avoided putting myself at risk of being part of something that might, or might not, cause me pain. Staying separate, however causes pain. It causes the heart to slow down and keeps me out of the flow of loving freely. The muscle becomes inflexible. It stiffens at the slightest approach. Toughens its shell at the lightest touch. It benches me on the sidelines, forces me on the lam, running away from living life to its fullest, in connection with the flow of life around me.
Last week, when I created my Vision Map, I put a tiny picture of a man and woman walking hand and hand on a beach. Beneath it I put the phrase, "Invite Intimacy".
It's a start. A beginning of acknowledging that I am a loving woman. A woman who loves men and loves to be loved by men. A woman who would like a special man in her life.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not going out there looking for a man! I'm not out there with my t-shirt on that reads, Pick Me! Up! I'm not a pick up girl, or a pick me up girl or even a pin-up girl! Gravity and time have had their way with me. I'm a full-blown, woman of lusty proportions lusting after loving in a full-blown, grown-up, full-bodied kind of way!
And that's the beauty of who I am today. I know, with or without a man in my life I'm okay. I am a full-bodied, full-living, lusty woman of spirited dreams, lustily living the life of her dreams today!
Earlier this year when I did tread lightly into the relationship waters, the man in question stated, "You have relationship issues." Absolutely! And I love myself for having issues that open me up to the wonder, joy and fearfulness of being in relationship. I love myself for knowing I am not a hardened up, hard-hearted, heartless crone unwilling to open up and be at risk in relationship.
Everyone has relationship issues. We're human. We learn through being in relationship what our issues are -- apart and together. With each other and with the world beyond. German philosopher and psychiatrist, Erich Fromm wrote, “Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an ordination of character which determines the relatedness of the person to the whole world as a whole, not toward one object of love”.
The other day I had lunch with a man I've known for some years. He's funny. Witty. Sensitive. Insightful. His daughter went to school with mine. As we chatted about life and love and tapes and self-defeating games, he looked at me and said. "You look really good. Really, really good."
Funny, it's a question I've been asked several times in the past few years.
"It was a choice." I told him. "I could love parts of me, or, I could love all of me. I was tired of telling myself which parts I didn't love and doing nothing about it, so I decided to give myself a break and just love me for who I am, knowing that each day I am capable of being better than I could ever have imagined yesterday."
If I am to love another, than I must first love myself to bits. I am my greatest teacher. I am my greatest pupil. I am the person I will know best in all the world. When I can love myself without restraint, without reservation, than I am capable of loving another with passion, with no holds barred, without fear.
When I love myself, just the way I am, I make room for someone else to love me just the way they are, confident that no matter who he is or who I am, we will never let go of the ones we love.
I'll always have me.
What could be more exciting than living our lives in love with who we are, exactly the way we are?
What could be more exciting than living your life in love with the one person who can never leave you and from whom you can never get away. The one person you can always depend upon to be exactly who you are? What could be more enticing than being the most magnificent, incredible, awesome you that you can be?
Live it up! It's yours to do it now!