My thoughts and feelings have a lot to do with how I do or don't love myself. Imagine learning to love every part of your Self, the good stuff and the "bad." It has been a big project for me.
Some years ago, a wise teacher told me a story about the importance of healing my emotions. He said I could not know God any other way than through my feelings. I could only know God through my heart: a higher pathway of my heart that could only be reached by feeling and healing my feelings. My teacher said emotional balance was key to knowing the higher levels of my Self.
My teacher went on to say that in the past I had judged many of my feelings as being harmful, "bad," and shameful. Every one of those feelings I had pushed away from myself, or denied, suppressed or judged to be bad, or someone else had judged to be bad for me, were pieces of my emotional self which I needed to love and heal. He gave this analogy.
He said if I fall down and severely cut my elbow so blood and bone are exposed, my immediate, innate response is to pull my elbow into myself and do whatever it takes to bring my elbow back to full health and usefulness. I might even kiss it. I will surely hold it tightly into myself to support it and stop the bleeding until I get more help for myself. I will baby my healing elbow, protect it from bumps, and keep it clean. I will nurture it back to full and useful health because I need my elbow.
Nurturing Yourself Back to Fullness
It is necessary I do the same for my emotional health: nurture it back to full usefulness. I need emotional balance even more than I need my real elbow. Healthy emotions are a doorway to a sensitive awareness of things, which are not physical or cannot be seen with physical eyes.
My teacher went on to say each of those emotions I had pushed away from myself, judged as bad, were "boo boos" or injuries to myself that needed to be brought back into myself for my wholeness. I needed to draw back into myself my "emotional elbows" and love each of them into wholeness. I needed to be healthy emotionally to let my feelings and emotions rise to a higher level of awareness in order to know God.
Coming Back to Wholeness
I can see how me loving the parts of myself I judge as ugly might have something to do with me bringing back to wholeness whatever parts of me want to continue to "attack myself" as in an auto-immune disease. I expect it is the same for any disease: cancer, AIDS, diabetes, heart disease. I also know that my body is the densest part of myself and I will probably have to reinforce self-love and healing my emotional elbows many times over the years of my life to have a physical impact. Or, will I?
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
I have plenty of chances every day with the TV news, magazines and papers, social situations and my daily interactions with people to catch myself in judgment about something or someone. Then I get to say "I love the part of myself that is judging that behavior or feeling as bad."
I know loving what I or someone else may perceive as bad or ugly feelings and judgments about others and myself is a big stretch. When I first started doing the "I love the part of myself that is icky"' dialog, which I do in private with my personal inner voice, it was difficult and didn't feel like anything was happening. I guess it might be similar to the alcoholic saying "no" to that first drink after she chooses sobriety: It sounds foreign, feels like the hardest thing to do, and, it gets easier the more I choose to love my "emotional elbows."
In summary, "emotional elbows" are those parts of myself or another which I judge as ugly, shameful, bad in any way, and which I push away or stuff somewhere or deny myself as feeling.
Kissing my "emotional elbow boo boos," drawing them back into myself with love with an intention for health, instead of denying them, brings my emotional self into greater wholeness. Starting with myself, healing my own emotional elbows, my perceived "bad" parts, makes it easier for me to feel compassion for others.
Loving Myself or Beating Myself Up
The whole idea of loving my "emotional elbows" back into wholeness has been very helpful to me. Once I was watching a program about grizzly bears on the Discovery Channel. I noticed how completely attentive and caring Mother Bear was with her babies. It was her job to give them the best training and opportunities to grow to full size just like her. She never beats her kids, or yells at them. She always gives her cubs just enough space to get themselves into little troubles so they can learn. She always stands between her cubs and harm. She will kill anyone who threatens the well being of her children.
I feel great wisdom from Mother Bear. I imagine if she could talk, Mother Bear would say: "There is nothing you can say or do that would make me love you any less. How can you learn if you do not make mistakes? You are learning what it means to be you, your Whole, True Self. There are no failures. I love all parts of you."
Soul Aerobics -- Conscious Movement of a Soul into Wholeness
by Barbara J. Semple.
The essence of soul aerobics, according to Barbara J. Semple, is making one's life one's spiritual practice, and doing that in partnership with the Soul, which is sometimes a rigorous workout. It becomes conscious soul moement that urges a compassionate heart and mind.
About the Author
Barbara Semple has been a practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu, a gentle Oriental healing art, for over ten years. She enjoys Zen painting, and is also the author of Personal Power Cards, flashcards for emotional wellness. Barbara spent 20 years working in corporate and marketing communications until switching her focus to the holistic healing arts. Visit her website at www.healingtouchquicksteps.com.