day of February, we’re keeping the spirit of love for self and
others alive beyond February and throughout the coming
The Ancient Greeks had six words for love. One of the words is
Philautia, self-love in its healthiest form. Not the unhealthy
variety associated with narcissism. Self-love enhances your
wider capacity to love others. If you love yourself and feel
secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others (as
is reflected in the Buddhist-inspired concept of “self-
compassion”). Or, as Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for
others are an extension of a (person's) feelings for (her)self.”
Self-love is our ability to self-nurture--like putting the oxygen
mask on ourselves before we put it on the other person.
Regarding yourself with friendliness and care enables you to
reclaim your inherent goodness and overcome self-defeating
thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. Self-love is “a state of
appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our
physical, psychological, and spiritual growth” (Khoshaba, 2012).
Another Greek word for love is Agape . This is “universal loving
kindness” in Buddhism. According to this article there is
growing evidence that Agape is in a dangerous decline in
many countries. Empathy levels in the U.S. have declined
sharply over the past 40 years, with the steepest fall occurring in
the past decade. Collectively, we urgently need to revive our
capacity to care about strangers, which begins by expanding
our capacity to love and care for ourselves.
Even if we don't watch the news, we still experience the state of
collective consciousness and the effects on the world. I recently
found some comforting words for the state of the world from
Bruce Lipton, a scientist who proposes through his research
that we are on the cusp of a tipping point. He believes that there
are enough of us humans who are "awakening" and that we will
reach a tipping point where this new level of consciousness will
become the norm. I’m willing to trust that his assessment is
happening to humanity
(and the world) to the
journey of a butterfly in the
chrysalis stage where
there are old cells
disintegrating and new
cells emerging and if you
were to open the chrysalis you would encounter chaos. We are
in that chaos moment now, it may last for a while but eventually
the sheer quantity of people tuned into a “new” way of living a
lighter, gentler, kinder way, will emerge. Even though I
sometimes feel despair because it seems we're in the darkest of
times with little hope that light will return, I believe these "worst
of times" are positive and transformative. I also believe that we
need each other, our communities, our kindred spirits more now
In one of my favorite quotes, Mother Teresa writes: "If we have
no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to
each other." We are hard-wired for belonging and we flourish
when we are nurtured and nurture with love and compassion.
Brach's Radical Compassion
Challenge, an online event
during which we explored
loving ourselves and each
other into healing. She
reminded us that it's “not the
survival of the fittest--it's the
survival of the nurtured”. She asked us this powerful question:
“How can we take action to bring the power of compassion to a
world in need of healing and to contribute to a saner, gentler
world”? Compassion toward ourselves, each other, and a
widening circle of compassion for the world is what Jon Kabat-
Zinn calls "Heartfulness" , the attitudes of kindness and
friendliness towards ourselves and others. “Heartfulness” is an
act of self-love that softens the hard edges, the tendency to be
judgmental, and creates a nourishing, restful, joyful atmosphere
in our lives and in the world.
This Co-Creative Mandala, “Philautia” invites you to pause and
come home to your “Heartfulness”, especially in times of stress
or chaos, and opens your heart so that you step out of reactive
patterns and engage in loving and accepting yourself and
extending love and compassion to the world.
May all Beings know kindness.
May all Beings know compassion.
May all Beings know peace.
Buddhist Metta (Lovingkindness) Prayer
In this simple, yet powerful exercise, I invite you to celebrate
loving and accepting yourself.
Give yourself plenty of time without interruptions to dive deeply
into this exercise. Meditate, journal, create and bless your
Make this exercise your own. Invest your time and attention.
As you sit quietly in your space, light a candle that welcomes
Close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath; just be
with your breath. Take a deep breath in. Breathe out. Take
another deep breath in. Breathe out. Notice the sensations as
you exhale—without judgement. Feel the body breathing. Bring
your body into stillness.
Open your eyes and bring your attention to the mandala; allow
the mandala energy to fill your heart; be with whatever is there.
Invest a few minutes toward allowing the “Philautia” energy to
flow to and through your body. Imagine that energy bursting
through your crown chakra & extending far into the heavens.
Imagine the “Philautia” energy flowing through you and down
deep into the earth. Imagine it radiating from your heart and
extending out in front of you and behind you. Imagine the
“Philautia” energy is a radiant ball that encircles you. Now, sit
with this energy for a few minutes.
What about the mandala captures your attention? Notice and
Wonder--Something in me is feeling...
I wonder what it wants me to know?
Relax into your body and its quietness. Be with the energy, be
Scan your life and pick a challenging or difficult aspect of your
life right now. What's going on and how do you feel about this
situation or relationship?
Now, ask yourself "What would love do?"
Allow yourself to hang out in this powerful inquiry and see what
shows up. What would you do if you allowed love to lead the
Listen to the answers you receive and act on them from a
place of love and compassion. Repeat this exercise as often as
Make a commitment to do something - even for a few seconds -
that will keep this practice alive every day. A simple way to do
this is to write down "What would love do?" on sticky notes and
put the reminder in places that you see throughout the day.
When you're faced with a challenge, are feeling stressed,
overwhelmed, or out of sorts--are perfect times to be present
with love. The more you practice, the greater the shift will be, for
yourself and the world.
Wishing you the blessings of love and compassion,