1-01-loving-touch“ (link for mood music as you read-click to start then minimize your music player to read)
…you always have a mirror that reflects a more loving and tender side of you. Perhaps it’s your child, grandchild, or garden – what you care for most, in a loving patient way, holds close to how you need to care for yourself more consistently.
… On a fundamental level, that’s what Extreme Self Care is all about: extraordinary mothering. A good mother knows what helps a child feel whole in every way. She develops a finely tuned sensor that lets her know what her children need; and using a loving discerning eyes, does her best to meet these needs.” ~excerpt from The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson
When treating clients in my orlando counseling practice I often implement an empty chair technique (gesta developed by Fritz Pearls) in which a client can talk directly to/confront a person who is not in the room. After a brief meditation I’ll direct the client to envision this person sitting in an empty chair in the room and speak directly to them. This works well for situations including giving closure to a client who has lost someone they love, abused by someone they do not wish to confront in the physical and various other situations. However, more and more often I have found myself using this technique in a completely different capacity.
We seem to have no problem nurturing those we love most; our children, significant other, family or dear friend. Why then is it we find it so extremely difficult to direct that same love to self? Louise Hay, the author of You Can Heal Your Life, encourages us to do mirror work in which we stand before a mirror several times a day, look ourselves directly in the eyes and say, “I love you _______ (insert your name here)”.
Several years ago as I began my own journey of sincere self love I encountered a woman with a most beautiful spirit and energy in a local bookstore. We struck up a conversation that would change my life. The woman encouraged me to do mirror work, though she did not call it that. She asked that every day I look directly in the mirror, into my own eyes and say the following three things; 1) I forgive you 2) I love you 3) I release you to your highest good.
I remember the first time I looked into my own eyes and said “I love you Ginnie”; completely corny and un-genuine. But why? I believe it now to be for the fact we are taught early on in life to treat others with care, be kind, loving -The Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would want them to treat you”. How often though were we told to treat ourselves with that same caliber of love and nurturing? Just as placing a pen in my left hand and beginning to write a sentence feels abnormal for me as a right handed person the practice of self love at first felt odd and out of place. With practice I did gradually begin to feel more at ease with the statements I was asked to make to myself, even eventually embracing them completely.
With each passing week, then each day, I began to hold the glance into my own eyes longer and see into myself on a deeper level. Then one day as I said the words, “I forgive you Ginnie” I began to cry – sob really. For several days I would sob at each statement I said to myself as years of pain, self avoidance and missed opportunity of loving myself streamed down my face. I noticed I began to care for myself better, and when I didn’t it irritated my spirit much more than before. I also became more compassionate with others with a newly enhanced sense of empathy. It was truly a life altering experience.
So, this is what I ask of my client’s. See yourself in that ‘empty chair’. See the child within you at age 6, 15, 22 and see you in the now. What does ‘she’ need? Give it to her. I often ask that women and men pick up that little child, sit them on their lap and hold them tightly. Let them know that they are safe, that they are now there to care for them and protect them. Shed that same giving spirit of love and nurturance on her/him that you afford so many others in your life. And you know what will happen? Not only can you love yourself on a deeper more sincere and genuine level you will also then be capable of sharing that same love with all those you hold close.
On this Mother’s Day and each day I ask that we all, including myself, continue our journey of self love as we ‘mother’ ourselves. Be the change…
To each of us who mother – Happy Mother’s Day.
Beauty, love, light & peace ~ Ginnie, if you believe that you or your child could benefit from working with Ginnie follow this link to read more about how to set up a FREE phone consultation.