The topic of self love is getting a lot of limelight these days but what exactly is it? Taking time out for ourself, engaging in a regimen of self care, being attentive to our needs are all very loving ways to treat oneself. And while I have great respect for and indulge in these practices myself, I wonder if it’s all a bit topical, sort of like applying moisturiser to your skin when you can be hydrating it from the inside by drinking water. Knowing that in the upcoming months I will need an extra dose of this type of nurturing, I begin to consider. What is the water for our soul? What regenerates us at our core?
At my daughter’s imminent departure to college, I find myself very aware of the ending of one phase of our life together. As multitudes of parents who have done this before me can vouch, it goes deeper than the mere physical absence of one’s offspring. It is the relinquishing of an aspect of a relationship which has become redundant. The child who once seemed to be an extension of us no longer needs us in that way. No matter how consciously we parent, seeing our young ones as individuals in their own right can be a challenge. Difficult as that may be, remembering that they are essentially very separate from us and on their own journey is the only way forward.
Still, endings do carry a sense of gravitas. Whether we are mourning the passing of a loved one, experiencing a job loss or in this case, facing the curtailing of one’s identity, there is rightfully so a feeling of bereavement. It’s almost as if a part of us is being diminished. In one way it is, it’s called our ego, our sense of self. Contrary to present perception, the ego is not a bad thing, it serves us in finding our place and integrating as young children, in exploring and developing our personalities as teens and in giving us direction in achieving our goals as adults. From the moment of birth we begin to become identified with innumerable factors: the family we are born into, the country, the religion, our political views to name a few. This is all good and part of the cycle. However, at some point in our life, usually between our thirties and forties we get the opportunity to begin a new journey. This is a journey where we learn to drop the ego, move beyond the limitations of our acquired beliefs about who we are so that we can gain a greater understanding of our true nature.
Letting go is not fun, often it hurts, a lot, but in doing so we make room for something fresh to emerge, a new chapter to unfold. Often surrender is thought of as an act of defeat, a refuge for the weak. It is the opposite. Surrender is an irrefutable act of courage in believing that all that comes our way, no matter how unpleasant or painful does so to bless us. It is a sea of patience which knows no depth. It is the water that reveals the soul in its full glory.
Whether we offer it to God, life or another, surrender is, without doubt, the ultimate act of love.