March 21, 2014

Greet Yourself With Elation

Recently, I read through my old journals. I saw the places where I felt stuck and where I gained insight. Life feels like a slow spiral. I revisit certain issues, yet with fresh eyes. A few years ago my inner-nurturer gained important ground. I found self-compassion, at first fleeting but then enduring. And this practice of self-compassion changed my life. I still spiral in and out, but I have a center that holds. I've returned to myself.

This journey is described beautifully by Derek Walcott in his poem "Love After Love" (from Sea Grapes, 1976):

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

How often do you look at yourself in the mirror and smile? How often do you feast on your life? It is possible to give back your heart to itself--to come home. I wish this for us all.

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