you are all you have
so, darling, take good care:
listen to your heart
attend to your breath
stretch your soul.
heed your mind
nurture your spirit
release your body.
run in the wind
dance beneath the stars
howl at the moon.
you are all you have
so, darling, love yourself fiercely.
~wendy pabich

In the wake of an ending and just steps into a new beginning, I’ve been refocusing on loving myself. And asking myself what does that mean to me? How can we really practice self-love when the big life waves knock us over?

Wendy Pabich with 10000 Buddhas

My self-love practices include all the standard self-care: yoga, time outdoors, skiing hard and fast, loving up my elderly dog, spending time with friends and family, eating healthy food, writing, painting, being introspective, therapy, warm soaks, and, one of my favorites—random acts of kindness. This has long been a secret pleasure of mine, something I do primarily when I’m alone: Seeing the distress of a young man in the grocery line as he’s trying to buy food and coming up short, and offering to pay his bill; smiling and softly talking to the gruff and guarded twenty-something store clerk, who seems to be judging me, and watching as his walls eventually crumble and he returns a warm smile; loving up small children just because. These moments provide a clear reminder that our willingness to give of our souls remains a gift.

Right now, nurturing myself goes beyond these rituals. It also entails digging really deep to hold my own heart, quiet my monkey mind, and hold my resolve that I am whole, beautiful and deserving of love.

It involves closing my eyes, holding my hands on my heart and my abdomen and listening, holding, and loving myself. It requires allowing my emotions to rise, roll through me, and release. It includes crying and yelling and whispering my truth. It also means processing some deep truths, finding forgiveness, and letting go.

Surrendering to the present moment, opening to new possibilities, and seeing a fresh path is only possible with deep and intentional kindness to ourselves. We are loving and supportive to friends experiencing heartache—let us show ourselves that same sweetness.

A groundswell of strength has surged through this uncertainty, bringing me back to a deep well of magic inside. This reservoir I have always known and felt. It does not let me down. It’s why I’ve spent a lifetime finding dreams and adventure and challenge and love, and honoring my callings and my heart. This part of me is solidly me. It is my source. No one can give me this nor can anyone take it away.

You have that same source—that deep knowing that reverberates through your being when you adventure to wild places or journey in to the quiet of your mind and soul. That is your power; you deserve to own it in every cell of your being. You deserve the magic you are capable of creating. And you deserve the love you feel within you, regardless of what’s happening around you. Know this, and be fiercely protective of that wisdom.

We attract the energy we put out in the world, and the love we’re ready for. Wherever you are, I hope you shine your light to bring the beauty in.

What practices do you employ to self-soothe? What does self-love look like to you? Please share!