I LOVE love. Until this past year I was a serial relationship person who didn’t date. I was intent on staying with the same person (or trying to make those relationships work) until I got it 'right.' In these long term situations, I learned that it’s not about getting love right with a certain person outside yourself, it’s about getting right with love within yourself.
Once I was able to walk away from the last gentleman, to whom my heart strings were very tightly tied, I realized I had a lot of work to do on self love, my inner love. For years, I’d been giving and giving to others and I didn’t have a lot to show for it. I’d been trying to change myself to fit perfectly with different people, or making myself small to give them room to be their best selves. What happens when we make ourselves small? Well, a lot of notsogreat things happen, but the biggest tragedy for me was that I became a liar. A harsh word, I know. I stopped being in harmony with myself; I denied myself what I wanted, what I was worth, and began deceiving everyone I came in contact with because I’d lost my own truth.
So what was the self love work I did? I started writing All Good Things so that every week I could affirm who I was and where I was going. I created a safe space for myself to explore my beliefs, my relationships, and start sharing my life in an authentic way. I purposefully have made each week’s post feel like we were puttering around in my kitchen, making some delicious food, and having really great heart to heart talks. Thank you for showing up each week and encouraging me to show up for myself!
What else? I deepened my spiritual relationships. I began to participate more in my spiritual community. I went back to India to study with my teacher, Dhanurdhara Swami. This trip also kind of scrubbed my heart clean from heartbreak and resentments from the past. These things all expanded me and have created more room for self love which will increase my capacity to give and receive love to and from others. I’m returning to India this week to immerse myself in bhakti (devotional) yoga. I hope to open my heart up even more to self love and get stronger while standing in my truth.
Lastly, I started dating. A lot! This was really scary. I’ve been in some form of a relationship since I was 18 years old. I was not a dater. Not someone used to putting myself out there on display to be chosen or rejected. I joked to my friends about writing a piece about my ‘Summer Of Love’ and submitting it to the New York Times Modern Love column. It makes for a really good story.
I had some very exciting experiences, and all of them were exceptional men. In one way or another, they all became my teachers. I learned so much about myself during this summer of love. It was like each of these gentlemen held up a mirror and showed me a part of myself. Something I loved maybe, or something I didn’t know I wanted, and some of them revealed something about myself that I didn’t like at all.
But my biggest take away from putting myself out there in such a big way is that I DO love myself and I am lovable. Such good news! I know what I want, I know my worth. I know how to ask for it. I know when I’m not getting it. All beautiful lessons. The bad news was that not one of these amazing men were available to truly give me anything lasting or to receive anything I have to give them. And that’s OK, these were important lessons! And I'm better prepared for what and who is to come next.
I don’t know what the future holds for me. Perhaps it’s another time of discovery and exploration, perhaps I will meet someone and get the opportunity to love and be loved for a while. Or maybe I’ll be like one of my favorite bloggers Molly Wizenberg of Orangette! One of her readers reached out to her and they got married! However it shakes down, I know that I’ve gotten clear with the love inside myself and my heart is open. Man, that feels good. How is your heart? Are you taking care of your love within, so you’re in a healthy place to give and receive love from others?
As I’m traveling nearly the whole month of February, I’m sad that I will miss celebrating Valentine’s Day in the United States. It’s my favorite holiday. Hearts, flowers, Victorian paper cutouts. I love it all. One of the things I’m going to do is cast a love spell to work its magic while I am gone. My friend Shoshi is a Jill Of All Trades and one of her greatest titles is that she’s a Witch! (A good one!) She offered her readers a free love spell! I can’t wait to adorn my room with vanilla and say the magic words she provided. She says "You can do this spell if you are single and even if you are in a relationship that could use a little help from the universe." I hope to encourage more love within. I'm also sending a message to the universe that I am ready for love from someone else to find me again. Click here and join me in the love spell!
Blood oranges are plentiful right now and they always get me in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. They are so rich, red, and luscious. And a little witchy! Here's an easy winter salad that makes use of these citrus jewels as well as creamy avocado and crunchy raw fennel. Have a great February, dear readers. May your self love strengthen, your true selves be celebrated, and may love find you inside and out!
Avocado, Fennel, Blood Orange Salad
There's no real recipe. It's a gathering of ingredients and arranging them. Remove the skin from one blood orange with a knife cutting off as much pith as possible. Slice crosswise sections removing any seeds and remaining white pith. Pit an avocado and slice the 2 halves. Thinly slice or shave fennel on a mandolin. Arrange the components onto torn romaine lettuce leaves. Make a dressing of the blood orange juice squeezed from another orange. Mix the juice with a bit of mustard, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.