For the thousand moments waiting

Photo: Annie Spratt

Photo: Annie Spratt

Will I have taken these for granted, these moments,
this life?  Will I reach the next beginning, and
carry regret into the new light, the first light?
I was gifted a million opportunities to appreciate
this blink of an existence,
I will promise myself until these knees are bloodied
and my tongue is swollen, that I will live
with eyes opened wide, and a heart
that never closes.  There is no where else to start
but here, I have no more time left to waste.
For the thousands of moments waiting,
I see you, and I will cherish you
as you've always deserved.  Forgive me,
please Forgive me, for every unappreciated
second, for every time I forgot
to thank you outloud.

What would you say to the moments waiting ahead?  To the ones left behind?  The mistake moments that you don't think you'll ever let yourself forget.  The moments where you felt shamed and insignificant, just plain unworthy? 

What about, "I'm sorry"? 

What about, "It's okay"? 

What about, "You're enough"? 

What if you got face-to-face with the memories of those moments when you told yourself you weren't good enough, and instead you said, "I know you were here to teach me something, and even if I still don't know what it was, I'm grateful for the wisdom now within me that will help me through the future." 

love letters to the self

Sometimes, I write love letters to myself.

They're healing, they're powerful; they're necessary.  I'll scribble them from time to time into my journal and fold down the page in dog-eared fashion so I can quickly go back to find a compassionate pep talk when I feel like I need one.  I don't remember how I got started on this practice or what motivated me to stick with it through the initial awkwardness.  (Because it was awkward; and how!)

Like first beginning a journaling practice, writing letters to yourself can seem positively painstaking - even when you have no intention of sharing this writing with an audience, you still feel ever so much like a fool.  Maybe this is because self-compassion is still a radical idea for many of us.  But the more you do it, the more powerful the practice becomes, and the more in touch you become with your own capacity for kindness, patience, and love.

For me, the process has helped me grow more compassionate toward myself as well as others, but it has also caused me to see messages to myself hidden within different perspectives - a happy accident that comes as a result.  It's most true for poetry and music, and I was reminded of it again in this piece from Tyler Knott Gregson's Wildly into the Dark:

I have a few promises to offer you,
the believing is up to you, the
proof will emerge, but I cannot
say the when.  Here is what I have,
my sincere offering, scar earned and
burned into me:
when you think you can't, you positively
can, when you think it's over,
it may be beginning.  There is always more
to find, always something left in you
when you would swear on your soul
you've been emptied out.  Finally,
and most exquisitely important,
I promise you it is worth it,
it is always worth it, every drop of
ache and sorrow, every perfect pinch
of joy, it is worth it.  Promise me you
will keep waking up, keep finding it,
and finding the strength in you
to believe me.

"I promise you it is worth it."  I've written those words to myself many times, a reminder that there is a strong, hopeful self within me who not only believes that I can achieve my dreams - but that I deserve to.  And this helps.

making a commitment to yourself

making a commitment to yourself

When I recently took part in Dana Hilmer's THRIVE program I was instructed, along with the others in attendance, to peruse a list of strengths and circle the ones I felt to be the most relevant to me, the qualities of which I felt myself most capable.  As I scanned the list, one strength caught my eye: loyalty.  Not long ago someone had used that word to describe me and I had reflected on the kindness of that compliment; I had never given my loyalty much thought, and so had never considered to give it any praise.  After being reminded of the strength of it, I took it on proudly and I spent some time with the word.

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