Last week after a Chinese dinner, I opened my fortune cookie and read these words:

Love yourself first and everything falls into line.

In the past my first reaction would have been:  What?  Love yourself  first?  That sounds inconsiderate and selfish.  But instead, the words on that little strip of paper softened and soothed me as I silently smiled to myself.

After decades of experiencing chronic painful symptoms and a great deal of anxiety,  I  finally discovered the key to healing –  it had been within me all along.  The key that unlocked my innate power to heal was indeed….. self love. 

A war had been raging inside me for most of my life.  My inner critic was on duty 24/7  demanding me to be a people pleaser, good sport, hard worker, high achiever, great mother, caring spouse, and loving daughter –  yet my body was screaming at me, trying to get my attention – something’s out of balance!!! 

 This intense self pressure accompanied by emotional suppression generated sustained unconscious muscle tension in my body –  which eventually became chronic and debilitating pain. 

 Finally, I began to practice self acceptance. I read hundreds of patient testimonials demonstrating how self awareness and self kindness brings us back into balance.  I also noticed that when I practiced self care and chose to honor my own needs, I was filled with an unbounded generosity of spirit toward everyone else!

So remember to be gentle with yourself.  Speak to yourself as you would to your dearest friend.  Listen to the voice of loving kindness within you.  In each moment remember to choose what feels kind, affirming and accepting.  Say yes to yourself!

Create a “bliss list” of small and not so small pleasures that connect you with your inner place of love:  playing and/or cuddling with your baby, child, lover or pet; listening/dancing to or singing/playing music; watching the sunrise or sunset; walking in nature, fishing, laughing with friends………..

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you 

where there were only walls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Joseph Campbell

Remember, you hold the key!