Push play when you need a dose of self-compassion.
No capes. Just courage.
Push play when you need a dose of self-compassion.
Jennifer Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of 7 additional books on well-being and whole living and has been teaching retreats and leading workshops since 1992 and creating vibrant on-line communities and innovative learning experiences since 2000. Her current course, TeachNow, was created to help teachers – of all subjects, in all settings – thrive. Check it out here.
There is a kiss
with our whole lives. -Rumi
Dear sweet superheroes,
It’s been a long time and I’ve missed you. My life has felt so private over the last couple of years it’s been hard to share in this space. But I’ve missed you and missed feeling connected to this community so here I am with a special message for you.
I’ve been thinking lately about our knowing. That deep, divine kind of knowing. The kind where our body tingles or we get goosebumps. The kind where we JUST KNOW and we can’t un-know it anymore. The kind that speaks to us in dreams. The kind that whispers at first and then gets really loud.
Until our body begins aching, speaking to us through pain, panic, anxiety.
A friend said to me recently, “Try this on Andrea. Is it possible that what’s best for you is actually the best for everyone else? even if they don’t like it? even if they get mad? I want you to experiment with this. Practice telling your truth: I can’t make it. That doesn’t feel like a fit for me. This is what I want. And trust that what is authentically true for you is ultimately best for everyone.”
It was the most excruciating chapter of my life. Unbearable at times. There were moments when I literally had to chant to myself, “You told the truth and you didn’t die. You’re not dead. You survived it…” The terror of speaking the truth can feel so big. I was afraid my truth would kill him. Or me.
I spoke my truth imperfectly. A bit late. As best I could. It hurt.
The lessons are wide and deep and ongoing. My love for Matt is growing and changing in unexpected ways. There are so many stories I could tell you.
But today I am present to the deep knowing I am finally beginning to honor in myself. The divine kind of knowing. The part of me (that without all the fear of troubling waters) is crystal clear.
There is a kiss we want with our whole lives.
There is a kiss I wanted with my whole life.
And it wasn’t the kind of kiss you get from a lover.
It was the kiss from Spirit.
It’s the kiss of living my life’s true call.
It’s the kiss of my own heart.
It’s the kiss of joy.
When Jen Lemen and I spoke four years ago at WDS conference in Portland, Oregon we did something a little crazy. We hand wrote 500 blessings on index cards that we then taped underneath each seat in the theater. We took this job seriously, lounging on the couches at the Ace Hotel with Sharpies in hand, channeling each note with every cell of our being – What does this person need to hear? And we’d see what would come.
Turns out it takes a long time to write this many notes and throughout the weekend you could find us cosied up on our hotel room beds, on park benches across from the museum and at bars drinking cocktails late at night writing, writing… Do we really have to do all of these? I would ask Jen when I was losing steam. YES. She would say emphatically. We even enlisted some help from a couple of dear friends – Kelly Rae Roberts and Rachael Maddox – and they wrote their hearts out too.
On Sunday, at the end of our talk, we asked everyone to look under their chair for a special note written just for them. There were shouts of joy and surprise and more than a few tears… then they all rose to their feet and cheered. I think we got a standing ovation. It was an extraordinary moment.
And then. Four years later this happened.
Through a serendipitous connection, Jackie shared the above story with me and I melted. So touched by this thread of connection between us. And then she started a thread on Facebook and other people shared their stories. My heart has been so filled up by this exchange.
It’s reminding me how much kindness matters.
How much the love we put into the world matters.
It makes me want to write love notes all day long.
More from the Facebook thread:
Nina Grenningloh Reyes: “My word was “freedom” and my note said this. Both of which I’m still working on daily. A rebel never gives up!”
Jill Seeger Salahub: “This is a picture of it, Andrea, on my writing shrine, where I start every morning. And I don’t know if you remember, but my hand shot up at the end of your session, and I said “THIS ONE is MINE.” It absolutely was a message from the Universe. I was feeling a little out of place at WDS — it was great to meet IRL all the people I’d followed online, but I had no sense yet of exactly what I had to offer, and what I could imagine seemed so far away, almost impossible. Then I got this note, and it was absolutely the “how” I was missing — “make some space.” So I went home and did just that.”
Sophia Habl Mitchell: “I keep mine pinned up right next to my desk. This was the final “message” I needed to leave corporate and start my own consulting biz. Four years later, my business is more successful than I thought possible.”
Steve Errey: “I still have mine taped to the back of my WDS journal, and I *love* it.”
Angie Bryant “My word was juicy. Ripe. Ready”
Ellen Berg: “I taped mine in my journal. I realize now that the past few years have been bringing this seed to bloom. My hubby has his taped up in his office.”
And finally, Mike Hrostoski’s pictured at the top of this post:
“I have two since there wasn’t someone sitting next to me. They are both on my altar at home. For some reason, those two cards are some of the most valued possessions I have. Probably because that first WDS was the springboard to my current life.“
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