Compassion is the focus for the 9th week of the Mother-Daughter Way – compassion for self and for others. Valentine’s Day messages bombard us with lush images of romantic love – images that can be elusive and misleading. They exude a manufactured beauty that doesn’t fit all shapes, sizes or ages. By contrast, compassion is always a good fit. This week, we look at times in our lives when we gave up on a dream that still smolders. It’s essential to recognize and heal those about-face moments– times you turned away from your true self and your dreams. Forgiveness and compassion are qualities of the mother we summon to heal the wounded child within through the practices of writing, movement, energy balance and communion. Abandoned dreams resurface as you give yourself permission to look again, find your footing, focus on process, and keep moving.
When I think of mistaken ideas about romantic love, I see my younger self as I watched my grandparents, pictured below. I realized, later, that they had created the kind of bond my heart was seeking. But, as a teenager, I’d decided their marriage was boring. They slept in twin beds like kids at camp. If we visited for dinner, my grandfather always said, “It’s a good thing we have company so I can get a square meal around here.” When a pretty waitress came to the table and said her name was Penny, he quipped, “Penny? You’re worth at least a half a dollar!” But it seemed he missed any value to the meals my grandmother, a Phi Beta Kappa Oberlin grad, served day in and day out. I had been looking for signs of romance in my world and there were no displays of affection between my dear grandparents. So from my youthful viewpoint, they were not to be copied. I wanted to be the leading lady in a manufactured romance of the mind.
After my grandfather died, the character of their marriage became evident, even to me. My grandmother lamented, “No two people ever talked as much as we did.” Their union had lasted for 65 years and wrought much good in the world. My grandmother clearly missed him, as her poems and presence showed me so poignantly. It was not purely by coincidence that I met my wonderful husband-to-be within a month, and we married a year later. I was finally ready for a deep and lasting love that was more like a lifelong partnership than a 30-second Pepsi commercial.
To nurture your compassion and open your spirit, focus on balancing and energizing the heart and crown chakras. The 4th chakra, Anahata, (heart/chest) is associated with the element air, and the colors green and pink. The 7th chakra, Sahasrara (crown) is associated with white light, enlightenment and the colors purple, gold and white. An open heart fuels love, energy, and the body by circulating the blood and oxygen to all of your organs. An open crown fuels the spirit by connecting you with the divine source and allowing your energy to flow up and out and bless your world and yourself. The poses I suggest this week as helpful for most bodies include Camel to open the heart, and Upward Salute (Mountain Pose with arms lifted) to open and energize the crown. Follow your own intuition and practice to open and balance your energies.
Where have you abandoned dreams or told yourself you weren’t worthy, it was too late, you blew it already and you should just give up? Examine the messages that may have misled you, and show more compassion for yourself. I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, I wish you another kind of beauty – compassion – and the joy of being fully present with whatever your dreams may be.
I’d love to hear from you, so please reply now or comment below.
Margery Wells Steer
We always wanted to be self-reliant.
The weakness of old age makes us defiant.
The strong, free-standing people we admired–
To be like them we always had aspired.
But that’s a goal the years make us resign,
And now we change our role to clinging vine.
Reluctantly we find it is our duty
To show the world another kind of beauty.