Today, feel Love embracing you just as you are. You don't need to lose weight or be more organized or never get angry or be smarter or have a better fashion sense or do more good deeds. Love loves you completely. Love loves you fully. Just as you are right now. Feel this Love. Accept this love.
An ancient Buddhist sutra, or teaching, advises us to cherish all,
"Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the sky,
And downward to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will."
You don't have to generate this quality and range kindness through effort and will. It moves through you, includes you, embraces you, and energized rather than depletes you. It is a divine Mother-love, holding us all.
Today, you need less striving and orchestrating, and more making space for Love to arrive. You need less will power and efforts to control and more awareness of Love's love for you and others. Let Love be the source of your energy and motivation.
Today, instead of thinking about God, feel the presence of Love right in this moment. Pause, feel. Feel the power. The weight. The activity. The warmth. The care. Rest in it. Feel enlivened by it. Pause your planning and figuring, which, without Love, is nothing but spinning and distraction.
Send yourself love and well-wishing. Bless yourself. Maybe borrow the Buddhist prayer: "May I be happy. May I be well. May I be free from suffering."
If this is easy for you, practice blessing yourself at earlier stages in your life, especially those times in which you were confused or lost or in pain - or those moments about which you now feel shame. Bring that earlier self to the imagination and surround that self with blessings: "May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering."
Today, feel the presence of Love-Spirit hugging you. Rest in that hug. Let go into that hug. Trust that hug. Let go of your striving and trying in that hug. Be accepted for yourself in that hug. That hug is warm and strong and steady and with you all day.
Today, take a vacation from self-judgment. Many of us have a harsh inner critic that regularly whispers to us all our failings, real and imagined, big and small. Like that hypercritical friend, teacher, or family member, this inner critic believes it is helping us be our best, but instead just makes us nervous, jumpy, self-conscious, worried, self-doubting, ashamed and unwilling to take risks. Today, your job is not to banish the inner critic or try to counter all its messages with holy self-compassion. Just tell your inner critic that today it gets to take a vacation. When it tries to jump in to "help," just remind it to enjoy its rest--and assure it you'll do just fine on your own for a day.
Lately, I have been understanding the importance of including new people and voices in our conversations, our lunch tables, our groups of various sorts, and not just in a surface way - but in a genuine, open-your heart-with-appreciation and-welcome way.
We often resist including people who seem awkward or peculiar. We may be polite, but keep them at a distance. Sometimes, of course, it is wisdom to keep distance from people who may not respect our boundaries. However, today, I was thinking that awkward, peculiar people can make us uncomfortable because most of us have awkward, peculiar parts of ourselves that we don't accept, that we judge harshly and try to hide. The more we can embrace with kindness and acceptance those parts of ourselves, the easier it is to offer true welcome to others. And perhaps by offering true welcome to others and valuing them, we can embrace more parts of ourselves.
Today, notice the many ways, large and small, in which you are successful. You may want to write them down. For many of us, our successes and strengths are invisible. We don't see them, we don't take credit for them, we are dismissive of them - while our areas of weakness or growth loom large, far out of healthy proportion.
To acknowledging our successes is a form of worship: we recognize the many ways Love moves in our lives, shapes us, directs us, gives us energy and power and ideas, brings our wishes to fruition. We honor our ability to follow through on Love's impulses. We recognize our growth.
Honoring your successes is part of telling the truth to yourself.
We think we need a vacation from work and responsibility, but what we really need is a vacation from our worries. Today, give yourself that vacation. When a worry tries to enter your mind, remind it that you are on vacation and will get back to it later. It will argue that if you don't worry, you won't be motivated, you won't be productive, you won't be responsible, the world will fall apart. Assure your worry that you are only taking off one day. Protect your vacation day!
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.