The third need of the heart is affection. How do we cultivate affection for ourselves? Affection arises from appreciation and attention. When we stop whipping ourselves literally and figuratively, listening arises naturally as does appreciation for our bodies, for our gifts, for our challenges…for this one very precious life.
Affection may be cultivated through the practice of cooking meals for our selves. When is the last time that you took interest in what food would really nourish your mind and body? All too often we tend to our meals with an attitude of resistance, hurrying, and perhaps even annoyance. Yet, shifting our attention to the gift of the Divine received through food and our appreciation of the choices we have and the miracle of digestion that allows us to take in nutrition and turn it into part of our bodies is an act of affection for not only our selves, but also God and everything in between.
Another way to cultivate affection is the performing of daily ritual of self-massage. This may be 5 minutes at the beginning or end of day where the feet are massaged or the shoulders or the hands in the absence of external noise such as conversation, TV, computer, or music. For a more involved self-massage, learn more here.
There are numerous ways to cultivate affection for our selves. Be creative! If you have some of your own and would like to share, please do so on my FB page. Until next week, keep on loving on your own beautiful self!