Whitney sang about it and the world sang along, but what exactly is self love? I believe it’s the practice of nurturing one’s spirit with praise and gratitude, and the acceptance of and love for one’s physical form. The gift of self-love is accessible to all who wish to claim it.
Our active minds will indulge in destructive thoughts should we allow them. Thankfully, all habits, including self-defeating ones are learned behavior which can be replaced. In the words of my grandmother, “If you don’t think you’re cute, nobody else will.”
I was recently introduced to Jack Canfield’s “Mirror Exercise”, a self-love experiment perfect for beginners. This exercise asks you to look deeply into your eyes for 40 consecutive nights and affirm, “I love you” and speak your full name. Prior to attempting it, I thought my self-love tank was pretty full. Was I ever wrong! A few seconds into my first “barefaced mirror workout”, I examined my face and the meter on my tank started dipping toward the empty zone. Staring into my face and acknowledging my own nakedness, the unpolished version of me was painful exhilaration.
THE VEIL HAD BEEN LIFTED
On day two of the Mirror Exercise, I looked past my face and as instructed, I stared deep into my eyes and took a slow breath. Immediately, I began to flood myself with all the love I could muster. I softly uttered, “I love you Leslie” to my reflection and began to sense my empty tank refilling.
The third evening when I said, “I love you” it was fearless. By day four, I found softness, true beauty, and my declaration resounded into the next room. My husband asked me if I was talking to him…I replied, “Yes. I love you, and I don’t tell you often enough!”
Now, 15 days into the exercise, I’m learning to be kinder to my whole self. I’m re-learning that beauty really does come from within. It begins and ends in the spirit. You see, I’ve lost many family members and friends who didn’t live to experience wrinkles or great-grandchildren. I will honor them by appreciating all that age brings. For it is my legacy. I’ve woven the Mirror Exercise into my evening routine, restoring my personal supply of love first and offering it to others second.
REFILL AND HEAL!
Is your self-love tank running low? If so, I suggest you get re-acquainted with yourself by making daily affirmations of acceptance. Give praise, for you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Declare aloud, “I love you, me!” Replace self-defeating thoughts with kindness to your spirit. Forgive yourself right now for everything leading up to this moment. Forgive others, and walk bravely and freely into the present with a full tank of love.
I affirm that I will offer love to myself first, which guarantees a plentiful supply of my love for others. Will you affirm this too?
I dedicate ‘I Speak I Stir’ to my mother, Loretta Randle.
I celebrate her life and her legacy of loving kindness towards all. She was my greatest inspiration. I gleaned so much from her. It is chock full of love, and powered by my desire to stir the God essence that dwells in me and to stir the God essence that dwells in you so that collectively we will fan the spark of that spirit into flames, and allow the healing power of God to refine and restore us. I hope to cause a mighty pouring out of praise and worship to the Lord.
There is a story behind the Red Bird logo that you see.
Mama’s favorite bird was the Red Bird and they visited her often, usually in times of crisis. She felt that their appearances were God sent to remind her that everything was under control and that she must surrender all fear, and allow Him do His work.
I thank my grandchildren who worked tirelessly on this project:
Brand Manager and Site Designer–Britt Reed; Graphic Artists–Kyle Scott and Autumn Ricketts. I love you dearly!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the work that You have asked me to do this season of my life.
It is my good pleasure to serve You. I understand that as I serve You, I serve your children. I am grateful for life and that the great I AM resides in me. Lord, I choose you, and I pray that You will continue to reveal Your truths as I continue to seek Your face. Lord, help me to be all that you want me to be! Amen
In the words of William Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits, and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
PLAYING OUR PARTS
In most social interactions, we’ve come to expect to be asked a variation of the following question; “So, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” Often our answer is not who we are, but what we do. We are mothers, grandmothers, wives, workers, etc… We have a tendency to validate our existence based upon our roles and accomplishments. For most of us, motherhood is an enormous part of who we are. We love our kids tremendously, and our relationships with them are invaluable. While familial and societal roles are essential to interpersonal dynamics and responsibilities, there is another level of existence that is the true substance of who we are. The authentic self is not defined by a function or a role, but rather the sum of a vast wealth of experiences, talents, skills, and core beliefs.
SEARCHING MY SPIRIT
Upon searching my spirit, it became clear that I know who I AM. My goal and my intention is to always be authentic. I declare that I am destined to walk in truth. Knowing this frees me of all burdens and unrealistic expectations. I loose love and I bind everything that is not love. I grant myself permission to say, “no” to behests on my time when I need to. I say “yes” when I want to. I stand boldly on my principles, and I am unshakable in my resolve to allow God to navigate my life.
WALK IN TRUTH
In “Life, the Truth, and Being Free”, Steve Maraboli writes, “Live authentically. Why would you continue to compromise something that’s beautiful to create something that is fake?” I recognize that God created the divine template for authentic living. It’s already present in me, all I have to do is walk in the truth that all things of fear are fake, and all things of love are real.
KEEPING IT ONE-HUNDRED
To keep it one-hundred means to live your truth. Authenticity offers peace and joy. It is comfortable, and it will encourage others to be pure as well. Connect with truth and embrace the divine love that resides within you. Love is calling you by name. Answer the call and stand in the you that was designed by God.
I AM the daughter of a perfect God
I AM Healthy and Whole
I AM made in the image and likeness of God and I AM powerful
I AM abundantly blessed
I AM an ordinary person doing extraordinary acts ordered by God
I AM Light
I AM Generous
I AM an Encourager
I AM Peace
Love is not what I do. Love is who I AM. Because of WHOSE I AM, love is all I AM.
Claim your I AM and honor your presence on this earth.
When I speak of firepower I envision the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles, in the form of a tongue of fire at Pentecost. Imagining the stirring that took place in their hearts, I’m reminded of the power within me.
Violent scenes immediately flood our minds when we think of firepower. We may recall footage of military combat, or the merciless mass shootings in recent headlines. What about firepower that is cleansing and restorative, and can extinguish suffering? When I speak of firepower I envision the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles, in the form of a tongue of fire at Pentecost. Imagining the stirring that took place in their hearts, I’m reminded of the power within me.
GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU!
In 1 John 4:4 (NKJV) we read, ”You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.” That is Divine firepower! We have access to a perpetual power source in the Spirit of Truth and Love. By faith, we can summon that gift and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort and renew us. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) scripture says, “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
Our land and its people wail for healing; the hungry, the depressed, the jobless, the mourners, the abused, the sick in body and spirit–the homeless. We all desire restoration and peace. The good news is that Jesus left us with a great Healer and Comforter. Let us collectively stoke the holy fire that lies deep within us, and use the fire-power to change ourselves and our world. United, our light will snuff out the terror that we have of one another. Let it be, that we excavate the fruits of the Spirit. Let it be, that we accept the power within. I believe that the flame of the Holy Spirit yearns to burn away the hate and fear that separates us from one another and ultimately from The Most High God, our Father;
‘Jubilance’ need not be reserved for special occasions…
I can choose to experience jubilance anytime, regardless of outer circumstances. What if in this very moment, I choose to celebrate having another day to fulfill my potential as a powerful change-agent in the world? When I make such a choice, I foster a mindset that celebrates all that is.
Living in the moment takes practice…It must become a way of life. It is not something you master.
“If peace is what we really want, then we will choose peace. If joy is what we really want, we will choose joy.” –Eckhart Tolle
Whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall, some days I’ve felt as though the darkness of pain would swallow me whole.
IT’S SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVIN’ AIN’T EASY
Summer living isn’t so easy with chronic pain. Whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall, some days I’ve felt as though the darkness of pain would swallow me whole. On other days, the pain eases and nips ever so slightly. Or it retreats for a few consecutive days, and teases me with calm. My brain scrambles to recall what I did yesterday that was different from today. Did I remember to take a vitamin…or could it be the new medicine the naturalist gave me? What about the eight glasses of water that was recommended by that internet article? Just when I think I have the answer, the pain stealthily finds its way back in.
“LORD, WHY ME?”
Doctors diagnosed me with Autonomic Neuropathy two years ago. The Mayo Clinic defines the condition as a nerve disorder that affects involuntary body functions, including heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. It causes damage to the autonomic nerves, which disrupts signals between the brain and the nervous system.
My symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning of the skin, weakness, severe fatigue, and a heart that races at will. I never know whether I’ll have enough energy to get through the day. There is no cure, and I have yet to find an effective treatment.
ARE YOU FACED WITH AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION?
Two years ago this disease held a firm grip, and my mind and spirit were self-imprisoned. Discouragement and despair became an anchor, and the sofa was my dock. I prayed and cried…I cried out! I even purchased an expensive crypt, in preparation for the inevitable.
RISE UP SINGING
I share my story because I want to help you become unstuck. Taking courageous action in the face of fearful circumstances requires trusting that God will fight with you. God will fight for you.
Last fall, the Holy Spirit proclaimed to me, “Your life is not over…you have work to do!”. It said, “move” and I unstuck my body and my mind, allowing Spirit to lead me. I got up and got busy encouraging myself, through which I’m able to encourage others.
THEN SPREAD YOUR WINGS
How do I get through my day? After prayer and meditation, I walk on my treadmill, I read, I recite poetry, I pray, I dance…I pray, listen to music, I talk to my children, my grandchildren…and I dance.
Lyrics, that I pull from one of these mornings, You’re going to rise up singing Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky
Until that morning nothing can harm you
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by…
Just like David I am becoming skilled with the use of my “slingshot” against adversity. I believe that God will fight for me. Believe that He will fight with you. Trust that He will fight for you.
God’s word is very clear about who we are and whose we are.
We are SACRED. Let us bring our minds, bodies and spirits into harmony with God’s commands.
“One good way to know whether something is working is to actually see it work…If it does not PRODUCE, it is WORTHLESS.” –Iyanla Vanzant
We sow good seeds for a good daily harvest.
Let go of yesterday’s stress and failures, as it has no power over today. Choose to be joyful today. Release all doubt and fear!