On Wednesday, International Women’s Day 2017, I imagined women around the world joining hands and hearts to practice and share the warmhearted attention of lovingkindness. We have so much in common. Too often we neglect care for ourselves as we tend the world.
Through millennia of powerful conditioning, we’ve been trained to place the welfare of others before our own. In some cultures, it’s an imperative. In the West, while taking care of the well-being of others is important for everyone, it’s women who most often do this, sometimes at our own expense. Over-giving is often followed by dissatisfaction and even resentment. We lose our balance in unwise love. Seeking desperately to regain it, we look outside of ourselves for a much-needed source of energy, nourishment, and care.
Women and men alike get all mixed up and imagine that the loving attention that we long for can only be found outside of ourselves, transfused to us by a parent, a partner, or by a spiritual authority. Lovingkindness and Mindful Self Compassion practices teach us how to be nourished from within.
We can support each other with humor and kindness as we stumble towards wiser love. We’re just learning how to extend and protect both inclusion and diversity. Practicing loving awareness together, we learn how to focus on ourselves as well as others, so we don’t lose our balance in our work and relationships.
We human beings can come to experience clearly that we are the source of the love we seek. Joining hands and hearts in community, wise love blesses us and all we touch.