Two readings for Saint Valentine’s

Traditionally, we associate the date February 14th with romantic love. But, have we really

analyzed what true love means, be it romantic or any other kind? Or have we created models for ourselves of what love should be, based on mass media, marketing campaigns, and dysfunctional relations around us?

Much is said about unconditional love, pure love, the love of a lifetime. But if we all have these concepts so clear in our minds, why do we constantly fail at the search for love, why do we trip over, get hurt, and even live with a broken heart, or simply disillusioned of our relationships?

Analyze this: do you love yourself? Do you accept yourself as you really are, with your weaknesses and your strengths? If your answer is ambiguous, or if it is clearly a “no”, or even a “yes” with an implied “but”, then you have identified the key piece of your puzzle. Love, in all of its manifestations, begins with self-love. Our happiness cannot be based on someone else, we can share our happiness with someone else once we learn to see it and manifest it inside ourselves. Placing in the hands of your partner (or parents, children, friends, etc.) the responsibility of making you happy, is not only a devastating weight upon them, it is a task that doesn’t correspond to them. Each of us is responsible of our own happiness, and therefore, each of us is responsible of loving ourselves before anything else.

But, how do we come to achieve the realization of that self-love? There are as many paths as there are people in the world. Because this search is a personal one, independent and internal. It is a journey we undertake through the deepest paths of our soul, in which we must face our own fears, and discover by our own means, the divinity within ourselves. To the extent we understand we are one with the Supreme Being, it becomes impossible not to love ourselves. And when we understand that we are all individual manifestations of that Supreme Being, likewise it becomes impossible not to love the rest of humanity. In this realization resides the door to unconditional love.

letrasThis said, I recommend two books that touch this theme from two very different perspectives. I confess I wrote one of them. But let’s talk first about “Letters of a Writer” (Letras de un Escritor), by my great friend Antonio L. Rivera-Rivera (https://twitter.com/antoniolrivera2). Certainly, the process of writing a book may carry with it the act of undressing one’s heart. This is the case of “Letters of a Writer” (https://www.facebook.com/letrasdeunescritor1/). Those who have invested their lives in the search for love, and its meanings, will identify themselves with this work. This introspection of the meaning of love in three times, demonstrates the author’s gradual process of self-discovery, through his interaction with the different manifestations of what we consider “love” in the different stages of our spiritual development. He opens his heart and allows us to explore it at will, and without realizing it, he guides us to explore ours as well. It is an invitation to reflection, and a practical guide for those who appreciate the value of making silence and daring to listen to the language of their intuition.

On the other hand, my first novel, “El Experimento Chicago” (The Chicago Experiment) (https://www.elexperimentochicago.com), challenges the apparent impossibility of finding unconditional love in the most compromising circumstances of the human being. Through the creation of a tridimensional world that comes to life in the mind of the reader, the story presents a couple of kindred spirits that face a morally questionable situation together, and end up undertaking a journey through the most intimate spots of their souls, which forces them to face their preconceived notions about love. A piece of erotic nature, which at the same time explores sexuality beyond the mere physical act, going from carnal to sublime, from human to sacred, and from the external expression of love, to the internal acknowledgment of our divinity.

In this celebration of Saint Valentine’s, I invite you to look at your reflection in the mirror of your own soul, and to confess your unconditional love to yourself. It is an exercise that will forever change your perspective of love and will open the doors to the incredible power of the most sublime feeling in the universe.

PS. Both books are available at Amazon.com in Spanish, both in paperback format and in digital format. The English versions for both books will be available soon.

Loving ourselves just the way we are

How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and have not recognized the person you see? This becomes very common when we disconnect from our bodies, mainly because we do not like what the mirror presents.

Looking-in-the-mirror

Looking good is an obsession of our times. We are constantly bombarded with images of impossible bodies, many of which have become so thin by extracting ribs and other risky medical procedures. I do understand some procedures are necessary, when a person’s health is at imminent risk due to their excess weight. Those are not the cases I am referring to.  But I am sure you all know someone who is constantly complaining about the way they look, and you just cannot understand why, for they look just fine to you.

We have unreal expectations, wanting to look in real life like a model who has been airbrushed in the magazine’s pictures. Worse than that? We have a very perverted idea of what beauty is in the first place. External beauty is like fashion: the concepts come and go with time, just like bell-bottoms. Don’t believe me? Just check out the art of the Renaissance, where women were depicted as is, including love handles and cellulite.  That was in and sexy, considered a sign of health and fertility. Therefore, if parameters for external beauty are as changing as the weather, how are we supposed to keep up with the standards? Actually, we are not! The moment we understand that concept, we liberate ourselves from a heavy burden.

840px-The_Three_Graces,_by_Peter_Paul_Rubens,_from_Prado_in_Google_Earth
The Three Graces – Peter Paul Rubens (1639)

Consider this: how would the state of the human consciousness change if people invested just one fourth of the time they spend worrying about their external looks, actually taking care of their internal self? See, the thing is, the more you cultivate your internal beauty, the better you look on the outside! When you feel good about yourself, you emanate a beautiful energy that is perceived by others. That, in turn, makes you a beautiful person, appreciated by others for WHO you are, not for your measurements, height, and weight combination.

Accepting our bodies as they are, is the first step to actually attaining the changes you want. It’s the law of attraction, for it permeates and applies to everything in our lives. See, it’s OK to want to lose weight, but we have to start by being grateful for what we have TODAY. This body that you despise so much, is the one that has blessed you with all the emotions (positive and negative) that you have felt so far. Even if it looked different at some other point, it is still the same body; you didn’t move into a new host. How could we not be thankful for this marvelous perfect machine that allows us a 3D/4D experience to help us grow?

Once we are grateful for what we have, we can picture our bodies as we want them to look (visualization). One piece of advice though: go about this with the right intentions. Change your eating habits, not because you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days and make your ex repent from leaving you. Change your eating habits because you understand it will help you be healthier, have more energy, and feel happier. Don’t begin an exercise program because your co-worker gets more attention from the boss due to her awesome figure. Begin an exercise program for its physical and mental benefits. See, the mindset is a very powerful tool. And everything in life is about intention. The purpose behind your actions DO matter greatly.

One thing is for sure, once you begin showing your body you love it as it is right now, you open the door for wonderful transformations. Go ahead, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you look! Concentrate on those features of your body you actually like the most, and enjoy looking at them and celebrating them. I assure you this exercise will boost your self-esteem and help you overcome your complexes.

Remember, external beauty as sold by Hollywood is just a standardized measurement, like the SAT’s. And there is nothing standard about human beings. We are unique expressions of God’s love, and we are to appreciate our differences and particularities, for they make us WHO WE ARE.