Here’s my rationale for turning at least some of our Valentine’s Day attention and energy toward ourselves: I believe that an intimate connection exists between our choice to love, pay attention to, and remain loyal to ourselves, and our capacity to love, pay attention to, and remain loyal to others.
This belief was shaped by my personal journey, strengthened by listening to the stories of women, and affirmed by the thinking of writers I respect and admire:
When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. —Anne Morrow Lindbergh
As one respects oneself so one can respect others. It is not that as you judge so shall you be judged, but as you judge yourself so shall you judge others. —Harry Stack Sullivan
Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge. Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying for the love that will really address your needs. —Daphne Rose Kingma
If we depend on our partner to make us whole, we’re in trouble. Sooner or later, we shall feel betrayed. Sooner or later, we shall hate the dependence. Sooner or later, we may be the one who does the betraying. Wholeness is within. —Marion Woodman
Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. —Margo Anand
Turn some of your Valentine’s Day energy and attention toward yourself. May “Spring Juices” awaken your original self-regard. In the very beginning, the girl-child loves herself!
spring juices flowing
the fragrance of attraction
rousing me from winter’s celibate sleep
awakening the erotic in every encounter
with bus driver, musician, old friend.
moistened by a contagious ecstasy,
i open and receive the fertile darkness,
a friend’s laugh, the calla lily’s curves,
the yam’s sweetness, an old woman’s fierceness,
the egret’s pose, the musician’s sounds,
the call of my ancestors,
the fleshiness of all that is.
i wonder what it would be like
to love myself in the moist spring.
to dance with my own ideas
on a blanket at the park, perhaps;
stroking, teasing, tasting, opening,
expanding the ideas until they formed
a beautiful poem, an ode to “what is.”
my body aroused, moistened, and opened
by the dance of my mind,
by the play of my words,
my body attune to the hum,
the resonance, the ah,
my body erupting in response
to the dance, to life, to All That Is.
in the very beginning, the girl-child loved herself.
(Excerpt from Words Made Flesh, Copyright, 2004)
Patricia Lynn Reilly is the founder of Imagine a Woman International and Open Window Gallery. If you’re ready to author your own self-understanding and life, visit www.imagineawoman.com for inspiration, opportunities, and support. Join the “Imagine a Woman” poem’s 20th Birthday Team on IAW’s websitehomepage.