"If you have the ability to love, love yourself first." – Charles Bukowski
I once watched a woman walk across a slackline.
Two ends of nylon webbing fastened at opposing trees that stood as grand sentinels 15 feet from one another.
The line itself, a narrow two inches, to support the entirety of her body.
Not only in static, stationary balance…but through seemingly impossible movement.
Her body was significantly higher than where my threshold was for comfort.
And my stomach twisted menacingly into a knot just at the mere sight of her height.
As my head tilted upward, it looked to me as if she were dancing, weightlessly along a delicate strand of thin hair.
The breath of the wind causing it to sway back and forth ominously, threatening with each movement to break.
To fall away from beneath her feet.
But, it never did.
And when her captivating, trance-like dance was over, I asked her how she had accomplished such an achievement.
Such a harrowing feat.
Her reply hit me so hard that, suddenly, I felt as if I were the one high up on that slackline…except, it did snap under my weight and I was falling.
But not onto the unyielding ground below.
I was falling into a vast tempest of wonder and awe.
Her words to me were:
“Love, honor and believe in yourself.”
I was anticipating her response to be something practical.
Something solid and firm… like “work on your balance, or practice every day.”
It took me days of constant review.
Analyzing…dissecting each one of those six words.
What did she mean?
And then it came to me, all at once, in a flood of calm understanding.
She wasn’t talking about the physical act of dancing on a slackline at all.
She was talking about life.
All of it.
Every difficult, hard, harrowing moment that we will all face over and over again.
She was gifting me with her secret to staying balanced throughout the tremendous fluctuation between the high, highs and the oh, so very low, lows.
Care for yourself just as you would a newborn child.
Provide for yourself the things that you need to not only be sustained in life, but to grow and flourish.
Allow yourself the space to learn and to explore.
Honor yourself by creating boundaries that keep you and those around you, safe and secure.
While that woman was high up on that slackline, boundaries had to be in place.
Not only that, but they had to be immoveable and clear.
Because if they were fluid, she would have fallen….
She would have reached too far, overstepped her foothold or perhaps someone would have tried to walk the slackline with her, causing them both to plummet.
Boundaries allow us a safe space to move from.
They are the highest form of honor that you can give to yourself.
Believe in your innate ability to know yourself and listen.
Trust your heart as it whispers to you.
Listen to its words.
Follow its promptings because it will never lead you astray.
As the wind blew that slackline back and forth, she listened.
Not to the wind…but to herself.
She instinctively knew how to move in order to compensate for whatever direction the wind tried to push her.
She knew that because, even when her heart spoke with soft, fleeting feelings… she trusted them.
She believed in herself to know the right way.
Allow these gifts to carry you through the turbulence of life.
And as you move through those highs and lows…celebrate them.
Celebrate your ability to flourish and let your love expand infinitely outward.
And also, celebrate the ability to learn lessons, to forgive and to move forward.
What an amazing gift.