Self-Love is the Foundation

Feb 14, 2023 | Newsletter

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Self-Love is the Foundation

Our cherished mentor and guide, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches us in Teachings on Love, a book that has changed my life, that self-love is the stepping stone upon which the love for all others depends—love of family, life partner, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and even those who have harmed or hate us. Without a good foundation of self-love, we walk on shaky ground in our relationship with the rest of the world.

For this Valentine’s Day, all of us at the Feldenkrais NYC practice are checking in on our foundation of self-love. This helps us keep striving to put our best foot forward to serve each other, our families, our dear clients, and everyone who comes into our lives.

In Buddhist philosophy, through mindfulness and listening carefully to our body and mind, we develop the capacity to:
Hands Hugging Heart
  1. Love
  2. Relieve or lessen suffering and pain
  3. Be joyful
  4. Accept without discrimination. 

These are the four interconnected and interdependent components of true love, whether the object is ourselves, others, or nature.

An Act of Self-Love

We can develop the capacity for all four elements of self-love through mindful meditation and practicing the Feldenkrais Method. Dr. Feldenkrais believed that the best way to improve our self-image and self-value is through our attention to movement. During a lesson, the Feldenkrais practitioner gently guides you to do less, go slow, take care of yourself, or be mindful of homeostasis. They remind you to practice self-love and self-compassion and help you find the joy of getting better. 

Self-Love Is Not Selfish

Self-love sounds like words with negative connotations—selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed—but that’s where the similarity ends. When we see self-love as the building block for true love for others, we can see that self-love is at the core of serving others.

  • Decide who’s important in your life and who you love, and please include yourself!
  • Be fully present to the object of your love and spend quality time together without distractions.
  • Devote 100% of your attention and listen deeply with curiosity. Your gentle presence can lighten many sorrows.
  • Look deeply to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the one you love.
  • But don’t try to fix anything, and don’t try to solve any problems.
  • Raise above the criticism and judgments. They are just habits, knee-jerk reactions. Let them come. Let them go. Love despite imperfections.
  • Let your eyes smile and enjoy the moment together.
  • Practice non-attachment. Listen to the two gnomes, protectors of love, I encountered in the city of Wroclaw during my last trip to Poland. Here is their story:
Dwarfs and the truth about love“All around the world, bridges get cluttered with locks. What most people fail to realize is that nothing brings worse luck to their love than the act of locking it up in a little metal cage on a bridge. The rain and river moisture quickly cause the lock to corrode and, along with the corrosion of the lock, the hope that true love can survive will evaporate even faster.Fortunately, our Wrocław dwarves know what happens to the locks on bridges and they’ve designated one of their brethren to protect the beloved. Day and night, this brave dwarf keeps his guard at the Tumski Bridge. He opens any locks that were hung unwisely, and he lets the ‘imprisoned’ love to regain its freedom.He knows that true love exists between people. This poor chap had to carry seventeen and a half tonnes of corroded locks from the Tumski Bridge alone! How to help him? Nothing can be easier! Take the person you love and find the path to your true love…”  A heartfelt Valentine’s Day to you, Nancy and your loved ones.
Onward and Upward, 
Marek Wyszynski PT, GCFP
& The Feldenkrais NYC Team

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