Sara Guenther

I Love Myself

I’ve been on a mission lately to plant seeds of authentic, profound self-love in every woman I meet throughout my weekly classes and trainings and most importantly within myself. This seed was planted for me several weeks ago during a Valentine’s Day toddler yoga class (well let's be honest I think about love all the time… haha). All the children were jumping up and down… 1-2-3 MEDITATE! We then sat down in a seated meditation, massaged our third eye and repeated the affirmation, “I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF!!! I LOVE MYSELF!!!!!!!!" How incredibly sweet to witness a room full of toddlers screaming, "I LOVE MYSELF!"

I then asked the women in the room, “What do YOU love about yourself?” One brave soul raised her hand and shared she loves the enthusiasm she brings to life. Amazing! I could feel her enthusiasm throughout the class and was honored to witness her journey of self-love. Then the room became completely silent, well as silent as it can get with toddlers roaming about. I asked myself, “In a class of this size how can only one woman love something about herself?” So I got really curious and decided to call upon someone. And I asked in the most compassionate way, “What do you love about yourself?” Her response was “NOTHING.” That was it. In that first moment she was unable to think of a single thing she loves about herself. She then looked lovingly at her toddler and you could see in her eyes a moment of recognition that she was planting seeds here and needed to be a positive role model for her son. She then went on to say, “I love that I am a great mom.”

"YES, you are an amazing mom!" I wanted to scream. I can feel your compassion and your unconditional love for your child. You are an amazing mom AND you are so much more. You are absolute beauty and abundance and bliss. You radiate beauty and truth and inner sweetness. Oh how I wish you could see within yourself everything I can see within you!!!

After that encounter I decided to get even more curious. I posed this question to multiple students during my classes that week… ”What do YOU love about yourself?” The answers I received were so very honest and so incredibly sad. “I can’t really think of anything I love about myself. I need to think about it some more.” “There are a couple things I like about myself but I can’t really think of anything I love about myself.” “I haven’t really thought about it much.”

Yup that was me even 1-2 years ago. I could rattle off in a heartbeat everything I loved about my children and my friends and my family but if anyone were to ask me what I loved about myself, I would have had absolutely nothing or very little to offer.

Today I can honestly tell you I love myself. I love my open heart. I love my commitment to my personal practice and deepening my connection to spirit. I love my enthusiasm for life and ability to continuously grow in this world. I love my ability to listen to myself and to others. I love that I am planting seeds for my own children of self-love. I love how I am a forever student always asking myself how can I rise up in this world? I even love my body. I love my curiosity and desire to create change. Shall I keep going?!?! Sure this is an ongoing process for me but I can honestly say I LOVE MYSELF!

If we want our children to love themselves we have to start by loving ourselves. If we want our relationships to grow and evolve we have to start loving ourselves and allowing ourselves to grow. If we want to create deeper levels of love within our lives we have to start loving ourselves in deeper ways.

So, I challenge you to contemplate, “WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?” Journal it. Meditate on it. Comment below. Tell your kids everyday what you love about yourself. Ask them to tell you what they love about themselves and what they love about you. Go ahead, give yourself permission to bathe in unconditional, authentic, profound self-love. Have a self-love fest. It may not come naturally at first but with time and with lots and lots and lots of practice I know you will also fall completely in love with yourself!

xoxo

Sara

Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles. To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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One of my favorite memories as a child was belting out the lyrics to “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner with my own mama. We were fearless and loud when we sang this song. It didn’t matter who was in the car with us or who might be listening to us on the sidewalk, we sang just to sing and we sang it loud!

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it

What’s love but a second hand emotion

What’s love got to do, got to do with it

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”

We were bold and courageous and so in love with each other. I look back on these moments and celebrate our playfulness and authenticity. We were so full of love, connection, and pure bliss.

I remember my dad telling me right before my daughter was born 9 years ago, “Sara you really don’t know what love is until you have a child of your own.” “How could that be,” I thought. At that time I was happily married, I had loving friendships, and thought I was well versed in love. Then Grace was born and my “small heart grew three sizes that day.” My heart was broken open in a way only a mother will ever know and I was flooded with love for this little being.

And then my sweet Porter was born and I had a direct experience of the bounty of love! Not only did I have enough love to love both of my children, but their love for each other was absolutely divine. The more we loved each other, the more love we had to give and receive.

Gurmukh’s brilliance shines through when she talks about the abundance of love.

“Sometimes I hear mothers say, “I love my child so much, I can’t imagine loving more. Where will the love come from for the new child on the way?” That is one of the true blessings of having children; they give you a direct experience of the bounty of the world. The truth is there is a bountifulness in love. It expands exponentially the minute you give to another. The fear that there isn’t enough is just a delusion of scarcity. Not only is there enough love for your new child, there is more love for your partner than you ever imagined, and the love you can create for your children is beyond measure. Love creates love. You don’t have to believe it. It’s a fact. It just is.”

Love is bountiful. Love is beautiful and blissful and pure and soulful. BUT what about the “bruitifulness” of love? What about those moments when love doesn’t lead you down the rosiest path?!? What about those moments when you feel heartbroken, angry, betrayed, hurt, confused etc. etc. etc.? What about those moments when love leads you down the path of most growth and expansion but also the path of most confusion and sadness? What about those moments when you begin to question how you are showing up for love in your life?!?! What about those moments when it takes everything you got just to show up?

One of my most favorite authors, Glennon Doyle says, “Love is not warm and fuzzy or sweet and sticky. Real love is tough as nails. It’s having your heart ripped out, putting it back together, and the next day, offering it back to the same world that just tore it up. It’s running toward pain and grief and brokenness instead of away from it. It’s turning the other cheek ’til you get whiplash. It’s resisting the overwhelming desire to quit, to save yourself for yourself. It’s exhausting and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s ugly, like using your bare hands to search for gold in piles of crap.”

I am sure you are as well versed in the struggles of love as I am. I am sure you are as well versed as I am in those moments where we feel so small. In those moments where we realize we are just learning to love. In those moments where our heart is shredded to pieces. As the song lyrics from “Say Something” go…

“And I will stumble and fall.

I’m still learning to love.

Just starting to crawl.”

So this February, as the world around you is making dinner reservations, buying flowers, and celebrating their definition of love, I invite you to keep crawling to keep celebrating the beauty and agony of love. To keep showing up for love…both the bliss and the heartache. To choose love over fear in any and every situation. To be a student of love. And as the late Maya Angelou said, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

This February can you commit to choosing love just one more time?!?!

xoxo

Sara

Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles. To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com.