To all those out at sea, give patience to yourself.
You may have to go find it in your breath, in time alone, in stillness while putting your hands over your heart. You may need to ask for it. Perhaps you’ve been too tired to find it, as it hides amidst the piles of daily hustle, push, and haste.
Slow down and let go. Focus on your breath.
Take a moment to see yourself and all the parts that you carry. Register the feelings in your body. Open your eyes and see where you are. Close them and feel the weight of yourself. Notice if there is an urgency to fix, hide, or bolt. Challenge yourself to remain present and note every voice that arises. This will take trust. Expect to run from yourself and come back. Tapping into our bodies and sensing our vulnerability can feel terrifying.
When you’re ready, take yourself and carefully unfold. With each piece that is unwrapped, take time to be curious about what you see. Practice eyes that observe without judgment, eyes that express a genuine desire to learn and understand. Notice if your gaze begins to soften—we tend to hold criticism in the eyes.
Practice love as you use your arms to embrace your body. Learn that you can allow yourself to be held with gentleness. Let your hands become tender. Through touch, show your body it is worthy of care and pleasure. Begin to see the value in all you’ve been taught to call dirty or unsightly. Give them new names. Names that honor what is really there and speak truthfully of where you’ve been. Your voice is powerful. Test its strength. Over time, you will come to recognize the presence and tone of words that devalue you. Over time, you will remember your ability to heal hurt and shame.
Expect to find shame. If it feels safe, explore its channel. See where it takes you. Where does it bring you? What messages are you hearing? Breathe deeply as the past is stirred within you. Be firm in your love. Remind yourself that you have grown.
Be like the trees who take up sun, rain, and root. Do not deny yourself the ground you occupy or you will begin to disappear. Do not deny yourself your needs, or you will become bitter and resentful. Allow yourself the right to be alive, to be breath-taking. With every inhale and exhale, there is more room to expand.
Hold all these practices loosely, and when you need to, hold them close. Remember, you are fluid. You are an ever-changing, ever-shifting being of nuance and depth. You needn’t stay anchored to an idea of yourself that only limits your own expansion. Find the support of something beautiful to believe in and make it your own. Allow your waters to ebb and flow.
This work is challenging, these muscles need time to stretch and grow. Begin with one breath—it is the biggest, bravest space you can take. Celebrate every moment you love yourself, and every moment you notice you aren’t. The more we exist as lovers, the more available love becomes.
You are worthy of love. Hold that to your chest as the winds howls and the waves crash against you.
My strong and tired friend, you needn’t find the way on your own. I am here, and I’ve reached land before.
You are worthy of love and grace, from others and yourself. You are enough, here and now. If you’re struggling, we encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at [email protected].