“I hit so many bottoms I thought I was a public toilet.” – – unknown
Those of us in or out of recovery know all too well the up and down and in-between rhythms of life. I found myself at a low in mid-October of last year that felt devastating. I felt emotionally crushed and really not very functional – thus calling in to work four straight days and depriving myself of that much badly needed temp pay. During that time I scurried through about 35 pages of a “Blueprint For Progress” fourth step, prayed my brains out, and just tried to survive and remember to breathe. I also scoured the internet for books on self-love. It was definitely a turning point for me. Fortunately, I came upon a little book titled “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by a gentleman named Kamal Ravikant.
The book is a mere 57 pages long. In it, after chronicling his own bitter low point, Ravikant advocates the hard-core practice of three things: 1) bearing in mind the question “if I really and truly loved myself, would I let myself experience this?”
2) find a 7 minute piece of music and listen to it daily, reciting s-l-o-w-l-y “I love myself” over and over, and 3) repeating the phrase “I love myself” over and over and over again until, as he puts it, “it was on my mind more often than it was not.” I particularly practiced the last part with a vengeance. From early November through about the end of December, it didn’t really feel like a lot was happening. In fact, I lost my job on December 8th. Fact of the matter was that at such a low starting point, I was not able to muster the phrase “I love myself” out of me with even an iota of conviction. For the first week or two, “God loves me” (see “Lessons In Truth” by H. Emily Cady) worked as a substitute. Though subtle, I did notice a distinct change in emotion when I really began saying “I love myself” in earnest, ironically, the day I lost my job. It was then that the experience of this book and its suggested practices took a turn for the mystical.
I was unemployed. And scared. I went to Al-Anon meetings and talked about my plight. I was sure not looking for sympathy or a hand-out, just talking about my stuffs and feeling better about it each time I did. Doggedly keeping to repeating the statement (silently) was the first effect. Even though things looked pretty bleak, optimism soon followed. More and more situations took a turn for the worse, and I began automatically looking at them as stepping stones. After all, one of the first things to change upon chanting a mantra of “I love myself” was that I was separated from my job. Thanks, Kamal. No sarcasm intended: I really, really doubled up on being aware of chanting after that. One night after a meeting I stood and chatted with a woman who was helping me in my job search. While we were chatting a gentleman from the group passed by, and tucked what felt like a piece of paper into my jacket pocket and then he left. After my friend and I got done talking, I reached in to pick out the paper he had inserted into my pocket. It was a one hundred dollar bill.
A flurry of interviews ensued. My car battery died and a friend bought me a new one. Two friends came by to assist me with the battery in weather that would frighten eskimos. I noticed people smiling at me more than usual. I got a job on January 23rd and things every so gradually began to turn as started to get caught up on rent and a few other bills. I continued with the chant of “I love myself” and began to sense a much deeper connection – – each time I chanted it became obvious that I was saying that I loved my Self: that it so say the larger Entity that connects us all. I was synchronizing with the Spirit of everything. As the author puts it, “as you love yourself, life loves you back.”
One of my pet peeves is going out for a run in the city, coming to an intersection, and a car blocking my path to cross as the driver neglects to look both ways before turning or going straight ahead. After a few months of chanting, I began running again in early March (I really don’t care for winter running any more). It was then that I noticed a strange phenomenon. More and more cars were either stopping short of the intersection, or noticing that they were blocking my way, they would back up. With a smile. Coincidence? Maybe. What I really don’t believe to be a coincidence is that I was hired at the temp job I got in January as permanent employee recently with a huge raise. I really do believe Mr. Ravikant’s little book is one of the world’s best kept secrets.
In “Love Yourself, . . . ” Kamal states that his entire world changed for the better with miraculous, “out of reach” changes becoming routine in his life within a month. Wonderful people entered his life. He got new opportunities by the boatload. I can’t say it worked in a month for me, or will for anyone else. I can with great conviction state that practiced diligently, chanting “I love myself” even without using the other tools suggested in the book continues to bring about miracles in my life. It just took a little longer for me than it did for Kamal. This past Friday I told a group that I’m feeling out of sorts lately because life has ceased to be as magical on a daily basis as it had been since November. Nothing going terribly wrong, just that my world has lacked that “zing” of magic happenings on a daily basis that I had gotten so used to. Complacency is also addressed in the book, and quite frankly I have not been as diligent in my chant as I had been for the previous six months. I am now. And I really wanted to pass this on.
“The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging from a cliff with your fingernails.” That’s intense. And I’m back to doing that and consequently paring away the normal contrary self talk that I do. If I don’t take action to say kind, loving things to myself, my ego will gladly fill in the blanks with less flattering content. We don’t attract what we want, we attract what we are. In order to believe that I am love and live the magical life that is becoming my new norm, I need to practice being Love. I don’t know a better way than to continuously chant I love myself. My plan is to go higher than I ever have. My dream is to write, and I’m doing that right now for the first time in months. Spontaneously. I love doing this. I’ve theorized it before, but now I’m getting to know experientially that abundance has so little to do with money. Yes, higher than I ever have. My plan is to soar. Until looking down provides a spectacular view from where I’m at. May you do the same.