I had an unusual gift from my son at Christmas: a kit to grow Bonsai trees. He knows I love the big outdoors, but I’m not great with houseplants.
It wasn’t until recently in some personal reflections on what loving myself really means that I looked at that gift – still not started or planted. But I remembered my son is quite intuitive/guided with his gifts. He has Downs syndrome so leads with his heart more than his mind.
A gift he bought me 5 years ago led me to a check up and a discovery I had cervical cancer. We caught it early so he/our guides helped save my life.
So pondering on Bonsai trees I realised that growing them requires really paying attention, gentleness and patience. They are delicate and succumb easily to rough handling or environments. In fact, growing them will be a learning experience. The penny dropped and I felt this feeling. God wants me to pay attention to me, to my soul with the same gentleness and patience and to learn from my mistakes.
And I mean real attention to what will help me grow. Not the comforts and addictions I feel are love, but what is really loving to myself: allow feelings – fear, shame, anger, grief; following desires and most importantly connecting with God.
There was a great TedX talk on the difference between wanting attention and paying attention, that I watched recently. We often want attention from others to validate our worth, to feel ‘loved’ and acknowledged, but its very unhealthy because we are relying on sources externally for that validation. In fact, we are demanding the environment satisfy OUR unmet needs.
But paying attention is very different. Paying attention (with honesty) to our emotions, actions, thoughts is the place where real growth starts; where real self love and worth begins: it’s an internal journey we must travel and experience in our heart.
Wanting attention is a house built on sand. Paying attention is a house built on rocks.
Image from leoniedawson.com