I recently fell in love with a book called Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships. The foreword was written by none other than Zen Master, Thich Naht Hanh, whom Zen Mommy and I have probably quoted from many times! The book was written by long-time couple and Buddhist Dharma teachers, Peggy Rowe Ward and Larry Ward.
I had the fortuitous opportunity to talk live and in person with Peggy… and that interview will be airing soon. One of the things I love about it is that the Wards share many concrete practices that nurture any relationship in your life… whether it be your partner, your children, your parents and most importantly, YOURSELF. That’s right. The roots of your mindful relationships with other people is a mindful relationship with YOU.
How do you talk to yourself? Whose voice is it? Is the voice critical or loving?
These are the questions that the Wards ask us to ask ourselves. This thought resonated very much with me. I remember a few short months ago, I was having a funny conversation with my cousin explaining my epiphany of the day: “I am so giving in a relationship. I have, in the past, always defer to what the other person wants to, what they want to eat, where they want to go and with whom…. I want someone to treat me the way I treat my partners. Wait a minute… I want to date ME! And I can! I’m going to treat myself the way I usually treat my partner… I’m going to date MYSELF!”
You can imagine where that conversation went… we were quickly crying from laughing so hard at the thought of me saying to me, “No, I don’t want to see a movie. I’d rather read a book in the tub.” “Sounds great. Would you like candles?” So it was with a smile that I would cook myself dinner and on nights when the kids weren’t with me, I would pick out a book or a movie. It went so well that I’m not sure any partner can top myself. And perhaps that was the lesson I had to learn.
The way I love myself colors the way I love anyone (actually, everyone) else. I must be my first love… because the qualities that I see/notice/love in myself are the same qualities that I will see/notice/love in others.
When was the last time you did something for YOU. You know, in that thoughtful way that you would do something for your child, your mom, your lover/spouse? What was it? Share it with us!
Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.