Last night I dreamed.
I was in a large workshop space, light wooden floors, colourful textiles with inspiring quotes on the walls. A circle of people, including myself, sitting on sturdy pillows. A teacher standing in the center of the circle. That’s odd, I remember thinking. In most workshops, teachers don’t stand in the middle of the room. She’s obstructing my view!
The participants shuffled and fidgeted on their pillows, waiting for the session to start. I tried to hide my small anxiety by focusing on the teacher. She had long hair and long limbs, but I can’t recall any significant features. She was ordinary. As soon as I made the distinction, I lost interest and pulled my attention closer to the other participants, but…
At that moment, the teacher raised both hands. The room went quiet and my attention snapped back at her. Her voice sounded like a small crack of lighting as she exclaimed our assignment. ‘All of you! One task! Love!’
All of us in the circle looked around, seeking comfort in the confused eyes of another.
Who, what should I love?
The teacher allowed us a moment before speaking again. ‘No, not each other. Don’t even look at each other. Love yourself. Right here.’
Her words carried a transmission of knowing.
No-one can show me how to love myself. I have to figure it out. Right here.
We all set to our task. For the rest of the workshop – or in my case, for the rest of the night – we sat in silence on our pillows, and loved ourselves.
Sometime during this process, I realised I had been dreaming. The bed and my body in the physical world suddenly became parts of the work itself. I loved myself on the right side and then on the left side, and on my back. I loved myself with my legs straight and with my legs folded. Every part of me in every angle was loved over and over again.
Meanwhile in the dream, I recall shifting on my pillow, looking at my navel and loved how my navel looked back at me. It wasn’t my looking that loved, it was the navel responding to my looking, if that makes sense.
Yes. The best part was that I didn’t think about loving myself.
About how I should go about it or how many loving affirmations I should utter to parts of my body. I just loved myself in response to everything that arrived. To every move I made or any sensation my body picked up in both worlds.
As soon as I had accepted this task by this ordinary teacher, I just knew.
I had always known how to love myself.
As the morning woke me, I felt my bed, the blanket and the pillow hugging that same body that had been so fully in love throughout the night. Birds were singing promises of sunshine outside my window. All was well in that small world of my bedroom.
Today I’m reminiscing on the dream. My mind tells me that this workshop was a mini-version of my life itself. Perhaps even all life, but I only know this one.
Love yourself. There are no others.
My one and only task.
If my natural reaction to anything that happens is to love myself…
… then this love becomes my thing, my own personal bridge into all relationships; internal, external, divine.
Isn’t that idea fascinating? Exciting?
In this body right now, it feels promising and blissful with just a hint of responsibility.
Now, if you had but one task, what is it?