The Deviance of Self-Love
"Do not disdain your body. For the soul is just as safe in its body as in the Kingdom of Heaven." ~ Mechtild of Magdeburg
Self-love is tricky business.
We could probably philosophize till the cows came home about how this disdain originated... though most might agree, religion had something to do with it.
I found the above quote (and many others) in Matthew Fox's controversial book, "Original Blessing".
Fox, if you're not familiar, is a "maverick religious thinker and priest" who stirred up a little brouhaha when he challenged (not denied, as he was accused, but 'decried its prominence in church teaching'.) the doctrine of original sin, upsetting a certain Cardinal enough to expel him from the Dominican Order.
Fox places the blame for our deep self-loathing, self-denial, self-sabotage, and even the perilous place our very planet finds itself at the feet of a perpetuated misunderstanding of Scripture - one that emphasizes the profane nature of the physical over the goodness, beauty and blessing that is inherently endowed in ALL of creation... by its creator.
The damage done by such a paradigm seems almost too great to comprehend, and almost too impossible to heal. What we've managed to do to ourselves, each other, and our planet could only have been perpetrated through such a deep split in our own psyches... such a near-complete dissociation between our selves and our life support system that it borders on insanity.
But I digress.
This is a post about self-love. Remember self-love?
Perhaps this is where we need to begin. Loving ourselves. Reclaiming our own rightness. Becoming our own advocates. Appreciating the lives we were given and the bodies we were given to live them. Self-love is about far more than repeating affirmations in the mirror. Deeper than learning to appreciate what we see. I believe it's about cultivating a deep and unshakable trust in our inherent rightness and wisdom, our inborn sense of alignment, the uniqueness and preciousness of our human vessel, the amazing intelligence of our physiology, and our interdependence with the natural world.
In the preface for Fox's book, as he's setting up his arguments to come in favor of promoting original blessing over original sin, he states,
"A Native American elder summarizes the entire thrust of this book in the following teaching:
'Goodness is the natural state of this world. The world is good! Even when it seems evil, it's good. There's only goodness in God. And that same goodness is in us all. You can feel it in yourself. You know when you feel good inside.
Yes, you're God's child, too. You are good. You are sacred. Respect yourself. Love the goodness in yourself. Then put that goodness out into the world! That's everybody's instructions.'"