We lead very busy and hectic lives and it seems easy not to take care of yourself. For many people, the only time they focus on themselves is on a holiday or when they get sick. I used to be this way in my own life, but that changed many years ago when I made a conscious decision to put myself first.
At this pivotal moment in my life, my children were raised and I was going through a divorce. It was a very challenging transition — I felt saddened and I grieved the end of my marriage. But I also felt the excitement of a new life and whatever that would mean.
I was meditating one day and got the message “You are going to go out and learn how to care for yourself and have fun.” I thought about it and asked, “How am I going to do that?” The answer came before I’d even finished asking the question, “TRAVEL,” — it was loud and clear. So that's what I did!
Today, I want to share an experience that I had while in India. This was something that changed everything for me because I realized that Self Care is Self-Love.
I had spent many years in my yoga practice and had a dream that one day I would go to India. This became a reality for me in 2014 when I went on a Bhakti Yantra Tour to Northern India. Bhakti is a practice where you chant Kirtan (which I love). Bhakti is another form of meditation because you are chanting to feel connection with source, and you are able to reach a peaceful bliss state rather than sitting quietly in silence. I find that movement meditation suits me more than the sitting still meditations.
While in Rishikesh, which is known as the yoga capital of the world, we went to the Sri Bharat Milan Ashram to see Swami Ramkripaluji. He was a Swami—like a guru—and a friend of Shridar who was an organizer of the journey. We had been to a lot of different temples and shrines that day and arrived late at the Swami’s for our talk.
The Ashram’s entrance was a large room with no furniture except a platform where he sat when he talked to us. To the left was a room that was the shrine which was decorated with Christmas lights, photos and statues of the various deities, flower malas, and photos of himself in his younger years. He had lived in a cave meditating for 10 years. It may have been longer, but that is what I remember.
We had gone there for Darshan. Darshan means viewing or beholding a deity or revered person — Swami Ramkripaluji was the revered person. During the experience, people in our group asked questions and Swami answered them. At the end each received a blessing from him.
As we sat down, I noticed Swami talking to Shridar, he was not very happy because we had arrived late for our Darshan. After that, we were served a cup marsala chai and a cookie. I wondered why I was there because I didn’t feel that comfortable. Actually, I felt like a little kid who was at their grandmother’s home sitting on the floor getting a cup of tea and a cookie.
The first question asked was did the Swami think that cannabis was ok to use as a tool for meditation and enlightenment? This question had been asked a few times before by the same person and I was getting tired of it so again I thought, “Why am I here?” As Swami began to answer the phone rang beside him and he picked it up — right in the middle of the conversation! I was quite shocked.
He spoke to the person on the other end in English and before he hung up said, “REMEMBER, LOVE YOURSELF!” We all laughed, but I knew instantly why I was there, to remember to love myself!
The conversation continued and the phone rang again, and he picked it up! Again, he spoke in English and at the end of the conversation he said, “REMEMBER, LOVE YOURSELF!” At this point everyone in the group was laughing and saying to each other “LOVE YOURSELF.”
As he began to speak again, guess what? The phone rang. Again! We all began to laugh because we knew what was coming and again, he said, “REMEMBER, LOVE YOURSELF!” At the end of the talk he took down his hair (he hadn’t cut it in years) and blessed us. Then it was over.
That night I thought a lot about LOVE YOURSELF because that message was so true. I thought about all the times I had said to my kids or signed cards that read, I love you, all my love, or much love. But this was different, the message here was to Love Yourself. It wasn’t about someone saying they loved you, it was about you loving you. It was plain and simple to hear and then I thought let’s really put that into practice.
The group thought this was so amazing that we began to call ourselves Bhakti Yantra 2014 Love Yourself Tour and we did. Constantly, we would ask each other if we were Loving Yourself.
When I came home, I was still the same Robyn, but somehow different. India had blown my heart open; I had found that beautiful sweet spot of love and the importance of loving myself. I talked a lot to my kids about this and now when I say goodbye to them, I always say, “REMEMBER, LOVE YOURSELF.”
Everything is about love, that is why we are here on the planet. Love is everywhere and in everything; it is that invisible force behind everything. Love moves the waters, the wind, and fires. It is in the beauty of a sunset, the laugh of a child and the beauty that is you. Love is the field. By loving yourself, you raise and stabilize your vibration becoming the change in the world that we need. There is nothing more important than this. Your soul is calling you now to wake up from the dream and remember who you truly are and what you came here to do. Wake up and Remember to Love Yourself.
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