Anne Stadler recently inquired on an email list:
I am wondering do you feel “heard”, “seen”, and “loved”—even by the people with whom you are conversing? Do you feel you are engaging fully (using all your intelligences!) with each other and the whole in this exploration?
Many inspiring responses have emerged… and here is what I wrote:
I’d like to share some personal stories. My practice keeps turning me again and again inside myself (along a pathway of service beyond myself).
I’m sitting at a coffee shop right now, gazing out the sunny window. A dog turns around and stares in my eyes. In this moment I feel heard, seen and loved by that dog. I recognize myself in him… his alert curiosity, seeming contentment in experiencing life as it is. He stays close to his human companion and sweetly offers loving connections with those who pass by (or sit on the other side of the window!).
Earlier this morning I felt very alive, heard, seen and loved in my fascination with the appearance and movements of snails in the garden. So many unique angles from which to experience them, especially as their bodies morphed with each subtle movement. And each snail was so different from the other.
Lately I’ve been noticing where I don’t feel heard, seen or loved by myself or parts of myself don’t feel heard, seen or loved by other parts. I notice when I don’t feel this towards myself, I seek that feeling externally from others. When I feel a longing to be heard, seen or loved by another, my practice now is to deepen my connections internally, inviting myself to be heard, seen and loved by myself. When I am connecting with myself in this way, I am more easily able to recognize and receive energy and attention from others.
A couple of days later…
This morning I deeply felt a longing for another to see and love me… in a particular way that I wanted to be seen and loved. I felt myself out of balance and needing attention…. so I set out on a walk. My intention– to experience the beauty around me and within me. My goal — to find a centered place within where I felt seen, heard and loved by myself. My hope — this practice would lessen the contraction and sense of woundedness that I was feeling in my longing for another to fill that need for me. It worked! Turning towards and embracing myself opened up so much more space for me to be present with and accepting of what was before me.