The third section of the Revolutionary Love compass is ‘Breathe and Push‘ – a way through our pain to find the transition we long for. Using a birthing metaphor, we are reminded that we breathe and push, and then breathe and push again, that there is no way around but through.
Breathing brings us to ourselves and to the present moment – it creates space and time to be present to our body, our emotions, our surroundings and to one another. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing calms us, increases our capacity for choice over how to respond. It increases our awareness and our resilience. “Breathing creates space in our lives to think and see differently, enliven our imagination, awaken to pleasure, move towards freedom and let joy in.” In this sense, breathing and loving ourselves is a revolutionary act, asserting that we are worthy, no matter what.
This invitation is to breathe and push through grief, rage and trauma to find healing, forgiveness and even reconciliation. There are times when we need to push, to go deeper, and times when we need to breathe, to rest and recover. There is so much more information now about how trauma is stored in the body, how bringing back awareness to those places in us we have shut off is an act of loving ourselves, the whole of ourselves. Part of this push is to step towards forgiveness and maybe even reconciliation, when we feel able, not to forget but to find freedom from hate.
The final stage in this birthing metaphor is ‘transition’: “Transition feels like dying but is the stage that precedes the birth of new life.”. Valarie talks about the pain, and the voice of fear inside that says ‘I can’t’, that wants to give up… and the voice of wisdom inside (or from others) that says ‘You are brave’. In most of us the inner critic voices are constant* – the voices of fear, judgement and cynicism that try to protect us and keep us small. And in time we can also tune into a wiser voice – internal wisdom, growing in presence and clarity as we learn to tune in and trust it. Both of these are part of us, and we can choose to spend time listening to people who are speaking from their deepest wisdom.
*I highly recommend Claus Springboard’s book ‘Disengaging from inner criticism‘ if you feel stuck around how.
In learning to love ourselves, to love others, and to love our opponents, we are taking a step towards transforming our relationships, our community, and even our nation and beyond. This is a radical, joyful way to practice and live, “a practical guide to changing the world”.
I have found so much joy and wisdom in the ‘Revolutionary Love Project‘ and in the ‘See No Stranger’ book, and am curious to explore with others, as community, in our local contexts. If you are inspired by this too, please get in touch.