Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reunited and It Feels so Good!

Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Veronica A. Shoffstall

Last week I ran into an old friend. I was eating dinner with my sister Emily at an awesome local Thai restaurant, when she came in. I felt her presence several moments before I actually saw her. She was radiant…full of light and just as I remember her from long ago…filled to the brim with unconditional love.

I knew her back when I was a kid. She was a kid too…but somehow always seemed a bit wiser…there was a grace about her…a word I wouldn’t have used then to label her, but an ease that just made everyone around her feel comfortable, safe and warm.

In sixth grade we parted ways. I began to heed the voices of the outside world…seeking the love I thought was missing from my life…in things, people and circumstances. During that process, she slipped from my life, as quietly as she came into it. Over the course of my sixth grade year, she would occasionally check in with me…humbly, patiently and without force…just a reminder that she was still my friend and always there for me should I need her.

Finally, in seventh grade, she disappeared altogether. I might occasionally think of her and receive in my thoughts a dim memory of our connection, but quickly I would redirect myself to the pull of adolescence and the rules of growing up.

When I was fifteen, I started running, first with my Mom and then by myself. It was during those solo runs that my ‘recalls’ of her began to escalate. Inevitably, somewhere during a six mile run, I would hear her voice--quiet, strong and loving. It was as if she and I were running together through the woods: in autumn, listening to our feet on red and dying leaves; in winter, feeling wet snow on our eyelashes; in spring, hearing the first call of cricket’s at sunset; and in summer, smelling the sweat of humid noon. At run’s end, I would with bittersweet tug of heart, leave my memory of her along with my running shoes on the back porch and head straight into my house of things, people, circumstances…hoping that somewhere in there I would find happiness, contentment and satisfaction. Somewhere in that house of pretty is as pretty does I would surely find the love I had felt when I was with her and would recall so sweetly during my time on the trails…the kind of unconditional love that heals, inspires and reveals our own brilliance.

When I was giving birth to my children, she dropped me a quick “Hello, I love you” kind of connection. Her words would sound out frequently in my thoughts, especially during those precious mother-moments of nursing, changing diapers and babies taking first few steps.

The first season of Girls on the Run, I ran into her enough that I began to think it a bit odd. I would see her while I coached. She would run by in a blur and call out my name from across the track. We would wave and for the hour I was with my girls I could feel her love rain down upon me, as if she was there. Her warmth was infinite and her presence was felt even though only in my memory of her.

So, when she walked into the restaurant and sat down with me and my sister, to stay for while, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I had become increasingly aware of her presence and I had thought of her frequently. She had been a significant part of my life, even though I hadn’t told her so. She had been a source of strength for me…a reminder of love’s power and its ability to nourish joy…pull it up from seed to stem to blossom.

When she sat down to join us, I remember feeling for the first time in many, many years, the way I felt when I was friends with her back in elementary school. My heart felt as if it would lift right out of my chest and the immense amount of energy I felt was clearly palpable and present to those around me, particularly my sister.

The love I felt from her and for her was like a tidal wave washing through every cell of my body, each beat of my heart rising and falling with the joy of our reunion. When dinner was over, we walked out together, drove my sister back to her hotel and chatted some more. I poured my soul out to her, the fears I had felt for so long--the longing I had deep down in my soul for love and tenderness toward self and how elusive my search had been in outside sources…the frustrations I kept coming up against, trying to find it in people, things and even at times my work at Girls on the Run.

She held me close…that kind of embrace where loves flows from spaces never touched to those never known…and then she whispered.

“I’m so glad you let me back into your life. You know? I’ve always been here. I’ve always loved you. Always.”

Her name? Her name is Molly. She is the one who is with me now…right here inside…one in the same...unconditionally loving herself…right here, right now…as I am.

Her Love.

What does unconditional self-love look like and feel like to you? Do you give it to yourself? What holds you back from giving it to yourself? Fear? Anger? Messages you received from the the boxes you allow to confine you? Why Is self-love important? What do you think?


  1. Molly - what a thought-provoking post - this is one I'll be contemplating long after today. Unconditional self-love feels so elusive to most of us, but it's always right there, just waiting to be accepted, isn't it? Your post was a delightful reminder.

  2. Molly,

    Wow! What a poignant, beautiful post. When I was struggling in college with some issues that many of us girls face, I was told "If your child self could see you right now, what would she think?"
    That hit me like a ton of bricks. I would never want my child-self to see what I had become at that point. I would be ashamed for her to see how I was treating myself. Today, I feel much different and I know what unconditional self-love is.

    This post is brilliant.

    I attended a GOTR training this past weekend & they showed us videos of you. With tears in my eyes I said to myself silently "you are beautiful Kate."

    Thank you for all you do, Molly.

  3. Why is it that both of you have brought tears to my eyes...right this very minute? Is it because we have some regret for all the years of lost self-love? I tend to think it has more to do with recognizing that the love we have for self connects each of us to each other and is a very, very powerful force that cannot be put into words but only felt in our hearts and emotions. Thanks to both of you for your comments.

  4. This was such a wonderful post, and an amazing reminder for the continued importance of self-love. It's one of those things that I tend to throw on the back burner, because I think that once I've "achieved" it, it's no longer an issue, but I love the idea of looking at yourself as a friend, loving and supportive, through all of the trials and tribulations of every day life. Thank you.

  5. You are definitely welcome!!!

  6. Oh, Molly, this was beautiful. Thank you for feeling things so acutely, for sharing them so vividly, for living in the light. you are loved, R