Alana: The reason Alana chose this as the first step in Discovering Your Authentic Self, is because self-awareness engages the heart. Willingness to be open, connect with one's passion, and having desire expands one's sense of self. This allows greater fulfillment to enter into one's life.
Essentially by affirming the pleasing, loving, delightful, and free-flowing qualities that exist within one's self, it assists in opening and shining light on the heart. This way a greater capacity to feel love, have love, and create love is achievable through this foundation, built upon awareness. Alana has always found that the first step in any type of personal-growth model embraces self-love. This is because it is the basis for creating a foundation that is necessary for any type of growth or healing to ever really occur.
Kirk: How would you reply to someone who might question why would we start a spiritual process with focusing in on our selves? Some people think that spirituality is not about self, but rather about focusing in on others.
Alana: Unless you can move into your center and ground in the present moment with love and clarity, it will be very difficult to ever give to another the qualities that equal one's capacity to share love. In other words, when we come from a full place, we are much more apt to give fullness.
Kirk: Thank you. There may be people who have difficulty with the process of identifying things that really seem special about them. Whether this is a process that they do in an hour or two, or just a few minutes, they may wonder what could be that special about themselves.
Alana: Alana suggests that they reflect back into their memory banks. They can begin by tracing through their life experiences. Perhaps they can go back to childhood and think of something they did or experienced that made them feel really good. Then they can proceed up the time line, perhaps to the age of eleven or twelve. They can look for situations that occurred in their life where a sense of contribution was felt.
Now they can go up the time line a little further, say to fourteen or fifteen. They can look for some kind of accomplishment or memory that sparks a good feeling. As they refresh their memories while relating to the time line--moving up to the present, celebrating the things they felt good about, and what was satisfying for them--this will ignite sparks of energy. This will act as a bridge, and they will be able to bring these acknowledgments into the present moment. This step is really about igniting one's "fireflies" that lie within. They can now flit (to stay with my firefly metaphor) into this present moment and spark creativity and imagination. This self-love step can become a foundational experience to catapult them into the discovery that this nine-step process wishes to ignite. Begin by affirming qualities within that have led to a sense of self-appreciation. This can help in building a self-love foundation.
Kirk: I think there might be some people that start to create their list, and then feel a bit of self-judgment or perhaps shyness. They may also feel that the qualities that they become aware of are not any big deal; that they're only small things.
Alana: The accumulation of small things are much more expressive on a consistent level than one huge thing. Here are a couple of examples: When a parent takes the time to tuck their children into bed at night. They kiss them on the cheek and tell them to have pleasant dreams. The love shared in that moment may seem insignificant and may seem matter-of-fact, but it is an affirmation. It is a dear connection. When a person makes sure that they say, "Hey, have a great day" before they hang up the phone, that statement may seem repetitive and unconscious, but really it is a blessing. These small gestures accumulate, and they are very significant expressions.
Kirk: I'd like to share an example Alana. Recently a small dove hit our window here in Hawaii. Sandy ran outside and found it laying on the ground unconscious. She placed her hands around it and sent it loving energy. When she could tell that it was still alive, she brought the bird into our home and put it in a box. Although I helped a little, Sandy took the lead in caring for the bird. At first this young dove couldn't even sit upright. But Sandy worked with the bird, gently helping it to trust her. She was able to feed and give it water several times a day. She would massage the bird's neck, and little body. Daily she helped the bird exercise. She would hold it in her lap, and helped it walk and flap its wings a bit more each day. The bird clearly enjoyed the healing attention. Eventually we were able to release the dove, and we were both thrilled as it soared off into the sky. I know Sandy felt very moved throughout this experience.
Using this example for the step one's "Take Time To Affirm Who You Are", if this memory came to Sandy's mind while she was doing the process, how would she translate this into the kinds of acknowledgments you are suggesting?
Alana: The value I first notice here is caring about all of life.
Kirk: So she may write, "I care about all living creatures."
Alana: Yes. She made a choice where to focus her time. She may have felt she had a lot of "shoulds" on her task list, but she chose to direct time to the life of this small bird. This tells us she discerned her priorities are often more impersonal than personal. This didn't mean that she placed love for the bird over love for herself. "Impersonal" does not mean "selfless". It expressed that nature may be more important to her than other things.
Kirk: So she might also write down something like, "Nature is important to me." Whatever comes into her mind, correct?
Alana: Yes. She may notice that greater fulfillment came into her being from helping the bird than perhaps doing something on her task list that could have financially supported her.
Kirk: Sandy has spoken to large groups, she has been on television, she has a web site that has received millions of page views from around the world. Those could be considered "big things". However no one knew about her encounter with this gentle dove. It wasn't something that would be considered a really big deal. So, anyone can look at their life and find things to acknowledge, it doesn't have to be anything that made the news!
Alana: That is correct dear one. When you go into Sandy's being and you feel the joy that came from the bird experience, that expanded the love within her more than what she may have received if she had been in front of a large group of people and received much applause or a large check afterward. These are the types of things that are really important to notice while working with step one.
Kirk: I hope this is encouraging for people while they are doing this process. That they know that there are no big things and there are no little things. If our heart is touched--even if no one knows or another person doesn't appear to be touched--that is what matters. This is because a lot of life is made of these little things. We can learn more about ourselves by acknowledging these everyday events.
Alana: Yes! This is what ignites the spark of self-love.