15 Love Letters for You
"May You Be Safe," "May You Be Healthy," "May You Feel the Devotion of Your Heart" are just a few of the titles from the "Written in Flowers" series releasing Friday, April 16th at 4 pm MT. These paintings and their titles take their origin in lovingkindness practice and the Victorian meanings of flowers. After a year of cancellations, financial disaster, societal outrage, and loss, flowers and a loving relationship with ourselves and communities seem to be what we all need.
Lovingkindness practice is a form of metta prayer: metta, a word from the Pali language that translates to benevolence, boundless friendliness, and goodwill. Metta uses recitation of silent phrases to open the heart and cultivate a friendly attitude. Typically the practice begins with reciting phrases to the self.
"May I feel safe.
May I be free from pain.
May I be well.
May my life unfold in peace and ease."
Following reciting these phrases to the self, enlarge the circle to include someone close to you, like a partner or dear friend. The words are recited again with the partner in mind. Next, expand the circle to include a co-worker or acquaintance and repeat the phrases. And finally, enlarge the sphere to encompass a stranger or difficult person.
Interestingly, Americans struggle to wish themselves wellness, peace, and ease, likely the result of our self determinate culture. To overcome this obstacle, imagine an treasured intimate sending you the well-wishes contained in the phrases. Do your best to visualize the person as they speak these words to you. It has the effect of opening your heart to a tender, open place, allowing you to connect with others more effectively.
To learn more about this practice, visit meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg on the web, where she guides you through lovingkindness practice and shares tons of resources to get you started. To see the paintings that are part of my lovingkindness practice meant for all of you, come back here on Friday at 4 pm MT. May you be at peace, and feel the love contained in my little love letter- paintings sent to all of you.