This is a story I’ve told a few times, but I’ve never really put it in writing. Hopefully someone somewhere might get something from it. The lessons here have helped me beyond measure.

I had gone out with my girlfriend, Angie, for 2 ½ years, and she was now ready to go solo. Being a pretty passionate guy, my understanding of love was that it was something eternal – something you didn’t just turn on and off like a light switch. To me, the strength with which I tried to hold our love together was no different than the degree of faith I had in love itself – which was infinite. So I held on. For dear life, I held on, making it very difficult for her to follow her chosen way.

Eventually, the walls of my world literally started crumbling in from all directions. Not only was I losing her, but I was being kicked out of college, brought into court, turned against by most everyone – people who had never met me and others who should have known better. It was as if the whole world had turned against me. For years, I had been working to understand myself in deeper and deeper ways and had finally reached a point of pure innocence where I was at my most vulnerable. I was literally like a child and the world around me was filled with venom. In this process I had become wounded. I could trust no one. Every moment was sheer agony.

At a certain point, it came down to survival. I was either going to get through this or I wasn’t.

When I was just about at my lowest, I spoke with my mother on the phone. She told me that when she did things to help others, it made her feel better. That sounded like the worst advice I could imagine hearing. I was barely able to breathe my life was so miserable and she was suggesting I help others? How could there possibly be worse timing?

In an attempt to understand my situation, I started doing a series of drawings with my left hand (I’m right handed), which looked very much like a child’s drawings. I drew Angie and all the love that radiated from her to me. As the series continued, eventually, I saw that the source of this light was behind her and that I was actually dying from the lack of light getting to me because of her position. I saw that the real problem was that I didn’t love myself and depended on her as my source of love.

Before meeting Angie, I had known love in the deepest of ways, but through Angie I had first truly learned what it meant to be loved back. This kind of love was nourishing and good. It was life itself and my fear in her leaving was that my source of love itself was going away.

As I understood that what I really wanted was love and not so much Angie, it gave me the perspective to try something different.

On the walls of my apartment, I created a large sign that said, “I Love Myself!” I didn’t mean it, but I wrote it anyway. I repeated the phrase “I Love Myself, I Love Myself, I Love Myself, …” over and over again. Hundreds of times. Thousands of times. Tens of thousands of times. Still, I didn’t really mean it, but I wanted to mean it, and so I kept saying it. It took a while, but eventually I started to believe it.

blueskies_2Taking my mother’s suggestion to heart, I formed something I called “The Love Club.” I told no one about it and invited no one to join. It was a group with one member only, and my purpose was to go out into the world and do one act of love completely anonymously each day. So I started. One day, I would take a plastic bag, walk down the street and fill it with trash. The next day, I might write a letter to my grandfather, or leave a little money for someone to find. Every day, I would pick something.

As I continued to repeat “I Love Myself” and perform daily acts of anonymous kindness, something within began to radically shift. I was quickly transformed from a depressed, wounded soul, to a radiant, energetic being at the top of his game. The world around me turned golden, and my karma just seemed to shoot through the roof.

Anyway, as with all stories, they continue on and on as life is an endless thread. This recipe is still there and it still works. Anytime I start feeling bad, I just remind myself that I indeed love myself. And now I really mean it. After all, at the core we are all as sacred as anything that ever was. As soon as you learn to understand that this sacredness indeed is who you are, you have no choice but to love yourself. You are the purity of the Heavens. You are the Light itself. You are the Infinite.

And do those anonymous acts of kindness! Perhaps there is no better, quicker way to grow in spirit.

Wishing you blue skies…