February is a month of the heart...both our physical heart evidenced by very important public health campaigns such as the Go Red for Women initiative by the American Heart Association; as well as the metaphorical heart...the heart of love and compassion. Often we think of love as simply the commercial accoutrements of Valentine's Day with roses and chocolates, but can we think of it as much more? How do we create a culture of compassion and empathy for ourselves and others? Now that the Hallmark day of love has passed, I thought I would share this poem by Derek Walcott that touches upon the very difficult task of compassion for self. I have included an audio clip of Jon Kabat-Zinn reading the poem....enjoy!
What does the poem mean to you? How have you included compassion for self into your day to day life? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!
Love After Love
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.