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The Feminine

My struggle with (self) love

​Ioana here, eager to share with you something very personal; something that’s been sort of a life theme for me, for many, many years—my struggle with (self) love

Remember my past entry where I revealed my intention for this month? If you missed it, you can always find it here.

In short, what I intended for October was to tap into the energy of sensuality, comfortable with having no clue to what it means or to what would eventually come out of it.

The only things I knew I had to release were any expectations or judgements and allow, instead, the feminine energy to fill all the cracks of my soul and the splinters of my body.

Here’s what happened next.

Love kicked in.

Allow me to walk you through the whole story.

If you listen to any of The Feminine #Uncut Podcasts you’d probably hear me roaring a story of a failed romance. That’s because failing on (self) love was, beyond question, my life theme.

It went like this. All my short and long relationships with men were crazily unbalanced.

Every single time I fell in love, he fell out of love; or conversely, every time he fell in love, I fell out of love. No exception.

All my romances seemed to be inspired by a Russian novel where some sort of tragedy was on the point of occurring at the turning of the next page.

This scenario created a lot of friction. It slowly got me in a dark place, making me lose faith in the possibility of love. I was always tired, caught in a web of existential questions that fed my shadows and consolidated my distrust in both love and life (which I eventually found to be the exact same thing).

Feeding your shadows might lead you towards instant gratification and some sort of excitement and validation. But it never lasts and when it ends, the pain always grows bigger.

Self love and soul care.

Before meeting Oana I had already experimented with many methods. I did everything right except for one thing—I never tapped into the source of the problem.

I trained myself well in learning how to do damage management, but this is tricky, because it keeps you in the loop. It’s like being on survival mode: living, but never fully alive.

When I asked Oana why this happens, she gave me the same answer, over and over again—”because you don’t love yourself”.

Thus, she subtly indicated the origin of my never-ending trouble.

“But what does self love even mean?!”. I wondered. 😏

Here’s Oana’s take on that:

“There is a saying: ‘you love the others as much as you love yourself’. How could you love another more? This actually means that our capacity to love needs to be more than something driven by instinct. When we fall in love it’s just instinct, chemistry, potential. But as we move forward, we have to ‘meet’ the other. And we won’t be able to truly meet him and accept him as he is, in his full greatness and with his shadows, unless we have walked the exact same path of acceptance and vulnerability with ourselves. Most often, the path to (self) love resides in knowing ourselves and in understanding what we need, on an emotional level. Love is not a concept; it’s an experience anchored in our lives through gestures and actions.​​”

Since 2016, I’ve been of this quest. What is self love? How does it relate to love? How should I authentically practice self love and soul care?

For a long period of time, nothing happened. Pain hit back many times. But I rested resilient.

And then it happened.

When Oana challenged us to pick something we want to transform in our lives and work within intention to see how it reconstructs, I was in a good place.

I’ve been spending the last months enjoying an array of self-care rituals.

My levels of anxiety dropped. I started to eat healthier, sleep longer and generally worried less. I acquired more clarity and felt closer to my life mission (whatever that means). I got more drive.

When I picked sensuality as an intention, I had no idea how it would look like or what to expect.

I *somehow* thought I would spend even more time taking care of myself, eating even healthier, sleeping longer and worrying less and less. Overall, it felt alright.

Then, bam! I suddenly and unexpectedly fell in love.

During the first days following the unforeseen encounter, I didn’t even know what the hack was happening to me.

It felt nothing similar to the games I used to play before—the adrenaline, the strategies, the need to validate. Au contraire, I am scared like hell and torn between opposing sentiments; anxiety hit back and the only thing I honestly feel like doing is run away and hide in a cave in Siberia.

Shaken to the bone, I did this—I closed my eyes and sunk in the Sacred Space of my heart asking on repeat: “is this right for me?”

And I’m doing the same thing right now, while writing to you.

I retrieved from the world, in the Sacred Space of my heart, cultivating deep silence and stillness.

I honour not knowing what to do next. I trust the opening and the closing of my heart. I breathe with feeling unsafe and fragile. And I have faith that the right answer will surface, at exactly the right time.

Here’s what Oana replied after I told her the whole shabam.

“Love is always dangerous, my dear. You have to risk everything to gain it. But in the risking lies the greatness. How else would you feel truly alive?​”

So, THAT’s what intention and Sacred Space brought to me.

And if you asked me to break down my whole experience in four small pieces, I would describe it like this:

– it never looks how you expected;

– you are never 100% ready;

– feminine energy is a miracle;

– making it work requires growing up—like really growing up.

I will certainly keep you posted with how the story unfolds, but in the meantime I am super curious to learn something about YOU.

What’s your story of (self) love? What are you struggling with? I know it might not come in handy to share something so personal, but trust me with this—the healing of your soul starts with sharing inside a sacred circle. So, have faith and take a feminine leap of faith now. ❤️🙏

In love and sisterhood,

Ioana

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