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From Leunig–Australia’s kindest philosopher

Recently I learned (or learned for the 1,000th time) a Be Kind to Yourself lesson.

If you’re like me, you don’t learn these vital life lessons easily. This is why long life can be a good thing. Because you can buy a little more time, and hopefully more wisdom.

Recently I was on a two-day boat trip with nine other people. After the first day, one of the passengers got on my nerves. Seriously. A sailing boat doesn’t have much room for seclusion. Or would you want to isolate yourself in one of the most paradisal waterways in the world?

However, I did do a time-out in our tiny cabin. Just long enough to realise that I needed to send this apparently annoying person a big lashing of loving kindness. As I began to see her in a more kindly light, I realised how she and I were alike. Buggah, I thought. 

What followed next in my meditation was an outpouring of love toward myself. It happened as naturally as the sunrise, a gift. Afterward, I could rejoin the group, not avoiding anyone, and rather than sulking, enjoying paradise.

I came across this image of one the most popular sculptures from this year’s Burning Man festival. It’s aptly named, ‘Love’, by Ukranian artist, Alexander Milov.

Wire frame sculpture of two adults sitting back to back with two children inside reaching out to each other.

From the Burning Man festival 2016

To me, it represents the dilemma all of us humans are in. We separate ourselves with our wiry adult exteriors. But inside, our small selves are desperately trying to reach out to each other. Sometimes in backassward ways, but nevertheless, all we really want is love.

So, as we travel the coastal and back roads of Oz in our camper trailer, I’m practising essential yoga. Not so much the classic yoga postures or breathing exercises, but rather that first precept: be kind to yourself.