“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”—Martin Luther King Jr

In honor of MLK Day, I’d like to invite you to practice loving yourself. If that sounds like a little too much, try simply taking better care of yourself or focusing on your personal well-being. The more you do this, the more you’ll have to give others.

I’d like to suggest this could lead to social change. This may sound like a stretch but stay with me here. Metta is a Buddhist word, which has been translated as loving-kindness, friendliness, and benevolence. It’s about taking an active interest in the well-being of others.

We practice this when we volunteer our time to community organizations and offer donations to charities that hold meaning for us. We also practice this to varying degrees throughout the normal course of daily activities. We are polite to the cashier in the grocery store even when the person in front of us runs back for an extra item. We help a co-worker when they make a mistake rather than ‘throw them under the bus.’ We take a deep breath when our child remembers they didn’t finish their homework 10 minutes before they need to leave for school.

In order to make these kinds of choices throughout the day we must feel energized and centered. Mindfulness practice helps us do this. We strengthen our ability to expand this friendliness out to those we love, to friends and acquaintances, and to those who are part of our daily lives. Eventually we become able to send benevolence to strangers, even enemies, and ultimately all beings. Here’s the reality, whether we mean to or not, we affect each other every day.

I’d like to share this version of the Loving-Kindness Meditation in honor of Martin Luther King Jr:

May I be happy.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be free from inner and outer harm.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

I invite you to consciously focus on your own well-being. The bottom line is that the world needs you to be as healthy as possible and to light up your light. Clearly there’s a trickle out affect and it begins with each of us right here, right now.

Breathing with you,