Phew, I’ve been getting hundreds of Ask Erik submissions from you guys, and most of them are so creative and thought-provoking. Most of the time, I don’t reply. I just add each submission to the rest of the accepted ones. I will tell you when you send one to me that doesn’t really fit the “qualifications.” Almost all of them have.
I also want to thank you for supporting Erik and me and our efforts by purchasing the book, eBook, or audiobook. It means a lot to us to know that all of this hard work and expense is allowing something wonderful to unfold. If you haven’t bought the book yet, please do, even if only to pass it along to someone in need. Perhaps someone you care about has recently lost someone. Maybe someone you know is clinging to life. Maybe a stranger sitting by you on the subway looks lost. You’ll know, in your heart, who needs help, whether it’s you or someone else. Here’s where to buy MY SON AND THE AFTERLIFE.
Jamie: Erik says, “Hi.” He’s very animated. This is just the morning!
Me: I know! The day is young! All right, Erik, we’re going to talk about some pretty heavy subjects here. First, how can we learn to love others?
Erik: How can we learn to love ourselves? You have to be able to give to yourself to give to others. That’s the general rule. It doesn’t fit every single time cuz, remember, when we’re talking about emotions—
Jamie (snickering): He’s getting frustrated. He can’t find the word he wants.
Erik: You know, it’s spiritual stuff, but it’s not defined as spiritual stuff, like faith and all that shit. When we look at that, we can only speak of it loosely and in general because not everybody’s story is going to fit. That’s why sometimes it absolutely sucks to follow this path because, for some humans, it’s just so simple to be told, “Sit like this; eat like this; do like this, and it’ll get this outcome.” But, hell, that’s not why we dove back into bodies and fell to Earth, is it?
Jamie: Hm. He makes it sound like such a ride.
Me: And it is.
More like having the e-ticket in Disneyland.
Erik: When you look at loving yourself—
Jamie: I told him maybe he could just tell us the top three things in general that would work well, and he said, “Okay.”
Erik: Compassion. Definitely compassion, and compassion isn’t that bullshit thing people do so they get a reward or something back. Compassion is just something that instantaneously comes. You give it, and it’s to make you or the whole, whatever’s around you, better.
Jamie: He’s rambling. He’s talking about the natural instinct in kids that, even as babies—babies like, um, six months, eight months. They’re sitting up and all chubby. (Jamie chuckles.) I love babies!
Me: Me too!
Well, I did have five of them. Little did I know they’d eventually become teenagers. There were times I wondered why I didn’t just get five kittens instead.
Jamie: He told me that even they get happy and satisfied when they see someone do something good for someone else.
Erik: It’s an innate response, and it’s not just in the human race. It’s in all living creatures, even trees and plants. We just don’t (Pause here as Jamie hesitates and smiles) slow down enough to be able to see it.
Me (chuckling): He just dropped the f-bomb, and you circumvented it! I know! I can tell!
Jamie laughs and claps her hands together, blushing.
Jamie (still blushing): I gotta quit that pause. Maybe I can fool you. Okay, so (she composes herself and continues.)
Erik: So, compassion is one of the ways that we can learn to love ourselves. Now, the second one I think is the most important for anyone: Just be with what you have. That doesn’t rob you from setting goals; it doesn’t rob you from wanting change or shifts or dreams. Be with what you have. It makes you be in the Now. Most—
Jamie (looking puzzled): He said, “Most living creatures,” and I was like, ‘So that goes beyond humans?’ And he said, “Yes.”
Erik: It includes the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom. We have to prepare for what’s to come whether it’s weather or relationship issues or financial goals. That’s all well and good, but when it comes to emotional qualities, you have to stay with what you have. You can’t stand on what’s coming in three days. You can’t even touch it because it’s not there! You have to be in what you have. I can’t stress that enough. It’s a huge part. And I think, if we’re speaking in general, the next one would be respect. And I—
Jamie: He’s pausing.
Erik: I think it’s fucked up when a lot of people will redefine or mis-define respect, and they’ll use it in a vengeful way. Like let’s say one of their buddies got hurt by this other guy. Then they’re going to “respect” their buddy by hurting that guy. That’s not how it works. When I’m talking about the term “respect,” I mean it in a way that supports the best in a situation, the best emotional outcome. Not the right, not the wrong. I’m talking about just the best, and you know you have the best when you have no regret and no doubt, right? You just feel like you’re totally rooted. Then when someone asks you how you feel, you can say you’re totally happy and that you wished there was a better word for it, and when people ask you, “What drug are you on?” you say, “Life, man. Life.”
Jamie cracks up.
Me: That’s so sappy, but it’s true!
He gets that from me.
Erik: I’ll be working for Hallmark next week.
Me (giggling): Oh, god. Anything else?
Erik: Nope. That’s what I have to say about self-love.
By the way, I plan on getting a lot more details on this very important subject in the upcoming sessions I’m using for the book. These won’t ever be published on the blog. Until I’m finished getting everything I need for the book, there’s a chance that I might need to cut down the posts to three days a week if it looks like I’m running out of material to post. I doubt that will be necessary, but I just want to keep you in the loop about book #2!