“There were thousands and thousands of forms of joy in the world, but that all were essentially one and the same, namely, the joy of being able to love.” Michael Ende
Here is my heart. I am reaffirming that I intend to invest it into my life and the people that I interact with. It is the best part of who I am. When I can put aside all the noise that distracts me from listening, it speaks to me of truth and hope. It always leads me to the light.
Someday, I hope to be worthy of the heart that I was given, that I might be able to live a life totally devoted to its well-being, but for now, all I can do is to reaffirm that I am working on it. I care about the world around me. I care about the people in it. I care about my friends and family. I care about you.
Someday we may live in a world where everyone lives by the wisdom of their hearts. We might care for one another, support on another, encourage each person to be and do everything they possibly can. It will probably not happen in my lifetime but I do know, unless I do my part here and now, it will never happen.
So, I intend to love. I intend to love even when I am faced with a world filled with hate. I intend to love the unloved and to lift them up in any way I can. I will continue to allow myself to feel love, even when it is so intense that it moves me to tears. Sometimes that experience is one of beauty, but often it is one of great pain. When I see others suffer, I feel so deeply that I know that it is love building a bridge between their experience and mine. There is no separation when love is the bridge that connects us all. We should never be afraid to open ourselves to truly understand other people’s lives. Without that bridge, we are all just weapons that will eventually affect war on each other.
So here is my Valentine’s heart. It is not the love of romance. It is a love more abiding. It is love with connection, with compassion, and with healing. I want to love the world. I want to feel that I am loved in return. I want this for all of us.
“Misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred are the roots of terrorism. They cannot be located by the military, nor reached by bombs and missiles, because they lie in the hearts of human beings. To uproot terror, we need to begin by looking at our own hearts. We don’t need to destroy each other, either physically or psychologically. Only by calming our minds and looking deeply inside ourselves will we develop the insight to identify the roots of terrorism. With compassion and communication, terrorism can be uprooted and transformed into love.” Thich Nhat Hanh
In the light of all that is happening in the world, I find myself sitting alone. Off in the distance, I can hear the arguing. I am shocked at the raw emotions of people stripped back of all social pretence. We are an incredibly ugly, unkind people when we are wounded and backed into a corner.
I think I expected more. I expected better.
I am trying to hold on to my belief that this too has meaning that will find its way to a better place and it is just my smallness that cannot see. Forgive me for that.
Instead, I offer a few findings that speak to my heart, and perhaps will do the same for yours. Continue reading
“Self expression is a mirror we make to see our souls. If we cannot express ourselves, we lose sight of who we are. Fear stutters our self expression. Fear of failing, fear of being wrong. Fear of not being enough. The thorn of self criticism, sharpened with comparison, lodges in the side of our creativity, and the unique poetry we are stops singing. But there is no wrong way to be you. Practise non-violence towards yourself by letting go of comparison. Cultivate kindness wherever you meet doubts and fears. Acceptance draws the thorn out: acceptance of our unique perfection, of all the threads—the light and dark, mismatched colours and frayed ends—that weave together to make us so. With acceptance comes love, and love kisses the wound closed.” Quiet Lotus
We all have our own stories to tell of our childhood, some more damaging than others. I am still struggling to put together the words that can move the darkness of my childhood into the light, where I can finally and ultimately let it go and set myself free.
Sometimes it is difficult to do that, especially when so much effort was made to keep it all hidden.
But sometimes, it is easy to get stuck on the pain and to allow our anger or our sense of victimhood to wrap around us as if it were our very skin. We get lost. We forget who we are, and without the very people who were supposed to love, nurture and protect us, there is no-one to hold on to the memory of who we once were. Parents are meant to do that. They are meant to know and understand who we are and to hold that for us while we travel physically and emotionally through life, struggling to find ourselves. They are meant to be the touchstone of our lives that pull us back to the mirror where they say, “See, you are beautiful. You are capable. You are Loved.”
Somewhere in the forest of pain and sorrow that littered my growing up, I grew 8 ft tall and I stepped up to parent myself. I am not saying that I did everything perfectly. I doubt I did much of anything perfectly, but I did survive. Continue reading