“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
“Instead of a punishing world, let’s turn it into a healing world. For every offense, for every moment of poor judgment, for every instance of human frailty, for every momentary lapse of reason, our first response is always to punish, that’s all we’ve ever known and nothing ever changes, and shit keeps getting worse. What if our desire to punish those who’ve stumbled into a dark pattern of wrong-doing is transformed into a desire to understand, to love…to heal? Would it be a more conscientious and hopeful world? Would there be more people living a life of peaceful and generous coexistence? Would there be more givers, and less takers?” Unknown
Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading
Who says that people do not care and that compassion does not have power to change lives. All it takes is just for each of us to do what we can where we are planted.
What really matters in our lives? What is worth our time and energy and what is just an illusion? None of these people may ever have fame or wealth. They may never be known, but they will be remembered. They will be remembered and loved for having made a difference in the lives of the people they lived amongst.