Today is the start of my year for learning to love.
Today is a good day to start. Today is better than tomorrow and yesterday I wasn’t ready.
I don’t want to admit it, but yesterday I was not ready to commit myself to love. I was afraid. And I believed my own lies.
All of my life I have been a “happy” person. A “fun” person. A “people” person. I knew love. I have loved many people and they have loved me back.
But I can see another dimension of love, as if through a keyhole — a sliver of peace and joy and yes, LOVE. A deep and un-encumbered love. A love that seems much different from the love I have experienced.
Happiness, fun, love and all that have always been around me, near me, valuable, have somehow never been steady or reliable.
The more I have grasped for them, the more quickly they have slipped through my fingers. My intuition has felt spotty when I look for love and peace. I have never truly trusted myself to follow the right path.
I have had failed relationships, romantic and otherwise. I have divorced. I have lost best friends in painful breakups. I have struggled with co-workers and bosses who never seem to appreciate me or value me in a ways that connect to my own value system. I have few close friends. And the hardest of all — I have failed to love myself and trust myself and accept myself.
I look around me and I see this pattern everywhere in my life and in my work. I see myself flailing and failing and hiding and blaming. I point out what is wrong with others while claiming to build possibility. I forget that I cannot build and tear down at the same time. I find fault. I magnify cracks and small flaws. I judge and berate. I assume the malicious intent when someone lets me down or hurts me.
I do all of this because I have lost meaningful contact with love. My connection to love is filled with static. When I communicate with love I only hear one word in twenty. The radio is broken. And so I make it up because I do not know how to re-establish the connection. I am disconnected from the most important influence of my lifetime. Love.
Love is a path, not a destination.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says: Love is like a river. The immense power and capacity of the river allows it to receive a handful of salt, and another handful of salt, and still be drinkable and usable. The river can absorb and process the stressors of the environment because it continually replenishes itself. Love is like that river, able to replenish itself. Full flowing love is able to respond to stressors without all the struggle.
For the last 40 years my ability to deal with the painful reality of the world has been more like a glass of water, only able to handle a small portion of bad stuff at a time. If someone pours a handful of salt in my glass, it is undrinkable for days. I must work very hard to clean out the salt or find new water. I feel overwhelmed. I feel panicked and fearful that another handful of salt will come my way. Over time, I have slowly and painfully grown my glass of water to a larger vessel with more capacity to endure. But that is not really working.
I want more, but I am stuck in my old ways.
I am ready to drop the damn glass and dive into the river.
LOVE LOVE LOVE
I am ready for love. And that path to love can only start with me.
(Although it never starts with me because love does not come from me, but simply through me. Love is all around me and it swirls through the field of life. I simply need to open my doors and windows, like spring cleaning, and let the love flow through.)
I am ready to forgive.
To forgive myself for the many times I have lied to myself.
To forgive myself for being too afraid.
To forgive myself for being too proud.
To forgive myself for not listening to my own true voice.
To forgive myself for judging harshly and assuming the worst.
To forgive others for all of the same, and so much less.
And after I forgive, I am ready to build and rebuild.
I am ready to believe.
To believe in my own enoughness.
To believe that together, we can.
To believe that I can smile firsts, offer first, and hug first.
To believe that I can apologize first and forgive first.
To believe that I can give in and the love will be there.
To believe we are all one.
To believe I can ask for help and help will come.
To believe I do not have to front and lie and put my best foot forward.
To believe that I am valuable, right now, without having PROVED anything to anyone — even myself.
Today I commit myself to believe in love and to nourish love in my life, above all else.
Love is a channel that grows as I use it. The more I use it — the more it will expand to meet the use. I have a vision of myself as wide open channel, a river, which flows steadily with love and acceptance and possibility. There will always be stressors, but they are no more than a handful of salt tossed in a river, swept and away and absorbed harmlessly.
Love has always been there. I am ready to meet it and be open for the first time in a long time.