LOVE. It's what makes the world go round. And, I think it's time to EVOLVE our ideas about love- to engage with it in a more truthful way, and what it all really means. There is one BIG thing that I have learned to be TRUE about LOVE and it's pretty simple actually. But I wanted to share it as we traverse this cultural V-Day holiday.
The Truth about love is that the more you love, honor and respect yourself, the happier and healthier you will be. And, in effect, then better equipped to offer love outward toward your intimates, your community and your world. And although this is not rocket science, putting it into practice can take some time (often years), learning, stumbling, and effort.
Over the course of the past couple of years, I have really dug deep into, and tried to change, unhealthy patterns of living and loving. Sometimes I wanted to rip my hair out, sometimes I I felt like, 'WHY ME?' Other times I berated myself with thoughts like, 'Why can't this just be easy?' or 'Am I the only one having a hard time with this?' And then the 'come to Jesus' moments, when you finally surrender to your own soul and that still, gentle quiet voice within that has been with you all along. That has been waiting for you to pause, take a deep breath, and admit that you have been blown way off course and need so desperately to come back home (to you).
In essence, I have had to learn to love and respect myself enough to:
* Discern when I have strayed far off my path and the connection with myself.
* Allow life to flow, rather than grasping or clinging.
* Walk away from unhealthy relationships even when I 'love' that person.
* Speak my truth.
* Learn about my needs, wants, desires, fears, hopes and dreams.
* Forgive myself when I have made unhealthy choices and then just try to get back on track.
For many years, I found myself in very painful relationship cycles and experience deep loneliness (at times) in my intimate partnerships. Lately I have realized another Truth about LOVE. That this loneliness was not a result of disconnection from my partner, but a result of the disconnection with myself. The lack of integrity and connection with my own heart and soul was causing a huge rift of despair and isolation. I realized that no amount of people (even a crowed room full of people who loved me) could make me feel happy and at ease, if I was not at ease in my own soul. No partner could make me feel loved, if I was not loving my own sweet heart and being.
So, I have spent a few years forging a NEW relationship and intimacy with myself that feels so darn good. It's almost like the most beautiful love story every written, but it's not a story of romantic love between two 'in love' people. It's the deep abiding true love and connection that I have cultivated with my own heart. It's the commitment I have made to myself to:
* Keep loving myself through it all.
* Listen to the signals my body is giving me around what it likes, dislikes, needs & wants.
* To never again ignore my own heart for 'another'.
* Be my own best friend and SOUL-mate.
* Stay open to only the connections (platonic and intimate) that feed my soul.
* To forgive the past and move on with grace & compassion.
In essence, I think I've realized that the secret to LOVE- and to health, happiness and freedom- is to become your own best SOULmate first. Love Your Soul First. That was the title an article I read many many moons ago that deeply resonated with me. Just that simple statement speaks volumes. And, to know that as we hum along in that magical self-loving vortex, we will attract just the right people, partners, friends, and situations that are a reflection of that deep self-love within.
Happy V-Day Everyone! From my HEART to yours-
LOVE AFTER LOVE
by Derek Walcott:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.