I could start this blog with a post about all my mundane basics, about my past struggles, my obstacles, or my “win’s” in life, but I won’t. I’d like to start with something near and dear to my heart, something I never thought I’d be able to feel or express in any kind of healthy way. I’d like to start with a post about love. Sitting on a bus full of rowdy kindergartners, I experienced a moment for love that was so beautiful that I was moved to tears. My past self would have been irritated and tense, overwhelmed by the noise of the children and not have felt any kind of connection at all with my daughter as she chattered excitedly about the farm animals we would be meeting when we arrived at our destination. I’d like to take a moment and explore love through my own perception, to hopefully highlight just how profound all small things can be.
Love can be a dirty word for some, spat out like an epithet with all the bitterness and bile of love gone wrong, love betrayed and misused, love that was full of manipulation and pain. These are great examples of love expressed in the negative. Love in its truest sense, has no real requirements, no limits, no boundaries save for the comfort level of those that experience it. This concept is demonstrated best after a child leaves home to live on their own, and how that changes the relationship after the illusion of interdependence is shed. Love is freedom in a way that most adults never experience, because by the time we are under our own power we no longer see or understand love in the innocent way a child does. We see love as manipulation, because that is what society agrees it is. You give me this thing, and the gesture means you love me this much. If you want to get married you propose with an expensive diamond ring, and anything else is not “good/big/expensive/insert other superlative” enough. A person won’t share love with you in a sexual manner unless you give “fill in the blank”. If you love me you will (or won’t) “fill in the blank”. Love in the adult world is full of exchanges laden in expectation and obligation. Where is the freedom in that?
Alternative lifestyles like Polyamory and open relationships are on the rise and have been getting lots of press in the last few years (shout out to San Diego’s own Kamala Devi and Showtime’s Polyamory). Why? What makes people turn to things like that? What would allow people to open up and try new things, to love with more perceived complication? Love opens up many things when expectation, obligation, and insecurity are made transparent and handled/processed in a healthy manner. When you awaken unto love as a state of being, all things become possible. Why? Simply because when you are full of love, nothing can be taken from you. Everything that is you can be shared with others at no cost to yourself. You are free to move as you please and will, taking into account the clearly set boundaries of self and others. The need for approval from anywhere other than self falls away, and what is revealed is joy.
From joy and love comes an ease of connection with trusted others. It is from this state of love and joy that some of my most profound moments of connection have come. How did I learn to experience love as a state of being? That could probably be a series of blog topics. To sum it up, I stopped judging myself and others so much and started accepting instead, and looked to myself as the generator of my emotions. Acceptance and allowing are the first steps to really loving something or someone. It is the process of looking at self with fewer and fewer judgments and criticisms and seeing what is there, not through a filter of fear/insecurity/attachment/past/insert your favorite blockage here. Just look and see it for what it is, as if it were outside yourself. I often was hyper critical of myself in self talk, the way I speak inside my head. Saying I don’t like things about myself is saying that there is something wrong with who I am. There is nothing wrong with me, I am just in my body. Experiencing. Growing. Evolving. I look again at myself and I see my body. As it is. I love those things I saw as “imperfection” because they are pieces of me, and I am worthy of love in all of its forms.
Here I was on my middle daughters first field trip to a farm. I was surrounded by rowdy kindergartners on a bus and she was so excited that she couldn’t stop asking questions. My middle daughter is very special. Special for many reasons, but the ones I speak of here are about behavior, mental capacity, and energy. She is a high energy child in a physically adventurous way, highly intelligent beyond her grade level, and very curious. She knows exactly what she wants, where she wants to go, and what she wants others to do, too. So, we were on this noisy bus and she, as always, was asking a million questions about animals and the farm. I only had so many answers for her. We arrived, explored, and learned together. I had this amazing time being a student along side her, for once on equal footing (sort of) and surrendering to the leadership of others for a time. Too soon, it was time to go. I sat next to her on the bus, with her near the window because me being the protector I am, I have to sit on the outside. She took my hand in her tiny one and rested her head on my shoulder, pretending to sleep. The noise of the chattering children and that of the rhythmic shifting of the Diesel engine fell away, and for the space of the 20 minute drive back to her school, we sat in silence. She lay heavily against my arm, completely relaxed and trusting, more quiet and still than I’d seen her in months. I stared straight ahead, lost to this rare moment of connection in which all the noise faded away, and all I could feel was the pulse of our hearts loving each other in silent communication. I wish I had better words to describe it, but I don’t. Time slowed down, and I was hyper aware of the weight of her hand in mine. In many ways I felt her energy like I used to when she was an infant, this tiny hurricane of intelligence and spunk held in the palm of my hand.
Suddenly, I was filled with acceptance and my heart felt so full, like it would burst into a geyser of joy and rain all over everyone riding with us. I felt my shoulders relax and suddenly tears slipped slowly down my cheeks. My heart was so full, I was so full of love that it had to spill over. Since I couldn’t share it, it spilled over through my eyes. So I sat, just feeling with my heart and sharing this moment of connection with my daughter. In those moments my frustrations and hurt feelings that had built over the last few weeks fell away, my resentments dissolved, and suddenly I could see her, my energetic, sensitive, little leader in the making. I loved her more deeply with my filters and responsibilities no longer blocking the way.
When I am in this state of love it is much easier to see her motivation for her actions and help her learn healthy ways to meet her own needs and to ask for help when she can’t. Being in this state of love helps me be a better parent and enhances all of my relationships. My goal is to have as many of those heart-full moments as possible. Those moments are priceless, and make life worth living.