I have found myself recently in my work repeatedly being drawn to share a story of something that happened to me when I was three to four years of age, an incident that may well be my earliest memory. My father is standing chest deep in the waters of the local swimming pool to which we belonged, and it is dusk on a summer evening. My father has his arms extended toward me, and I am standing on the side of the pool listening to his call. I remember how special the time and the attention with my Dad felt, and though there was some trepidation about jumping into what was for me very deep water, I moved past the fear to leap into his cajoling embrace. I jumped gleefully toward my father, and he missed me as I fell into the water between him and the edge of the pool. I cannot begin to describe the clarity of the memory of the moments that ensued. I can see myself falling down through the water, passing in front of the length of my fathers body with little air bubbles passing between him and me. I remember the flailing of his arms under water as he tried to find and retrieve me from the pool. I perhaps most vividly recall the shock and dismay that filled my little being with the purely emotional recognition that my father said he would catch me, and yet he let me fall. I totally trusted him, and in that faith I was dropped. Though I was recovered with no injury or further incident, I know that something profound changed inside of me that day. A level of fear and mistrust was imprinted upon my child-like openness that I continue to dance with to this very day. An unconscious message was delivered to that impressionable little boy that has represented an incarnational lesson that I know I came here to learn: when I risk going beyond the fear and choosing to leap into the arms of love, I very well may be dropped.
I shared with an audience just this past Sunday that no matter what psychologists and researchers tell us, I firmly believe that the number one fear common to the human race is in fact the fear to love. It is the fear to give love, and the fear to allow love in. At some point in our early years on earth we have emotionally received the message that there is something wrong or bad about us, that we are somehow less than worthy and loveable. While I happen to vividly remember one of the incidents from which I derived that message I believe we all carry emotional imprinting that makes opening totally to love a scary and risky proposition. Most of this wounding is pre-cognitive and is heavily suppressed from our surface awareness. Some of the more obvious evidence of it is the way we interact within ourselves in thought, feeling, inner dialogue, and relational interaction. I say obvious, though our internal conversation becomes so habitual that we don’t even consciously hear it anymore. Most people live in an almost perpetual state of both self-aversion and recoil. We endlessly distract ourselves so that we do not have to feel the inner yearnings of our oh-so tender hearts. We think in repetitive cycles so that we don’t risk feeling the emotional cause beneath those looping stories. We crave love, and yet we fear it beyond reason. There are none of us who were reared in truly unconditional love. As children we take the slightest hint of rejection and it becomes a part of the very fiber of our being. This sense of abandonment and rejection in our emotional bodies then becomes a cognitive story that surrounds us and vibrates from us. It is then the attractor for our relationships. Do you have any idea how many times I have mustered up the courage to leap again into inviting, waiting arms, only to be dropped in one way or another once again?
And yet it is our journey and our lesson here on earth to feel through and beyond this imprinted fear of love and to faithfully take the leap into a Love that cannot fail or drop. Humans are fallible. Even the most well-intentioned among us may hurt or betray us. The Source of Love will not. Though theology has painted portraits of an avenging and angry God-force who loves one moment and withholds or destroys the next, this is the misperception of dualistic and projecting minds. Source is Love. Unconditional love. Non-dualistic Love. It is the Source and Container of all that is. While the felt-sense dynamic may well be that we are leaping and falling into the endless pool of Perfect Love there is in fact no separation or division from which to leap or in which to fall. There is Love and only Love. And yes, we must become vulnerable and exposed in order to experience this vital Essence energy. We must become undefended and we must risk. We are called to open to love like our hearts have never been hurt. It is the very crux of spiritual awakening. We are here to awaken into the Perfect and Unbounded Love that is our Source. And then we are called to give that Love in order to fully know it.
In this leap year, we have an additional day to take a risk and to leap fully and courageously into Love. The Infinite Arms are open. Go ahead. Jump. Take a risk. Even if you have to close your eyes: Leap. Leap into the Love you are. I guarantee you won’t be dropped.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I giggled this morning as I had a recollection of the little pastel candy hearts that were popular during the Valentines Day’s of my youth. They were embossed with one or two words little messages such as “Be Mine,” and were composed of nothing more than pure processed sugar. The thought of eating one today is totally unappealing, yet they remain a sweet memory of an innocent time before the adult complications surrounding romantic love cast a pawl around this romance-centered holiday. While I am happily married today I have indeed spent many a Valentines Day uncommitted yet admittedly unavailable. In a world filled with Hallmark images and conceptual renderings of what the perfect loving companionship looks like there are a great number of people starved for love both inside and outside of relationships. The “what I will get from being loved” paradigm is still in dominion, and the false notion that someone outside of us is going to mend our broken heart and leave us feeling complete is a fallacy that leads to enormous amounts of suffering and vengeful separations. Love is indeed first an inside job. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of us that needs the love of other people. We do. It is for me dissociative to say that if we love ourselves enough we won’t need the love of others around us. We are each at Essence the unconditional Love of Source. That is who and what we are, individually and collectively. We are designed in such a way that our greatest joy in life will come from living in an inner atmosphere of that Sourced Divine love, choose to extend easily and freely love to all those around us, and then also to be open enough to always receive love with an open and willing heart. In my counseling practice I am frequently in the presence of people who say they want nothing more than to be in a committed loving relationship, yet they are unconsciously unable to be vulnerable and defenseless enough to actually let that love in.
What we think love is it isn’t. This is because you cannot think love. It is not a concept in the mind. It is a Reality of the heart. The images we hold of what the perfect relationship will look like are much like those little candy hearts. Conceptual love is sugary and seductive and gives us a fast and furious artificial high. We as a race are in love with the idea of being in love. Our lonely and hurting hearts think that by getting a sugar-high romance from joining with someone who is very likely as lonely as we are we will finally get the love we believe we have never really received. There may indeed be an initial high from being in love with love but then the sugar wears off and we crash into the reality that this person is inept at meeting our needs and assuaging our deep and pervasive woundedness. Eating sugar isn’t nourishing. Too much of it wreaks havoc on our blood sugar levels and creates emotional chaos and energetic hangovers. Surface infatuation has much the same effect. Conceptual love doesn’t nourish. It isn’t a reality that connects us to the deepest level of who we are. It is seeking to get something you perceive you do not have. Mature love is all about seeking to give. It isn’t about trying to find the perfect person to love you. It is about loving the imperfect in you and in the other perfectly. Love isn’t a high. It is an unshakeable context that contains and embraces the totality of being. You don’t love, become disillusioned, and then leave. You love and you choose to stay. Whatever arises you choose to stay. You continue to love because love is what you are. Being love it is naturally and organically what you do. You love whether the other is being loveable in the moment or not. It isn’t a white sugar love that leaves you feeling empty, exhausted, and spent. Real love is deep and abiding and essential. It is nourishing because you are literally giving and partaking of what you are at depth. You are living in the love you are choosing to give, and you are giving because it is what you are.
And so this Valentines Day there will be no sugary hearts for me to eat. There will be no experience of white-sugar love with its inevitable crash. There is only a deep and abiding love In which I live and from which I give. This is my reality. This is my joy and my fulfillment and my purpose. I am choosing to love the imperfect perfectly by keeping my heart open and letting myself live, give, and receive the depths of unconditional love. It isn’t always easy. Love can be daunting. It can be confrontive. It will expose you. And it is ultimately the Source of all that is and the reason for our very Being. Aligning in the One Source Love and giving way vibrationally and actively to that love makes everyday Valentines Day. And from that there is no fall.
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