It’s the holidays and those that know me know I get mushy. I also realize that sometimes the holidays have the unintended effect of stressing us out, of evoking sad memories, of burdening us with unrealistic expectations. I understand, really I do. My experience is that it’s hard to feel sad when you’re giving. If you’re feeling down, then consider doing some form of service. Maybe lending the OWS kitchen folk (some of the nicest people I’ve met in ages) a hand to cook for the 99% for Thanksgiving in NYC? Give a call at (917)791-0697. Whatever you decide to do... be safe.
Photograph: One of the last few free things in New York -- the Staten Island Ferry.
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Love is a Remembrance
Yup. You read that right: the Big “L.”
The word many of us are scared to admit to it even when we’re feeling it in the very fiber of our being. Some will go for most of their lives and hardly ever utter the word to those they most love. It’s even scarier in romantic relationships. We worry, panic, and go strategic:
What if I tell her I love her? Will he reject me? Will she use it against me? Will he think me to clingy? Will she say he loves me too? And what if he doesn’t say it?!!
Yup. The Big Hairy Nasty Obscene “L” Word.
We’re often afraid to say it. Or if we do say it, we’ll play semantics with it. We’ll draw distinctions, for example, between loving someone and being in love. Apparently, there is a difference. No, I’m not that dense. I realize that when people make that distinction, they’re pointing out the difference between the attraction of the feeling of love and actually committing to it and letting it flower.
Or maybe not. I don’t know. Fuck it.
Personally, I’m a complicated man so I have to keep things simple in order to retain what little sanity I can claim. For me love is an action word, a verb, it’s something you do. When I tell you I love you it means I’m going to work at loving you. It means I am committed to loving you by acting – by my behavior. That means that I will attempt to accommodate your feelings, be considerate, protect you, make love to you, compromise with you, do the things I know makes you feel wanted and valued (and yes, probably drive you to distraction *grin*). That’s partly what the Big “L” word means to me. When I tell you I love you, it means I’m walking alongside you on this journey called life and all that claim implies.
So, I don’t know if there’s a huge difference there for me between love and being in love. For me it’s like being pregnant: you’re never half pregnant. You’ll never hear a woman say, “I’m pregnant, but not in pregnant.” That’s why I stopped making that distinction. When I love, it’s with my soul, nothing held back, caution thrown to the wind. Believe me, in this life it’s the only risk worth taking. Of course, it doesn’t mean I ain’t shitting in my pants the whole time because, yeah (duh!) it’s fuckin’ scary opening up like that.
To make matters worse, I become unbearable because sometimes I really want to sabotage the whole thing and in that way not have to do it. I jump, then in mid air, I’m screaming like a bitch because I’m thinking: GODDAMIT why do I do this love shit! And yet I still take the risk because when I outlast my usefulness and they finally come for me to put me in some decrepit nursing home where the nurses won’t wipe my ass for hours, I don’t want to be laying there in my shit regretting that I didn’t love in that way -- that I didn’t take the risks.
In the end, these risks -- these excursions into unreasonable happiness -- are the only things you can take with you
I think the core issue with love is that it will enter into any mind that actually wants it. Our task is not to seek love, but instead undo the barriers that we erect against it. I’ve heard it said that, “Love waits on welcome, not on time.” When you want only love, you will see nothing else. If you could agree with me that love is in part a form of sharing, then how can you find it except through itself? I say, offer it and it will come to you because Love is attracted to itself. Offer hostility or contraction and love cannot exist, for it can only live in an open space committed to peace.
I have learned that Love is already in me and that I need only to extend it outward. Going back to my perspective on Love as an action for a moment -- that is the action: extending what is there already inside of me. As M. Scott Peck defines it, love is an act of will for the benefit of another. What a fuckin’ awesome revelation.
Love is the most sacred mantra you can ever chant, for Love is the Divine and you could never know one without the other. Integrated, you could never again be unaware of love and Love would never fail to recognize you. And in this recognition, you will live in grace because grace is the acceptance of Love within a world full of too much hate and fear. In Love you will find gratitude because gratitude is the ring bearer of Love. Where there is one the other must be found.
Love laughs at the childish foolishness of my defenses for that’s what they are -- mechanisms conceived ages ago against an imaginary monster. Love demands we lay down all our weapons. Love without trust is impossible. People always ask me about my motivation for writing in this way. I guess my aim is to offer an example of remembrance -- a reminder for who and what we really are -- to emphasize that there is no difference between your essence and Love.
This is so powerful that if all you did today was catch a glimpse of that remembrance you will have advanced on your path in an immeasurable way. Seek the Love in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere.