These last couple of weeks, on more than one occasion, I’ve lost track of love.
The pain of collective trauma has ached in my chest. My hands have felt small and my voice weak as I’ve fumbled my way towards prayer. Perhaps “disheartened” would be the word.
As reports pour in of one family after another losing everything in these most recent California Fires, many of them dear people I know and love, my heart breaks in raw empathy. Simultaneously, my own family has been going through a ravaging fire of a different nature, one of the most harrowing passages of my womanhood, wracking my nerves and testing my faith on a daily basis.
In times like these it can feel like life is for the sole purpose of hobbling us.
And yet, a small miracle occurs every time I remember that regardless of my losing track of love, Love never loses track of me. In this sacred remembering, love is chosen once again, right now, right alongside everything else that is also present.
Our love need not replace our grief. The two can come together like two palms in a prayer.
It’s easy to choose love when our hearts feel wide open to life, when we are feeling relaxed and supported, buoyantly inspired, or poignantly connected to the pulse of existence, isn’t it? After beautiful lovemaking, or a delicious meal shared with dear friends, or a satisfying day of feeling useful in our endeavors, it’s effortless to align with love. When the children are easy and adorable, rosy-cheeked asleep in their beds; when everything seems to be in its right place, love is obvious. When we are reveling in the light of our own bounty, and in the incredible sweetness life includes, generosity of heart comes freely, doesn’t it?
But what about the moments when we feel utterly heartbroken by life’s relentless intensity; when all our survival issues are up, and it feels like we are meeting one closed door after another? When the unbelievable corruption and trauma playing out on our global stage gets the best of our centers, and we find ourselves writhing in a sense of powerlessness, then what about love? When we are personally feeling the toxic impact of natural and un-natural disaster, and can’t imagine how our children can grow up in a world like this, then what? When we are feeling painfully rejected, unchosen, or unloved by another, then where does love go? When we are feeling grief-stricken in faithless despair, completely betrayed or abandoned by God? I ask you—what happens then, to love?
There is a secret medicine in re-choosing love at the center of broken-hearted faithlessness. When our hearts feel demolished, and we have no clue as to how we will ever find our way back to some semblance of joy or trust, and still we align with love—what a powerful choosing this is. How revolutionary, really.
I’m not talking about being inauthentically loving, no. Not “putting on a happy face” or “keeping it positive.” Not a doing of “love” so as to appear more loveable. Please, please—no avoidance of what’s here in this moment in the name of “love.” I’m not talking about feeling love to the exclusion of feeling whatever else is genuinely present for us. I’m talking about finding it within ourselves to not let what’s devastating us distract us from the possibility of choosing love anyway—just as we are, and just as life is.
Life is inviting us to discover that resiliency has everything to do with realizing that we are LOVE, and that nothing is too much for love to bear.
I love you. ~*~
One of the many gifts that came from my early childhood intimacy with traumatizing illness, was the way in which it opened my psychic centers to be able to “see” and “hear” energetic realities that remain elusive for most. While it took me a couple of decades to work with this heightened sensitivity in a way that didn’t fry my already challenged central nervous system, I am grateful for the fact that I have never doubted the presence of angelic beings.
For as long as I can remember, I have been acutely aware of their presence.
When I was very sick as a toddler in the hospital with meningitis, dealing with significant neurological damage from the waist down, one of my only distinct memories from that time is the presence of beings I came to think of as “the big gold guys.”
These extremely tall luminous beings, who stood as high as the hospital ceiling, kindly and devotedly helped me to “connect the dots” of the injured neural pathways in my feet, legs and pelvis. For months the doctors stood back in baffled awe, as I mysteriously recovered many of my neurological capacities.
Two decades later, in my early twenties, I sat in a required physiology class as part of my Holistic Health Practitioner training, learning about the intricate design of the human nervous system. As the slides of ganglia and myelin sheaths were projected upon the screen at the front of our classroom, I found myself stunned to tears recognizing that the starry “dots” the angels had helped me to connect twenty years earlier were in fact the ganglia, and the myelin sheaths were nothing less than the golden “lines” of light, necessary to connect them.
How many countless times in my life have I reached out to the angels for support when I was struggling? How many times have I remembered to ask for help, just in time. Reeling in searing pain from a migraine, or down on my knees in brokenhearted despair, or sitting with a furrowed brow by the side of a fevering child, or quietly, less dramatically, in a moment of simple prayer.
Last year I went through a very challenging passage in which I was navigating some painful neuralgia along the right side of my spine, for many weeks. Hots and colds would temporarily relieve the symptoms, but other than that it was constant.
One night it got very inflamed, and expanded into the right side of my abdomen. The intensity of this physical pain delivered me into a powerful experience of terror of death. Suddenly I remembered to ask for help, and it was as though legions of angels rushed in, surrounding me, comforting me, relieving my pain, scolding me a little for taking so long to ask for their help. They had clearly been waiting at the periphery of my energy field, just waiting for an invitation to intervene. (I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it seems in most circumstances angels must be asked in one way or another, in order to extend their help.)
What a gift it is to know the presence of angelic support, not so much in a way of “wishful thinking” but in as solid a way as I experience the warmth of my son’s hand in my own, my daughter’s laughter in my ear, my partner’s kiss on my waiting cheek.
I don’t believe this perception is a special power or something reserved only for certain souls. I think it’s more about a willingness to “unlearn” a widely conditioned denial. Luminous ones are always near, always generously available in service. I invite you to open to their presence, and see in turn what opens in your life and heart. <3
Many of us carry a prayer that our lives might be of some true use or service; that we might come to embody and extend real peace and freedom within these lifetimes. And yet, how? And with so many daily tasks and this mundane grind to keep up with; the constancy of dishes and laundry and bills; some of us with children to tend to with as much presence as we can muster.
Love asks more from us than we could have ever imagined; humbles us daily, stretches our edges, and breaks our hearts open. We are tender and raw in our aliveness, in our love, in our wants, our unmet needs, our utter willingness.
Some of us get to a place where we are truly tired. We are wearied by the immense tasks at hand—for ourselves personally, and for humanity. We are tested every day in the simple walking of our talk and the living of our truth.
To be so tiny in this world, and imperfect and still growing and so human—and to care so much, to have so much to share—can feel in moments like a helpless conundrum. Yes?
Here is the place where at times we feel like we might just buckle under the weight of it all, and give up. Just give up. Not (for most of us) in some dramatic or overtly tragic way. But quietly, inconspicuously. Letting the light fade just a tad from our eyes, letting our dreams dissolve, our faith wither, our shoulders fall, our mouths frown a bit, our hearts cave in.
Just giving up some true piece of our soul.
When we do this, when we collapse under the weight of our burden, we only contribute to the suffering in our world. We add our weight to the burden of our world, the very opposite of what we want.
There is only one real and lasting solution, one beautiful antidote, to the despondence of giving up—and that is giving in! Giving in to this moment, with all it includes. Giving in when we feel like giving up.
Giving in to the intensity of what’s called for. Giving in to the depth of all we feel. Giving in to the passion of our own valiant and vulnerable hearts, even if it is our passionate grief or passionate fear. Giving in to the real, primal wants of our bodies and souls. Giving in to the thrust of action that follows our genuine care; giving in to the generosity of forgiveness, the courage of honesty; giving in to our laughter, our joy, which blesses us in moments, so organically. Giving in to life, as it is, with all its challenges.
I see it like this: down on my knees, my hands to the heavens, and then to my heart, I say to life: “I give in. I give in. Take me. I’m yours. I give in.”
It’s a surrender. Moment to moment. And Life knows exactly what to do with our surrender. Life knows exactly how to make true use of our earnest hearts. Just give in.
I love you.
I’m recalling a moment one evening recently when my son Ezra came right up to me at my desk where I was writing, and announced, “I need snuggles NOW Mom.”
I turned to him, and because I was in the middle of something, I asked him, “Right now?” Nodding, he repeated with seriousness, “Right now, please.”
I looked at him more carefully, noting tender softness around his eyes, and recognized he was clearly doing his very best to meet some vulnerability arising. Then I recalled earlier in the evening when he had walked into Wilder’s room to find me snuggling Wilder close in his bed while singing him a bedtime lullaby I used to sing to Ezra, when he was small. And how when Ezra had seen us so close together like that, he had quickly left the room, giving us space.
Putting the pieces together now, turning my whole body towards him, I asked gently, “Did you have some jealousy come up for you, my Love?” And he leaned all the way into me then, burying his big boy face into my neck, as he confessed softly, in a much younger version of his voice, “Yes. You were snuggling Wilder too much.”
At that I scooped him into my arms, all one hundred pounds of solid boy muscle, and staggered to the couch, four feet away, where I collapsed, cradling my big boy like he was tiny again, kissing his face, his head, rocking him close.
I said: “Oh, do you need to be reminded about how incredibly loved you are?”
He nodded, meekly. He whispered, “About how I am your special boy?”
I said, “Oh yes, my most special boy. That’s what you are. You are my Ezra Star. There is nobody else like you in the world. There is nobody I love in this way I love you. It’s a most incredibly special love all of its own.”
And how I watched his doubts fade from his face, rapidly replaced by the clear light of truth. How his cup was filled again as his needs were met.
And how he sat up then, took a deep breath, and regained his almost ten year old composure.
How he grinned at me, his cheeks flushed, as he said sheepishly, “Thanks, Mom. That really helped a lot.”
And how I beamed back at him, and said: “Anytime. You just keep letting me know what you need in all this, my Love. It’s so very helpful. I’m so proud of you for asking for what you need.”
As I witness all this outrageous trauma playing out on the global stage between man and woman, one of the most poignant components it illuminates for me is the power we hold in how we choose to steward our daughters and sons in these times. What is our part to play in creating something different for the rising generations?
I pray we can model for our daughters what it means to powerfully use her voice; what it looks like to embody true self-respect and self-care; what it is to know her sovereign worth and power in the world; to cherish the sanctity of her sexuality, and treat her own body as a temple. I pray we can model for her how to deeply honor the masculine; how to respectfully perceive his vulnerability and not feed his shame. How to honor him for his whole self, his strength and passion of purpose alongside his tender uncertainty; how to celebrate his accomplishments while embodying compassion for what’s still growing in him.
I pray we can model for our sons how to become self-respecting men of true power and integrity; men who value their own capacity to feel, listen, empathize, emote and attune with others; to boldly stand up for truth, and to know their sex as a sacred extension of their powerful hearts. I pray we can raise him to deeply respect the feminine; to honor her intuition, her body and her multi-faceted expression. How to honor her for her whole self, her depth and radiance alongside her sensitive needs; how to celebrate her victories while holding space for her evolving maturity.
I want us to continuously teach our children how to stay vigilant and aware of any signs of danger or violation, to trust the wisdom of their instincts, and to speak out bravely if they notice anything is off. I want them to value their ability to be brilliantly discerning and to clearly distinguish what’s ok from what’s not ok.
I want us to continuously model for our children how to stay in right relationship with alcohol and other substances; how to recognize the difference between medicine and poison in their own bodies, and how to directly meet their discomfort, grief, rage and despair, rather than seek to numb their pain.
I want them to know that what’s really, unbelievably “cool”, like, truly the coolest thing of all~ is to be real and honest and accountable; to say thank you, and I’m sorry; to take responsibility, to apologize, and to forgive.
Children who learn in the deepest way how to love and respect themselves—their own bodies, hearts and souls— grow into adults who inherently love and respect those around them; who come to lead others in a way that shines with radical dignity and decency and life-changing kindness.
In this way, modeling self-love, self-respect, restraint, courage and integrity feels to me like one of the most revolutionary actions we can take in these times. It’s no small task, but hey, we signed up for this. ~*~