Friday, February 24, 2012

Love: The Means, Not the End

The more I hold tight—the more I grip—the more it slips away. The more I try to understand—the more I look for answers—the less I am able to maintain it. The energy of love.

When I was barely out of my teens I met someone who shattered my illusions of love. I thought love was fair. I thought if I gave love I deserved to receive it in return. Deserved—like there was some tally in the sky that kept track of all the love I gave out and made sure I got it back. But he couldn't. He couldn't love me back. After that, I made sure that anyone I loved could love me back. Excellent protective measure, but not the best criteria for loving. And then I had the tables turned on me. I was the one who couldn't love. I had to walk away not able to return the love I had been given.

Photo by Kathleen Keagy
I question it. I question whether any of it was love. Romance, relationship...yes. But love? I have my doubts.

Then there are the models of love that are steeped in self-sacrifice. Taking care of another at the expense of yourself at the one end and the willingness to die for someone you love on the other. When I was eighteen, we moved out of our home to take care of my grandmother who was dying of cancer. I loved my grandmother, but I was angry. I was angry that love meant turning my life upside-down for someone else. Was this love? Commitment, family...perhaps. But love?

Then what is love? If we take away the trappings of romance and self-sacrifice, what is left? What is the energy of love?

The energy of love is energy. Okay, so this is circular logic. But it makes sense. Love isn't personal unless we make it so. Love doesn't have strings unless we attach them. And as an energy, love surely doesn't know how to keep tally. It's too busy moving around. When love gets stuck, it's no longer love, but the energy of fear, of jealousy, of loss. And when love is flowing it becomes freedom, forgiveness and joy.

Love is not the destination, but the ocean we sail to experience a range of emotional ports of call. When we take love out of its box—when we untether it from the notion of relationship—it roams around gathering experiences, gathering opportunities, gathering people that match its vibration. Love is the ultimate “right here, right now” energy. Seeing love this way makes it easier to feel without having to know why. The why is the experience. The why is the reason we are here.

So do I still say “I love you”? Sure. But now it is with a twinkle in my eye. It is a thank you—I am thankful for the energy of this moment. It is an acknowledgement—I am thankful that you are part of this experience. It is an affirmation—I am thankful for this chance to know I am here.

So what is the energy of love? The energy of love is the means, not the end.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Make It Real

The answers are not in the past, but I keep looking for them there. I keep looking for the answers in the words already spoken, in the things already seen and heard. But those are the past. Those have already been thought. And as brilliant as those ideas were, they were. They are not now. I am now. And I am enough.

I have been a lover of the past. Read many books, studied great works of art. But I also have steeped myself in stories of soul--asked over and over why I remain stuck in spite of unlimited opportunities to be free. What is it that holds me back, that fills me with fear, that isolates me from others who want to create, too?

Photo by Shawn Keagy
The answer: I live in the past. Not remember, not learn from, but live in the past. And I am learning that I am not the only one.

We try to earn a living the way our parents did, we try to educate our children the way we were educated, and we try to raise a family the way we were raised. We look to government and religious organizations to provide us with the answers. We say things like: "It was so much better when..." and name a time or place where the filter of the past has blinded us to that era's reality. We keep resentments alive and make ourselves victims where no one is holding anything over us.

What would happen if simultaneously we all decided to move into the present time. Close your eyes and really imagine it. Each and every person, in each and every interaction seeing the person in front of them as the person they have evolved to be, not the person they were yesterday or last year. We would remember the past as a story full of information helpful in decision-making, but we would not be stuck there. In the present time, the patterns could be studied with the detachment of an infant regarding an object for the first time, sticking it in our mouths and chewing on it until its purpose becomes clear. We could let go of obsession, idolatry, and shame. We would put these down just as a baby puts down a toy when it has outlived its usefulness. 

What I am also learning is how many people are letting go of the past. Their trademark is a singular focus on the present. They lean on the wisdom of the past and reach towards the future, but ground themselves in opportunities that exist right now. Some are moving themselves into the present, some are helping others move into the present, and some are creating structures and organizations that move our world into the present.

Who are these people and how are they getting there? Some are household names, but most are unsung heroes. Because they don't see themselves as heroes. What they are doing is detached from the praise-mongering of their egos. They keep moving on, grounding their vision in reality, and giving their lives meaning. The future belongs to the dreamers who plant their dreams in the ground and nurture them over time.

What opportunities are available to you right now? Close your eyes, reset your vision, and see the seed that wants to be planted. And plant it. The longer you think about it the more you will be convinced that you cannot do it, that others will laugh at you, and that it will not work. But the only way we can see what a seed will become is to plant it. And if somewhere along the way you decide that this plant doesn't work for you any more, give it away or plow it back into the earth to fertilize your next seed. But do whatever you can to make your vision real, right now. 

Writing this blog is my seed. What is yours?