Loving Out Loud

Why is it that we find it so difficult to share our feelings of love openly? I’m not someone to hide how she feels, nor am I successful when trying. And yet, there’s some kind of natural filter we have allowed to take over when it comes to being vulnerable enough to share intimate truths. This feels to be true both in interactions/conversation with others as well as when feeling my connection to the Divine. 

I’ll begin there–my relationship to the Divine. The raw, pure, deep love I feel in this regard sometimes feels awkward to speak of openly. To say how much I love God, to allow anyone else a glimpse into that sacred space feels so very vulnerable and unsafe. There’s an added sense of ‘she’s crazy’ that seems to be woven into the truth of it, stepping in at times to quiet my thoughts and words. I’ve felt embarrassed to let anyone know the depth of adoration, passion and devotion I feel for the sacred. This untethering of my deep truth has been very much a part of what 2012 has brought to the forefront of my inner life. I’m not sure we’re supposed to keep it secret, to allow it out only when we feel safe and are alone with ourselves. I’m also not sure it’s meant to be paraded as a label of who we are. But what feels a bit more certain is that it’s real, and we are being called to be and live authentically. Part of who we are as Divine beings IS Divine–so to allow our souls to love the sacred so deeply and purely is infused into our being, it is indeed our purpose. 

We’ve somehow forgotten along the way. Locked a part of ourselves in the closet, tucked away safe from the harm experienced by our ancestors–and by ourselves if you believe in past lives. However it came to be, we are still carrying those fears and wounds in our DNA and I believe we are in a time of healing and releasing them–for ourselves as well as those who came before and will follow after us. We are letting go of old ways of being. The buried pains we’ve carried for too long rise to the surface to be seen in the light of day, which in itself allows for them to heal and become whole. 

This trickles on down to our connection with others, those whom we love dearly as well as those whom we ‘just meet’ each day as we go about our lives. Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’ recently featured a conversation with Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in which he shared four affirmations for us to live mindfully in our relationships: 

1. Darling, I am here for you. 

2. Darling, I know you are there for me. 

3. Darling, I know you are suffering and that is why I’m here for you. 

4. Darling, I suffer. I try my best to practice. Please help me. 

Say them aloud to yourself, imagine yourself sharing these affirmations with the ones you love in moments they are most needed, as you look into one another’s eyes. Feel the depth of presence you are offering. Can you imagine yourself having the courage and humility to say these words?

I’ve tried….and although I can say them in my mind, I haven’t yet been able to use the one that feels most prevalent thus far. Number 4. It’s a statement of feeling hurt or struggle, and letting your walls down enough to allow your loved one to be there for you and SEE that you hurt. Oh, the pride that so wants to hold on! But even while I’ve been unable to say the words to that other person, I was blessed enough to feel the impact of someone else saying them to me. My brother sees right through the stubbornness and hurt feelings, and in the midst of our conversation said to me ‘darling, I am here for you.’ I can tell you, my friends, there is much power in those words to melt even the hardest wall of protection. The frustration, the pride and defense all crumble in the midst of true Presence, compassion and love. 

When we dare to love out loud, we change the world. We let go of the years of programming we’ve taken on as part of our own ‘well-being’ and instead begin to lean on the Divine to carry us through. We SURRENDER. And so it continues, this seemingly subtle but powerfully healing energy of 2012: Surrender. Let yourself go, move through the fears and hurts and dare to be authentic in the midst of it all. Remember that ‘No Comfort Zone Challenge’ we began in 2012? She continues her work, beneath the layers, behind the scenes, she carries us through our own sabotage and into the sacred. 

My challenge to you is this: Dare. Dare to love out loud in whatever way your heart whispers to you. 

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Love’s Post-A-Day

I think I could write a post a day on all the properties, experiences, lessons, joys, heartbreak, inspiration (you get the idea) of love. She comes to us in so many forms, not the least of which is through the cracks in our hearts. Today’s Lesson: Moving past the frustration, through the heartbreak and into the space of love’s purity. 

So often I hear Rumi’s word in my heart: the crack, the wound is where the light shines through. As I laid on my pillow letting tears flow last night, recognizing for the first time with great clarity a deep heart pain, I nearly smiled with the truth of it. Amidst all of this, there is radiant light beginning to seep into through the jagged edges of heartbreak. I know the words, all too well. I’ve watched my mom go through ‘letting go’ of her five children as we grew into adults. Perhaps with little enough appreciation and definitely void of any understanding of what was really occurring in the deepest space of her heart. We give them birth, feeling even then our heartspace cracking wide open with a love we didn’t know was possible. As our children grow, we revel in our ability to provide their needs, nurture their spirit, honor their individuality. Without even giving a thought to the day when they DON’T need us; when we cease to be the center of their world. When the careful work we have done to let them make choices and be who they are suddenly becomes the impetus to a disengagement from their dependence on us. And truthfully my friends – I would have been the last one to expect this of myself, but I must tell you – it hurts like hell. 

I wasn’t prepared – at all – for the level of heartbreak I’m recognizing in myself. Nope, not me. I’ve done deep pain release, letting it all go in cries that come from the darkest places of our insides. I’m good. Ready to go forward with a happy excitement for the next chapter of our lives. I THOUGHT. I was wrong. NOTHING in me was ready for this–for the realization that I’m holding on so tightly I’m creating conflict. I’ve forgotten that I want to LOVE, unconditionally. The pain became the lead, so quietly, covertly–converting into frustration and the belief that I was doing what was ‘best.’ But what I learned a few years back to do with my husband is just what I need to connect with as a mother: just love. Stop waiting for them to become what I see would be good, better, best for them. Stop wanting them to be what they are not. For gosh sakes, Jackie, stop trying to bend the situation to YOUR will. Love. Love them because YOU want to, not because they’re asking, not because they appreciate it–do it for the greatest reason there is: because YOU want to. Because I want to. 

 

Surrender. Let go. Once again, I find myself sitting deep in the center of these words. Follow the truth I believe in wholeheartedly and let this child go. Surrender their well-being to the Universe, who of course is much more qualified than you. Ugh. Dearest friends, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t find this truth amongst the hurt overlaid with frustration. But I’m feeling it…and finding more peace as the day goes on and it settles in. 

And yet….I know in the core of my being – this is his path. He is fully held in the arms of grace. I’ve said it so many times, haven’t I? Do you believe it Jackie? Yes, yes, I do. Then LET go. 

And love. Just love. I know this harmony so well. Being able to view the situation with a bit more clarity, to release the frustration, to feel the heartbreak….I can find my way into the power of love. SHE will be our guide, now that I’m getting out of the way.

I’m grateful for the gift of clarity, of seeing this situation from a new perspective and reconnecting to a truth I can emulate: BE love. Love because YOU want to….because your heart longs to. xo 

 

Percolating Love

Growing up I was certain that once I fell in love and got married my life would change drastically and things would become clear, easy, happy. Imagine my pain in falling off that pedestal of false perception! For years I wondered how I could have been so wrong, how the Universe could orchestrate such depths of love and connection between two souls, only to leave us empty, yearning for what felt so out of reach. 

It’s been twenty years my husband and I have been together now. The dream I carried in my heart as a child has taken a long and winding journey of its own, alongside the path of my life. But what is true is this, my friends: that dream of love being the answer to everything I desired–it’s truth. Love is the answer. It does carry a powerfully healing and empowering energy. Only not in the way we all anticipate. It doesn’t look like Snow White and her Prince Charming. Nor is it the racy, passionate love we expect to be duplicated from what we see on the screen, onto the pages of our every day existence. 

Connecting to love’s presence takes time. We have so many boundaries and barriers to her entrance into the very tender and vulnerable core of our heart. As humans in Earth school, we are adept at holding her prisoner, placing expectations on how she is meant to look and enter our lives. Sometimes so much so that we can’t recognize her even when she arrives in all her beauty and glory. We push back, keep her warmth at bay–believing somehow WE are the ones being wronged in this scenario. 

We aren’t yet trained to see love as she is. Quiet, open, inviting–ever beckoning us to let go. She waits for us as we wrestle with the art of surrender. With patience and grace she holds space while we flounder in the depths of our own wounds and fears. And when we emerge through healing and a desire to be whole, she is there. Arms open, fully ready and willing to hold us in her embrace. 

One of the most beautiful things about Divine love is she does not force herself upon us. Always we have the choice–stay or go. Open or hold on tightly to what feels ‘safe.’ Walk away with our pride intact, or stay in the place where transforming fire burns away the rough edges of our ego. For beyond those walls of protection lives the most exquisite gem of who we are–the capacity to let go, to love completely, to trust that we are always held in the arms of her grace. 

Twenty years. Love has been percolating in my marriage all this time, and I’ve only just realized it over the last few years. Even in the darkest moments–she never left us–she never left me. The true essence of her has been right here all along, waiting to be unleashed, burning through the barriers we’ve so meticulously engineered around our soft spots. And today, my friends, she could even be Prince Charming! Only Prince Charming isn’t the man I thought he was. He’s REAL. He’s authentic, with dreams, hopes, fears and a truth of his own. We are both human–AND spirit. We are meant to be side by side, loving, supporting, honoring one another. And together, through all of life’s curves and turns, we have and are continuing to learn just how to follow her lead. She is our ever present Guide. 

The choice continues to be ours. Follow, open, allow, surrender….or hold tight. For me personally, I find the more I let go and surrender to the Divine, to the power of the Love I so desire, the more it is reflected back to me. What greater gift could I want from the man I love than to speak directly to the very tender and vulnerable core of my heart? I can’t think of anything. It’s been worth the wait, the struggles, the challenges, the heartbreak to come full circle to this place. No doubt, we have more turns to navigate, but we’ll do it together and in the warm rays of Divine Love. 

Unconditional Love Exposed ~ NoCZ Challenge 2012

If I am convinced it’s love – unconditional love, wouldn’t that necessitate the love pushing any and all fear out so that it could express itself? Maybe it is GRACE that we need, to energize the love to do just that.

The fear of humiliation

FEAR of being Naked

Humiliation and embarrassment are one of the biggest culprits of unfulfilled lives. 

The vortex of self-image – you described it so beautifully. The risk of being who we are and the consequences if we hide.

I Love. I am Love. I do not give it, I be it.

These are some of the provoking thoughts left on my last post, Liberating Love. Although we were away over the weekend, I did read each one and took with me a deep contemplation into the dance between love, fear, humility and humiliation. The notes you each shared left me really searching within for what I feel is true in my own life and how it is that fear and love can move together. 

Because I do believe they can. I’m not certain they can do so elegantly and with a flowing rhythm, but I think we all have a dance that goes around inside of us between these two. The reality, however, is that the love is the TRUTH from a universal perspective – it’s what’s real, who we are, the ‘stuff’ of which we are made. Fear comes from the conditioning we’ve taken on in our lives and/or the lessons we are here to experience. While LOVE is what’s always there in the core of who we are, fear can sometimes mask its presence and overtake any desire we have to let our love Flow.

Isn’t that what this journey is really all about? Aren’t we here to move through our fears and let the love really shine from our souls? It’s not always love of a partner or significant other, our children, our family. What about the ability to love a co-worker? To love ourselves enough to live out loud who we are? Loving our planet, the Life that is contained on it. Love goes far beyond just being unconditional in how we interact with those whom we *know we love. The ability to love without conditions across the board of our lives is something entirely different – and in my world, it requires a soul with stamina to hold that altitude. It doesn’t just happen because I *wish it to be so. It requires a consistent practice of looking inward, seeing and acknowledging the fears and then choosing to take each one by the hand and walk forward together rather than be controlled by them. 

Do you have the courage, the stamina in your soul to let your Love flow unconditionally? No matter how it looks? 

Each of your comments above holds truth, my dear friends. Love what Janece has said about grace – and I do believe you are right on. The grace is the heat we need to melt through the fears and release the love. Love is truth while fear is illusion. But as a human – I believe we can experience both together. We do, however, have to choose which one we will give our power to – and when we call on the healing and releasing power of grace, the love prevails. 

Humility and humiliation. Somehow, somewhere in our lives, we all come face to face with these two. It’s not always someone outside of us who brings the humiliation into our energy field. In fact, we often do so ourselves. WE hold the keys of seeing what it might ‘look like.’ And yes, Miro – it lends to a lack of feeling fulfilled in our lives. We hold ourselves back, preventing the sacred from entering our presence out of the fear of how we might be perceived. When we surrender those fears and step into the guidance we are being given, humility takes over. Humility as in ‘resignation, non-resistance.‘ We SURRENDER and become vessels of service, love, healing for the Divine. 

NAKED. I love that you used this word, Cat because just yesterday someone who is a nudist made the comment that they are not ‘naked’ – they are ‘nude.’ Naked implies vulnerability, whereas nude is a natural state of being. I’m not a nudist myself, however I easily understood what he was saying. Being a nudist is a choice. Feeling naked can be disempowering. Humility is a choice for the mystic who seeks to live in the grace of Divine love. Humiliation comes from the human fear of what I might look like. 

Lee so beautifully summed it up: ‘The risk of being who we are and the consequences if we hide.’ Isn’t that what it comes down to my friends? Isn’t the risk of being who we are worth whatever may come in our lives? That’s where we step into love and out of fear. We stop hiding, we say it openly, honestly, clearly…as Betsy did:

I Love. I am Love. I do not give it, I be it.

When I surrender, let go of fears of being humiliated, invoke grace and step into the energy of my soul, I absolutely AM

~ * ~ 

Writing this post with such clarity and openness is yet another step in my journey of living out loud. I would generally reply to the comments left on my last post and let it be at that. But the conversation was too juicy to leave it there. I’m putting into practice what I believe and letting my soul reply instead. For me – this would have once been risky (very recently) – to so openly say ‘I think’ and ‘I believe’ – even if it might not be what someone else agrees with. I’m honoring the No Comfort Zone Challenge by stepping out of my comfort zone in a whole new way. Letting my love shine, allowing my truth to be spoken out loud, not fearing the consequences. Yes, Joss, we are changing. And I’m reminded of the song from Wicked – ‘You changed me for the good.’ ♥ Thank you to each of you for letting YOUR voice be heard and sparking this conversation to go deeper. xoxo

Liberating Love

The Divine conspires with us to nurture, heal, and expand our heart. ~ Crowing Crone Joss, She Who Walks in Beauty 

How does it come to be that we measure the ways in which we love? By this I mean, we carefully keep in check how much we let it show that we love someone, something, ourselves. There seem to be social boundaries around how and when to let your love show. 

I remember being a teenager and writing love letters. Sitting in the corner of my bedroom where the heat register was, curled up and in my pj’s, I would sit for easily an hour and write the whispers of my heart. There was something so liberating in being able to say to someone what I was feeling – about anything, about everything. 

Georgia O'Keefe, Red Canna

As I think back to that time and then continue on through the years, I can see that I’ve always had someone in my life with whom I can be completely open and honest. Sometimes a narrative issued directly from the heart can later feel to be so ‘silly’ or ‘out there.’ And yet, it reveals the purest of who we are.

How is it that we have fear wrapped around this exercise, this opening and willingness to let ourselves be felt and heard? I’m asking myself this question, as I can see that there are places where I have such love, but keep it so carefully guarded. Subconsciously, there are ways in which I protect the depth of how much I can and do love. There are filters on when, how and with whom it flows. 

I recognize that some of this is part of our social structure. We aren’t ‘supposed’ to put it all out there on display for everyone to see. The best reason I can find for this isn’t the one that we might expect – the vulnerability of others taking advantage. Instead it’s one that we create ourselves – the fear of humiliation. How does it look to let such depth of love be seen, felt, heard? 

Humiliation. Takes me again to my teacher, Caroline Myss. In the same series on mysticism in which we connected to the fire of grace, we talked of humiliation vs. humility. It takes humility to let our love shine so brilliantly. And I don’t mean the kind of shining that means we have to tell everyone about it. Sometimes it’s just letting our truth be present, however it will. Because we are Divine beings, we are also beings filled with Divine love, and meant to let that love touch and seep into the world around us.  

I loved watching Oprah interview Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler on her new program, ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter.‘ He let his ability to love so deeply, so openly, so erotically be heard and seen for what it is. He didn’t apologize, filter or make it sound acceptable. As they shared in the serenity of his home on Lake Sunapee, NH, Steven confidently and comfortably held true to his beliefs and who he is. 

And I’m holding true to mine. I’m choosing to love as I feel it in my heart. I’m honoring the liberation of letting her whispers be my guide. And I know in doing so, I’m opening myself to seeing and moving through every boundary that keeps my deep and boundless love in check. I’m grateful to have had–and continue to have–experiences and people in my life that allow me to love without limits. And I’m feeling overwhelmed with the sudden awareness: THIS is my purpose. xo

Traveling Deeper into Authenticity

We are as Dorothy: following the ‘yellow brick road’ only to learn we ‘had the power all the time.’

It feels as though the transformation process is moving at a rapid pace just now. And as I am observing the journey of others, it’s clear this is not true just for me. I believe strongly that we are in a very crucial time of evolution; a space in which our choices carry enormous impact. Making even the smallest decision in our lives seems to release a chain of events that is so much more tangible than ever before.

The deeper we journey into the very soul of our authentic selves, the more our lights shine, the greater the energy we are manifesting. No longer is it just shifting quietly inside us, but the vibrancy of it is animating in a rather wild and miraculous way in our outer lives as well. The two have become intricately intertwined. Where once living a spiritual life meant meditating, burning incense, taking time to be in ‘quiet’–we are now being called to ACT on behalf of our inner truth. The quiet meditation is still part of our practice, but it is no longer enough. CHANGE requires ACTION. And these actions are not merely good deeds.

This energy emanates from the very depths of our souls–the place where our passion lives and breathes, with the brilliance of the perfect diamond. As we encounter enormous acts of inhumanity around the globe, we must turn to something equally as powerful to shift the energy. Prayer is always one of our greatest tools, and I do believe prayer has the power to align us with Universal will. Yet, there must be those of us who are willing to act on the beliefs that fuel our prayers and stand up, speak out and carry the torch on behalf of our planet–OUT LOUD.

As with everything there is a balance, and in no way do I intend to say that everyone must become an activist, taking up a cause and leaving behind our lives in its favor. There are those for whom a quiet inner life is their calling. And I do feel certain they too must live outwardly what they believe as truth in their souls. There are others who stand at the forefront of the movement for change, compassion, ‘Love in Action.’ But what must be true for all of us–however we live our lives–is that we will be asked to stand true in our beliefs, on whatever scale connects to our energies. And when that call comes, we must answer with authentic presence.

For me, the desire to be authentic is reordering so much of how I have lived. OUT LOUD sometimes feels uncomfortable. I can no longer simply keep people happy with quiet resignation of who I am. This is ‘Love in Action.’ And it moves beyond just myself and into a passion to share that love, honoring and allowing others to be their own version of Divine LOVE.

I invite you to travel deeper into your own authenticity and really explore what this all means for you. How do you stand tall in the ‘I AM’ presence that is our sacred being? And what must change in order for you to honor your own personal, inner soul calling? Are you willing to let go of the safety that comes from acquiescing to false truths within yourself? Our time is NOW, my friends. Each one of us is being called. The journey looks different on everyone, but its underlying truth remains the same: I AM a Divine being filled with sacred essence and have been gifted with the grace to live my truth.

Much love.

Opening Up and Stepping Out

Fears will bind us.  Love will free us.  We know this, we’ve heard it so often as we travel in our circles of connection.  And somehow its reality eludes us until a space of our own inner fear is awakened.  

I’m struck by this truth on this lovely morning, as I contemplate my own journey.  Just a few years ago I recall not wanting to talk about the energy of pure Love I felt so strongly within–out of fear that people would reject it.  Seems so silly now, doesn’t it?  Who would reject LOVE?  And yet, in my own dialogue lived the belief that it was too ‘fluffy,’ too ‘positive’–TOO much!  Looking back now I realize how fearful I was to allow love to flow freely within and without.

Caroline Myss talks about the ego’s fear of humiliation as the chain that holds us in place.  To step fully into the grace of who we are, to allow our spirit to shine as it so naturally desires to, to enter the sacredness of our souls and be at peace with ourselves–we often have to let go of the fear we’ll be humiliated for it.  We have to let go and just trust the Universe holds us in her arms and is always there to catch us, whatever may come.  And here’s what has proven true for me friends: the fear is so much greater than any humiliation that has come.  For in reality, the humiliation enters from my OWN monkey mind.  I was my soul’s greatest enemy in those moments.  It was my own ego that silenced the voice of my spirit.

And here’s what else is true:  to take the risk, to let go, to choose to BE me no matter what may come–incredibly liberating and deeply gratifying.  There is a sense of openness, connection, purity, grace that occurs.  So much so, that I struggle to find the words to define it.  And so I’ll leave it at this:  there is so much love in my heart–in ALL of our hearts–that to contain it closes us off from the sacred journey we are here to travel. 

For in truth, the humiliation transforms into humility of spirit.  We see the greatness of our spirit, and recognize the folly of our ego.  Only when we understand the dance of these two, only when we can fully acknowledge both the shadow and light of our presence do we move forward into empowerment, and one of the greatest gifts offered to us: authenticity.

This is my heart’s desire.  To live authentically, connecting with all of Life, offering the service of my soul to uplift and honor our planet.  This is the seed I choose to nurture.  And the result will be the beautiful, bountiful blossoms of Divine Love.  This is my truth.  I know it’s so because I’m listening and I hear it echoed…in the whispers of my heart…..