Monthly Archives: December 2019

How to Love.

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Today, I get to bear witness to two friends, whom feel like family, as they commit to love with one another. It recalls to me the day that I did the same, and how our marriage represented Love to me in so many deep, life changing ways. 

 

I am thinking today, as I do most every day, about Love, and how to really, truly Love. Of course, I have had a lot of practice in Love over my lifetime, with my relationships with family, with friends, with partners, with co workers, with my child, and with my wife. It has been a learning experience all the way along, because in my lifetime, I haven’t actively been taught how to Love. Not really.

 

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Love, as it is known to us by humans, is shown in the most capable ways that it can be. It is shown by the expression of love, as best as we can, through words. It is expressed through actions with one another. It is shown to us, in the best way it can be, as we exist here in our human forms. One of the things that we learn along the way, is that love, by definition, means to love unconditionally. Yet, how hard it is to do that. 

 

As humans, it is so challenging to not want to have expectations, of ourselves and others. I believe it helps us to feel safe and secure, to want to know, if we can, that things and people with stay the same, stay around for us. Not many of us really embrace change, because it throws us off of our balance a bit; it goes against that which we thought that we had known. Yet, as we know, change is not only inevitable, but it helps us to learn to detach, let go, and let things be as they are. When it comes to being a human, and loving humans, this can be some of the most challenging lessons to learn. 

 

Yet, let’s think about it. We often think that it is loving, to want the best for those that we love. For us to express our own opinions and views and perspectives about a person or a situation. And what I have found out is that when I do that to others, it isn’t actually loving at all. It means that I am not only accepting them or situations precisely as they are; I am not trusting that person to have the capability to handle it on their own. 

 

Although realizing and knowing that I have done this in my relationships, for most of my life, at first felt awful; I viewed myself harshly, knowing that I had not truly, authentically loved those around me, by wanting them to be what I wanted them to be. However, I have now understood that the beauty is not in getting it perfect, or always remembering to let go and accept; it is in the remembering when I do forget to truly love, to truly see someone as capable and to allow that someone to be just as they are.

 

Every time that I forget, I get to remember again. I get to keep learning. I get to keep understanding how to Love. 

 

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From Darkness to Light.

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Winter is not a favorite season of mine; I don’t like being cold, and I don’t like driving at this time of year. Yet, I love the feeling of being cozy, cocooned, and in a sense of hibernation of mode. Tucked away and allowing ideas to emerge during a period of perceived slumber.

 

I go out less. I feel quiet more. And, on the Winter Solstice, I see how the darkness starts to diminish, and the light gets warmer and stronger. Although this is a truth meteorologically, in that the days will now begin to get longer by a minute each day, and more light is available to us, it is more than that for me.  Symbolically, it feels like the deepest darkness before the dawn, the deepest sleep before waking up.

 

This time of year is always very emotional for me, for many different reasons. I feel nostalgic for my family Christmases from long ago, and all of the people that were part of them. I remember and smile at the car rides to my grandparents’ house, over the river and through the woods.  Riding on the toboggan down the hill in the field by our house with my siblings.  New Year’s Eve parties, dressed in my finest attire, and drinking champagne at midnight with my friends. The sound of the creaky stairs as my young child attempted to sneak downstairs on Christmas morning, wanting to peek at what Santa delivered, without waking me up. Present moment awareness, and gratitude for all that is. Anticipation of what this new year, new decade, will hold. And, at times, a deep well of feeling completely alone and forgotten, and yet feeling more connected to others than ever before. The culmination of it all feels at its peak at this time of year, more than any other time of year for me.

 

I am living the most brilliant life, and feel more awake and real than ever before. I am vulnerable and forgiving. I am energized and peaceful. I am also unsure, lost in my thoughts and focused on the form of life.  And, without wanting to live in the future, I know that every day that I am in my human form, breathing and alive, I will continue to learn, and grow, no matter what that looks like. I will keep moving closer and closer to the truth of all that is. 

 

So, I love, honor, and appreciate the darkness. The solitude. The quiet and pensive way. The expansion of light. The nurturance of the new.

 

After all, flowers emerge from darkness and climb toward the light. 

 

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Tradition.

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When I was a small child, we would celebrate the holidays in some pretty predictable ways, what is also defined by some as traditions. For Thanksgiving, we would most of the time go to my grandparent’s home in Massachusetts and have dinner around a table seating 12 people, and kiddie tables in the next room with my cousins. There would be lots of laughter, lots of food, and immeasurable amounts of love. For Christmas, we would decorate our family tree on Christmas Eve, having cheese fondue and chips and dip, and playing Johnny Mathis Christmas music; then awakening on Christmas morning to stuffed stockings and loads of presents. Dinner was lasagne or roast beef. Embedded in my memory like I was looking at a photo album.

 

Traditions had a way of helping me to feel safe, by the repetitiveness and assumed predictability of it. When I later went on the live on my own, I would do my best to continue to participate in those family traditions, by coming home for the holidays and trying to then replicate in my life on my own, or with partners. Then, when I became a parent, it felt important and necessary to create traditions for my child, with my own family, to carry on.

 

Then, life changes. People move. Loved ones die. Everything grows, evolves, ages and passes away. And, tradition feels less like reality, and more like a Hallmark movie that portrays an image that we feel almost desperate to uphold. 

 

I have no judgment about tradition, and I actually feel pretty neutral about it at this point in my life. However, I have come to understand all of the pressure that I have put upon it in my life, to live it by portraying a specific image of myself, or creating unfair expectations of others.

 

Even if we observe traditional practices, they will never look the same way twice. And, although we often want to see that as a loss, when things change especially, unexpectedly, it becomes a great opportunity to accept and even, celebrate things being just as they are. For years, I wanted to create traditions with my son, that he would remember as being ours, and that would somehow prove to me how important we are to him as he grows. However, I feel much less burdened by those unnecessary expectations, when I can just enjoy and treasure any way in which I observe the holidays. I now listen deeply within, to what would feel really loving, and inspiring, as a way to spend the holidays. I have released the expectation and been more in the moment with them than ever before.

 

And, the beauty of that is, enjoying each moment as it is, and appreciating each person as they are. What a gift, indeed.