Thursday, February 14, 2013

Radical Love

Perhaps I, like the rest of Americans, have been subconsciously influenced by all the candy hearts and chocolate boxes. I try not to be too consumer-focused, but it is true that I've spent the last month contemplating love. And here it is Valentine's Day and I've got a love-filled post ready to go. Coincidence? Perhaps. All I can say is that correlation doesn't indicate causation and you never know the other factors influencing the outcomes. Right?

Zelda reference or otherwise, bringing your heart along for love is the difficult part of the journey.

In any case, I'm beyond expounding the wonders of puppy love and cheap love wrapped in low-quality tissue paper. I'm talking about Radical Love. It's hard to define, but you know it when you see it. And you know, in the funny little way that you feel small yet as expansive as the Earth, when you practice it.

It is the silent chant inside your heart, as you stare at the screen watching a heartbeat and listening inattentively to the doctor speaking her foreign language of abbreviations. "Please don't die, please don't die..." is all you hear inside.

It happens when, after you hear that dreaded diagnosis, the nightmares return, recovery gives way to relapse, or life requires you to move in a direction that you otherwise wouldn't, you step out of the shame and anger, and say, "I can do this. We can do this. We get through things. Remember?"

It courageously surfaces when you decide to take on the great risk of vulnerability for the equally great reward of authenticity. You purchase baby clothes before the doctors are certain the life inside you is "viable" outside your protective womb. You get excited about the great interview and let yourself tell a few friends about its potential. You open your heart to a foster child and come to view that child as your son, before you know if they'll even stay another week. All the while, you remind yourself that allowing yourself to move forward doesn't diminish or increase your sorrow if things don't go as planned.

It is not some "name it, claim it" doctrine that guarantees great outcomes if you ask right or act like they are coming your way. Nor is it willful ignorance of the facts, or a belief that you'll beat the odds this time (because, trust me, I have a tendency to lose even when the odds are in my favor). In fact, it doesn't impact the outcome at all.

Radical love is knowing everything you can know, leaving room for everything you don't know yet and may never learn, and choosing to be vulnerable enough to love wholeheartedly anyhow.

<3 <3 <3 Happy Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Morning Meditation

Sunrise is free.
The overly analytical part of me disagrees and insists on refuting my point before I've begun. Everything costs something. Even wonderful, beautiful things come at a price. The payment is often time or money, and at minimum,  the cost of any now foregone opportunities that exist because you chose an alternative.
I digress.
I mean to say that sunrise requires almost nothing of you. It gives without hardly asking in return.
It does not demand of you the herculean task of pulling a giant rope to hoist the sun into the sky like the raising of the grand curtain at the playhouse. It does not leave you  wondering whether the sun will indeed show up for her morning debut or worrying that today the moon will shine brighter than its daytime counterpart. It doesn't matter whether you've cursed its summer heat or resented its lack of warmth and compassion during these dark winter months. It will continue on in the same monotonously beautiful way regardless.
You are free to tilt your head toward the Eastern sky, breathe the fresh mountain air deep into your warm lungs and relax as you lean into your insignificance knowing that you played no part in the making of this routine wonder.
All you have to do is show up.