"Today, I will fall in love with life at least three times..." (Matthew Fox)
There is something I am coming to understand… deep in my bones. It's been sitting there patiently waiting for me to find it, and has hinted to me many times before. I calls in small quiet whispers, especially right before I go to sleep or right as I'm waking up. It warms my heart when I'm thinking about how much the people in my life matter to me. It tugs at my sleeve the instant I feel saddened or angered by something about which I've read. Recently its been the possibility of losing polar bears forever or the fact that my country continues to spend outrageous amounts of money on "security" rather than allocating those resources to making sure everyone is educated, healthy and fed. But it keeps shining its bright steady light into my heart in those moments when I judge others or myself as "wrong" or "not good enough" in all the ways my ego does its illusory little job and I remember that I am so much bigger than that.
What I have come to understand is that every act - every single human act - is born out of love… either by being love or wanting love.
In other words, there is nothing we do that is not connected to love. Even when we think otherwise.
Consider that, maybe, we hurt others and cause grief because we are crying out to be seen and loved… sometimes intentionally, most times unconsciously. We level mountains, push endangered species to the brink of extinction, or raze forests because we love our children and want them to have food in their bellies… often not experiencing that there are other choices. We build weapons of mass destruction or strap bombs onto our bodies because we love ideals in which we believe… maybe or maybe not fully realizing the impact of our actions.
We grieve, weep and wail because we love… deeply. We get hot with anger, engulfed with rage because we love… fiercely. We dance with joy, are consumed with ecstasy and raise our voices in songs of praise because we love… widely.
TECUMSEH I went down not long ago to the Mad River, under the willows I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow, call it what madness you will, there's a sickness worse than the risk of death and that's forgetting what we should never forget. Tecumseh lived here. The wounds of the past are ignored, but hang on...
Sometimes I would like to paint my body red and go out into the glittering snow to die.
His name meant Shooting Star. From Mad River country north to the border he gathered the tribes and armed them one more time. He vowed to keep Ohio and it took him over twenty years to fail...
his body could not be found. It was never found...
if we ever meet him, we'll know it, he will still be so angry.
~ Mary Oliver ~
In everything we do, we are inextricably and undeniably acting out expressions of love that are deeply personal and many times misunderstood.
But what if, in the moments when we don't understand the motivation behind someone else's actions, we did our best to discover how they are actually birthed from love? What would be possible in terms of peace, justice and a world that works for all if we really took the time to comprehend their intentions?
What if, for example, we saw our rage as the passionate belief in justice born out of our deep knowing that we are all one and that whatever hurts someone else hurts ourselves? Our anger as the simple defending of our right to provide for our families? Our grief as a reflection of all the moments we were simply giving ourselves an experience of aloneness born out of the illusion that we're separate? Our violence as an unconscious act of wanting Love - a stretching out ones palm to be filled with a mote of kindness and compassion?
What if we could choose in every moment to BE Love… to welcome, accept and embrace all of life, all of humanity? What would be possible if we saw everything - every thought, every belief, every word, every attitude, every action - as Love?
I know I'm posing a lot of questions here. I imagine you may be asking, "What about this or this? How could that be an act of Love?" But, imagine suspending any notion you may have been taught about "how things are" and choosing instead to see everything as a gift of Love… what might be possible then? Imagine what that could be like….
The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
~ Rumi ~
I don't have any answers, but what I am coming to believe is that believing we are doing anything other than Loving is only causing more suffering. Yes, pain is inevitable. Suffering, however, is optional. In the end, we will lose that which we love, but the question is how will we love it while it is here? How will we love our children, friends and communities? How will we love distant strangers, clouded mountains and tiny frogs? How will we love this wild and precious life?
When we love- fully, deeply, fiercely, widely - it can hurt. That is part of being human… and that's when we know we've loved.
...To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
(excerpt from "In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver, American Primitive)
I say, let us take on a wild experiment to choose to see every act as an act of Love… and living from that place, welcome the guests who arrive at our door and let ourselves fall in love with life.