Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Love Releases Love
I've been thinking about the concept of love again lately because I'm in the middle of one of life's little transitions. I am reminded how much love changes as we transition through life. It sometimes morphs into something we barely recognize based on what we thought we knew. Even then it holds a comfortable familiarity that allows us to embrace hope.
My decision to live from a place of love transformed my life. I let go of tremendous anger and confusion and hurt meaning I freed myself from living in constant drama. I saw my relationships in a different way. I saw my interactions in a different way. I felt more positive even when life got rough. I felt hopeful even when my foundation was ripped out from under me. See, I still had love, and with love in my heart I knew I could not only survive but thrive.
Recently, I felt the need to reconnect with my resolve to live life from a place of love, so I signed up for the Oprah and Deepak Miraculous Relationships 21-Day Meditation Challenge offered online via The Chopra Center (free at the time). I hadn't stopped living from a place of love, but I feared I wasn't loving myself enough based on my reaction a couple of situations in my life where my reaction felt right to me but my logical self told me my reaction wasn't normal by societal norms. How can one act with love when one learns someone who supposedly loves them has deceived them for their entire relationship? Shouldn't deception warrant anger, hatred, and vengeance? My heart said no. My brain said yes. I began to fear I was suppressing my true feelings, so I signed up for the challenge expecting to either discover I was deceiving myself with my reaction or I'd discover my reaction was just my new norm. Maturity, perhaps? Who knows? I always hate to declare myself mature because it seems something inevitably comes along to remind me I'm not nearly as mature as I'd like to think.
So, I started the challenge confident the process would help me quiet the chaos in my mind over one or possibly two particular current life situations and help me find the answers I wanted, dare I say needed. After all, I was convinced my problem lay in discovering whether my reaction was real or suppression of my truth... I am prone to the kind of willful blindness that makes the day go smoother...
As I began the process, my thoughts surprised me when they turned away from the situation I struggled with to a whole host of relationships and situations I had long thought resolved... Wow! I began to see many relationships with new eyes and to feel the heartache of recognizing my mistakes as well as seeing where I needed to step back and just let some relationships fall to the periphery of my life while embracing those that truly bring to me what I give to them. See, I have a tendency to be a "fixer" leading me to try to make things right even when I'm not responsible for the problem and/or don't have the ability to fix it anyway.
The challenge started off with a week of focusing on loving one's self. As I started it, I thought, I got this one. No problem. I love myself, imperfections and all...
Yet, I discovered I wasn't actively loving myself because I was making excuses for people whose behavior hurt me. That's not loving one's self. I was blaming myself for other people's behavior rather than holding them accountable. I'm not talking about anger or blame. I'm talking about recognizing when someone treats you as less than you deserve to be treated and not allowing it. There can be a fine line between the two, but the distinction is important. Not allowing someone to disrespect you is setting a healthy and loving boundary and allows you to approach the person in a loving manner about the behavior that hurts allowing room to mend the situation. Blame and anger on the other hand tend to be destructive. I already knew all of this, but I had forgotten it. How often do we forget what we know is good for us? Sometimes you discover the most loving thing you can do for yourself and/or for others is to simply do nothing.
When my attention finally worked its way back around to my initial intention for this meditation, I discovered my major source of support, understanding, and love outside myself came from the person who had deceived me. I finally understood the source of my confusion. How could this be?
As I moved through the process of meditating with a focus on Miraculous Relationships, my thoughts turned more and more to the idea of letting go. As I cleared the chaos to find those empty spaces between thoughts and emotions, the little voice whispering to me just kept telling me that I had to love myself enough to let go of that which doesn't make my life better in some way, including relationships. It's strange how I've let relationships that do improve my life go because I felt it best for the other person, but I find it extremely difficult to let relationships that no longer meet my needs... And, once again, this brought me back to the idea that loving myself is more than accepting myself for all I am and searching out ways to grow into a better me. It is also about setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries I set - an old issue for me, as those who are long time readers probably remember since I've posted about it a few times.
I finished the challenge with a sense of calmness in remembering that regardless of how other people react I am only loving myself when I set healthy boundaries and when I make decisions based on what is right for my life. When I love myself actively, I am better able to live from a place of love and offer love to others. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it, but at least I'm aware of it now... Hopefully, my new found awareness will be lasting...
I can let people in with love, and I can release people with love.
And, yet, I'm still unsure the best way to handle the current transition in my life; however, I've decided to live in the moment, face each moment from a place of love, and see what happens...
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted, five books of poetry, and a book of short stories. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, creating plant-based recipes, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.