Love after Love

Every once and a while I wake up with tremendous clarity and a vast feeling of unfettered inner space.  This morning was that kind of morning.  After rolling around in the painful messiness of emotional complications and relational ambiguity, I arose to know the truth of my heart.

It’s pretty hard to always live in and trust that truth-  The wisdom inside of me that knows when it is truly safe to let someone in or when it is time, with a firm and steady hand to cut through through the veils of illusion, cloudiness, and confusion that keep me out of right relationship.

I recently read a beautiful article written by a friend who described the deepest act of intimacy as coming home.  Before sex, before merging or “I love yous,” or “this is what what you are to me” there is a necessity to land in your body, to descend your head into your own heart and feel the truth of who and what you are.  This is the purpose of meditation and without this basis for relationship, everything else becomes an ignorant and painful distraction.

I know this.  I know this deeply in my bones and in my sinews.  However, I still slip, I still forget, and I need more practice.  Coming back to myself through meditation, self-care, through deep listening, through conscious expression takes courage and so much patience and trust – much more than I often think I can muster.

While on the whole I know I am getting steadier, more grounded, and more clear, once and a while a lovely test- a delicious carrot dangles before me and I want to abandon myself and everything I’ve worked so hard to foster, for the momentary pleasure and sweetness of a bite – a morsel of the food I’ve been starving for my whole life.

This is addiction: the idea that someone or something outside of yourself can feed the desperate, cut off, needy places within you that crave soothing.  I realize that it is only I who holds the antidote: permission to be myself exactly as I am in any given moment without shaming, shutting down, splitting or denying any part of my experience.

This morning I sat and actually allowed myself to feel the very vulnerable feelings of love for someone who can’t reciprocate. Normally, these feelings would illicit panic and the need to suppress and create a defense that might include the story “I don’t need you.”  To drop all of that and just feel the rawness of what was right there in my heart was both so painful and so heart-opening.  I realize that when the truth is felt – no matter how hard or unforgiving, the soul is happy.  The ego may cry and wail, but the deeper self is at peace and this peace is the bedrock of well-being.

As I let my illusions dissolve, I hold the scared and vulnerable places inside of me that are so afraid of being annihilated.  I realize I have a good practice of killing things and a much newer practice of caring for them.  Working with myself in this way is like unearthing something very fragile.  It takes skill, delicacy and persistence.  Instead of running, I can keep working with myself and trust that everything I want is either coming or is already right here.  I am not separate from the love I seek and there is no part of me that will be denied nourishment.  I am full.

me at sunrise

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

About jtotheess

Yoga teacher Traveler foodie audiophile
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