My daughter, Alexis, writes about her messy pink squiggly heart on her blog today. Not the beating steadily to keep the blood flowing and your organs running kind of heart, but the heart of what matters in life kind of organ. The heart of happiness, love, contentment, joy.
That heart can be a messy place.
It can be filled with unease, insecurity, distrust. It can beat wildly with the abandon of a stallion racing across the plains, or cower timidly as a mouse reaching for the piece of cheese luring it into a trap.
Sometimes, that heart has no sense. It wants only to feel alive, to avoid what is causing it pain, to believe it is safe. And in its yearning for safety, it can open up to danger, to unsafe conditions, to the wrong thing posing as right simply because, that heart can be deaf and blind to its own beat, even when its eyes are wide open to the world outside.
Alexis writes about how, when her father and I separated when she was six, she learned that ‘love could be temporary’. “Happiness is hard for people who don’t trust anyone,” she writes. “Harder still, for those of us who don’t trust love.”
Yesterday, while sharing coffee with the amazing Michelle Jeffrey Horvath, we talked about love and loving and how our human expression of love is sometimes the exact opposite of what love is all about.
LOVE is never temporary or temperamental. It is permanent, eternal, everlasting.
It is how we, its human carriers, express it, live it, know it that can have temporal and time stamped limitations on its durability and presence in our lives.
There was a time when I thought Love came from outside me. I thought ‘in Love’ meant having someone else to keep me safe, make me happy, make me feel like I belonged.
I’ve learned through experience that no one else can give me those things or make me feel those ways. It isn’t someone else’s responsibility to make me feel ‘loved’. It’s mine to know and embrace. When I flow into and with Love in all things, I am always safe, always connected, always at peace. When I allow Love to embrace me with all its capacity to let me live as beauty and the beast, messy squiggles darting everywhere and white doves flying free, there are no limits to its presence in my life and who I can be in its presence.
I have learned that when I share that space called ‘in love’ with another, there are messy places, dark moments, shifting sands that can trip us up or draw us out of love’s abiding presence. In love with another is not synonymous with permanent, it simply means I must continually choose to stand in the broken, leap into the unknown, explore the shadows of who we are together, while holding onto what makes love real and necessary and life-giving between us — our decision to be together, to be in union, to be one with one another.
“In love” doesn’t mean out of stress, out of discord, out of the trigger zone of my own stuff erupting to make me want to run and hide and jettison all reason to stay together.
It simply means, I am willing and open and able to stay present in love’s light, together. Always committed to seeing my beloved as human, as real, as perfectly imperfect as I am in my human condition so that in our perfectly imperfect expression of Love, we see one another through eyes that are loving, with our hearts wide open to the possibility that together, our hearts can beat as one when we let go of judging, condemning, blaming the other for our imperfect beat.