Thursday, 30 January 2014

This Thing Called Love, Do You Feel It?

A fair few years back when my children were very young, I was doing some personal development and stumbled across a thing called love. I had been around in this world for 25 years at the time, and was well aware what this thing was, at least I thought I did. 

Part of this personal development work was allowing love into my life and figuring out what love was. I thought “yep, easy, I know what that is and I let it in” after all I had a family which I loved. 

I was never girly girl and didn't draw love hearts or dance around in princess clothes, I was more about tough love, the kind that said “suck it up princess and let’s jump off the top off the roof” so it’s safe to say I was very confident going into this love thing.

I started the process of writing down what love was to me and what it felt like, well I attempted to write it out but become stuck. I was okay with describing what the feeling was, the usual warm fuzzy feeling but got stuck on describing what it actually was and meant to me. 

I wrote out a list that went something like this-

Love is...

  • Trust
  • Protection
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Laughter and joy
  • Plus the warm fuzzy feeling

All these combined was love to me at that time. 

Then I was to write down when I allowed it in my life. I wrote down all the ways I let love in then had to go back over it and figure out where I had rules for love such as-

  • When I trust someone I allow love
  • When people respect me I feel love
  • When people care about me, I will care about them

Now most of us have rules for this thing called love as it’s a pretty deep feeling and not meant to be taken lightly, after all it’s how we protect ourselves from getting hurt, right?

That’s when the light turned on and revealed that I was not actually feeling love, that warm fuzzy feeling was part of love but it was basically behind barbed wire and all protected. It was only allowed in and out under certain circumstances! 

At first I rejected that I was not feeling love and threw the papers across the room, I thought how dare they do this to people and make them think they are wrong. 

I was doing the dishes later that day and thinking about this love thing (I often go into deep thought when doing the dishes) I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and just finish the process.

So I sat there and went even deeper to reveal that I was not really loving my children, I was but not whole. I worked out that I feared getting hurt sooooo much that even loving my children deeply could cause harm. 

What if something happened to them? I wouldn’t be able to survive!

My human instincts of survival and protection completely ruled my life.  When it hit home that I was not loving my children whole I cried my eyes out, I felt sorry for them that I was not loving them completely, I felt sorry for myself that I was not allowing love into my life, then I started to hate myself for not loving my children.

Again, I was blocking love because I hated myself!

Yep, I thought I was going crazy there for a while but I stuck at it. 

I made the decision to allow love in my life without so many rules. It was not an easy task as it required total honesty, I had to pull down my barbed wire fence that had protected me , and my heart, for such a long time and it was scary.

I felt completely vulnerable and pretty much naked!

I was thinking “I don’t like this, it does not feel safe, I want my fence back” but because I am stubborn I pushed on with the process and found other things I could love (not people) like trees, flowers in spring, the smell of the air after it rains in the summer, colours, the smell of essential oil. 

As well as that, part of the process was to go back to when I made the rules and re-write the ending.  I had to thank my fence and myself for protecting me for so long then let it down and let it go. Something inside made me stubbornly commit to this love thing, something inside said “you must persevere or you will reap no rewards”.

So little by little, I was finding love without rules and it was enjoyable but scary at the same time as I was way out of my comfort zone. At times I still thought some of what was suggested was crazy such as, giving love without protection or expecting any return and giving love to what you hate.

I totally cracked up and fell apart, I had so many false beliefs and rules that it felt like I would never find the end.  I had to re-open wounds from the past in order to fully heal them.  It’s pretty deep stuff that I think is for the brave hearted, it requires courage to face your fears with love as the reward, nothing but love. 

As it turned out my father was going through cancer right around the time I was choosing this love thing. Now he was not the perfect father, he made many mistakes but I saw it as an opportunity to try out this no-rules love thing and stuck by him right up to his last breath. 

The day he went away (a year later) I was in the middle of the hot Darwin sun, on holiday with him and completely on my own, holding his wallet with all his pictures and notes. 

I felt this warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, it was not the sun and I was thinking “why am I feeling this when I’m totally scared, miserable and grieving?” 

I was crying like never before asking “why on earth have I been put through this on my own and why was I feeling this warm fuzzy thing called love?” Right in that moment I realised that because I had chosen this thing called love that what I was feeling was true, unconditional, no-rules, LOVE!

I loved him with all my heart and it hurt a whole lot, to lose him on a father/daughter holiday without my immediate family around was heart breaking but I loved him, I loved him and still do. 

Every day I see the sun I am reminded of this love thing now, so it’s in my life quite often. In my father’s death he taught me love and that’s the best thing he ever taught me (other than how to tie my shoe lace) 

What it also taught me was that no one can make you feel love, it does not come from external stuff or people, it comes from within. I believe if I did not choose it way back then I would not be feeling it now and it’s really changed my life. 

As hard as it was, with as many crack-ups I had, and my safe house being torn down to the ground, I would not change the journey (other than figuring this love thing out before I had my children)  

You may be wondering, “Why I am sharing such raw emotions?”

Because I feel and believe the world needs more love and it’s totally real and life changing!

You just have to crack up first then rebuild a stable foundation! (I write this with a sense of humour but in all truth)  

Here is a quote that describes this perfectly – 

"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light." Groucho Marx

Here is a painting I done just recently that honours this love journey, and guess what I called it?

Choosing Love

  • It’s a tree with a hollow cave where I went to heal on my own
  • It has the sun and red passion for unconditional love
  • It’s got cracks with hidden gems inside that have been healed with gold glitter
  • It has a butterfly for transformation
  • It’s got animal totems and spiritual teachers
  • It’s got my childrens hand prints with the word love running through them
  • It’s got leaves, twigs, flowers and dirt

This is my journey that I have created and I love, love, love it. I didn't realise how far I had come until I done this painting, I’m not completely healed but hey I’m happy and live more now than when I did without it.

You can take every material thing away from me, even people, but not my LOVE!

So if you are still reading maybe you want this love thing too and you can have it, just make the decision and don’t give up!

You will find what you seek, and I believe unconditional love is totally worth it because once you find it, there is no going back. It really is that powerful.

By the way, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on what love means to you or how you let it in your life! 

Thanks for Reading

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