Over the past week, I’ve been talking with people who are registering for my upcoming program; Awaken your heart. In every conversation, I’ve been reminded how unique and extraordinary each one of us is, and at the same time, how consistent our conditioning is – the beliefs and perceptions we adopt in the process of forming our human identity.
One woman’s experience highlights the message we typically get fed about love, and how we are innocently misled in our understanding about what love is.
A life long habit of caring for and loving others.
She described how she had devoted her adult life to caring for others, taking care of family members, having a job where she managed the treatment and care of patients, being the caring one in her friendships. She enjoyed being in this role. She was good at caring for and loving others. She felt a sense of purpose and place.
What she didn’t know, however, was how to love herself.
Don’t be selfish – a message ripe for revision.
If you’re like most people you’ve probably absorbed the message that it’s better to put others first, rather than give to yourself, and that loving yourself is selfish and mean.
The problem with this message is that it gives the impression that love is something we own and distribute, like candy. We give love to keep our relationships sweet. If we’re honest, we hope that by giving love, we’ll be loved back.
This student had built genuine relationships, where a good amount of appreciation flowed back to her, but she was floored and shocked when her body collapsed.
Fortunately the truth about love has a habit of breaking into consciousness.
When we give love without being connected to our inner core, we eventually empty out. This empty feeling can go in several directions; resentment, bitterness, addiction, and even physical collapse.
As she lay flat on her back in recovery from a life threatening illness, she felt awkward in receiving support and attention. It began to dawn on her that she didn’t know what the feeling of being loved felt like. She also sensed that this piece was a turning point, essential to her healing.
Months later, now stronger, she is curious to learn how love happens without trying, or effort, or becoming exhausted.
Love is not something we own, give or receive – it’s who we are.
This student is at the beginning of awakening to love, but she reminds me of a client who told me that she spent her days literally lying flat on the floor, in emotional pain, following a relationship breakdown.
Through our work together she learned how to rest in the love at her core, and with this experience she realized that there was no difference between giving love, and receiving love. She saw that when we are being the love we are, love flows naturally without effort and without a personal agenda.
As her heart continued to awaken, her emotional recovery was lifted into a state of ease, where the healing of deep hurts, and early wounds, occurred spontaneously. In her everyday life, new people, relationships, and renewed links with her family simply began to show up.
Over decades of guiding clients and students on the path of healing and awakening, I’ve come to expect consequences of this nature. Where obstacles, trauma, illness, hurts and failure, dissolve and become transformed by the intelligence of love at our core.
I have no doubt that you can discover the love you are, and experience the grace and miracle of living as love.