“Love in its purest form — unconditional love — is the substance of the Divine, with its endless capacity to forgive us and respond to our prayers.”
– Caroline Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit
It is actually against our spiritual nature to act out of anything other than beauty, compassion, or forgiveness. Even though none of us are born fluent in love and we spend our lives learning about it, each of life’s challenges is in some aspect a lesson about love, as Myss explains in her book Anatomy of the Spirit. The energy of love, she writes, is pure power and that is why we are as attracted to love as we are intimidated by it.
To shut out love is to shut out the Divine, pure and simple.
When I was a baby, I was as highly sensitive as I am now, but with none of the skills or understanding to cope with the environment I was sensing. My nervous system was not just highly attuned to popularly-accepted senses like taste, touch and sight, but also to the realm of the sixth sense: ether, emotions. When I first mentioned my HSP research to my mother, she made the immediate connection to Baby Veronica who was born unable to tolerate her mother’s physical energy and screamed at the presence of such strong emotional stimuli. This set the tone for our relationship over the next twenty two years until I couldn’t stand it any longer and finally spoke up about how deeply I wished for a loving, hands-on mother. She reciprocated by saying that she always feared pushing too hard, a sentiment that made me scoff when I thought of how jealous I was of the girls who claimed their mothers were their best friends.
Afraid of rejection, my mother never gave me the chance to deny her love.
We all have a wounded child within us; she is the one who absorbs all the damaged emotional patterns of our youth: painful memories, negative attitudes, dysfunctional self-images and all the other fears our ego uses to Edge God Out. Ultimately these patterns will affect our adult lives, damaging our personal and professional relationships — not to mention our health — until we make a concerted effort to love ourselves, thereby unseating the authority the wounded child (ego) holds over us.
If we don’t heal these wounds we will continue to live in the past.
Recently I returned to the lessons involved in throat chakra healing. [Read about them, here.] Focusing on communicating with the divine and the power to channel healing light, I sat down to meditate one day, not knowing what to expect. As I visualized Kundalini Shakti rising up the spine, I saw the red, orange and yellow orbs light up. When the energy reached my green heart center, Little Veronica appeared in front of me. Two years old, blonde wavy hair, and a yellow flower, I couldn’t see her face but I knew she felt so scared and lonely standing there before me. I asked her to sit in my lap between my crossed legs and I swear I felt indescribably completion as she pressed her spine against my belly and leaned back to gratefully smile up at me with impossible grace. I told her everything would be alright and allowed myself to become a channel of divine strength which grew to surround us as a protective shield of green healing light. This incredible experience was the result of five years of intense learning and healing.
All I ever wanted was someone to pull me into their arms and tell me I was loved.
After much hard work, I am finally able to be there for myself as I described above and in this post, but that wasn’t always the case. Three years after I met the first person who ever showed me love, I finally met the energy of my heart chakra in meditation. I didn’t know until another two years later that the green roots I saw that night in 2011 were proof that a majority of my heart had been healed and I was crossing a threshold.
Allow me to share the story of healing that preceded these two visions.
When I went to college in 2008, I met the person who taught me everything I needed to know to awaken the energy of my heart chakra. It was actually love at first sight and though we tried to “play it off” it wasn’t long before I gave in to my intuition and took action to make it known that I was ready to learn. [Read about how I discovered my intuition, here.]
The life lessons I had been learning as I crossed the threshold of the fifth chakra [here] and entered the fourth chakra had taught me about myself in comparison to the universe and the people in it, but I knew there was more work to do. It was the lessons of love that led me to discover nature of my emotions and they were the catalyst for finally meeting my Self. Before this love, I actually considered myself intensely stoic and never would have used the words “sensitive” or “emotional” to describe myself. The phrase I had forbidden my partner from saying was what I needed to hear the most and what I had no clue how to do, calm down.
This is where the heart of my journey to consciousness began.
After one has a clear understanding of oneself, one can create a successful intimate partnership. Somehow I instinctively knew that and today I attribute this wisdom to my intuition, but at the time, I actually had no idea that was what I was doing.
Eventually through the challenges of true love I realized how little I knew about myself and before I knew it, I was forced to step onto what Myss calls the “path to the empowered heart.” With the assurance of my new partner, I turned inward, and we held hands as we came to know my wounds. His too, but much less work needed to be done to uncover his heart. Though his role my guide was much harder, I learned about my gifts as a healer through my own role as “guide” through his heart.
Step two of the six-part path to healing my heart was initiated by this boy, who by the simple fact of him being there had little choice but to witness my wounds and confirmed their influences on my development. The nature of his commitment to me meant that he had the unfortunate responsibility not to allow me to deny the reality of my need for healing. He was like the instructor who can make you sweat in class just by leading you through the same motions that bore you to tears when exercising at home; no breaks and nothing but a hundred percent effort allowed.
This is his story as much as my own.
The fact that we shared some wounded child/ego patterns makes me feel less guilty about the fires and fear we walked through together but it still remains true that I owe him my heart. The trust we built allowed me the safety to admit and own the ways in which these wounds were controlling me and those around me.
One big issue this angel helped me come to terms with was the surgery I had at nineteen that ravaged the structure of my ankle and left me a mess of stiff muscles and painful joints, unable to climb stairs. (I found out two years later that I also had a torn meniscus which no doctors had thought to look for in the five years of pain I suffered.) My post-op cast had been made incorrectly and — combined with a weak heart that didn’t circulate enough blood to my feet to heal — I was still suffering from immense pain on a daily basis.
I became addicted to dwelling on the unfairness of this part of my past and allowed it to control me, sacrificing my power by giving myself permission to be depressed and even taking a prescription for Vicoden when I had always instinctually shunned medicine. He was the one who forced me to start going to yoga and in that way, I think he saved my life. I actually had the nerve to be angry about such a “small” gift after one whole year of being together. Oh how naive I was…
My intuition must have been stronger than I realized.
Though Myss’ step four to heart healing is to initiate a spiritual practice and stick to it, “do not be casual about your spiritual discipline,” was not a message my angel or anyone else was relaying. When the boy left me four days before our two year anniversary, yoga didn’t. I retreated to the only thing I felt I could trust, the woods, where I fasted, meditated and practiced yoga at the home of a dear friend.
The year 2012 was the year I realized how grateful I was for suffering.
I realized that the surgery had brought me to yoga and that an emotionally abusive father had given me freedom to spread my wings and soar. I learned about happiness backwards, something that won’t surprise you if you’ve been following this journey of mine. “Fake it ’till you make it,” became my mantra and in this way, being happy became an act of consciousness. After he let me down and disappointed me by revealing he wasn’t strong enough to walk with me anymore I struggled to regain the ability to relate to this boy (he was not yet a man); I became conscious of the challenge of forgiveness.
With my father, forgiveness had been natural.
Once I gained enough distance from the traumatic childhood he had inflicted blessed me with (change your vocabulary, change your life), my heart began to open and I noticed my capacity to feel compassion. Thinking of a father whose only daughter hated him elicited in me feelings of pity and more surprisingly, of love. When I bought him his first Father’s Day present after seven years of silence, it felt so good and I finally understood the power of forgiveness. I have come to see my father as a man with a sickness, alcoholism, which is not his fault. [Read about how he taught me peace, here.]
With this boy, however, I wanted personal vengeance.
Over time, I would achieve enough distance to make that possible in the same way a 300-mile move gave me distance from my father, but not before I had learned some more about my Self in the process. Fate was indeed cruel, or maybe just harsh. Any way you spin it, the chances that we would be forced to live in the same room, in the same 1,000-person village, while working the same internship at the same architecture office in Southern Italy one year after the heartbreak are just comically small.
Liberating my psyche and soul from the perception of me as a victim took many months of anger, frustration, confusion, several power struggles, and ultimately extreme honesty. When I finally let go of my “victim” title, I actually misunderstood it as a signal that we could continue the partnership I had always imagined growing old with.
I followed my intuition to an unexpected result.
I called a meeting to declare my intention to forgive and forget only to find that he had forgotten first, a month earlier, when he found a new girl who needed his hand to hold. Embarrassed and confused, the connection was broken for good that night in January 2013 when he told me he had always felt “under duress” when speaking of his love. In that instant I felt an enormous tidal wave of liberation wash over me.
This freedom was the most important gift he ever gave me.
Feeling strangely electric with happiness and nostalgia, I walked home lighter than air and sank into the couch. I cannot stress enough how much I am not exaggerating what happened next. The exact moment I realized what I had just let go and finally cleared out that space in my heart, the man I would come to know as my soul mate, my mirror, and my twin flame, called and asked me out on our first date.
“The consequence of a genuine act of forgiveness borders on the miraculous. It may, in my view, contain the energy that generates miracles themselves.“
Myss’ words could not be more accurate. In the short moments between the boy’s freeing words and the man’s initiation, all that I had inside of me was love. “Think love” is step six and I consciously did it only because I had nothing left. That was the moment when I realized I had finally learned to trust that everything happens for a reason. I didn’t know why my biggest fear of rejection had been realized, but I knew there was a good reason for it and I was eager to find out.
When the future called, I was ready for gratitude.
As I hung up the phone, every cell in my body vibrated with screams of gratitude to the universe. I knew that my whole history of learning, love, loss, suffering, healing and letting go had prepared me for the person I was to meet the next Thursday for dinner. Instead of wallowing in the past that I was leaving behind, I did what all spiritual masters “worth their salt” (in the words of Myss) have been saying for centuries: I kept my spirit in the present. Jesus advised, “Leave the dead and get on with your life,” Buddha said, “There is only now,” and I learned my own lesson: love is divine power.
Who taught/teaches you about love? When was your most unexpected learning experience?