173: Un/Conditional Love

I have this lover. I know that we were destined to meet because our palms bear identical lines and he is my mirror in every sense. At times he is a perfect image of me, and the rest of the time he is my perfect opposite.

However, this does not mean that our relationship is charmed, quite the contrary. You see, Hollywood taught me how to behave when a boyfriend cheated on me or didn’t get along with my best friend, but the challenges we two star-crossed lovers face are of another kind all together. For instance, today we found ourselves in the middle of a lively discussion about the nature of un/conditional love.

Struggling to express a concept I vaguely grasped, it was only a few moments before the effort brought it sharply into focus. I was left speechless at the realization that I understand more about the nature of love than I had been willing to admit. Meditating on my heart chakra, the nature of “unconditional” love always eluded me until today and now, here I am, trying to tease out the fine hairs.

Nature Never Fears

I thought I didn’t know what unconditional love was. I thought that I was utterly selfish, untrained by narcissistic and inept parents and that without an image of what that kind of love looked like, I was never going to find it showing up in my life. Well it turns out to have been there all along, I just wasn’t appreciative. It goes something like this: I am a giver. I am the friend that gets sucked dry by an insatiable desire to help others and a keen healer’s eye. My friendships have all but dissolved in the last year as I came to realize that the only thing I was receiving from them was the feeling of being needed and I sought a healthier start.

I never thought of myself as the doormat, the forgotten giving tree, or the tired old sweater – soft and comfy to the touch but the last thing you look at when a fancy prince comes to town. I knew there was nothing sustainable about this pattern of giving and never replenishing, it is inherently unbalanced. What drove this unsustainable behavior was not insanity (or maybe it was?) but unconditional love.

Sure, the extreme opposite of the sad old sweater love is giving love only when energetic compensation can be expected and that is equally shameful. No one would argue that love out of obligation is inherently less valuable, that’s for sure. But if a person finds himself making promises only to give as much love as he “is able,” does that not speak to an equally dubious condition? It says, “If I have enough energy for myself then I will give you some love in whatever form you require.” Well that is the very definition of conditional now, isn’t it? sunlovehafiz

So what’s our position on conditional love? Is it just a stepping stone to the unconditional variety? Should conditional love be looked down upon? What purpose does it serve? How can we take Mother Nature’s examples of unconditional love and feel their energy in our own lives? I am reminded of the effortless gift of sunlight which will someday drain our great star of all his life force. Does he ever ask, “What if I don’t have enough?”

I can’t tell you how interested I’d be to hear your thoughts. Don’t hesitate to chime in below!

139: Loving Change (For The Weird People)

rom the "Humans of New York" project: "I have this theory. You ready? So we are on earth for a finite amount of time. And time is a manmade perception. And we perceive time passing through change-- seasons, aging, things like that. So to expand our time on earth, we must incite as much change in our lives as possible." "Interesting. I haven't heard that before." "That's because I made it up!"

From the “Humans of New York” project: “I have this theory. You ready? So we are on earth for a finite amount of time. And time is a manmade perception. And we perceive time passing through change– seasons, aging, things like that. So to expand our time on earth, we must incite as much change in our lives as possible.” “Interesting. I haven’t heard that before.” “That’s because I made it up!”

I am weird. Perhaps you observed this already but I bet you didn’t know how proud I am to be different and I bet you didn’t know that unlike most humans, I love change.

I don’t struggle with fearing change but that does not necessarily make my life any easier, I have a different struggle. This weirdness I love is a double edged sword. It makes me unique but also makes solving my issues more challenging because the advice to do so is not readily available and so I present a post to combat that imbalance. I hate imbalance. Let’s see what we can do for the weird people, shall we?

Whenever I see posts about change float across my inspiration feed (Facebook, blogs, books, etc.) they are almost exclusively about reminding people to accept change and go with the flow. Now I have realized, there is another side of change that ones of us prone to depression would be better advised to study. The masses are familiar with the idea that only constant is change but the reverse which we don’t discuss is the idea that whatever heaviness or pain you feel today, must eventually go away.

I have some injuries in my leg that have been a daily struggle for the last seven years. I find myself praying for change, my biggest fears are not at all related to the stuck-ness so many self-help gurus are speaking out against. Actually, what’s stuck is the idea that I’ll always be in pain, that at 16 my life ended and the new one built around pain began. I fear change will never come. Do you? I named this fear a week ago and since then, a whole new part of my being lit up and I felt energy flowing where I had never felt it before.

Here’s the thing: I don’t really know what to do about this fear other than naming it. It’s silly, I know change is constant and nothing lasts forever but fears are never logical. Actually, from past experience facing fears I know that this naming is half the battle but now that I’ve discovered the entrance to this deep well, I know there is a long way down left to climb. Using some of my favorite teachers’ advice, I’ve tried to identify the place in my physical body where I feel that fear. It’s in my stomach, the place identified as the third chakra. When I start to feel nauseous and unmotivated I look into this pain and ask it: what have you come to teach me? Since the third chakra is located at the solar plexus (the word solar=sun) where our power and fire is generated from, I have been reminding myself of my own ability to co-create change in my life with the help of energy from God/Nature/The Universe/Angels. Even the biggest clouds can be seen moving across the sky.

Here’s a mantra that just came to me from last week:

My energy is the energy of the universe.
My power is my own.

What do you love about change? What are you learning to love about change (i.e. things you might describe with that h-a-t-e word)? Was there a point in your life when change took on a new meaning for you? Share your experiences with change below!

Day 93: What Is Joy?

"allow" being the key word

“allow” being the key word

This affirmation really struck me today.

Through all the health struggles, work pressure, relationship issues, and the ongoing battle love and fear are waging in my life, I have still found moments of deep joy and gratitude over the last seven months, but today when I woke up to a message that ended with the question, “Are you happy?” I was pretty conflicted. My instinct was yes but my frown said no. So I thought about it.

There is a deep internal knowing that I am a blissed-out, joyful being of light that I have come to recognize over the last seven years of being a happiness advocate and I know this is the undercurrent of all my daily experiences because of constant, daily work. Yet I still have trouble seeing how can I ignore the struggles and challenges — which are often at the fore of my mind — by putting the stamp “happy” on my forehead (ego)? I’m not the only one who thinks a weaker person would collapse in my position… so don’t I deserve the space to be sad?

Well the answer is yes. YES. Do you hear me?

Sorry, slipped into my teacher voice there for a moment talking to myself. I answer my own questions a lot.

We all deserve the space to be sad and depressed because they are just the valleys of the sine wave of this human experience. That’s called compassion, ahimsa. Without the changes on this crazy ride, we wouldn’t get the chance to stick our feet out the window and feel the warm breeze rush through our hair – there would be no movement, nothing to experience, total monotony. Yes, I know permanent monotony seems appealing some days but think about it more realistically please, Veronica.

You see, I know all the doubts, I’ve had them all, or at least it feels like I have. I’m getting pretty good at talking myself down from those wild points-of-no-return insanity and all I can say about that is practice makes perfect. Let me be of service to you with this humble offering of an affirmation and then let yourself touch joy for just one moment. Don’t be afraid. One moment is all it takes to remind yourself there are good things and then you can go back to your well-deserved valley/cave/blanket fort. Joy will be there when your solitude has done its work.

 

With Joy, Sadness, and Everything In Between,

The Sacred Here and Now