Love Likely to Increase

Love Likely to Increase

“The world is not decided by action alone. It is decided more by consciousness and spirit; they are the secret sources of all action and behavior. The spirit of a time is an incredibly subtle, yet hugely powerful force. And it is comprised of the mentality and spirit of all individuals together. Therefore, the way you look at things is not simply a private matter. Your outlook actually and concretely affects what goes on. When you give in to helplessness, you collude with despair and add to it. When you take back your power and choose to see the possibilities for healing and transformation, your creativity awakens and flows to become an active force of renewal and encouragement in the world. In this way, even in your own hidden life, you can become a powerful agent of transformation. There is a huge force field that opens when intention focuses and directs itself toward transformation.”
—John O'Donohue

I'm not a brilliant conversationalist.

I'm not a gifted orator and rarely do I have intelligent responses quick and ready on my tongue. I freeze up in debates and shut down in heated dialogues. I can't argue point for point. I can't even keep up. And as much as I'd like to, I don't have fierce-truth sermons of wisdom and inspiration. 

Instead I write. And I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting. “Speak only if it improves on the silence,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Right now there isn't a lot of silence anywhere. Regardless of one's political views, people on all sides are processing. Feeling the feelings. Reaching out, connecting. Lashing out, dividing. There is a lot of violence, online and off. Being on Facebook feels like an assault. Through social media, I learned that messages of love aren't good enough now. (Dear women, it's hard to be free from shame, isn't it?) 

I also heard, “Don't bring God into this.” I heard, “If you voted for ___, unfriend me now.” I read horror stories about how others are being treated. I heard a lot of people processing rage and grief. And I heard people rising up, gathering close. It's all there on collective display.

Women have struggled with not-enoughness forever. Now women are shaming each other: for not speaking up enough, not loving enough or loving too much, not being angry enough, not protesting loud enough, and the list goes on. 

Two things: shamed women shame other women, and for all the not-enoughness you see in me, I see my own magnified by a thousand times. Here is my commitment to myself and to you: I will believe the best first. I will trust that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. And I have to give this to myself, too. I can only answer for myself. And right now I do not have all the answers. I still believe in love. I'm still finding ways to show it and I'm doing so very awkwardly. I'm hyper-aware of my privilege and how these words may sound. I don't know what to say and I don't know what not to say. All are welcome at my table. All are welcome to self-select themselves away and I still believe in love. I believe in many other things, too. We are all tired and this has just begun. 

As an empathetic, highly sensitive soul it's a lot to hold. In fact, it's too much. Rise up without apology is a message I keep hearing. Be unapologetic. And yet I feel the need to apologize for having great peace in the midst of chaos. I feel the need to apologize for believing in love and for being an idealist. But I won't. I can’t. So if you are like me, I want to tell you something: 

Don't apologize for being you.

Don't apologize if you are not marching in the streets. Don't let others tell you that you are not enough. This world needs your tenderness, now more than ever! We need your compassionate heart and your alchemy of justice and mercy, woven as only you can.

Times like these bring out the true in us. Right now the people are angry and terrified. Be unapologetic and tender. Don't shut down now, but rest. Don't feel guilty for having boundaries. It's okay to slip out of the back door to catch your breath. Just like with everything ... the initial shock will move through and someday, life will return to a semblance of routine. I promise. And that's when you and I can slip out of the shadows like furtive lovemakers and beautykeepers determined to light the way. We will creep out of the dark bearing lanterns of hope and carrying warm wash cloths for battle-worn faces. We will heal the world in ways only we can, with our tender hearts and sensitive skins which feel the pain of others pressed close. We will bake the bread of comfort and offer sweet, nourishing living water. Our arms are soft. Our hearts are strong. We were made for this. So gather your things. Your beauty tools, your dances, your comforts and nourishments, your poems and your prayers. Each one has a purpose. Each of us can be a revolution of light. 
Remember: where attention goes, energy flows.

To what are you giving your energy?

I've decided two things: to focus on what I am for, not against. And I'm going to keep sharing my truth. I will talk about life and love. I will bring God into it. I will talk about art and creativity and beauty. I will talk about dreams and being an idealist and the Holy Spirit and self-expression and incredible displays of human resiliency. All are welcome at my table. And if one decides to self-select themselves away from my table, they are free to go and I bless them and send love. But I don't want to hold myself back from sharing my stories, my love and my truth. If someone thinks I am not doing enough and so continues perpetuating a cycle of not-enoughness and shame, that's ok. I commit to doing the best I can. I believe others are doing the best they can. I commit to believing the best about you first. I will see with compassion. I will look for the beauty. I will remember that people are scared, and angry—on both sides, on all sides. I will listen. I will seek humility. I will continue to work on and heal my own blindnesses, my own issues, my own struggles. Even if I am alone at my table, I will continue showing up, serving up love. I'm not looking for accolades. I'm not here to be an Internet sensation. I will show up in my imperfections, unapologetic and loving. Loving till it hurts. 

Loving until it hurts.

Want my best practical advice? Get off the Internet. Even for a day. Deactivate Facebook...even for a day. Get out of your house. Go to the store. Look people in the eyes and say hello. Wave back at the luminous and laughing child with the precious syndrome of joy in the booth in front of you when you're having lunch. Hold the door open for people...at the gas station and in your heart. Grab something off the top shelf for someone too short to reach. Ask for directions instead of Googling. Be present. Show up with warmth. Buy a coffee for someone in line. Let people show you who they are IN PERSON. Show someone else they are not alone. Be not-alone together.

Let's recommit to each other. Let's look around where we are and choose to be the soul of that place. Let's believe the best first. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let's also not be swayed from doing and being what we are called to. Let's spread messages of hope. For every devastating headline, let's share two more of hope and beauty and encouragement. Let's choose to believe that love always wins. 

You cannot heal anything with shame. 

You can only heal with love.

And each one of us can be a revolution of light.

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