The more I learn about love, about simply loving- the more I am endeared to it, permeated by it and transformed into a vessel of it. Love mystifies me. Love is a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, an exclamation, a question, a name, a sin, a choice, an antonym for hate, it is all we need, it changes everything, it lifts us up where we belong. God is love, we are love, the world needs love. Puppy love, first love, being in love. Parental love, Love revolution, free love.
Let’s face it. The world basically is in love with love.
As I am planning a trip across the Atlantic for a sacred pilgrimage, love seems to consume me. I recall a passage written by Max Lucado in one of his books where he states as he sits down to write, he hears sandaled feet enter the room to join him. As I plan my journey along the Camino de Santiago, I experience the same sensation. Just thinking or speaking of my upcoming journey brings the soft sound of sandaled feet coming to join me. Love itself will be meeting me there and taking my hand to lead me through this journey – Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ all around me, Christ within me. Christ embodied love in its purest form. Christ knew who He was when on this earth. To my knowledge He never apologized for being authentic, felt bad for having high standards or shamed Himself for setting forth to live a life less ordinary. He led by example, loved others and ultimately changed the world. I can’t even fathom that He for one moment felt anything other than love an appreciation for Himself. So why is it so difficult for us?
I can only speak for myself in this respect. Love has been a journey for me. Twisting, turning, contorting. Wrongly understood, used as a crutch, misused, abused, codependent and grossly mislabeled . I have held on to people, places and things in the name of love that I should have let go. I have mistakenly put my faith in people that professed their love for me without being mindful to first practice the necessary art of truly loving myself. What a huge mistake made blindly with no real thought or intent.
Love lives at the core of my being. My soul purpose, my reason for existing and the bedrock of my being can all be summed up simply, with no great fanfare in that simple four letter word…LOVE!
Self-love has only taken root within me after much study, dedication and introspection. I recall when the first realization that I truly did not love myself smacked me in the face. I felt such a blow that I actually winced from the pain. The obvious ways I had neglected myself, betrayed myself and refused to love myself horrified me. I was shell shocked, broken and deeply wounded by my undeniable lack of grace towards my own fragile being and by the hypocrisy I displayed for so many years of my life. How could I expect anyone to love me more than I loved myself? For the first time in my life I felt at a loss for words. Empty. Dark. Then surprisingly elated.
I found the missing link, the skeleton key, the magic I had been chasing for so, so, so long. The realization set in that I could actually change the course of my life. I possess the ability to be my own architect and artist. All I had to do was get started. My life became like a blank canvas set before me. I started loving myself and poured my creativity all over the empty pages of the next chapters of my life.
Guess what happened?
Instead of my body being my enemy due to many illnesses, I saw how strong and miraculous my body truly has been. My body can heal itself in miraculous ways, what’s not to love about that?
Instead of feeling left out, abandoned and ignored by the world, I became my own best friend and reveled in the many facets of my personality, intelligence, strengths and weaknesses. I stopped apologizing for wanting more from relationships and began to appreciate that I deserve the desires of my heart: love, loyalty and authenticity.
Instead of being apologetic about my penchant for world travel and a limitless life, I celebrated the audacious, affluent and alchemistic way I have achieved every travel goal I have set for myself.
Basically, I stopped self-blame, self-betrayal and self-abandonment and I heaped on piles of self-love, self-appreciation and self-respect.
Love truly is all we need. We cannot give what we do not have. Truly loving oneself is an ongoing study and practice that once planted in one’s life will yield unmeasurable crops of peace, joy and organically grown love in its purest forms.
Loving oneself is a necessary art. Get out your canvas, precious one. Paint away.