Friday, July 24, 2009

Letting Go To Grow

There is tremendous freedom in letting go.

Letting go of a situation frees ourselves of things that clutter our lives; too many possessions, unhealthy habits, old beliefs ... even emotions that drain our energy. All of these things and more can weigh us down. So, every once in awhile it's good to "clean out our closets" literally, figuratively, and emotionally, allowing change to take place and bring us to new life elsewhere.

When we suffer a loss, we tend to concentrate our energy on regretting moments lost to the passing of time, and moments that will never be as they are lost to our evolving life.

Like pruning dead branches from a tree or weeding a garden, we need to let go of the what no longer exists, so that there is room for something new, alive, and what is needed at this time in our life.

We are a possessive society.

We often hold on to posessions, feelings, and relationships out of habit, fear of being without, or sorrow for a loss.

So much of learning to let go is about learning to trust. We have to be able to trust that, indeed, new budding branches will grow, and that there is a beautiful garden waiting for us beyond the weeds. We must also learn that, to the degree that we are willing to let go, we are able to receive.

In reality, we own nothing. Certainly, we don't own people. Our spouses, families, and friends are not really "ours." Even if we own the title to our house or car, such possessions can be gone in a moment, taken by a natural disaster, an accident, or financial circumstances.

I recall, from a ceremony at which we asked Mother Earth for blessings in constructing a Labyrinth, that Native Americans could not grasp the European concept of "owning" land, anymore than one can own the sky. Everything belongs to the universe, as even we do.

When we allow ourselves to rethink our sense of "ownership" of posessions, people, and moments lost to circumstance, we find it easier to be thankful for what we had, when we had it, and it is easier to let go. We no longer need to feel burdened by the responsibility of having to hold on to something. We can rethink the value of a prized book collection, a coveted job, or feelings for an old flame.

Allowing ourselves to accept a loss, letting go of the power that a person, ideology, or material object possesses, and embrace the memories associated with it is truly freeing.

With love & light,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Love You ...

I have a friend who, almost every time he texts me, writes "I love you".

I don't think that I reply with the same "I love you" often enough. So, as you read this, please know that I do love you ... and you know who you are.

Oddly, and too often, stating "I love you" to someone we truly do love is difficult to express.

It is easy to take our feelings for granted and to assume that the people we care about know how we feel about them. But while those we love are often quite cognizant of our feelings, saying "I love you" is a gift we should give to our loved ones whenever we can.

Letting people know we love them is an important part of nurturing any kind of loving relationship. Few of us ever tire of being told we are loved, and saying "I love you" can make a world of difference in someone's life, take a relationship to a new level, or reaffirm and strengthen a steady bond.

We all need to hear the words "I love you."

Three simple words ... I - Love - You.

When we declare our love for someone, we admit to them that we care for them in the most significant way.

It can be difficult to express our love using words, but we should never be afraid to say "I love you" or worry that doing so will thrust us into a position of excessive vulnerability. It is important to share our feelings with those who matter to us.

Not only is there a fulfillment that comes with loving someone and telling them that we love them, but the fact remains that love exists to be expressed, not withheld.

When we love someone, we need to let them know. There is no need to be afraid of the strength of our emotions or worry that our loved one won't feel the same way.

The words "I love you" are often best said to another without expectation of a return investment. As each one of us is filled with an abundance of love, there is never any worry that we'll run out of love if our expression of love isn't returned for replenishment. The unconditional love that God has graced us with is unending.

Saying "I love you" is a gift of the heart sent directly through words to the heart of the recipient. Although it may not always seem that way, true love from our heart is an offering that is always unconditional and given without strings attached, and given without our prior consent.

That is the true essence of the gift of "I love you".

Throughout history, love has burned in the hearts of composers, writers, and painters, as well as in those of parents, children, and friends.

Love, primal, passionate, and pure, has been dissected, revered, and derided. It has been called complex, ethereal, and mysterious. We long for a definition but fear that the feeling called love would be less exhilarating if it were to be specifically defined.

Much of the mystery is rooted in the incomprehensibility of love's purpose. It is possible to have intense feelings for others but not define those feelings as love. Yet love remains a powerful and universal force that uplifts us, inspires us, and strengthens us to bring about great change.

Like the wind, which we cannot see yet know is all around us aas we feel it, love is often more easily perceived through its effects. As we transcend the boundaries of ego in order to love and be loved, we put aside our self-centeredness and experience unity with another, as well as compassion, peace, joy, excitement, and fulfillment. No matter if the focus is a lover, a child, a relative, or a friend; the results are both familiar and novel, more so when love is returned in kind.

It has been noted that "to describe love is very difficult, for the same reason that words cannot fully describe the flavor of an orange. You have to taste the fruit to know its flavor. So with love."

Those who have tasted of it often equate love with jealousy, bitterness, resentment, lust, or aggressive attachment, but it is none of these things. Love is both a feeling and an action. As it brings us into our light, we strive for the happiness, stability, and fulfillment of those we love.

It is true that love can be fleeting and accept few controls or conditions. However, the strongest of love either blazes into being and withers away in an instant, or lasts lifetimes.

Love is not something that we learn, but rather it is a light that burns within us and yearns to shine.

It is only fear that causes the need to love and be loved to be hidden beneath that bushel basket.

It is when we accept our worthiness and reject indifference that we are able to completely become outlets of God's unconditional love.

With love & light,