Imagine if you could magically step out of time and look back over your own lifetime. Which memories would rise, like rainbow-skinned soap bubbles, and float into your heart’s view?
Certainly the most poignant memories we have revolve around love. Feeling love, finding love, expressing love, losing love. When we are most in touch with life, the things we love, and those we love come sharply into view. And if you have had experiences that bring life and death into clear view, you too must feel that all that really matters the most, undoubtedly, is Love.
So what then, is love?
According to Merriam-Webster, to love is to hold dear, to cherish, to feel affection for, and to take pleasure in. For each of us, love holds its own meaning. So much has been said about love! Love is all. Love unites us. Love Heals. Love is all there is. Love is a many splendored thing. Indeed, love is probably the most mysterious, all pervasive, and multi-faceted treasure of our existence. What is love to you?
Love is the whole thing. We are only the pieces. -Rumi
When I was younger, before my first child was born, I thought I knew all about love. I loved deeply, and consider myself quite loving. If you would’ve asked me then, I would’ve told you that I knew all about love. When my first daughter was born, it had been a very difficult birth. But eventually, this swaddling baby was put into my arms. As I drew her close, and turned my head to first look up on her face, my entire universe literally exploded. A greater, more expansive love than I had ever imagined possible came over me, permanently changing the experience of life as I knew it. The love I’d known before was like a tiny egg whose shell had just cracked open into the light of a million suns, shining in the unending vastness of the Universe.
Another time, when both my daughters were in their twenties, I was attending an Irish music event in Santa Fe with my two bandmates. We were seated in the highest balcony, looking down over the hall, enjoying the music. A slow feeling of pressure started to build up in my chest as I watched. At first I tried to ignore it, but it persisted. My breathing became rapid, and the squeezing feeling got worse. I began to panic as my heart started pounding. A shooting pain went down my arm, and I thought, “Oh my God, is this it? Am I having a heart attack?”
Fear escalated intensely, and just as it reached its peak, time stopped. I rose above myself, and could see myself sitting there, and hear the music in the distant background. I was keenly aware. Then tears began to flow down my face. I saw the faces of my beloved daughters, and then, one by one, faces of those I’d loved in my life appeared briefly. All I could think was, “Wait! Have I accomplished what I needed to? I haven’t got it right yet! Would my life matter? Did my girls know how much I loved them?”
Still immobile, in an altered state, I heard a benevolent voice. It assured me that not only my daughters, but everyone I’d loved, would absolutely know that I loved them. Somehow an inner knowing began to bubble up, replacing my fear. I knew with certainty that I definitely had loved. In fact, I had loved wholeheartedly, with a ferocity of conviction.
In that moment, I was assured that my life had been complete, because I had truly loved.
The doctors later said my symptoms were a complication of too much thyroid medication and exhaustion, not a heart attack. But in truth, my heart had been opened to a deeper appreciation and compassion for my own self.
These are but two beautiful bubbles of memories that rise when I look back over my life to think about what’s been most important. By the grace of God-Universe, I have been shown again and again that love itself is beyond my limited definition. It continues to expand in ever greater magnificence beyond the scope of words. It is there to hold me and reassure me in the most fearful of times. Love gives complete meaning to my life. I am finally learning to turn that love inside myself, and accept it. For 40 years I heard the wisdom from my Teacher that God lives within. That God manifests as myself. “Go inside and love yourself,” she said.
On this day honoring St. Valentine, I send this question out into the Universe as an act of…. love. So, I ask you again, whatever day this is for you:
What sweet memories of love arise when you look back at your own life from the place of deep stillness and compassion? Which lessons from love will you cherish and share?
I invite you to reflect on the gifts of love as you know it. Perhaps you will feel moved to write your experiences, as I’ve shared here? Or to sing, or dance, or laugh, or play. Perhaps you will offer your work with a lighter heart when you remember how much Love, loves you.
Wherever you are, whenever this is, I wish you Love.
All Blessings & Love,
P.S. If you or someone you love wishes to develop more self-compassion and more self-love, please feel free to talk to me about strategies and practices that I’ve found really helpful! Schedule a FREE Welcome Call with me any time. You are a magnificent, unique manifestation of Love! Unveil this Truth, my friend!