Experiencing love: Vulnerable and glorious
How do I want to experience love?
There is nothing that has ever made me feel so vulnerable or so fulfilled.
Love brings out the fear and the faith in my soul. The woundedness and my devotion to healing.
I feel as if I could take a course in love to help me wade through the waters of my feelings.
It is about loving another and the vulnerabilities that love brings up in my soul. And it is about the love I have for myself, and how much courage I have to face whether I can love myself as much as I feel love for others.
Reading Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love on brainpickings.org today, Maria Popova discusses love and quotes Kahlil Gibran from his book The Prophet. He is one of my favourite poets.
And I do need guidance because love for me has been an approach and avoidance affair.
Growing up with an emotionally abusive mother, love was either measured out or completely absent. It was never given freely from an unconditional heart. That taught me to be mistrustful of love. To not believe in my own value, and to constantly be on alert for when that small amount of measured love would be withheld.
As a child, it was a matter of survival.
As an adult, I have been struggling with this exact notion, the duality of love. It is like a roller coaster for my heart in a way. And knowing where it originated does help. It allows me to hear the fearful inner child when she screams at me to be watchful, to be wary.
And I listen to her, my inner child, because she protected me. And did such a good job keeping me safe. But I know as an adult that she overreacts. That I am no longer caught, trapped and subjugated like I was as a girl.
My love has grown over the years. Ironically, I have always been able to love deeply despite my childhood experiences, but I often feel unhinged when faced with love. And it is a relief to know I am not alone with that feeling. Kahlil Gibran describes it so well in his book,
“…For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast…”
And he has so much more to say on the subject.
The love that really transformed my life was the love I have for my son. No other love has ever made me feel so vulnerable or broken open, and no other love has ever made me feel more elated and satisfied either.
I am a creator of life. And my son has healed me in so many ways I cannot even list them all, but I can feel them and live them.
One huge thing my son has done is free me from my childhood of abuse.
How did he do that?
I have not abused him the way I was abused. My love for him transcended my experience, and I did not repeat the pattern my mother must have repeated from her own childhood.
For me that is why I am here. Why I was born. I was born to break that abusive cycle, not only with my son but within myself.
I admit that love can frighten the hell out of me. It can make me feel so unhinged that I worry I’m losing my mind.
It also heals me immeasurably, however, because I’ve never felt more alive or beautiful or accepted in love as I do today.
It is people like Kahlil Gibran who we need to help guide us. We need people who have the courage and strength to express the nuances of being human. To unashamedly admit that loving can be a crown and can crucify as well. Each is part of the experience of being fully human. The highs and lows of being a deeply feeling being.
If we hide ourselves behind fear and pain, we are only limiting ourselves from being truly free. I know why I hid as a child, it was self-preservation, but I’ll be damned if I do it any longer.
I may not always feel comfortable or on solid ground, but I will feel all that I’m meant to. There is nothing more or less that I want from my life filled with love.
From the series, Write On! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor
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