A Journey to Love

“I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists. One where my heart is full. My body loved. My soul understood.”

~Melissa Cox

There is a place this can happen – this world of understanding and love and fullness.

That’s the good news. The “getting there” can be a bit tricky…but it exists. The possibility is more then a possibility. It is an absolute.

At some point in time we all begin our search, for one reason or another. Maybe it begins after years of loneliness or trying to be good enough…maybe after a divorce or a death or some tragedy that brings you to the ground and all that’s left…that is steady…is the earth beneath your feet and the sky above your head.

That’s how it was for me.

I had been looking around for so many years

comparing for so many years

wanting…I didn’t know what…for so many years

me…with a somewhat peaceful exterior…host to a raging, interior war.

Until I found…that it was either sink or swim, fly or be still – no other choice if I wanted peace, except to be intentional.

I began the work.

I started reading books that were uncomfortable for me to read, watching documentaries that were painful and educational and deep. I began to journal, meditate, sometimes yoga. I changed the way I ate, what I bought, what I focused on.

But mostly, I began to talk to my Creator…really really talk to Him all of the time, authentically – not religiously or piously or anything that was more or less then me…standing before Him, my heart naked and trembling and overcome with emotions I didn’t understand. I stood in the stillness, I waited…sometimes I cried, sometimes I yelled…mostly I just stood.

Something miraculous happened – slowly, steadily, almost leisurely.

I began to love myself.

You see, dear friend, to love yourself is not selfish.

For years I thought it was – I was told it was. I had a ringing memory in the back of my head where I had been told that I was a selfish person, vain even. To compensate, I spent years neglecting me and putting everyone’s feelings and needs and wants before mine. I tried to be the opposite of “vain” which translated to putting myself down on a continual basis and picking my form and frame apart (metaphorically and literally.) I didn’t stop with with the faults of my physical body but also took a swing at my soul and my heart.

These lies I accepted as truth – and so when my journey as a parent began I didn’t know how or what to feel about my children. There was so much criticism in my mind (about myself) and I knew that I would need to change in order to accept my little people, exactly as HE/SHE accepts them.

The big plot twist was…three of my five children have special needs. This accepting was going to be harder that I ever dreamed because it looked different then anything I had ever imagined – my life looked different then anything I had ever seen or been apart of. It was foreign and scary and often ugly.

Maybe the radical difference is exactly what I needed to make an inward radical change. I had to learn to love in the most selfless way that I think a parent can love, and in order to do this…I had to love myself in the most selfless way a person can…with mercy, grace, acceptance.

Over and over and over again, day after day after day…consistently loving my own self in sickness and in health, for better or for worse,

just as I do my little family.

What I’ve finally grasped is that when people express anything other then love it is a reflection of them, not you. I was not selfish or vain. The other person may have had that fear about himself, and so projected their insecurity to me. That isn’t my burden to bear – my fault to strap on, it’s not my truth. All I can do in a situation like that is love them where they are, but not let their fear define me.

This understanding has healed me because instead of hearing the voices of people, I can hear the voice of Spirit – His/Her love is kind and good and reassuring. It is strong and all encompassing.

In the chaos of mood swings and cleaning up spills and piles of dirty laundry,

in the days where I am a punching bag,

in the days where I feel like no one sees me,

I can come back to that center, to that LIGHT that follows me and I can feel loved, and understood, and stand with my arms open looking up to the heavens

soul naked

heart open

and I feel nothing but Love.

To go home I look inside.

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution ; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

~ Aristotle

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