The Shape of Love

Well. It’s been quite a year hasn’t it? In addition to the usual ups and downs of everyone’s life, which are unpredictable and ongoing, we’ve had and are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Jobs have been lost, homes, family members, and more, including our individual and collective sense of relative safety and stability.

What has kept you going in the midst of so much loss and uncertainty?

I’m fortunate, despite the loss and uncertainty, to continue to feel resourced on many levels. I’m still healthy and have enough money for food and shelter. I have dear friends and family (even if I can only see them on Zoom). I can still go for walks among the trees nearby. I have a mindfulness and awareness meditation practice, and am part of a community within which I can practice and share with others (even if it has been exclusively on Zoom). Something very close to my heart for many years, and during this time in particular, that has gotten me out of bed on the mornings I’d rather not, has been ensuring that others have a time and a place to practice meditation, even if that has just meant committing to being there at a certain time with the Zoom room open and a timer ready.

In addition, continuing to work with my own coach, mentors and teachers has helped me see the blind spots and ways of being that keep me stuck in habitual fear-based patterns that no longer serve me and, in fact, keep me from doing what I can, for myself and others, during this incredibly challenging time in my life and in the world.

One practice in particular that has seen me through the loss of a primary relationship, seeing my income drop to and hover between nonexistent and insubstantial, the “is it safe to even leave my house, even with a mask on?” and most recently, not quite a month ago, the death of a beloved furry companion, has been presence.

Presence, for me, is that feeling that comes with slowing down, letting my attention drop from the swirl of thoughts in my head down into my body, into my heart, acknowledging what is there, opening and softening to it, and trusting the aliveness stirring within me to lead me into the next moment.

Some days that has been and continues to be easier than others. There were, and are, many moments where parts of me resist, with a loud, “OH, HELL NO!” Perhaps you’ve heard it?! Those are parts of me that feel small and frightened, parts that want to know there is still going to be a roof over our head and food on our table next month, parts of me that need a hug, a gentle, loving touch, from another living, breathing being.

Those are all very valid needs and concerns for all of us as humans. But I can’t address them skillfully when I’m caught in that blinding swirl of thoughts in my head. When I drop into my body and feel the fear, the sadness, the grief, and open to it, it softens, and what emerges from the depths of my being is what has always and will always be there. Love. All I have to do is remember to open and soften to it. The more I do that, the more I can do that. When I respond to my own and others’ needs from that place of aliveness, of being, of love, good things can happen.

This isn’t the romantic love that we feel for a partner, the parental love that we feel for children and other small (and sometimes furry) creatures, the love that we feel for friends and family, etc., though I believe it underlies all of those. This is something else and it is something that can never be taken from us. I wrote a poem several years ago trying to capture my experience of it, inspired by seeing a heart-shaped clump of snow on a windswept sidewalk during my morning walk:

Made by this
Made for this
Made of this
We are that which can never be swept away
We are Love

I’d love to share this practice with you so I’m offering a free mini workshop this Saturday called The Shape of Love: An Embodied Approach To Discovering The Love Already Within Us. During this hour-long workshop I’ll share a little bit more about the practice, how I work with it and how it has helped shape me and my response to challenge and loss, we’ll practice together, and discuss our experiences.

I hope you can join me! Sign up for your free ticket here. This will also give you the option to join my mailing list, which I’d love, but you don’t have to!

This is Shadow, who passed away on January 21, 2021, two months before his 15th birthday.

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