The Loop Of Love
Thank you, readers! My last post received so many thoughtful emails and responses, online and off. It was like being held and healed by so many of you. I feel grateful and nourished. I think at times I get lost, like I did these past few months, in doing and giving, as if I don’t sometimes deserve to just rest and receive.
I’m beginning to see how this little blog community works. I give to you (or attempt to) something of value each week, something from my head or, when I’m more awake, my heart. Hopefully it nourishes you in some way. And you in turn feed me – the word “feedback” is quite apropos here. So there’s this loop of love I’ve come to cherish.
What I find now is that I need to keep talking, keep expressing as best I can what I feel, who I am, what I yearn for, what I want.
And what I want and yearn for most is…you.
I need to connect by reaching out from the silent darkness of the heart and touch you in yours. And I want an honest response.
Tell me the truth and I can feel you. Touch me deeply and I’m yours.
Those who have touched me the deepest these past few weeks have included an almost suicidal fellow student from school days, and a young man who met me at a party this past New Years Eve who sincerely wanted to hear the views and perspective of someone over twice his age.
I don’t ask for much from people lately. When they reach through their normal everyday mask I am grateful. It’s one of the things I live for.
Like when a group of old friends recently offered me feedback about their impressions of me and my life so far. I could barely believe such affirmations of my strengths, my contributions! I didn’t realize I’ve been so seen! They gave me the feeling that, were I to die now (God forbid) I’d be remembered as one who’s made the kind of impact I’ve hoped I would…and sometimes more. It was like experiencing what would be said at my funeral — not only from the pulpit, but also by friends schmoozing over drinks afterwards.
And the things they saw in me – How my sharp use of humor and sarcasm with men compensates for the times I couldn’t defend myself as a kid. How fiercely persistent I can be when the chips are down (doing, for instance, whatever it took to become — and remain — a psychotherapist); what an over-the-top romantic I am. These friends truly see me, and I love it, and love them for it.
They helped me realize I do actually touch people. And you, dear reader — you touch me, more than you know.
So to close the loop for this week, here’s what I wish for you in 2011:
· The grace to react less and respond more.
· The increased ability to share your pain to ease it and dissipate it.
· The times we live in come with one great disadvantage: Face-to-face community has withered and is dying. (And with it, the kind of support that has sustained relationships; given elders a meaningful role, and given humans the sense of meaning and belonging they need to thrive.) So I wish for you that, if you haven’t yet, you find your tribe this year.
· In other words, I cannot see some of my own crap – but you can, and I can see yours. I think God did this on purpose, so we wouldn’t forget we need each other. So seek feedback and take it to heart.
· As in most other years, the world will deliver news that will shock and sadden us at least once in 2011. Work to keep the longer and optimistic (i.e., realistic) view, and offer this perspective to others. They’ll need it.
· Widen your taste in people. Experiment this year with making a friend you don’t like.
· May you only make new mistakes.
· When a friend confides in you, instead of trying to give them something, just receive them. Advice is the lowest form of assistance.
· Count your blessings. Literally: Take a large pad of paper, write “Blessings, 2011” across the top, and keep a running list, all year long. Include especially the little ones.
· Become wealthier, not by owning more treasure, but by treasuring more what you own.
· Finally, I hope you can become more at home on the range: Ride the spectrum between caution and recklessness; between the introspective and the outrageous; between grief and celebration; sobriety and that Other Place; work and rest; tact and bluntness; the fire and the water; the tender and the tough. Between giving and receiving; loving and loathing; comfort and taking a scary chance.
· Finally, make serious plans, and then laugh at them. Enjoying that Cosmic Giggle will be the closest you will ever come to feeling like God.