“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.” — Marianne Williamson
Love has to include both darkness and light or else I don’t really believe that it is love. I don’t believe in a love that is conditional or partial or I love this part of you but not this part. I know that the kind of love that I am looking to give and receive from others as well as from myself is the kind that can love it all.
When I found myself in a relationship where my partner could not be present in my moments of sadness and could not love the parts of me that were a masterpiece in progress but instead put those parts down when he became frustrated, I found myself able to find the courage to leave the relationship because I knew that our love for each could never be complete. I would have to hide my darkness from him and he would try to pretend to love parts of me that he really couldn’t stomach. As a result, I looked into my relationship with myself to explore what would allow me to attract that type of a relationship with another. What areas of darkness within myself was I having difficulty embracing and nurturing? What mistakes from my past was I unable to forgive and put beyond me? I sat with the revelations that came up and found ways to cultivate more loving kindness to those areas as they seemed in great need of love and attention.
I want a love that is whole and complete and includes every part of myself and the other person. That is the type of love I try to give myself each day.
Be (with) someone who can treat even your most wounded and darkest places with loving kindness.
I want to move in the direction of my fears of expressing myself. I have left countless words unsaid — words that are in a landfill somewhere with all the other words that could have been something special but were denied existence because of fear, worry, and doubt. I want to give voice to myself and all that I have to share with the world.
Affirmation: I deserve to express myself fully in the world.
I am working on aspects of full expression each day in my practice. I approach my interactions with others with the intention of being present, available, and authentic in their company, not hiding or holding back out of fear or habit. I observe the moments where I most want to retreat inside of myself and reflect on what need is not being met in those situations and what I can do to make myself feel more safe and secure in those moments. I hit the reset button each morning, preferably each moment, and practice loving kindness to myself if a situation arises where I am not as available as I would like. I begin again and again and again knowing that I have nothing that I have to hide or be ashamed of in sharing myself with the world.
Affirmation: I reject any attachment to people’s reaction when I express myself.
I do not have to silence or censor myself in an effort to placate others. I am here to live my truth and to share it freely. I am here to be the most authentic version of myself possible. I am here to inhabit the deepest expression of love available to me in each moment and share that with others.
I plant seeds of self-worth, self-love, and acceptance and I see them bloom into flowers rooted from the foundation of my body at my feet and reaching their most open state in my throat chakra. I visualize these flowers when I speak. There is no room for fear with all this life and growth flowing through my essence.
It all starts from within.
This image makes me think of a mindfulness practice I learned from the monastics at Blue Cliff Monastery. They talked about watering the seeds within us and that we have the opportunity to do this in each day and moment. We have all kinds of seeds within us–seeds of love, seeds of kindness, seeds of compassion, seeds of anger, seeds of indifference, seeds of fear…and it is ultimately up to us which ones we pay the most attention to and give the most water and sustenance to.
I took this image away with me and worked with making a conscious effort to water more of the positive qualities that ultimately made me feel more nourished in life like I had actual flowers growing within me.
What seeds are you watering the most?
Photo by jgalere.
More than anything I want to talk to you, whisper in your ear about my day and all the little things that filled me with such wonder, and have you whisper back to me about yours and feel all our moments dance against our skin like the first rays of sunlight on a newly born day.
Aren’t the little things truly the most magnificent things?
Like the eruption of your laughter in an otherwise ordinary moment and all the other laughs of different tones and depths that can’t resist joining in. The thank you card you left under my laptop thanking me just for being me on a particularly rough day. The way you go out of your way to tuck people’s fabric tags safely into place and give them a soothing stroke on the back of their neck before you take your hand away.
I think people feel held tightly yet also free when they’re around you. That may just be the definition of love.
Thank you. Thank you for the days that feel so full, for the periods that seem so empty that losing them could never feel like a loss, for the moments that seem to love me back, and for the experience that left me broken enough to know I could never go back.
Thank you for my existence…my growth. Thank you for all of this love. Thank you for all of the darkness that only makes the light shine that much brighter. Thank you for this life and allowing me to inhabit it even on the days when I did not want to. Thank you for the moments full of laughter and unspeakable joy and for the moments where absolute stillness surrounds me, I am my only companion, and it still feels like heaven.
Thank you. Thank you is enough. Thank you is more than enough. Thank you is everything in fact because it means you can see all of it as a gift of some sort, a necessary part of life for the ignition of change in you or someone else, for the release of suffering for you or someone else, or for the expression of joy for you or someone else.
Two years ago I began practicing gratitude daily. The more I have worked with gratitude, the more I have realized that I could easily be grateful for almost every moment of the day, the delightful times, the heart-wrenching moments, the challenging people in my life and the incredibly loving ones, because they all seem so important for my evolution as a human being.
I have found comfort in giving thanks to people and experiences presently in my life as well as for ones that I have difficulty releasing. I find that I am better able to let go when I focus on my gratitude for having had them in my life rather than on my distress on our time together having ended.
In the past year, I have even been able to include myself in my list of daily thanks and a deep layer of self-love has started to blossom. Gratitude has brought so much light into my life and has helped me transform my experience of life from one of negativity and criticism to one of acceptance and love.
If the moon smiled, you would resemble her. Illuminating and whole, drawing me in with your openness in the loveliest of moments. Just a hint of light surrounded by darkness on other days when say you have nothing to give and shut me out of your world.
The question always seems to be should I stay with someone so light and dark, so present and absent. The answer always seems to be to turn my focus away from you and observe the places where I am light and dark, present and absent. Will I continue to condemn those darker places within me or can I remain a constant, encouraging them to become more whole and full with my presence?
Our time together seems increasingly fleeting but what if this lesson of love and acceptance can stand the test of time. I can choose to love myself and others because of the varying degrees of sun and moon we have within us.