A year to love what is

A few weeks ago during my morning yoga, I had this inspiring idea – what if I spent every single day learning to love the things that are to me, in fact, the most challenging to love because they might be unpleasant or wrapped up in layers of doubts and fears and past patterns? I decided that writing about it on a daily basis for a year is probably not a realistic goal with all the other things that fill up my days, but then a quiet suggestion came within me to do it weekly. And I have been toying with that idea since, finding many reasons not to do it – what if I don’t feel inspired to write every week, what if it doesn’t make an interesting read, what if there are a billion of other better and more inspiring websites, on and on. Tonight I woke up at 2am knowing that the time has come. There are a few things that happened recently that I believe have really tipped me over the edge. One of them was this quote by Martha Graham which I heard while listening to Dr. Christiane Northrup (who is my recently-discovered female inspiration):

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”

How beautifully put into words! I especially love the word quickening because that is exactly what those moments feel like when we feel inspired and overjoyed to do something – an acceleration, a faster pace in our heartbeat, springing to life.

I also had an experience that I found extra-ordinarily difficult to love (I’ll be honest – I started out absolutely hating it). This was after having an incredible weekend with a close girl friend of mine when I went to visit her in a little eco-village in the South of Spain where she is living and working as a volunteer. It was such a perfect weekend. Everything started out with me taking a long train ride from Madrid with 4 empty seats to myself. After working for a little on my work laptop until the battery ran out, I spent the rest of the train journey enjoying the gorgeous views outside, and then writing a massively-delicious letter to another friend of mine (I love love love hand-writing with a fountain pen). The next two days that followed were incredible – we spent time wandering barefoot in the mountains, crying in a cave while telling sad stories, giggling while watching the sunset, eating endless amounts of pomegranates so juicy they were exploding in trees, swimming in the sea, and sleeping on the beach under the stars at complete awe of the enormousness and beauty of this universe. On my way home I felt so wonderfully wild, I noticed dreadlocks beginning to form in my hair! I was like that she-wolf that had run through the entire forest at night, still panting, with her toes covered in sand and the hair full of wind and dew.  (I actually believe that the answer to all this world’s challenges lies in women having the freedom and liberty to run wild like that sometimes but that’s, perhaps, for a future blog.) And then within 3 hours of getting back into the city I realised that my work laptop had disappeared.

I have absolutely no idea whether it was stolen or I left it behind driven by some subconscious resistance to the un-wilderness of technology and city. The imminent need to replace the plastic itself and losing hours of work that would need to be redone was only a small part of the issue, as hidden within the laptop sleeve were some of my absolutely favourite things on this planet – a new set of gorgeous postcards, beautifully illustrated post-its, months and months of hand-written notes about all these wonderful discoveries that I was making about myself and what I would like for my equally wonderful future, lots of letters, and my favourite fountain pen. Now, while to some it might seem that losing a bunch of papers and a pen is not a big deal, but to me it felt like I had been visited by Dementors from Harry Potter. (To those of you who are not fans of Harry Potter, Dementors are the world’s darkest and foulest creatures that feed upon human happiness and soul.) Losing all those little bits of paper that I had lovingly touched every day and covered with my soul’s yearnings and sighs and songs, literally felt like all the happiness was lost with them. I cried at least three times in the two days that followed and felt absolutely utterly depressed and unwilling to ever do any writing or look at any piece of paper ever again.

What appeared to be a horrendous event led to something incredible. Firstly, it was the experience of compassion and love of my husband. I was so moved by the depth of his concern and support, as well as beautiful new notebooks that he brought to me as a present a few days later asking not to stop writing. Secondly, I decided to stop using Facebook for a month. Its pervasiveness in every second of my life was something that had been making me tired for a while, and that was the tipping point that felt like a relief. It was like silencing an annoying background noise and buzz that was making me distracted and anxious. While it might seem like a small silly thing, this has been a profound shift in the weeks since then as it allowed me to really still my mind, become more aware of little moments in my day and actually have more moments of doing things I love. (I’m not taking any vows to stay away from it forever but I am still loving the pause.) So there it was – my first experience of something absolutely impossible to love at first turning into something deeply nourishing for my soul.

Before this long blog entry turns into a book, I would like to finish by sharing my new favourite quote which was the final drop in the bucket as I waited for the right time to start writing ‘a year of loving what is’.

“Everything that happens in your life is a gift. And if you treat it that way, you’ll experience it that way, and spend the rest of your life unwrapping presents.” Bashar

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