The Courage to Love
what do you love? who do you love? and what does it take to love… to really love - deeply, fully, unabashedly? i'm reading Joanna Macy's and Molly Young Brown's book, Coming Back to Life, in preparation for a workshop i'm doing by Joanna in November, and it has brought up such deep feelings of love for our beautiful world and all of its inhabitants… a love laced with intense grief, despair and anger. a love interwoven with a fierce desire to radicalize my expression of it. a love continually surrendering to trusting the perfection of all that is and all i can be and do to contribute. this is the love of life, the love which wants to protect my children and theirs from all we've created thus far out of our ignorance and greed. this is love born of faith that we are not alone in our striving to create something far better from the ashes of what is dying all around us. this is love willing to lean into the discomfort of taking actions that may be judged as impractical or out-of-the-box. but, as Paul Hawken writes, "At this crucial stage in human history, there is no inconsequential action- only consequential inaction."
Being Love requires the courage to let go of old ideas, beliefs and behaviors - a bold leap from the continent of the known, falling into the wide open vista of the unknown, trusting that our wings grow as we begin to soar. it takes allowing our ideas of who we thought we were to be burned away for who we are ready to be now - again and again and again. in the last month, i've been given a chance to leap from the safety of my comfort zone into loving more fully. it's been vulnerable, raw, wide open, fierce, tender, scary, deep and strong. what i've gained, though, in doing so are invaluable opportunities to give up taking myself so seriously, habits of thought and action that no longer serve me, and multiple layers of pride. it's been exhilarating, demanding and real, and there are many moments when i stand in awe at what has transpired by being willing to take that leap.
like seeds that sprout only in the wake of great infernos, Being Love also requires a tenacious commitment to create ourselves as greater than our circumstances no matter how small we feel. once we reach the shore of that new continent, we stand on fresh earth where we have endless opportunities to co-create even more love. for me, this has deepened my capacity to stand in the face of intensity, doubt and judgment with love and compassion. sometimes that tenacity looks like potent reminders of "i hear you," "i see you" or "you can do it." sometimes it looks like gentle whispers of "i'm right here" or "i've got you." when we courageously commit to Being Love, we remind ourselves and those around us that every one of us has countless opportunities to BE Love in the face of adversity, deepening our experience of transformation and awakening. when we choose to do so with whoever is right in front of us, we can walk through the fire of what seems most challenging, difficult or impossible. we can choose to courageously love our children, parents and other family members, even when we experience them as demanding or unreasonable; the people in our communities, regardless of circumstances; our chosen partners, no matter what.
so i ask you, what does it look like to Be Love courageously? what would it take for you to love boldly? what is it costing you not to? what would you have to give up in order to do so? what could you embrace? and what would be available to you if you did? whether we are facing outright hatred, global devastation or unfathomable loss, or we're embracing the tenderest of moments of deep connection, when we step into Love, there is no more courageous act and nothing as true and deep. after all, love is what we are. love is all there is.
what if we're here to remind each other of who we really are… and what if that, simply, boldly and truly, is Love? as William Carlos Williams expressed so eloquently, "It was the love of love, the love that swallows up all else, a grateful love, a love of nature, of people, of animals, a love engendering gentleness and goodness that moved me and that I saw in you.”