Wow. So it’s midnight on Monday, Memorial Day, the last day of a very rich holiday weekend. Just drove for an hour and had a chance to reflect on the past weekend, which was pretty jam-packed with connection. Since Friday, there has been celebration of life and death, love and loss, the mundane and the magical, and the magically mundane. I’ve had the good fortune to have spent each day in the company of so many of the phenomenal people that I am blessed to call my friends, and sometimes I have to wonder how I got so lucky, or what I did to deserve this much love. I think about each and every person in my life, and how much energy I get from you all. You sustain me, and give my life more meaning than anything I do on my own.
I spent a good portion of my weekend with people I (so happily!) get to see quite often in my little Noho bubble, talking about the day to day, the tiny details of life developments, getting really deep into things because it’s easy to when there are people around who are privy to what happens throughout each day. I also enjoyed spending time just relaxing, not saying anything at all, which is something that, as well, comes easily with the folks with whom I spend a lot of time. And in those moments of chatter and silence, and of the silent chatter of a soul conversation that happens with eyes rather than voice, I felt bonds become strengthened and created anew. I felt able to trust in this, and to relax into a natural flow of love.
And then there are the people I haven’t seen in awhile. With whom there were bonds made once by chatter and by silent soul conversations. With whom conversations now take on a different form because our interactions aren’t daily, so there is a bit of catching up to do. And in these relationships I find an equally fulfilling, yet different, connection. Initially more tentative, often times reaching a new depth by the end of the interaction, as time and distance have changed each person, creating even more dimension to share with each other. And while it may be months of transformation that have occurred, it only takes a few minutes of real talk to bring two people to a place of familiarity they once knew, and sometimes more so than was there before. I know that there are changes that have been happening, almost imperceptibly, within me, that have allowed me to connect and reconnect in these ways. Somehow, I’ve allowed more openness, confidence, and love to seep into my heart, and it’s starting to snowball. And there is a clear chain reaction that happens when I receive people with all of that: they give it back. And when I am received that way, I can’t help but give it back too. And it seems to go on like that, when I let it.
I think for me it’s at the point where awareness is the biggest piece. I notice when something other than love comes up, and I acknowledge that I want to transform it into love. And sometimes I’m not able to do it, and that’s ok. But each time I am it reinforces that it’s possible, and that it’s the best choice I can make. And somehow practicing this makes everything feel lighter. In addition to enjoying a lot of fun, playful, loving moments with friends, I enjoyed many conversations about heavier things. Acknowledgments of death, sickness, disease, personal struggles, difficult transitions, and more. And I can honestly say I enjoyed them, because the thing about being able to talk about all that stuff honestly, is that by doing so we allow ourselves to come together at a heart level. Even if it means that we are experiencing grief or distress or confusion together in the middle of a party. Because if we don’t do that, then we’re in the middle of a party with a smile plastered on our face but a solo heart full of sorrow and pain. I think sometimes we’re afraid that we’re going to ruin a good time by sharing these things, but what we don’t realize is that we are all holding some piece of something heavier with us all the time. Even if we don’t happen to be the one at the party with an open wound, we know what it’s like to be that person and not feel safe to let it out. I think we have to let it out, and make other people feel safe to do the same In order to get comfortable doing this, I think there’s a period of discomfort that we inevitably go through. At least in my own experience in practicing attaining deeper intimacy within my relationships, I am still frequently in a place of some discomfort with the whole thing. But every time I am able to move through it, I reach something so worth the discomfort: the ability to continue to celebrate life because of, not in spite of, every little thing that I feel, because those feelings, good or bad, are the doorway to real intimacy with other people. They are what connect us all because at our core, we share the same basic feelings. It’s not the feelings that are so painful; it’s the fear that we are alone in our feelings. As soon as we look into another person’s eyes and see that they understand us, that they too have felt what we are feeling, they start to remove some of that weight for us. Or rather, the power of human connection lifts the weight, and it’s a little bit easier to see beyond our own suffering and into the heart of the human race, where there lies a shared reality of every emotion, including the painful ones.
I’m amazed at how many truly meaningful moments can fit into a period of 72 hours, and I am blown away by the quality of life that is unfolding before me. I know that I have some control over how much of this I allow into my life, and that I have to be aware enough to remain present to it all as it comes. It’s pretty easy to miss moments and opportunities if I get too in my head, or start to allow the feeling of separateness to creep in. But somehow I managed to spend almost a whole weekend rolling with the love that came through me, and sharing it as freely as I possibly could with the people I care about. And I had so much love coming my way, and I could have run scared from it, or questioned it, or felt undeserving of it, but I did my best to accept and trust it. I think the snowball is continuing to get bigger, and I hope that its momentum will continue to carry me further into my own heart, and the hearts of others. I’m learning bit by bit, each day, that being love is the best thing I could strive to be. I’m seeing more clearly the formless nature of love, and figuring out how to allow it to be as big as it needs to without trying to chase it or cage it or label it.
I continue to be gifted with people who are committed to giving, receiving, being love, each in our own ways, as much as we can, though we aren’t perfect. But I think we practice this together and it’s really the only way. When I reflect on how full I feel after spending so much time with people I love, that I realize that you’re all the reason I’m able to live and love and be happy in the midst of all the ups and downs.
Lately I’ve been questioning what direction I should take in life. I had several conversations this weekend that started with people asking me what I’ve been up to and ending with me rambling about some unexplainable attraction towards doing a lot more of nothing, and wondering if that were an acceptable goal. What I think I might have begun to understand in these conversations, and what I may be moving toward, is that I’m clearing out space right now, and that maybe I’m trying to make room for love. Something inside me is drawn to practicing being more loving, more present, more able to exist peacefully and contentedly. When I think about how difficult that can be, I start to understand why I’ve intuitively created space in my life. This is a big practice and it needs a lot of space: space to be alone in quietude, and space to develop and deepen relationships. I think that relationship with self and with others are the two sides of love, and that my life, at least this portion of it, would be well off to give as much time and energy as I can to developing those relationships. Forming and maintaining relationships with myself and others manifests so much love and meaning for my life, that it feels unnecessary to clog up that space with a lot of busyness. For now, anyway, I just want to be. I think that you all, and me, are about all I can be present for right now. That I need to fuel up with love, or something, and at some point I’ll feel ready to take on a little more. But shit, I think for now, all of us are more than enough.