Let’s talk about love.
Because all of us want it, hope for it, have it or have had it. Love is literally the intangible force that keeps our worlds spinning.
But most of us – if not all of us – screw ourselves over time and time again by blocking ourselves from receiving it.
Whether you picked it up as a coping mechanism as a kid or learned it through the hard-knocks school of life, deflecting love is about as human as salivating over mac & cheese. (That’s not just me, right?)
What gives? Why do we deny ourselves the one and only thing we definitely already are?
The only reason I can think is that life is a process of rediscovering ourselves and without the painful feeling of separation, we’d never truly appreciate the joy of oneness.
I don’t mean oneness with another person – I mean oneness with ourselves and all that is. The feeling of coming home that can only happen between you and you and what some people call God.
There’s a well-known saying that the longest journey a man must take is the 18-inches between his head and his heart.
In yoga, we believe when the mind walks those steps to the heart, true awakening occurs.
I suppose that’s probably true, though I’m still on the path myself and can’t say for sure.
What I do know is that your pain has a cure. Love.
Last night, I read an article about the true cause of addiction. (You can read it here).
I don’t know if you know any addicts, but addiction and obsessive tendencies were a major theme in my life last year
I became close with a man with severe obsessive compulsive disorder and my soul-mate finally entered rehab for long-term drug and alcohol problems.
The article clarified what I already know in my heart is true. Addiction is not just chemical – it’s a coping mechanism for a pain too deep to endure otherwise.
Although not all addictions and obsessive tendencies are equal, the magnitude of the cause is equally important. It doesn’t matter if you overeat when stressed, use prescription pills till you to lose your job, or over-work because it’s the only controlled, emotionless environment you can handle, your pain is pain and the solution is the same.
I know that sounds ridiculously simple, and, of course, it is.
Johann Hari, the author of the article, identifies social isolation as the key factor in addiction.
Watching my friend struggle with drugs, noticing the times I reach for food, and witnessing a man isolate himself from any form of deep, meaningful contact, I couldn’t agree more.
But just offering love to people in pain doesn’t necessarily help.
When you’re deep into your coping mechanism, it’s not like you sit around rationalizing your behavior because nobody likes you and you don’t feel safe being vulnerable to love. (By the way, if you do, that’s a great sign that you’re almost through the woods and ready to find healthier patterns of interacting).
Instead you probably know you’re missing the closeness and trust in others you desire but aren’t quite sure how to approach it.
Because loving is a two-way street. You can’t just surround a person who’s launched off the social deep end and beam them with love-lasers till they feel better.
Actually, now that I think of it, that’s the premise to a whole body of powerful yogic healing meditations…
But aside from yoga, the person in pain has a job to do too.
They have to agree to be seen. As they are. In all their vulnerability. And be loved anyway.
Talk about intimidating!
Opening up to the potential of being rejected, ridiculed, and hurt is hard. Opening up to being fully seen and accepted in all your inner mess and glory is downright terrifying.
But that is your work. And no other job is more important.
It’s what it takes to put our unhelpful, unhealthy habits aside and it’s what it takes to lead the full, gorgeous life you know you’re meant for.
So how do you start allowing yourself to be seen and loved?
You start gifting it to yourself.
Meditation is phenomenal for this very reason. In those quite moments alone with your thoughts, you face both the beauty and the horror of your own inner world.
As you practice, you learn to greet each thought and emotion with compassion, allowing them to pass without having to define who you are or who you’re not.
Because you are the love that exists beyond all of the fluctuations, insecurities, and anger.
You are pure love. And you deserve to be seen.