Love: 10 Things
#54 in a series of things to open you up to love
Dec 21, 2020
(reading time: 4 min.)

TWIL (This Week I Learned)

This  week is love. Love because it’s the last week of advent and that is what I committed to.

I’ve had an odd time these last three weeks: I will light the advent wreath and it seems to symbolically set of a series of events that deeply challenge the theme for that week. The challenge then leads me unwittingly to a deeper understanding of the theme: Hope, Peace, Joy.

Now Love: Back on December 5th, Father James Martin, who I follow on Facebook, contemplated the rage and hate in people who are virulently against LGBTQ people.

His Facebook post that is linked above is well worth reading in full, but what he has noticed is that often, the people who are most rage-filled are those who are struggling with an inability to accept their own sexuality.

In my experience, this can be extrapolated to almost any situation where I have yet to come to full acceptance, compassion, and love for something inside myself.

Doing the hard work of looking at myself is incredibly challenging, and I do it imperfectly, often avoiding whatever it is for years, using ingenious excuses and rationalizations, while my rage and hate boil just under the surface.

Facing my un-integrated, shadow, ugly self — imperfectly and continuously — is something I committed to do when I was 16, and have been failing, then failing better at since.

2. Quote

“In response, psychologists tell me that it's easier for someone who is struggling with interior feelings--of shame, hatred or confusion, about their sexuality--to direct it outward, rather than do the hard work of looking at themselves.  The anger and self-hatred they may feel is more easily directed outward.
 ―        Father James Martin, Facebook post December 5th, 2020.

3. Prompt

So…what is keeping you from love? James Martin goes on to mention that part of his reason for contemplating this is that “recently several people who "came out" as gay have apologized to me  privately, through Facebook messages, for their vicious attacks on LGBT  people, on my LGBT ministry, and on me.”

I think we all have a part of ourselves that we don’t want to look at…where it’s easier to direct it outward than to do the hard work of looking at ourselves.

I think that’s in part why a Metta (loving-kindness) meditation is so powerful. Sending loving kindness out to “those” people breaks open some pretty powerful barriers in ourselves. My hunch is that it is the farthest thing from selfish to begin to do your work, not naval-gazing, but doing the hard work of looking at the stuff in yourself that you do not want to look at.

In that mirror, I think, you will find love — for your “unlovable” bits and for “unlovable” people.

What is the hardest thing to look at in yourself? Why?

4. Quest

Metta - time!

Get quiet and ready. You’ll need a few good minutes to try this — and deep feelings can come up so do try to plan for at least a half hour of quiet time.

Once you are quiet, once you have breathed in deeply at least five times, once you feel calm and responsive, focus on yourself first:


May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.

Connect to any feelings of warmth and love that arise.

Now, bring focus to a dear friend, someone who has cared for you, someone who loves you and say

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Connect to any feelings of warmth and love.

Expand to people who are not closely connected to you: neighbours, acquaintances and say

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Connect to any feelings of warmth and love.

5. Level-UP / Go Deeper

The end of a metta mediation is to send loving-kindness to those for whom you have difficulty, those people who challenge you.

If you have time, if you have space for the feelings that may come up, you may want to try to continue on.

Bring to focus those who are challenging you, those with whom you have difficulty and say

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

There is no guarantee that feelings of warmth and love will arise — feelings of grief, sadness, anger, or other feelings may arise.

When this happens, you may sit in a mindfulness mediation with those feelings, (just sit still, watching those feelings move over you as a wave might, or place your hand on the place in your body where that feeling seems to be, or picture that feeling as an entity in front of you and observe it)  or send loving-kindness to those feelings.


Whew!

  1. POD Poem  of the day   — (Joy Harjo — For Keeps)
  2. Course     (Self Care Kit — A short course on putting together everything you need to take care of yourself in stressful moments)
  1. Video (Deeyah Khan — Interview by Russel Brand for “Under the Skin”)

9. Hero: Deeyah Khan — Inspiration
Why?    “To say Deeyah Khan is an inspiration is an understatement. She is  one of the bravest, most indomitable women… facing down bullies and  extremists with intelligence and unflinching spirit.” - The Times of London

10.  Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might  like this. And, actually, talk about cultivating joy. I am *this* close  to meeting my subscriber goal for the year. Please share with someone  you think may enjoy this weekly.

Wild  and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available           everywhere you download podcasts.

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