This year I took a longer time to start writing and not because I am out of subjects to write about, but because the very act of living has become so intense that I have been having trouble finding the words to describe my feelings.
Over the past year I travelled longer distances than ever before – both inside and out. And I learnt about the world. About me. I learnt about love. Love of nature, of life. Love of parents, sisters and brothers, friends, lovers. Love of people. Love of me.
Somewhere deep down in my heart I always knew that love was part of the very DNA of the beings that we are, that without it we either cease to exist altogether or we transform in shadows, in bodies moving around inexorably caught up in the routine of days going by without meaning. But also deep down a seed started growing a long time ago, longer than I can consciously remember – the seed of fear. Fear that I might lose love. At that point I started believing that love was something I have rather than something I am and that without it I will suffer.
I created the belief that I had to fight for love and that I should never become complacent, never relax completely in the certainty that I was loved unconditionally. Over the first 30 years of my existence I strived to earn the love of others and, once gained, I tried hard not to lose it. And with each loss, with each friend who chose a different road, with each lie, injustice, bad luck came pain and with it the certainty that love was indeed fragile and it could be taken from me in an instant. I convinced myself that I can be safe from suffering if I was vigilant. If I “invested”love only in those who were unlikely to let me down, if I offered my love in small doses and if, as my grandmother often advised me, I “always kept a part of me for myself” – then I would be safe from hurt.
And I kept that part from everyone. For years I wandered through life like a car with the hand-brake on. I enjoyed things – but not completely lest I something bad might happen next. I relaxed, but not really, lest I become lazy and complacent. I loved, but not wholeheartedly, lest some sort of misfortune might hit me. And the misfortunes hit and they didn’t hurt less because I had chosen to love with half a heart. Suffering and love aren’t even opposite. They aren’t even tied by some sort of tragic predestined causal link. Suffering is a state that bears with it its own lessons, it’s often a choice and it’s something we step through to get on the other side, where our wiser self awaits.
Love simply is.
What I hadn’t understood from my grandmother’s wise advice was that “keeping a part of me for myself” didn’t mean not giving away all my love, keeping a reserve, like a life-jacket to be used in case of emergency. That “part” was something I never fully appreciated until now. It was the love of me. The love in me.
When I finally understood and especially when I became capable to not only understand, but to actually feel that I was love, that nobody could ever take it away from me, I was free. Free to be myself and to show myself to others with all my imperfections. Free to enjoy the good in my life without the constant fear of some evil which might come. Free to be good and generous without waiting for something in return or becoming sad if I didn’t get anything. Free to say No or Yes when I really felt it. Free to love the man by my side without being afraid that the beauty of our bond is temporary. Free to not prove anything to anyone. Free to have a bad day without feeling guilty or scared that this foggy state would last forever. Free not to want to be always right. Free to make the choices my soul really longs for. Free to be painfully honest with myself, but also gentle and forgiving of my own mistakes. Free to forgive others. Free to accept that life will give me more and more lessons and that some of them will heart but that every single one of them would finally make me a better person if I choose that.
We each have our own path, the road we travel on. Sometimes others choose to join us on our path and we build a new one together. But nobody can ever take away our path. And nobody and nothing can ever take away our love because we Are Love.
And, knowing this, we might allow ourselves to live more responsible, intense, authentic, more beautiful, less fearful lives. I for one am doing this. And I wish the same for you.