The dawn tentatively emerges. The angle of the earth to the sun this time of year softens the light. The trees, whose presence blended into the night sky gradually make their presence known as light increases. I remain astonished at the intricate design of branches and the stark revelation of trees without leaves.
Last week our first grandchild was born! Johnny and Megan Bayush have a son Anthony Michael born on December 14, 2017 7 lbs, 11 ounces.
One of my yoga students, an amazing being full of light, facing her 3rd battle with cancer and a grandmother herself, said to me, “Now you will have this whole other experience of love!” Her words struck me deeply and I have been ruminating on this for awhile.
It is true what people have said to us. Nothing could have prepared me for this experience of love which is different from parenting but connected to it in a way as I witness my son as a father, who jumped right into this role so wholeheartedly. My heart is full beyond measure and this tiny being who has captured it so deeply is constantly on my mind and in my heart. Hours go by like seconds when I am with him. Watching him breath is sheer joy.
This experience of love. Love. Unpacking love as personal emotion. As a conditional response to a desired behavior. Love as (bullshit) Hallmark sentiment is a near enemy to personal growth and barely masks fear.
Love in the language of science. Love is Gravity. Straight up. Love is the primary force of bonding and attraction which drives the ongoing creation of the universe. (I say this phrase out loud every day!) The connection we are all held in. This is biology. The science of life. Buddhist teacher Zenju Earthlyn Manuel calls this “the multiplicity of oneness.”
Cornel West tells us that love is what justice looks like in public. It is this manifestation of how we see each other and care for one another and the planet.
I think of my own experiences of love. Love as commitment to a partner. The everyday practice of relationship where you commit to loving and caring for another being even in the midst of life’s challenges, ebbs and flows. There has to be a commitment to this kind of love.
The experiences of loving my children. Loving them for who they are becoming as human beings rather than for their accomplishments. This love astounded me as I had not been a kid person before their arrival. This has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Loving my kids.
Loving people. We practice hospitality and sanctuary in our home and have welcomed and loved many people literally from all over the planet, who came as guests and quickly became family.
People ask me about my work in the various settings I show up in. Hospice. Prison. Rehab. The simplest way to explain what I do is that I show up in places where there is Great suffering and I love. I have cultivated this practice of loving people here without knowing them, their names even, what they have done or anything beyond that. There are many expressions of this, some fierce but all of them acknowledge vulnerability and respond with tenderness.
I have found that of course, my Training and education as a Music Practitioner, a trauma Informed yoga teacher and other learning experiences are important, but truly, the most essential component to what I do is love. I can have all the knowledge and expertise in the world, but as Paul says in his letter to the church in Corinth, if I don’t have love, everything else is just noise.
So, my word for 2018 is Commitment. Commitment to this love. To Love, the primary force of bonding and attraction that drives creation and is the whole of the multiplicity of oneness we are held in (otherwise known as God), to love myself, my family, my friends, to love the neutral people and the people I share practice with, To practice loving difficult people. To show up in my beloved community, loving my community by participating in making it a place where all beings can be well and have access to wellness supports, freely and safely navigate and live in peace. To love my country by showing up grounded in what I love rather than what I fear.
I. Am. All. In.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!