All You Need
All I ever wanted was to find somebody to love me.
It seems to be a lifetime effort.
I understand the dynamic that drives this need, the family narrative, feeling myself the lost child, exiled, looking for connection while hiding from the very connection I seek.
Don’t love me.
Being a tiny little lesbian in the 1950’s without the understanding that loving women was ‘a thing’, a possible thing, a real thing, a life thing, complicated matters profoundly.
Alcohol and drugs appeared to bridge the gap between me and other people.
Or so it seemed.
Until it didn’t.
After lifetimes of drama and assumed heartbreak fueled by addiction, sobriety quieted things down.
But still, I lived wanting somebody else to fill me up, without even knowing it.
I lived deeply believing that the only safety, security, and meaning in life would come in relationship to another.
Without even knowing it, these beliefs drove me.
(Lesbian joke: What does a lesbian bring to her second date? A moving van.)
Even in relationship, even in marriage, even in love, the dance of my ambivalence played out.
I’m an addict. I will always find ways to check out, trust me.
Now I find myself, in the dawn of this new decade, remembering this core truth:
It starts inside!
Aruni, love is an inside job.
Of course, I know this. Of course, I practice this. Of course, I believe this.
And now, the practice deepens.
In the brilliance of reality’s relentless need to heal me and make me whole, giving me exactly the circumstances I need to continue growing, now I practice aloneness on a different, deeper level.
Rather than obsessively/compulsively looking for an external home to buy, the question becomes:
Where is my internal home?
Rather than looking to another to define me, the inquiry becomes:
Who am I, right here, right now?
Rather than forcing connection with others, the practice becomes:
In this moment, how can I best relax and support myself?
Bless our wacky, human selves!
Of course, we look to outside people, places and things to complete us.
Of course, we do.
Yet without a practiced connection to ourselves, looking outside is a slippery slope of suffering, waiting to happen.
Here is Rumi, the ecstatic poet, who says it so profoundly in this translation by Shahram Shiva, from the book, Rumi, Thief of Sleep:
This aloneness is worth more than a thousand lives.
This freedom is worth more than all the lands on earth.
To be one with the truth for just a moment,
Is worth more than the world and life itself.
Okay, great. Self-love. Sounds right.
Yet, how do you do it?
Doesn’t self-love sound big, hard, un-chunk-able, dense and massive?
What would this look like, specifically, in Great Barrington, my home?
In your home, what would self-love look like?
Let’s chunk it down.
How about one thing? Let’s focus on just one thing.
Just one kind thing for today.
What is one kind thing you can do for yourself, today?
What is one small part of your day you can lean away from old behaviors and lean toward that which is kind, gentle, and ease-filled?
Let’s start with this song, my New Year’s offering to us.
It’s a love-song to ourselves. Check out this very familiar song offered in a new way, from students in the Berklee College of Music
Let’s offer it onto the altar of our own heart.
Sing this song to yourself.
Let it be sung to you.
All blessings to us, all, on this auspicious new moment, this new day, this new year, and this new decade.
Fueled by Grace, may we find our way forward, one breath at a time.
And when we can’t, may we find our way back with patience, tolerance, and kind-heartedness for ourselves.
We are on the journey.