Updated: Jun 23, 2022
It’s fall, and I smell the smoky sweetness of fires awakening to warm the air. A girl, I’m guessing age eleven, smiles at me in the coffee shop. I speak to her, and we have a nice exchange about her shirt. She’s interested in the room, the people. She glances my way a few times. I imagine she wonders what I’m writing, as she wonders so many other things too. The coffee shop bustles as the sky reflects white with a light gray smudge.
A boy of about three stands at a low table creating something with linking toys. His mother is nearby with a plate on her swollen abdomen, eating breakfast. Music plays along with a concerto of clanking dishes, grinding coffee, and steaming milk. Voices ebb and flow with currents of connection. My eyes grow hot as I let myself be here now, feeling the heartaches and joys of this space.
I turn my reflections inward with a tender embrace, wrapping my arms around my soul. "I’m proud of you," I say, blinking away the tears. "You stood up for yourself. You came to a crossroad and took the path you believed was right for you. It was hard because things were not black and white. It took a lot of soul-searching, a lot of facing the facts that love doesn’t require you to be what makes someone else happy. It was scary and painful to let go of the familiar. You recognized that your heart was closing and took action. You stood firmly in the face of forces that pulled you away from your center, even though it was scary. You trusted yourself and rescued your heart."
I will not close my heart because love is never stagnant. It only exists in a conduit. Love flows. It cannot be captured and confined. Just as a wave cannot be contained, love cannot be held captive, or carved into some illusion of security. If we believe we catch a wave, we look into the bucket and find it has escaped, leaving only stagnant, salty water behind, as it flows bravely toward infinity. We can flow with it, or we can sit in a bucket and grieve its loss. But we cannot hold it. So I choose to flow with love.
If others reach for me, seeing some illusion of their ideal, I hold onto my center. I am enough just as I am. When I want to change for myself, I do. But I will not divert my efforts to become what someone else wants. After finding myself on that slippery slope so many times, I can recognize it now. This is who I am - the one who sees my body, and mind. I do not need to be who THEY want, because that’s water in a bucket.
I want to be love, and I want to flow, on and on, and on… with my own crazy hair, my unpainted fingernails, and my comfortable shoes! I will flow on with this aging body, caring for it as I appreciate what it does for me. I experience this world, nature, and all its glory. I get to love and think! I get to know those things that only the Spirit of Love can tell me.
Today is my day to LIVE. It’s your day too. Open your heart. Inhale the beauty of what you have NOW. Hold it in your lungs as long as you can. Then, let it out slowly as you feel yourself slip out of the bucket and onto the shore of possibilities. Feel the pull of life, and let yourself go there, into the terrifying beauty of the unknown. Take a chance and feel the power of hope envelop you. Live and love today - right now - because now is all we will EVER have.