There are a thousand ways to let someone know that you love them. Each day gives us a new opportunity, how fantastic is that?! Today I gave my love to a group of Danish kids in these ways: through the gifts of poetry; playing Simon Says with them, instead of trying (fruitlessly) to make them write something in English which only one out of six was willing to do; sitting all together in a circle (something they, curiously enough, are not used to doing) and taking turns reading aloud from Frog and Toad arefriends in Danish; giving them the time to play some funny kind of hide-and-seek-tag-you’re-it game; and then asking them to find a picture of an animal from a set of books and try to copy it. Nearly all of them were willing to do nearly everything I asked. And the ones who weren’t? Well, I still loved them in spite of it.
During the lunch break, one very nice girl named Leah and I had a chat. She was looking sadly out the window and I asked her why. She explained that their Danish assignment was to imagine that they had been left all alone in Italy for some reason or other, and they were supposed to write about what they would do and what would happen. Leah is nearly fourteen, a tall, attractive girl with blue eyes, freckles and an open, friendly demeanor. She is quick and clever, and speaks and understands English more than most. “I can’t do this assignment,” she said with a frown. “It is my worst fear, to be left somewhere and be totally alone. I just can’t do it!” I replied, “Well, maybe you can think of it like you are the author of a story, and it is the main character who is alone, you know, like so many fairy tales are written. Then it’s not about you, but you are writing in the first person.” Leah shook her head, pouting. She was silent for a long moment, then turned to me, saying,” I have tried, but I cannot do it. I am so sensitive!” I thought for a moment, then tried to make her see that her mind was tricking her. “If you are in a car, going somewhere, you can either be in the backseat, letting your mind do the driving, making all the decisions, OR, you can get in the driver’s seat and take control of where you go. You have the choice to be in charge of your own mind.” Leah didn’t look convinced, and then it was time to return to the dreaded class assignment.
How often do we let our thoughts do the driving, while we are hanging out in the backseat of life? We know the voice of untruth, it has a rather insincere, brassy, unpleasant tone. Perhaps at the heart of it, we are just afraid that we really are alone, one puny human against the roaring tsunami called Life, which is ever threatening to overwhelm and engulf us in its murky depths, drowning and tearing us asunder. I propose that the deepest fear we humans have is of oblivion, the worst kind of hell. A place where we are nothing whatsoever, where we cease to exist. Even a fiery pit would be preferred. But. The truth is nothing like this. In reality, we are never, ever alone. Lonesome at times, but never are any of us alone. We always have the power of love at our disposal, if we simply can relax enough, breathe long enough, to let love reveal itself.
I found this poem again today, by the incomparable David Whyte. Few poets can read a poem as well as he, and personally I just love his lilting, melodic voice.
Everything is Waiting for You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you. – David Whyte
Dear Readers, now, more than ever, is the time for each of us to ‘dive deep’ and find the love which resides within us, and to make best friends with ourselves. Self-hate and fear are the old story, and like old, outworn shoes, no longer fit with who we are now becoming. It is high time to embrace our own beauty, grace, and goodness, which I know we all possess in copious amounts. Take the reigns of your own power, not the old kind of egoistic power, but the power of love, of compassion. Now is the time, and here, in your heart, is the place.
“I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.” – Paulo Coelho
- the opening of eyes ~david whyte (pathwriter.wordpress.com)
- David Whyte, Brother David Steindl-Rast , and the Antidote to Exhaustion (mainecenterfortherapyandappliedpositivepsychology.com)
- Leading with Soul – Part One (elumn8.me)
- Hold To Your Own Truth (artistoftheeveryday.wordpress.com)
- …and taking the first step. (mindfulbalance.org)