Love….”to stand emotionally open before the world and give of our hearts without fear of hurt or reciprocity-this is the ultimate act of human courage.” B. Burchard
In honor of unveiling a “fresh new” look for my blog, I decided a blog post I had written several months ago seemed fitting for this exciting time. Love. What better way to honor this new chapter….enjoy!
I sat at a mini sized lunch table. My adult sized body squeezed into a space meant for 36-42 inch bodies. Handing out snack to my mini sized companions for the day I look into the eyes of each as they say “Mas por favor!”, translation “More please!” I pause momentarily as one round cheeked, full lipped friend says “I wub you!” It was in the softest of voices, taking my brain several milliseconds to accurately process “I love you.” As the owner of the preschool, retired from the day to day operations, it is a rare morning that I get to spend with my cherub friends. Although I had only spent one morning with this particular friend, I was still not surprised by his declaration of love. Children have yet to inherit the adult fear that their love won’t be reciprocated. They do not have the same “love hangups” that we adults do. This is one of the many reasons I LOVE children.
Love has a been a topic long on my mind. I feel immensely blessed to be surrounded by many for whom I share love, through both actions and mutual personal attachment. For a long time, as a single mom married and divorced twice, I felt perhaps my life was just too full of love to expect romantic love as well. Perhaps one isn’t supposed to have so much love and expect more. Maybe, just maybe, romantic love would not be in my future. I would remain grateful for the declarations of love from my toddler friends and from my community of family and friends. Then I stopped and remembered how I have created everything in my life. I believe things so strongly I make them happen, a process some refer to as “manifestation”. Perhaps the same was true here. Perhaps my believing that my life was already so full I quit looking, I quit being open to romantic love. Well wait! Of course I can have it all. It isn’t selfish for me to want a full and complete life, romantic and otherwise. I began to think about this topic differently. And once I did my life changed, and not in ways you probably would immediately guess.
Recently I have taken to walking instead of driving, especially on warmer dry days. On these walks, in my fair city of Portland Oregon, I encounter many types of people. Folks walking to work and from work, exercise enthusiasts, tourists taking in the sights, as well as the homeless and people suffering from mental illness. Love is what motivates eye contact and a smile with EVERY person I encounter. I have found this one action, this one kind of love, changes how you experience the world. More importantly it changes how I view people and I would venture to say how people view their own world. It is the foundation, I have found, for all love.
My journey with love has taken some fun and interesting turns. I found that as soon as I opened up to more love in my life, the more coincidences and examples of synchronicity I experience. On one particular walk up through Washington Park, a man in his late 70’s approached me with a question. Although I had my head phones on I expressed openness with eye contact and a smile. I pardoned myself and removed my head phones. He began to ask me the name of the trail we were mutually hiking. He began to talk about his experience as a novice airbnb host. I smiled and stated I just finished my third year as a host and absolutely loved it. We exchanged a few stories and I shared a few tips, which he welcomed. I walked away feeling more connected to my city, my job and the things I love most, in this case hosting. My step had a renewed bounce and I shared it with all those I encountered that day.
Romantic love is one of my favorite types of love. I like the feeling of falling in love, the excitement and passion associated with romantic love, and of course sexual desire (lust). Though one has to be careful to not confuse the two. I found myself single in 2009 and have remained single since then. For the first four years I avoided dating at all costs. It has only been in the last couple years that I truly embraced the idea that I could and would experience romantic, reciprocated love. Almost 6 years to the day, I found myself walking (noticing a trend here?) across town to the Bernie Sanders rally. What is interesting is I almost didn’t go. Because I love life so much I find myself battling insomnia on a fairly regular basis because my thoughts have a hard time being contained. I get excited about so many things I just can’t sleep. As it happens my daughter and I were scheduled to volunteer for the rally. As volunteers we would have been handing out information, seating guests or taking tickets. All this would have meant we would NOT have been in general seating. But as it happens, I compromised with myself and decided to forgo volunteering yet still attend the rally, which would allow me to rest up beforehand. When we arrived, there was a frenzy all around us. We were corralled and led in various different directions. Finally, as my daughter began to panic that we would not get a seat, I told her “We will find the right seat at the right time and not a minute before”. We walked calmly upstairs and kept walking until we came upon an entrance that no one else seemed to be entering. As we walked in we noticed a man sitting on the end of an aisle with about 6 empty seats. I gently tapped him on the shoulder and asked if the seats next to him were taken. He smiled the most radiant smile, boy do I love a great smile, and he welcomed us into his aisle. And as we moved past him my inner voice said, “Sit in the seats closest to this man.” So we did.
My daughter in-between us, we enjoyed casual conversation and pleasantries. Did I mention he had a great smile? The rally wasn’t scheduled to start for some time, so I decided to get my daughter and I some beverages. I asked our neighbor, later learning his name is Paul, if he would watch our seats and my bag. With a warm smile he agreed. My inner voice spoke to me again once I was in line for our drinks. The voice said: “Offer the nice man a drink.” Reluctantly my daughter did as I asked and told Paul that her mom would like to buy him a drink for being so kind…he accepted. Two hours later the rally ended and Paul, my daughter and I walked across the bridge, he to his car and us in the direction of home. In the end we exchanged email addresses so I could send him a video clip of the rally. Later in the week Paul asked me out for a glass of wine.
Paul and I dated for several months, though as we got to know each other we decided that building a friendship was the best course for us. I don’t know what will happen with our friendship in the future, though I am so gratefully that I met this amazing man. In friendship I have learned so much about relationships, who I am in the world of dating, who I want to be, and am reminded that friendship is the foundation of all healthy relationships. And as I continue dating I remember how I met Paul and all the coincidences that lead us together. I keep coming back to the notion that romantic love, friendship, and all levels of love and attachment are possible for everyone who remains open to it. I remind myself to be completely open to loving Paul in our friendship and embrace whatever that means for us, without fear or expectation of reciprocity, as my toddler friends would do. I remember that life has much in store for us, we just have to remember to remain open and receptive to all those around us. One never knows when a political rally, a walk in the park, or eye contact with a stranger will reveal beautiful human connection, connection filled with great love on whatever level you are ready for.
Wishing you all great love!
Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.
Your Delightfully Urban Blogger