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  • Annelisa MacBean

Loving What Is

Many of us hold a deep, often transparent hope that as we heal, we will feel less – less shakiness, confusion, hopelessness, and rage. Our bodies won’t hurt anymore and we will no longer be plagued by emotions like fear, anxiety, anger or pain. We imagine that after all the personal growth processes, all the therapy and spiritual retreats, all the money and time spent on "getting better” that as we awaken, our physical condition will be fluid and flexible and the emotional spectrum of our experience will narrow into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm, where we become impenetrable, where we arrive at a state of flow and bliss and power that is no longer disturbed. We want to "get over it; that was in the past."


It may be useful to question how or when the desired state of invulnerability or untouchability came to be. What is the goal? Because, if the goal is Love . . . if the goal is to be Love and give Love and receive Love, Love is not interested in arriving at a controlled and unaffected location or experience. Love is not impressed by our power to be invincible or unaffected. Love is full-spectrum. Love longs for contact with all of us, with all dimensions of us. Love wants our burning and aching and yearns to penetrate the most hidden, vulnerable places.


Perhaps we harbor the hopes of the very young and vulnerable child or the desperate adolescent . . . who couldn't control the unhappiness in their homes, who couldn't resolve the pain in the hearts of their parents and loved ones. Perhaps we still hold on to the hopes of these young ones . . . that as we grow and mature, the sensitivity will diminish, we'll be less at risk, finally feel safe all the time with our parents and families, and dwell eternally and gratefully in relationship to the truth of ourselves while simultaneously in relationship with others; “in the now,” together. The open-hearted state of the young, developing human was totally unmasked, utterly raw, and more exposed than ever . . . nothing was controllable, consistent or guaranteed. And, ironically, that is the outcome, the consequence of being on a spiritual journey, where we are committed to awakening and reclaiming the open, innocent state of our youth . . . experiencing life anew in every minute . . . nothing guaranteed.


Perhaps we hoped that someday we could be more detached, not care quite so much, not give a shit, perhaps rest as the “witness” beyond it all, protected from the fire of life in some safe place of observation. But the paradox of personal growth and spiritual journeys is that after all our efforts to relieve ourselves of the pain and ache of being human, after all our efforts to arrive at a plateau, some location beyond space/time where we just don’t hurt anymore; after all that . . . everything and everyone actually matters now more than ever . . . and so, ironically, we have more to lose. It is more risky to care now . . . to really, truly, actually feel how much it all matters. Yet here we are. More open and vulnerable than ever and feeling it all!


It can be a bit disorienting and probably quite disappointing to discover that Love has very little interest in our safe witnessing, in our ability to manifest some sort of invulnerable state, or in being untouchable. Instead, Love wants us to be touched. Be vulnerable. Be alive. Finally. Life is all about falling apart and coming back together again anyway . . . there will be gains but also losses . . . light, but also darkness . . . high and low tide. Health comes and goes, money comes and goes, lovers come and go. Life comes and goes. Let it all fall apart for once, die into the unknown, take a risk, get your heart broken, fail brilliantly; you are living through the everyday deaths of life . . . without evaluation, judgment, shame or resistance . . . give up those last threads of attachment. Hurt, utterly.


Can you love this shaky, raw, naked life? Can you live into a full-spectrum of experience, and risk the overflowing qualities of warmth, comfort, kindness, creativity, spontaneity, and play, knowing that it will all pass away? Go ahead . . . Rest in the body. Dance in the body. Grieve and rejoice all at once in the body . . . and remember . . . you are not your body . . . remember what you are . . . this world needs the truth of what you are, now more than ever.



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