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The Practice of Practicing Loving

decisions todayI’m not a re-reader. I have re-read less than a handful of books and a few articles.

There is one article that I’ve kept around, read and re-read, copied and passed along to friends; Let Me Count the Ways, by John Tarrant, Shambala Sun, September 2011.

I’ve kept it around because I’ve needed it. It made sense to my heart, but I couldn’t assimilate it into my being, into my practice, into my every-day-can-I-not drag-the-pain-of-my-past-into-my-future.

As I write this, the love of my life is nestled in front of me. I look into his blue eyes and see the hope, the joy, the pain of the past and all of the questions about the future, and I practice loving. All of it. The joy, the pain, what happened in the past to bring us to one another, and the wonderful mystery of what joys the future will bring us if we just surrender.

You remember your first kiss or when you met the one you love. Youemember where you were, what the weather was like, what you were wearing, who else was with you, and what song was playing. Such a memory is one of the compass points of life. It doesn’t mean that the love was smart of worked out or you understood what it meant, but it means that you surrendered. You risked the taste of life, and that changed things.

When you sit across from a man who makes your heart beat faster, your loins become outrageously moist, and your mind stop churning, you know that you’re in trouble.

The question is, how do you stop thinking? How do you stop bringing old wounds out into the light to be re-opened, dissected and left to fester? How do you live in a deliciously perfect moment that life has been conspiring to present to you since the day you were born?

It’s about risk.  It’s about surrender. It’s about letting go of everything that you ever thought made any sense to a bruised and battered heart. It’s about not calculating and just simply letting go.

When things come into being involuntarily, everything shakes: the universe appears, expanding rapidly, poems arrive out of nowhere, coincidences occur, and the mind is rearranged. In love you do things, that don’t make rational sense. Like enlightenment, love teaches you how to live down a level, to follow instructions that come from deep inside.

So this practice of practicing loving is an unforgiving master. This practice of practice of loving strips me bare of everything I’ve ever thought about myself and my values. Love makes you wake up, feel alive, and grateful for each and every sensation.

You notice what gives you pain, what hardens your heart –  how when you dislike someone or hold a grudge, or embark on a crusade, or are jealous and principled, you make yourself and others around you unhappy. Noticing is a practice of love. You don’t have to exclude, extinguish, or dislike anything that the mind presents. Life becomes an adventure. You take the ride.

So in the on-going practice of practice of loving, as we venture into mid-life and the increased awareness of what-might-have-been, I choose to stick my thumb out and take the ride.