The last time we talked about love liberating, I suggested that love being liberated needs to start within us. If love is not liberated within us, then the love that we extend or share with others is based on the patterns of our experiences in love in our own lives…and may not be a liberating love. The patterns that we talked about before may be patterns of shame, fear, judgment, frustration, perhaps even despair. Our own self love is conditional; bathed in these emotions; based on our experience, interactions, and relationships. The greatest gift of love that we can give to ourselves and others is to continue to find healing and freedom in our own love so that these laden patterns don’t taint our love for and with others.
Taking this idea a step further, love liberates if we love in freedom and with freedom. You might have heard the analogy of our lives flowing down stream versus paddling strenuously and endlessly upstream. I like this analogy. For many of us having been influenced by our cultural heritage, faith-based emphases, environment, family; we think the way to be loved is to earn it, work hard to please, perform, over-extend, sacrifice, endure – in other words, paddle up stream…and if we paddle hard enough, maybe someday we will get there. In our “love for others” we “love”, teach, or influence others to do the same. If we understand what true love is – free, liberating – something that already is and doesn’t have to be earned, we can see that paddling up stream is not liberating love. Liberating love is accepting the completeness of love in us and resting in that, as if it already is and we already are…and flowing downstream in that freedom. I share this analogy often with parents, because as parents, I think we have the “power” to help our children find freedom in love – find freedom to flow downstream in their own self-care and self-love. Think about it, rebellion is a reaction, a paddling upstream response.
If we aren’t free to flow downstream, we most likely will hold others to the same standards of paddling upstream, and love becomes more conditional. If they don’t paddle as hard as we do, then where do we often go – back to judgment and shame. If they paddle harder, then our response might be – jealousy and competition. All that to say, the more comfortable we are in our own self-care and are living in knowing we are love and are loved, we flow downstream. Sure there might be bumps and obstacles along the way, but water that flows downstream, does just that, it flows. If we are flowing downstream, then the condition of our love for others encourages their flowing downstream and doesn’t contribute to their paddling upstream.
Enough said…life is not about arriving…life is about practicing…growing…resting…knowing. Integrate these thoughts as contemplations. Nothing mentioned is about good, bad, right, or wrong…remember love unshackles – sets free – for you and those you love.