Heart Reading … Day 101
Love 101 — sustaining the basics
You and I are alive because trees take up — inhale — carbon dioxide and release — exhale — oxygen. We are alive because water is life — water, both salinated and fresh, flows across this beautiful planet and through our bodies. We are sustained by Earth and the myriad forms of nourishment she provides.
This is life; “love 101”. This is the most important “class” we need to sit in — not just as a child or student, but as a human being, every single day. Were all humans to truly love this course, informing our being, the courageous — heart-centered — people who lead the way, who teach this class, would be revered and celebrated … not silenced and murdered.
Yesterday I wrote about loving 100% of the truth — the positive rainbow sunshine and the negative ugly and wounded ways in which we harm one another. To love, to embody, to witness and be responsive to truth, we must be able to see, hear, feel, and know truth. And we need each other in this practice — this daily way.
It can be challenging for me to hold the beauty in life — like this gorgeous mossy stump above — equally with the harshness in life. I’m kind of like an overworked firefighter. But when I’m down I look to deeply nourishing resources like the wisdom of others who practice love 101 really well.
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a bryologist, a moss scientist. Her book Gathering Moss is life changing. She explains how walking over moss is proportionately like flying over a continent at 32,000 feet. From her I learned that mosses have continuously evolved and adapted to every climate that has ever (in 400 million years!) existed — and that they have no epidermis, no skin. We might learn a thing or two about being vulnerable or feeling “thin skinned” with others.
bell hooks wrote a pretty great book all about love. I was guided today to the notes I had taken when I read this book; I would like to share a few of them as they are inspired and inspiring words — nourishment for the daily journey of sustaining reverence for life.
- everything terrible is really something helpless that wants help from us [inspired by Rilke]
- the belittling of anyone’s attempt to name a context within which they were wounded, were made victim, is a form of shaming. It is psychological terrorism. Shaming breaks our hearts [inspired by Alice Miller]
- that which is rendered separate or strange through fear is made whole through perfect love [inspired by scripture]
- as we begin to simplify … we recover our capacity to be sensual (i.e. we come to our senses) [inspired by Adrienne Rich]
- to live fully we would need to let go of our fear of dying. That fear can only be addressed by the love of living. We move away from this worship of death by challenging the patriarchy, creating peace, working for justice, and embracing a love ethic [inspired by Thomas Merton and Matthew Fox]
- with true love individuals feel in touch with each other’s core identity [inspired by Rilke and Eric Butterworth]
- we might be living in a world that would be even more alienated and violent if caring women did not do the work of teaching men who have lost touch with themselves how to live again. This labor of love is futile only when the men in question refuse to awaken, refuse growth. [inspired by Guy Corneau]
These are precious words, carefully crafted in the course of living and breathing them into being. Words do matter — words transform matter.
On a walk in the forest yesterday with my partner and our dog Rosie, I stopped to breathe — to inhale and exhale with — a hemlock. In the process I inadvertently relocated a spider from her home and placed her on a neighboring hemlock. This re-minded me of the impact that everything we do has on others — whether or not we can see or be made aware of this impact. To have little impact, to live simply, is the call of the present time.
Remember how quickly order was restored to our collective atmosphere when we were ALL sheltering in place last year? In mere weeks nature had transformed the visible toxicity made by human beings (greenhouse gasses are here for hundreds of years, sadly); her labor of love mattered.
Can we all receive this life lesson — receive this opportunity for the real growth we need?