November 3, 2011

We do not need to go out to find love

Fiona writes: I feel rubbish.

My nose is sniffly and sore. ‎My head is muzzy. My shoulders are crunchy.

On top of that, our November courses aren’t full yet and I feel unloved and unwanted and that Writing Our Way Home will never grow into being a sustainable income for both of us.

I spoke about this same worry-some feeling last night after our weekly Buddhist service. Would new people find our sangha? Would they stay? Would we get it right?

For a long time (forever?) I’ve been dogged by a compulsion to seek things out in a ever-so-slightly-needy-way – friendship, money, course-participants. It’s hard for me to even admit to wanting more people on our courses without that ever-so-needy-bit saying, “You shouldn’t admit to that! You should pretend to everyone that you are turning people away in droves! No-one else will sign up ever now!”

As we all know, ever-so-slightly-needy can be a big turn-off.

I know in my heart that what we offer (what I offer) is good stuff, and that people benefit from the things we do. We receive all kinds of lovely feedback from people here on the blog and through emails. I had a beautiful email thanking me for my ebook about Lorrie only yesterday. I know that some of this feeling-sorry-for-myself is just the cold, messing with my head.

But I also recognise the part of me that clings at love. Rather than hiding it, criticising it, I want to confess it. Accept it. Give it a hug and a cup of tea and tell it that everything is going to be OK.

This morning, after doing some walking meditation with the kittens biting at my toes, I read this paragraph in John O’Donohue’s ‘Anam Cara’, and it struck me with some force.

“Love is our deepest nature: consciously or unconsciously, each of us searches for love. We often choose such false ways to satisfy this deep hunger. An excessive concentration on our work, achievements or spiritual quest can actually lead us away from the presence of love. In the work of soul, our false urgency can utterly mislead us. We do not need to go out to find love, rather we need to be still and let love discover us.”

Be still, and let love discover us.

This is difficult for me. I can’t always trust that it will come. I start tapping my feet and looking out the window, and then run down the street towards it.

Kaspa has just brought me a mug of lemon and ginger tea with a dollop of sweet restorative honey melted into it. And while he was downstairs, I searched for this blog post which I wrote last Christmas when I was feeling equally rubbish. I’ll copy the poem by Leunig below as it is lemon and ginger tea for my soul.

Sip. Sip. Aaah. I remember again. I am loved. People will sign up for our courses before the end of tomorrow, or they won’t. Either is fine. I’m happy to keep offering what I do to the world, with open hands.

God bless lemon & ginger tea. Michael Leunig. My lovely husband. John O’Donohue. And you.


The Common Cold

God bless those who suffer from the common cold.
Nature has entered into them;
Has led them aside and gently lain them low
To contemplate life from the wayside;
To consider human frailty;
To receive the deep and dreamy messages of fever.
We give thanks for the insights of this humble perspective.
We give thanks for blessings in disguise.

Michael Leunig

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