How we love

Someone once told me that you know how much you actually care for something or someone when your desire for it’s good overshadows and eventually overtakes any thought of personal gain or profit that may have first drawn you to it.   I don’t know who said this to me so many years ago, but it’s been mulling around in my heart and my head ever since. And the more I live the more I realize how much I believe it.

There is an odd connection somewhere in our minds that I fancy shouldn’t be there at all.  It’s as if some secret treaty has been signed, stating that in order to care for something, we must make a claim upon it, or at the very least glean some good for ourselves from it.

Only natural, you say, and I’m sure you’re right.  Natural yes……but good?  I’m not sure.

When we say we care for something, the first thoughts in our mind seem to be self-desire, to have that thing be a part of us. Our life, our possession, our name.  But if that thing or that person is what we claim to care for, why is the focal point suddenly ourselves?  I mean really, we have nothing to do with it.

Must we obtain in order to care deeply for something?  I would dare suggest the opposite may be true. It seems that it is when we allow something to flourish towards it’s best, with or without ourselves in mind, that is when we begin to actually care for it.   Once we start to allow ‘self’ to creep into the picture, the natural human heart seems to forget what love is.  Suddenly we think it is all about us, and we begin to grasp.

‘Love’ that restrains, keeps or controls for oneself is not love at all, it is something else altogether which I currently have no name for.  But humans do it all the time, and we call it love. But love can have nothing to do with self-fulfillment, it is an act of outward impartment, not inward.

How has it become something so altered?  Why do we paint the picture that love is getting what you want and holding to it when it couldn’t be further from the truth?

Oh my, I’ve done it again haven’t I.  I’m sorry.  I’ve gone off on my love/freedom tangent and asked you to come along.  I’m afraid I cannot keep quiet about this one, my friend, it may be my soapbox.  I’ve discovered something beautiful in letting things be what they are, cherishing them apart from myself.  It’s freeing and extraordinary to experience love in this way, so different from what our culture and world might suggest.

To love something for what it is and not for what it does for me is, perhaps, a taste of heaven.

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Stray thursday musings

I realized the other day that my iphone is rather wasted on me, as I rarely use it for anything more than texting and occasionally answering my phone.  I’d rather use my head than a button to figure something out, and often find myself stubbornly refusing to google something just because I want to find an answer using methods other than a click.

I know, so utterly démodé, but I can hardly help myself.  Pulling out my phone to google something sort of feels to me like using one of those paint-by-number things, I feel I have cheated myself out of thinking somehow, and it doesn’t sit well with me.  I want a reason to open an old book or ask a question, or sometimes simply think.  Meanwhile, I’m driving my friends crazy.

Just look it up Jen.  JUST LOOK IT UP.

I know, I know. While the world is getting faster and more and more innovative by the second, I’m working harder to further simplify and quiet my life. On purpose.  What is wrong with me?

Speaking of whats wrong with me, I did something rather ill-advised last week, but undeniably amusing.

It was the end of a long day and I had just arrived home after stopping briefly at the store for a few food items.  Having stepped inside, I toss my things on the kitchen table (ah, there’s the ill-advised part), kiss each of my creatures hello and head straight to the hot shower I have been thinking about all the way home.

All is well until I hear a small…ok, large crash against the bathroom door.

Undoubtedly the Goob, I think to myself, and it sounds like he has something in his mouth.  There is some sort of crinkling sound and maybe a box being tossed against something….

At this point I figure I should find out whats going on out there, but am decidedly not motivated enough to sacrifice my shower for it.  I call Lo to the door, the one creature I know is smart enough to open it for me on her own.  She does her job nicely and I peer out as best I can from behind the shower curtain.

At first there is no sign of him.  I call.  No response.  Then suddenly a black and white blur comes flying from around the corner, grinning at me as he goes.  There is something hanging from his mouth. I look harder. It’s a twinkie.  Oh wait, not just one twinkie, two twinkies.

Generally speaking, Goob does not take things from off the table.  Its bar height, and though he can most certainly reach it, it’s not his style on any normal day.

Today is apparently not a normal day.

I tell him to drop it, which he does, followed promptly by another ridiculous grin at me as he picks up where he left off and goes flying back around the corner and out of sight.

With the damn twinkies in his mouth.

I close the shower curtain and sigh.  Lets pretend I didn’t see that.  The damage is done, I might as well finish my shower, right?

Wrong again.

Little do I know what damage is actually done.  Five minutes later I step out into livingroom to find The Twinkie Massacre.

Dun dun dun.

Not only has he stolen two twinkies,  he has successfully demolished the entire box and every thing that was in it.  There is twinkie filling all over everywhere, including his smiling, goofy face, and it’s clear that the majority of them are now in his tummy, including the wrappers.

Yessss.

As a trainer, you might think this would have put me off, but I’m afraid it didn’t.  I smile as I collect what is left of his little party and tell him how much fun it will be to watch how that all turns out for him later on.  Dogs will be dogs, their mischievousness is part of why I love them.

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Funny thing is, I rarely buy twinkies, it was sort of a random grab for me that day.  Seems they were put to good use.

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The value of loss

There is something far too prevalent about our becoming so easily discontented with what is within our grasp, while endlessly seeking that which is just beyond it.

It’s the ‘grass is always greener’ malady which everyone seems to know about but few appear to conquer or care to change.  In contemplation of this strange yet common phenomenon, I’ve come to realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with what one has or doesn’t have.  In fact, it’s most often those who have lived with nothing who understood most fully the depth of wisdom in rejecting the idea that happiness or peace is fulfilled by the pursuit of a certain gain or status in life.

This knowledge seems to begin by a soul finding peace and contentment in deeper, stronger, ‘forever’ things by being stripped of possessions and perceived control of ones life (for really we never actually have it to begin with)  Yes, I’m sorry to say, control is an illusion, one we often choose to believe.

But what is left when all of that is gone?  When we can no longer distract ourselves with the idea that there’s something we can gain from our own merit that will bring us contentment, if only we work hard enough or do all the right things?

When I think of people who are most familiar with this place, I think of those who know they are dying and the people who love them.  Death and our awareness of it brings all our formally ‘important’ things of life to a screeching halt and makes us remember, or perhaps learn for the first time what really matters to us in the end.

Did you ever notice that some of the kindest, most life-filled souls are often in their last days on this earth?  I don’t think that is because God takes the most beautiful of us first, I think it’s because we become beautiful when we accept embrace the truth of what He is trying to teach us.

In the end, what is left cannot be gained by seeking that which one does not have, or believing that happiness comes from merit or money or status or gain.  I believe what is left in those moments are eternal, deep, and bestowed by Someone far beyond ourselves.  What is left is Love, the beauty of giving ourselves up to and for others, and of being grateful in all things.  It is more than words give justice to or can even express.

I don’t think we learn any of this by winning or by succeeding, by health or education.  I think we learn this by realizing one way or another,  that even if we gained all we were seeking in this world, we would still be left wanting if that is all we pursue.  Some of the most priceless times of life are when we are left with nothing in the darkness, and discover that our deepest longing is and always has been within our grasp. It has nothing to do with ‘more’

It is there, in the darkest of places where I have been left alone with nothing but the most beautiful Love imaginable, and I have realized the most important things in life have already been given to me.  Not to say I do not carry my own unfilled desires, my heart is well acquainted with longing. But I cannot allow that which I do not have to overshadow or diminish that which I do.  There is always something to miss, something to gain, but in the end you have to ask yourself what really matters to you in the end.

Life is not meant to be lived once we reach our destination, it is the very journey we take to get there.

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