Learning Steadfast Faith That I am Loved

I notice I freeze up often now. I feel confusion and pain. The urge to flee those I love grows more powerful by the day. Yet along with the urge to flee, grows the realization that fleeing was always and remains a delusional dream. I would be running away from what I seek, and towards a deeper pain than I now feel. I will not flee this time.

I will learn to more freely express my love and feel other’s love of me. This pain is a sign I am putting in the effort to learn and grow. Giving my full effort is all it is within my power to do.

The area I am currently struggling in, learning, is how to build a steadfast faith that those closest to me love me unconditionally. I do believe they love me unconditionally, whether they fully feel that love or not in any given moment. But rarely, or rather never, do I “feel”/experience their unconditional love. I don’t “feel” unconditionally loved. This lack of first hand experience/feeling leaves the belief super fragile. At the slightest perceived sign that maybe they don’t love me, my belief in their love of me is lost and I am left in doubt or maybe even believing they certainly do not love the real me. Being in the state of doubting their love or in the state of believing they do not love me is very painful to me. Other hurtful beliefs form in this state too – such as the belief I am simply unlovable.

How wonderful it would be if I could learn a steadfast faith in their unconditional love. I suspect it would open my eyes and heart to the signs of their love in my day to day life. I would “feel” what it feels like to be loved. A reality I am largely blind to now. This seeing and feeling of their love for me would be a wonderful and healing experience for me. But not only would it be wonderful for me, I suspect it would be wonderful for them as well. We all love to see others feel secure and at peace within our love. It helps build up our faith in the goodness and power of our love.

A steadfast faith in their love may also allow me to more accurately understand their actions and words. I believe this is crucially important for myself and my loved ones too. I believe I have often misunderstand their words and actions as being about me when in reality they are about them. I believe my loved ones and I are all on the same team. A team bonded in love. But each of us have our own struggles, and each of us share many of the same struggles. Some close to me find it difficult to express their love (as do I), some fear being unloved or unlovable (as do I), some fear being vulnerable (as do I), some are confused about themselves (their desires, motives, feelings, etc.) (as am I).

These struggles confuse the individual who experiences them. The struggles cause pain, they are past wounds within the individual and they continue to wound the individual. The pain and confusion of these struggles can lead one to a confused interpretation of themselves and those around them. In this confusing darkness, where the beautiful and revealing light of love has grown dim, “what is” can be mistakenly perceived as a long feared nightmare. Like a chair with a hat on it in the darkness can become a demon in the night. These confused interpretations can paint a loving and loved family member or friend as an “enemy”. This can lead to confused defensive (and often aggressive defensive) actions and words towards the “enemy”.

The situation can become even more confusing and painful if the defensive/or aggressive defensive words are misunderstood by the other person. And I believe I often do misunderstand my loved one’s words and actions formed in their inner struggle. I see their actions and words push me away and I assume they are trying to push me away because they see me as a “problem”. This makes me feel like I am an unwanted burden to those I love as opposed to a loved team mate. I feel there must be something about me that makes those I love not want to be around me. Makes them not love me.

At this point, I become lost in my own pain and struggles. My loved one disappears before my eyes. I may even be inspired by my own painful and confusing struggle to see my loved one as an “enemy”. Then I might say and do things that will send my already struggling loved one further into their pain and inner struggle. A vicious cycle of hurt and hurting each other can form so easily within this dark fog of confused and pained seeing. There can be a blindness to the reality of this being a communication between 2 people who deeply love each other.

I believe if I can build a strong faith that I am unconditionally loved, then I can hopefully avoid false understandings and all the pains and struggle they bring. With that solid foundation of knowing I am loved, then I can correctly recognize attempts to push me away as indications my loved one is struggling internally with themselves. This more accurate understanding may inspire compassionate actions and words from me as opposed to defensive or defensive aggressive ones. I will see their attempts to push me away, as not about me. I could continue to see my loved one as a loved one. Someone on the same team as me, bonded in love. This is a moment where they are struggling a moment for me to offer support. A moment they may want a listening ear, a hug, understanding, validation, motivation, an expression of faith in them, an expression of being with them right where they are and loving them.

It is my responsibility to build this faith in their love. I understand now that it is time for my old interpretations to be replaced by the new. For the misunderstood and painful words of my loves ones to be removed by their roots from my past and to never be heard again in the present. With a steadfast faith in their unconditional love the past can be reinterpreted and the present understood clearly. A steadfast faith in those closest to me love of me seems powerful. It has been clarifying writing this all down. It appears building this steadfast faith in being loved is an excellent focus in the struggle to learn how to feel other’s love of me.

This returns my mind to earlier in this write up when I stated “I will learn to more freely express my love and feel other’s love of me.” When I started this write up, I was most focused on learning to express my love more freely. I believed how loved I felt by others was out of my control. However, that does not seem to be the case. I now suspect this learning to have steadfast faith in others love of me will free me to “feel” others love of me. It will bring me an awareness of what already is but I am blind to. Furthermore I think this “feeling” of being loved may be connected to more freely expressing my own love. Maybe I’ve had the ordering wrong. Maybe the proper order is 1) Learn to feel others love freely then 2) Learn to express my love freely.

This clarifies a lot of my struggle to me. I have noticed expressing my own love in any sort of free way is often too big of a challenge for me right now. I have so much fear of expressing love. Even when a loving impulse arises in me, so often I hold it in. I am so afraid to act. I do not understand why? What do I fear will happen? Do I not trust my love? Do I fear it is a destructive hurtful force to those around me? The feeling of fear is so real, but what the feared outcome is seems invisible to me.

This fear of expressing love which holds me back from expressing love frustrates me and sometimes leads to a sense of hopelessness and shame. But maybe a steadfast faith in other’s love of me is the missing key. Maybe it feels like loving freely to me is an impossible challenge because I never feel loved with any sense of security. Sure I wish I could show love freely even if I am unloved, but maybe that is an unnecessarily huge hurdle. Maybe it’s a hurdle I’m not even facing. Though it is how I “feel” the situation to be, maybe I am mistaken. Maybe I am already surrounded by love (I know my family and husband would say they love me), but my detection of it is lacking. My awareness is the problem.

Concluding all these thoughts, I am recognizing so often that confusion (which often leads to fear) is the greatest challenge for me. It feels like growth is learning. But for learning to really be running smoothly there must be a sense of clarity. What is one attempting to learn? What is an effective way to learn it? How to determine whether progress is being made in learning or whether changes need to be made? How to understand and whether to adjust for feelings of intense pain? How to understand other people’s inputs and feedback? I am very thankful that expressing myself in writing and reading what others have learned about themselves often is a path to clarity for me.

“The Ballad of the Judas Tree” by Ruth Etchells

In Hell there grew a Judas Tree
Where Judas hanged and died
Because he could not bear to see
His master crucified
Our Lord descended into Hell
And found his Judas there
For ever hanging on the tree
Grown from his own despair
So Jesus cut his Judas down
And took him in his arms
“It was for this I came” he said
“And not to do you harm
My Father gave me twelve good men
And all of them I kept
Though one betrayed and one denied
Some fled and others slept
In three days’ time I must return
To make the others glad
But first I had to come to Hell
And share the death you had
My tree will grow in place of yours
Its roots lie here as well
There is no final victory
Without this soul from Hell”
So when we all condemned him
As of every traitor worst
Remember that of all his men
Our Lord forgave him first

-Ruth Etchells

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion

My kids have been enjoying I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde. It’s a short children’s book with a beautiful message.

I will share some of Susan Verde’s empowering words below.

This is the author’s dedication at the start:

“This book is my love letter to the world, as each one of us is worthy of love in all its forms and expressions, and we are ALL capable of adding light to the world when we listen to our hearts and choose love”.

-Love, S.V.

The story begins as follow:

“When I see someone going through a storm of hurt and unfairness, of anger and sadness when the sun disappears and the skies grow dark….and I see there is fear…I ask myself, “What can I do to help let the light back in?” I put my hands on my heart and listen. And that is where I find the answer: I have compassion. I act with tenderness. I am love.”

The sweetly illustrated book then lists actions of love, what love is. These are some of the examples given in the book –

– “I can listen and not say a word. I can be there. Love is being present.”

– “I can speak softly and choose my words and actions carefully. Love is gentle.”

– “I can keep my mind and body safe and healthy. Love is taking care of me.”

– “I can express what’s important to me. Love is creative.”

What a wonderful, simple, practical, and empowering message for kids and adults! After a few reading sessions I discovered the author’s notes in the back of the book –

“Love is everywhere! It is inside of us and all around us, and there are so many ways it can be shared and expressed. But sometimes things happen in life that make us feel afraid, sad, frightened, or helpless, and our ability to find that love can get lost. “I am Love” is an exploration of the many ways love exists, and an affirmation of how – once we listen to our hearts and find the love within ourselves- we can share it with the world and find connection and compassion. My hope is that this book will inspire conversations with our children about love in all its expressions, and about how we are not helpless but in fact have the power to make the world more beautiful when we come from a place of love.”

I am seeing beacons of love, like Susan Lorde’s I Am Love: A Book of Compassion, everywhere. I often wonder how I remained unaware of all this beauty for so long. It sometimes feels like a riddle I “need” to solve. As if the answer could empower me to better support others in finding love again, or convince me I have security within this new world of experiencing love.

Though I guess, like described so wonderfully by Susan Lorde, it was hurt and fear that caused me to lose sight of my ability to love for so long. And what reawoke me to my ability to love? LOVE. What will keep me from falling so deeply back into the old fears and hurts? LOVE. How can I support others wherever they are on their journey? LOVE.

How powerful, how beautiful, how good, love is! How simple the equation, how simple the philosophy of love. But how difficult to stay on the path of love…yet it always remains in all its beauty and power within us and around us. Welcoming us back, with open arms, a smile, and celebration. Healing. To be lost and found over and over again.

This path like nature of love vs. a destination is something I have been pondering recently. It seems I always have farther to go, more to learn, more growth. I so often, unknowingly, wander off the path of love. And have to seek love’s path again.

Though, so far, my experience has been that I do not get as deeply lost as I was before all this change within me. Before all this change within me, I had deeply lost track of my ability to love (so much so I didn’t even believe in the existence of a purer love) yet I was searching for love again. Whereas now I often, unknowingly, wander away from love’s path. But usually rather quickly recognize I have left love’s path and somewhat smoothly redirect myself back towards love. I seem to know where my love is better now, and how to get back to it.

At first I felt this wandering and returning was a “problem” so to say. A sign of an underdeveloped area within me, an area that needed to learn and grow. But I am starting to feel this unknowing journeying away from love’s path, realizing of having journeyed, and then reorienting myself back to love’s path will continue. Maybe it is simply part of being human. Part of the nature of a free being who is living, learning, creating, and growing empowered by love.

My Love

My love,
Where are you?
Where am I?

I do not feel you.
I remember you but so hazily
As if you are a dream remembered.
I mistrust you.
Love, I do not believe you exist
No evidence, too perfect I declare

And yet,
I strive for you.

I hide from you.
How deeply 
I fear you.
To be seen by you
Unworthy, rightly unloved,
Your verdict ringing out for eternity: 

My love
You are everything real.
Everything that was and will be,
I am where you are.
I live within you.

I do not fear 
or death
or you
with you

Without you, 
I warp, I crumble,
I fall to pieces.
I become what I am not 
Yet remain, 
The darkness
And searing pain
Of being without you, my love, 
I fear 
Or with hope,
I seek you, in darkness,
By trying to destroy "it" - you!

Oh my love,
Forgive me everything!
I surrender everything, myself
back to you.
Whether you cast me out or keep me
I beg you believe me, 
Endlessly I love you.

You are here,
I am here,
We are here.
In an eternal embrace of love,
Dancing in harmony, in happiness
Infinitely together.

Until I do not feel you again.
Yet always now
I will remember 
Being right here with you,
With love
I can never fear you again.
I know you.

I will reach you 
Where you are.
Endlessly Everywhere
Everything Everyone

Learning to See the Unconscious Mind

A new relationship has been forming between me and the internal things (thoughts and feelings) within me. I see them more clearly as distinct things which exist outside of my real center of self/consciousness. They are all around me within my internal world, but they are not within ME. In this more detached state, there is less fear of what I see and with less fear more freedom. Freedom to observe these mental things (thoughts and feelings) with more curiosity and to study them more deeply.

Sometimes as I sit with and study a familiar thought or feeling around me internally a completely unfamiliar thoughts or feeling, seemingly connected to the familiar one, arises. I often feel the urge to leave these unfamiliar thoughts unstudied. I’ll think “How could they be relevant to my life if I have never used them consciously in decision making?”. Even more, not only are these thoughts totally unfamiliar, they often appear inaccurate and illogical to me (ex. “If someone isn’t being loving to me, then it must be the case I do not deserve their love. Therefore I should change my behavior until I can be lovable to them.). My thinking mind considers these thoughts to be ridiculous. It would never use them in any decision making process. Therefore my thinking mind forcefully declares these thoughts are irrelevant to me and my life.

Yet if I stick with my study of these unfamiliar and illogical thoughts, and especially if I try to speak to someone else about them, sometimes strong and uncontrollable emotions will instantly pour out of me. I breakdown in tears. The tears surprise me. They often embarrass me. I believe I am simply trying to study or discuss untrue and illogical thoughts I do not hold. If I try to introspect and determine what within me is causing the tears, I don’t recognize any emotion or thought within me that could explain the tears. I feel fine.

But this contrast between how I feel and how I am acting confuses and frustrates me. I do not have that uniquely personal ability to introspect/to see what is within this mind who is crying. It is as if someone else’s mind has gained control over my external emotional expressions. Though I know this is not true. Rather it must be that I have completely lost introspective touch with a part of my emotional brain. Though clearly that part has not lost touch/control over my body. I suspect this lost part of my emotional mind is part of my unconscious mind. I have always believed in the unconscious mind, but never before have I experienced a mindful awareness that I am witnessing it’s effects acting through me.

In order to know what is within this part of my unconscious, I must use my reasoning abilities. I first collect information by observing how my body is acting (crying). Then I reason that within my internal but unconscious world there must be some feeling of sadness, emotional pain, or hurt.

It appears that my calmer and freer introspection/observation of my familiar internal world is allowing me to see for the first time some of the unconscious (“unfamiliar and illogical”) thoughts and feelings which are fueling these more familiar thoughts and feelings. That would explain why these unfamiliar thoughts are suddenly appearing internally around me now that I am more deeply studying my familiar thoughts and feelings. It may also help explain why they often appear to me to be illogical or inaccurate thoughts. They were learned/formed by a much younger me’s knowledge, perspective, and freedom. A me in a different world.

But before I go more into the origin of these beliefs, I find it important to add I have tried to study how frequently unconscious/invisible thoughts may be influencing my actual choices and behavior. I took one of these newly conscious/visible “unfamiliar and illogical thoughts” and looked back to see if there was any evidence of its influence in my past choices, actions, understanding of other people and myself, etc. I found evidence of its influence EVERYWHERE. It was a missing variable. It helped explain some of my most puzzling habitual choices and behaviors. Even more I realized other people had seen my actions and suggested maybe I had this thought/feeling. I couldn’t introspect it within me, so I had never believed that I did hold such a thought/feeling. But now I infer it was unconsciously fueling many of my past choices and behaviors.

Returning back to why the beliefs I become conscious of from the unconscious would appear to me as illogical and untrue, I assume this is because the unconscious largely learned what it knows during my childhood. Therefore within a child’s knowledge, perspective and freedom it solidified the code of best action for thriving in “the world” including what is dangerous for me. I left childhood – I acquired more knowledge, more perspectives, more power, and more freedom. But what happened to everything I had learned, my code of life? What is the relationship between the child’s old and deeply practiced knowledge of the world and how best to thrive in it and all the adult’s new and ever growing knowledge, perspectives, and freedoms. How did/do they interact?

I am not sure. But I suspect I have long lived as a feeling and thinking learning machine struggling in perpetual confusion. A feeling and thinking learning machine that can only be and live in the present, but through my memory code can get lost in “the past”. I can fiercely battle to defend myself and life from long gone but now unconsciously self-empowered demons. A feeling and thinking learning machine that can only be and live in the present, but through my imagination code can get lost in “the future”. I can imagine “what is” could be better (more beautiful, happier, etc, ) and this imagining of possibilities clouds my vision of the real “what is” before me. “What is” becomes seen as not enough. It could be more good therefore is is not yet good (it is bad), it could be more beautiful therefore is is not yet beautiful( it is ugly), it could be more happy therefore is not yet happy (it is sad).

I am a feeling and thinking learning machines who knows that I have the power and am free to update my code, and therefore expects to look out and see my true self in how I show up in the world. Yet so often I look out and see I act drastically out of step with how I code/will myself to act. This can lead me to doubt my very nature, doubt whether I am beautiful and good on the inside. If I am, wouldn’t I see that beautiful and good self in my actions? Or it leads me to doubt my power and freedom to truly update my code. Who or what controls my actions then? There can be no peace for a learning machine made for living life (action), but in a state of perpetual confusion about the internal world and external one.

Yet, there is hope! Clarity. For maybe it is true that I have the power and freedom to update/modernize my code, maybe that’s never been lacking. Maybe what has been lacking is the ability to see/access the old code, and even more the acceptance that such an unconscious/invisible code exists. How can one change what one can not see? But now I know through experience such an unconscious mind/code is within me and can (without my awareness) be the fuel of my thoughts and feelings and therefore actions. Even more I have experienced that if I can study my conscious thoughts and feelings in a detached state, once unconscious thoughts and feelings sometimes arise before my consciousness. I can see code that was once invisible to me, so maybe now I can start to change/update it.

And it does seem that once my thinking mind reasons an unfamiliar thought or feeling explains some of my past actions and makes sense as being learned from my childhood, it becomes understood and accepted as existing within an unconscious part of my mind. This understanding and acceptance integrates the unconscious part back into my conscious mind- back into the internal world around me I can see/introspect.

With this ability to see/introspect the once unconscious thought in real time as it is triggered in my day to day life, I have the freedom to reason whether the thought is accurately capturing the truth within me or in the world. I have the freedom to gather more information to determine it’s accuracy or test out a different thought. When I cultivate more accurate/true thoughts than I see myself and the external world more accurately/true. This changes my thoughts and actions. I look within and without into the external world and more often see the beautiful, good, and true world and the beautiful, good, and true me actually showing up in it.