“Throughout the whole of Life one must continue to learn to live”, said Seneca two millennia ago. “And what will amaze you even more, throughout life one must learn to die.”
It is also clear that the farther one travels on the journey of life, the more births one will experience, and therefore the more deaths — the more joy and the more pain.
This wisdom brings me to the next sparklet of truth…Scott Peck defines love as “The willingness to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.
I have believed the above to be true about love since I read The Road Less Traveled for the first time in 1980. I have since re-read this book at least 30 times. Every time I re-read it I learn something more about myself and others. Since that time however, I believe I have only fully loved three people in my personal life this way: myself, my son and one other man. In my career as a therapist I believe I have done it over and over and each extension of myself has given way to a more expansive and compassionate version of myself. Extending myself in this way personally has been the most difficult, frightening and beautiful experience of my life! From this place I have made my most painful of decisions in saying “Yes” when it was an utter act of surrender and saying “No” when it was the greatest act of love I have ever given to someone in my life.
I have experienced the deepest of sadness in giving up my ego, and my attachments to what my little self wanted in order to hold those I most loved up to the light of Source, surrender, humility and vulnerability. I could never have done it without going through the darkest nights of my soul. I say nights because if only it could have been one night… Night after night of staying with myself in faith, believing if I held to my truth in alignment with Source, it would be for the greater good of all. Believing through the tears that all would be revealed and all involved would be set free. I stood in my belief that we are all one and connected even though it looked and felt like my heart was broken irrevocably into many pieces.
Death, rebirth…Love is never lost. Love is eternal.
I recently heard that in Japan there is a practice of repairing a broken plate with gold, which glues the pieces of the china back together. The plate is then considered all the more beautiful. In that case, I must be a glowing golden orb, given the number of times my heart has broken. Every time I figuratively picked up the pieces and glued them back together, it was a spiritual and emotional funeral process of honoring every break, every piece that had fallen assunder…the spinning plate that landed hard and shattered into countless pieces. Yet here I am whole and shining, like a beacon, continuing to illuminate the darker and darker recesses I am traversing with every dip into that well of love that grows ever deeper, ever purer.
For the love of the three of us, I will keep diving into those waters of Grace and find within that the three have become the many…the all and paradoxically, the One.