Cultivating Love

“What happens when people open their hearts?”…
“They get better.”
― Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood

Yesterday I had a breakdown.  My emotions could not handle everything coming at me at once.  They were on overload, and I broke.  I broke because I heard words I knew to be so, but had not completely accepted yet.  I heard words that broke my heart.  My rational brain got it; it has gotten it for a long time.  But my heart, my heart is taking it’s time.  It beats at its own pace.

The breakdown was due to a gap in my understanding of what is true and what is fantasy; what is experience and what is hope.  This gap is not anything new or special to just me, it is the human condition.   We all live somewhere in this gap.  But, some people live closer to the truth than others.  I am not one of those people.  I am a bit of a dreamer and can live off hope, for a long time, until reality slaps me in the face, like it always does.

But sometimes we need these slaps in the face.  I know I did.  It was a wake-up call for me.  A wake-up call that I needed very much.  And, do you know what?  I feel so much better.  I have learned that after my breakdowns, I always come out better and stronger, every single time.  Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, likens breakdowns to a spiritual awakening.  Well at least that is what her analyst told her.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Yesterday was a spiritual awakening.

It is in these moments of pain, when we are swimming in the swamplands of our soul, that we attain meaning and insight into our own lives.  And it is in these times, times of suffering, we find wisdom.

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
― Aeschylus

My despair yesterday brought me wisdom.  And, the slap in my face lead me to a few “a-ha” moments.  And, I am grateful.  But, I did not find this wisdom on my own.  I did not find it by turning into a hermit, crawling into bed and distancing myself from the rest of the world.  I found it with the help of friends.  I found it through connection.  Not just a few kind words, a pat on the back, or a sweet text, no, I found it through truly deeply connecting to someone else.  And, it made all the difference.

To deeply connect with the other, you must become vulnerable.  You must be willing to show your imperfections, let go of your persona, and be real.  It is the only way.  There are some people on this planet that have no problem connecting.  It comes naturally.  They live from their hearts.  They are not afraid to be imperfect.  They are not afraid to look ridiculous, show up at a friend’s door not showered, in a green juice stained shirt and black tears flowing down their cheeks.

Then there are others that have a harder time.  Looking good is too important to them.  And vulnerability is perceived as weakness.  Please hear this my friends, vulnerability is not weakness.  I repeat vulnerability is not weakness.  It is quite the opposite actually.  Being vulnerable is the bravest thing you will ever do.

It takes an enormous amount of courage to be vulnerable, to show your true colors, take a risk and show up at someone’s door tattered and worn.  And, not only does it take tremendous courage, according to Brene Brown “it is the birth place of innovation, creativity, change, joy, love, and belonging.”

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known”…Brene Brown

So, what better way to cultivate love than connecting with others on this Valentine’s Day!  I dare all of you today to let down your walls, open your hearts, share your story, your real story, show up at someone’s door if you have to but go make that connection with a friend, a child, a parent or a lover!  Do not be afraid, put yourself out on a limb and connect, connect, connect!

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!  Love, love, love you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>