I came back from France with more energy than I had when I left for France. How does that work? It has somehow sustained itself all week. It now isn’t difficult to get up at 7 or 7:30 am and afternoon naps are no longer crucially necessary. I am however, enjoying time to just be still and quiet with myself and integrate each day 1) as my life is moving forward and, 2) what I need to take care of each day to stay on top of my life. That time to integrate how my day is going is something I have come to learn that I absolutely need to so as to keep myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually balanced and in harmony. I still can’t take groups of people, feel I have tired ears and heart when I am with 2 or 3 people socially after a couple of hours, and I have no need to venture very far beyond my semi-quiet life.
I think France challenged me physically and intellectually and I found myself failing dramatically. However, the very fact that I pushed through 2 weeks of exhaustion and uncertainty, surrounded by beauty, history, mystery, and love was a miracle and I have come out of it a stronger and better person.
I share this with you because I really want you to take seriously the value for you and your partner in each and every “opportunity” as my daughter-in-law calls it. Connie’s “opportunities” are more like my “challenging moments” or as m y cousin Gail says, “Another f……. growth experience, right Nanc.” (Only Gail gets to call me Nanc. My brother can call me Nan. But EVERYONE else must call me Nancy. It just is what is it, no special reason).
I digress. Sorry, back on track.
When you walk away from each other feeling hurt, angry or scared, you don’t solve anything at all. You only both feel more wounded. Holding hands and facing the tidal wave together, as Clo did with me in France, strengthens and deepens your love for each other and the commitment to help you both feel safe, in this often times scary world.
I have my “opportunity” to give her extra loving support now. She is having quite a bit of internal physical pain and is in the midst of tests and doctors scratching their heads. She absolutely needs me and deserves for me the step up to the plate. And I pray I do the job well. I know I do it in love.
Every relationship has an opportunity for reciprocity. And it often doesn’t take long to emerge. Remember, when you keep your partner feeling safe, and your partner helps you feel safe, almost anything can be faced together. Take a deep breath! Close your eyes. And remember how it feels to give love and how it feels to receive love.
Harville Hendrix’s book, Receiving Love, suggests that most of us feel we can give love, but often times don’t know how to receive it. And the truth of the matter is, if we can’t fully receive, we can’t fully give. The mutual airwaves simply aren’t open for easy flow between the two of you when one or the other is reluctant to give love graciously or to receive the love of the other.
Can you REALLY open your heart to what is out there for you? Can you feel the love of a beautiful sunset, the love singing in a child’s laughter, or the love pulsating in a partner’s hug? Can you remember love when you see a flower, or a bird, when you hear glorious music or good food is prepared for you? Take in what is offered with an open welcoming heart. Trust that most times we are all well intentioned. Seldom is anyone really TRYING to give us grief. Take a minute right now and go give someone a hug or a big kindly welcoming smile.
Some years ago, my then 86 year old father who is my hero (I will tell you more about that some day!), said to me, “You know Nancy, I made an experiment. I walked down the street scowling, staring straight ahead and not making eye contact. No one looked at me or smiled at me and many people frowned at me. Then I walked down the street a few days later smiling and grinning and looking people right in the eye. Every single person smiled back and looked right at me with a very friendly face. All you have to do to feel happy is smile!”
All you have to do to feel connected is to stay open to giving and receiving love. Love will help you slip gentle through diversity. Not letting love flow will make the hard times sometimes impossible to plow through safely. Listen to my wise, dear father, “All you have to do is smile and someone is bound to smile back at you. That is how to begin to learn that the world is safe. Smiling faces help connect with open hearts.