“We are put on this earth a little space, to learn to bear the beams of love.” — Wm Blake
A while back, I had occasion for a great welling of joy within a relationship. For a couple of weeks, I lived within a magical circle of mutual sweetness, loving and devotion.
During this blessed time, I was surprised to notice that the joy emanating from my heart was almost more than I could bear. For several days, along with the warmth and delight, it felt alarmingly as if my chest were about to burst open. The expanding joy had brought along achy anxiousness as a sidekick.
As might be expected in the rhythms of relationship, as events unfolded, distance of a force equal to the joy slowly set in. The growing dissonance triggered what I recognized as my core wound. What I have come to call my “holy wound” I can best describe as unbearable chest pangs, like a hole in my heart—accompanied by a sense of being unwanted, ashamed, and terrified of falling into a bottomless well of isolation.
Since I became aware of this wound after a difficult abandonment several years ago, I have done my best to accept these feelings whenever they appear. Instead of distracting myself, or working to make the pangs go away, I—in true mindfulness fashion—have tried to accept them in as neutral and detached a way as possible.
Loving Kindness is Not Neutral
This time, however, when the hurt arose I realized how lukewarm and ambivalent my acceptance has been. The warmth, connection and joy that had so recently expanded my heart to the point of bursting wrapped around the scary pain. No longer lukewarm, I felt a welling of passionate loving for these terrible feelings.
As I breathed into the now familiar pain, I heard a voice within whispering, “I love you; you are beautiful to me; you are a precious part of who I am; I am so sorry you are hurting.” And I felt delicate fingers of light caressing the longing.
Apparently, the vulnerability and loving I had risked in the relationship were available now for me and penetrated the wounds in a new soft way. Knots of despair and anxiety began to open up in response to this love. As the hurts softened, a soothing warmth filled my veins with sweetness, the marrow of my bones with strength, and my heart with compassion.
The unexpected elixir held tight in the pain revealed the hurt as a veil covering a deeper love. This is why our core wounds are sacred. When we are finally able to feel them directly, they not only call us to love, they teach us how to love. When we embrace them warmly, as we would a child in distress, they become a portal, a body prayer asking for what we most want in our heart of hearts.
I see now more clearly than ever. Before we can truly open to love one another, we must be willing to surrender, to trust enough to receive love. From nature, our family, friends, loves, animals, art, music, our breath, our Higher Selves, the source does not matter. Once we allow love to enter, we can finally, at long last, offer that loving to the most rejected, outcast parts of ourselves.
To read more about the transformation of suffering and opening to love….
“Love and the Mystery of Betrayal”—now available in print and ebook.