“Your relentless pursuit of healing shows how much you love yourself.” So said a Dona, a healer I worked with for several years in my 2-decades-long journey to recover from chronic physical pain and the trauma in my life. If I remember correctly, I had lamented to her that I wasn’t sure I could love myself. Her words were revelatory. I still hold onto them.
In truth, when I look back on my life, I see how love motivated me on so many levels. From childhood, I retained a felt sense of the love woven into the numinous fabric of reality. Call it God, Spirit, energy, Great Mystery, love-light. By whatever name, to me I have always known this is where I came from, this is where I live and this is where I will go when my body dies.
I have felt this vibrating presence even when I have gone through dark, hard times. Though at times, it has been overshadowed momentarily by fears, struggles and challenges, I have nevertheless always felt that I would be OK. It is more than faith; it is something known.
Really, until my early 40s, I was entrained into the chaotic lives of a few of my family members, including John, my ex-husband, and Marti, my mother, as both were lost in their own individual brands of untreated trauma, depression, anxiety and addictions—my mother to opioids and my ex to alcohol. In the last 10 years of her life, Marti was also addicted to doctors, hospitals, surgeries, and all manner of pharmaceuticals. I remember one day counting the number of drugs she was taking for a variety of real, fabricated or imagined illnesses: 24. She eventually died after having the pericardium removed from around her heart—a thin, permeable sheath that filters toxins and protects the organ. Her doctors said that they could not determine what the hardening of the membrame was caused by—"idiopathic.” In other words, unknown.
My desire to heal and save both of these beloveds arose out of love. And my ultimate decision to divorce my husband and part ways with my mother in the last few years of her life were acts of self-love. I could not thrive myself in the face of their illusions, neglect and harm to themselves and to me. I was also motivated even in these seemingly harsh decisions because, in truth, I realized that loving them was not sufficient if they could not love themselves enough to get the help they needed. In the case of Marti, I would have been forced by proximity as I took her to doctors, pharmacies and hospitals, to collude with her addiction, self-harm and harm to me.
Yes, love is sometimes tough. But, even then, it is also tender and filled with grief. And, you know, maybe without me there to prop them up and help them function, they would hit bottom and finally decide to reach out for professional support. They did not, sadly. So, through love, I had to surrender and let go.
John passed away only 5 years after our divorce. He came to me in a dream the week he died. We had not been in touch because I felt the need to cut all ties with him due to his problems. Yet, in the dreamtime, he saw me walk by and called out. I turned and saw his beloved face. He stood up from his seat and we walked towards one another and made joyful greetings. There was so much healing in the reunion. The love was still there. I awoke out of the dream and knew he was going to die soon. Sure enough, several days later, a friend called and said Joe had passed away.
My mother, too, came to me several times in dreams and visions and asked for forgiveness, told me I had been right about her. I now feel her presence as filled with light and giving me loving support.
I believe that by being naturally and unshakably attuned to the fabric of love of Creation, I have always been able to find the healing I have sought for myself and in even the most fraught relationships. In the case of John and Mom, it came after they died. Because trully, we never die. We merely shapeshift.
In that, I trust that the journey of every soul is ever and always drawn to love. In that love, then, there will always be healing and redemption.
Why do I write about this now? When I am also speaking of peacemaking and sacred activism? Because we are living through very dark, hard times. There are people all around the planet who are doing harm to others and, fundamentally, to themselves. Yet I believe that no matter how much hurt they cause, they will, at some point in their soul’s journey, return to the truth of love. I remind myself that they have simply forgotten, just as I know that I, too, have done so at moments in my life and other lives. This does not excuse their actions. Nor does it mean that I, in particular, do not feel angry, afraid and frustrated at times. Nor does it mean I just sit by idly while harm is done. It does mean that as a sacred activist, I keep holding the vision that peace and love will prevail.
Finally, this sure anchor I have had in a sensing, feeling and knowing of the loving nature of the cosmos, has kept me from railing against or rejecting God by whatever name or wrapped in whatever concept. Somehow, through grief and pain, suffering and trauma, I have always had hope and trust—for myself, my loved ones, humanity and Mother Earth. This is the powerful fruit of love. I ever and always find refuge in the stream of love-light that is ever and always within, through and around me.