Love actually is…..all around

For You and Me with Tea fans who know me, you probably have been waiting for me to post about my affinity for hearts.  For those of you that are just beginning to get to know me…virtually that is…I will let you in on the secret.  I see hearts, like….everywhere.  What I mean by this is like this leaf I saw in Ireland a couple of months ago, I see hearts in nature all around me.  This began actually in Ireland two and a half years ago.  I actually began collecting stones that are in the shape of hearts approximately seven years ago when I was on a retreat at Omega Institute with Jon Kabat Zinn.  But actually seeing hearts in nature, say on trees, rocks, cement, leaves, etc. that started in Ireland.  That January in 2011 I had hit a wall, well there were many walls I bumped into over the years, but this one was during our snowiest winter in a long long time.  In the past several years when I feel really restless, I find myself traveling on impulse.  Travel is the best way I know to get distance, literally, from my problems and see the bigger picture.  That snowy winter I took myself to Ireland to meet up with my brother and his then girlfriend to tour around as the Irish would say. Throughout the 13 day trip I saw hearts everywhere.  They were on rocks like this one.

They were on trees, they were in the form of rocks by the ocean, they were well….everywhere.  And when I got home from Ireland and it continued to snow non-stop they were everywhere.  My former job was located right near my house. The walk to work since that trip to Ireland was covered with hearts right up until I left.  Now you may say, you must be joking or delirious, or both but I kid you not.  Some friends have goofed with me that I see things as hearts that are not but generally speaking, they are quite clearly in the shape of hearts. When I reveal this to people, I get mixed reviews.  Some look at me as though I’m insane, others just smile and look at me with awe. My parents were hospitalized last year in what was an incredibly scary time.  I brought pictures of hearts to the hospital`.  One of the PCAs that worked with my father was the kindest ma.  We had a moment alone one day and he noticed the picture.  Looking righ at me be told me that he too saw hearts.  He said that there aren’t many people who do but they are out there.  I will never forget him and how kind he was. I believe he was an angel sent to take care of my Dad as my father still has very fond memories of their time together.  I have friends who also see hearts and the most touching part of the “Heart Project” is that through posting the hearts on Facebook, so many people are now seeing them as well.  The fact that these visual images of have caused me to become associated with love and that this love spreads all around me is touching beyond belief.

People often ask what I think this all means.  Well, the message I take from the hearts is that love actually is…all around, to coin a phrase from a chick flick I have watched a dozen times.  The hearts appear to me when I most need them.  They came into my life at a crucial time and have followed me along my path of change.  They have guided me back to my own proverbial heart.  They have been a part of my awakening to the love that was trapped within hidden by stress and anger.  In the beginning I thought that it meant that love in the form of a person was on it’s way like in the chick flick sort of way.  I now realize that it’s the Universe pointing out that love does not need to wait until some person shows up, it’s right here, right now in this moment.  This may sound quite corny and I have been known to love cheese (all types that is:) but it’s very true.  Once we realize that happiness is not in the car, the job, the partner, the new IPhone, we are able to tap into an unlimited source of happiness within.  Our culture keeps us on the rat race seeking “love in all the wrong places” as Kenny Rogers would say.  But love is not only within, but it’s everywhere.  It’s in the dog walking down the street, it’s in the beautiful sunset, it’s in the stranger’s face as you say hello, in the door held open for you, it’s all around.  And yes, for me, it’s often in the literal form of hearts sometimes made up of guck on the sidewalk:)

Loving kindness, metta meditation, is said to begin with showing love towards the self so that there is an unlimited resource of love to go outward toward others.  This is a foreign concept in our culture, especially for women. We are socialized to show love to others first and if there is any left for us, well we can reap those tiny bits later.  Just for today, what is some small tiny way you can practice loving kindness inwards towards yourself?  I think for today, I will give myself a break and appreciate how far I have come rather than on the road ahead.  What will you do today to show yourself love?

Embrace today with all it’s imperfections and spread the love!

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