Love With A Capital L

A journey towards living an inspired life of love in the modern world

The Hanggi Quote — January 4, 2023

The Hanggi Quote

Kristin Hanggi wrote in a mass email I received today: How I create is a way I demonstrate self-love to myself.

This is the new year and a time that requires some examination, where and I and where do I want to go? Am I careful with you? Am I careful with me? What sort of energy am I releasing into the world? Maybe not so obviously, all of these questions are connected. If I am not careful with you, the energy I emit is a drain on us all, which will take me nowhere I’d like to go. I’d be actively impacting the world around me in a negative fashion.

Now, the only difficult question, from which I’ve historically turned my head, is if I’m careful with me. My focus points for the year address this deficiency. I never considered the connections until I read that we aren’t truly capable of caring for others without caring for ourselves. See, I used to think the crushing expectations I place on my own shoulders are are only for me. I used to think that if caring for you comes at the expense of my own well-being, that is an acceptable cost.

I’ve been wrong about that perspective. Expectations are expectations, and emptiness is always communicated. If I’m struggling to breathe, how can I help you breathe? If I’m smushed under the weight of my own burdens, how can I help to carry yours?

So I’m paying attention to the way I speak to me as an act of love. I’m watching my mouth when I talk about me as an act of love. And now, reading that Hanggi quote, I’m examining my spirit as I write this, considering the past effects on my heart anytime I build. Maybe I only think I need time away (that I call “down time”) – and maybe I’ve been wrong about that, too.

There’s no question time away from some things is valuable, we all need rest days, sometimes rest weeks, but what are those things? What if I’ve been taking the time away from the very things that give to me, that act as an infusion of life? Do I really need time down from that? If creation is an act of self-love, is down time choosing not to love?

It’s just a small sentence in a daily email that I very often quickly, mindlessly skim, but it asks so many important questions. And it’s entirely possible that the answer to the question “Do I really need time down from that?” is yes. Maybe we need time down from even the most wonderful, most energizing, things. But how will we know if we don’t ask???

Catfish, pt ? — June 9, 2020

Catfish, pt ?

This morning on a Catfish repeat, the players all ended up to be exactly who they said they were. You’d think this would be cause for celebration and “…happily ever after,” but you’d be wrong.

I started that last week, and I just cannot remember why! I don’t remember the people or the show, how they met or why I cared so much to write it to you. There is a certain discontent, maybe we would call it a holy discontent, that slides into places and situations where we long for the one thing (husband/wife, job, house, baby, etc) that will complete us. And when we get that thing, we are still not complete. I heard once in a talk that people with a porn problem always have an anger problem – because we want it to be something that it can’t, to fill a hole it can’t, and when it doesn’t, we get frustrated, using more and more, clicking more and more, and no amount can be enough to do what we want it to. But that’s true for so much more than porn, isn’t it? 

The couple on Catfish had dreams of a blissful life once they would meet, that they would ride into a painted sunset with their prince/princess, but when they did they discovered to their horror that each was only a human being. What a disappointment! 

I wonder how much of our lives are built on an altar of misguided expectations. How much of our relational conflict revolves around the ugly reality that they just WILL NOT do what I want them to do? That the world is not as I think it should be? How many fights begin on the stories I tell myself, often having no basis in reality? How much of our faith is centered upon an idea that God will smooth all rough patches and answer all of our prayers?

This is just another way we avoid being fully present in what is happening here and now. We are waiting, expecting something (the best or the worst) and it’s suddenly over and we only know it wasn’t… What was it? Who knows? It’s gone and we missed it.

I‘m finding that our lives are really an ongoing process of simplification. When we start to drift into the ‘what if’ dreamworld, it’s vital to pull back. What if Or What is? ‘What if’ is a question loaded with, and almost indistinguishable from, the fear that whispers the question into our vulnerable ears. ‘What is’ is grounded (perhaps distantly) in a gratitude for the gift of today. Sometimes today is rough. Sometimes today is too much to bear. Sometimes today is heartbreaking and full of bitter tears. But there is blessing in that, too. So many of our favorite moments were born out of the ashes of the previous ones. 

We had yesterday, have tomorrow, but today we can plant seeds for a new creation, if only we can stop trusting the stories our fear is feeding us in our unrealistic, unhealthy expectations.