Loving Equally

Kiss your Friends’ faces more

Destroy the belief that

Intimacy must be reserved for

Monogamous relationships

Be more loving

Embrace platonic intimacy

Embrace vulnerability

Use emotionality as a radical tactic against a

Society which teaches you

That emotions

Are a sign of weakness

Tell more people you care about them

Hold their hands

Tell others

You are proud of them

Offer support readily

Take care of the people around you

 

This poem came across my facebook newsfeed recently and it was exactly what I needed to see. I thought, wow, what a beautiful, courageous and radical way to look at love (I am so sorry but I do not know the author.   If anyone knows please let me know because I want to hang out with this person).

A while ago my daughter and I were talking about love and she asked me if I thought it was possible to love everyone equally. I told her it’s possible but I’m not there yet. This conversation sent me on a quest of self-inquiry.   I thought about those who I love the “most”. My husband and our children, without a doubt, are the greatest loves of my life. I then thought, well who would fall next in line? Extended family? Friends? Community? Teachers? After thinking about it a while, I came to this conclusion. It is whoever I allow it to be. It’s a choice to love or not love equally. That was a radical realization.

One of my favorite teachers, Ram Dass, suggests that we “love everyone”. He said he loves everyone and everything equally and it’s hard for the people in his immediate circle to understand sometimes why he might love the books on his shelf as much as he loves each of them. How can someone love a book as much as a person? When he and others speak of their Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, they speak of him as if they have never loved or felt love like they did when they were with him. One of the most beautiful things I ever experienced was to listen to these people talk about their Guru in this way. They could care less what others think about this experience because their love is that deep. If sounds very much like the deep feelings of romantic love or parental love but it may be even so much greater it cannot be put into words. Imagine a love that deep.

We can so easily get stuck in a limited belief or a “set of rules” that apply to how we love or who we love for that matter. How can we embark on a mission of love if we have a fear of intimacy or a fear of being vulnerable? They’re counter-intuitive. Trust me for years I tried that approach, and all it does is harden the heart.

It wasn’t until I read this poem that it clicked for me. Why do we place limits on how much we love others unlike how we do so within our immediate family? Now before we go off on a tangent about the need for boundaries etc., let’s just say that for our purposes today that the kind of love that I am referring to is platonic with healthy, appropriate boundaries in place. With that in mind, if there is ever a doubt, it is a very fair question to ask of people with boundary issues.   The answer might come from our limited belief system, our own fears, our life experiences, or how love showed up (or didn’t) in our lives.  No matter what we think the reason is I would bet that it comes from a place of fear; Fear of not being lovable; Fear of intimacy; or Fear of being vulnerable and so on. So we judge others if they love in a way we can’t understand. And maybe, just maybe, we are fearful or unaware of our own limitations around our ability to love ourselves. Radical.

Of course this is a work in progress but this I know for sure. When my heart is open and I am coming from a place of love I am a better person, wife, friend, daughter, sister, mother, teacher, and student. When I’m not, I’m the opposite of that, and quite frankly, I’m a hot mess.   Which would you choose? Today, I send my love to all of you and I eagerly wait for the day when I can say I love everyone equally. And I’m getting closer to that goal every day.