By Kerri Romeo
“…alas for poor Alice! when she got to the door, she found she had forgotten the little golden key”
Sure enough, shrinking may have allowed Alice to be small enough to fit through the small doorway into the garden, but now the key to unlock the door is out of her reach and no amount of trying to climb to the top will get her there. Only something sweet appears to be the answer.
Too often in pursuit of the “American Dream” we make ourselves smaller to fit in with society and forget that the golden key to what will really make all of our lives successful and this country and this world a better place is LOVE.
Like Alice I am determined to reach that key but the way we have been trying (the economic ladder of “success”) has not been working for the betterment of us all. It has been needlessly tiring most of us out, wreaking havoc, and making us feel anything but love, loved or loving.
Why do we perceive love as not real? Love has been confused with consumerism and false flattery; For the love of empty expressions (material or words) – from a parent, a partner, a boss…politicians? How can we give what we have been bought by, manipulated by, unrewarded…deceived by? How can we give what we don’t even understand? It feels safer to share what we have always known.
Why do we feel so angry and defensive about love? Love has been associated with expectation and disappointment; For the love we feel we did not receive – from a parent, a partner, a friend…God? How can we give what we feel has abandoned us, broke us, hurt us…never existed? How can we give what we don’t believe in? It feels safer to play judge and jury and call it “tough love.”
Why do we minimize love as weakness? Love can invoke feelings of shame or guilt in us; For the love we have not given – to a parent, a partner, a friend…a stranger? How can we give what we have resented, betrayed, neglected…ignored? How can we give what may draw attention to our own mistakes? It feels safer to downplay it, look the other way or become numb to it.
Why do we believe love is limited? Love has been withheld in exclusivity; For the love of only a select few – the wealthy, the high-achievers, by name…by race? How can we give what we have been taught is earned, elite, familial…segregated? How can we give what we believe to be reserved for only a few. It feels safer to hold on than to let go.
Why don’t we trust love? Because none of the above is love. They are repeated patterns and expressions of fear; Fear of vulnerability, of change, of accountability, of loss.
“Fear is our shared lovelessness.” ~ Marianne Williamson (from the Introduction to A Return to Love)
As Alice nibbles a piece of a small cake that she hopes will help her reach the golden key she wonders `Which way? Which way?‘
Which way for us? Will we choose to be kind? How will we express love?
Sometimes love is as simple as reading your child a bedtime story, holding the door open for the person behind you with a smile or watering your plants. When it comes to politics, love is not always understood. Love does not need to be dressed up with angel helmets and love bullets as one snarky commenter mocked on Twitter in an effort to provoke a response from Marianne Williamson about her Department of Peace (a plan based in humanitarian action, community building, education and collaboration between government and people and one of the most serious and honest expressions of love we cannot forget during this divisive time: https://www.mariannenow.com/issues/us-department-of-peace-plan).
Nobody would doubt Victoria Lynn Hall‘s commitment to peace, love and kindness when she is rallying for a favorite candidate or expressing herself through art or music. But love is not always about being agreeable and despite taking the heat for unpopular views or “wrong” timing she continues to stand up for what is right (something Martin Luther King, Jr spoke about in a speech in 1966 at Illinois Wesleyan University). This is one of the most challenging demonstrations of love. Her ability to see the bigger picture and have empathy for others on issues that may not affect her directly is one of the most authentic.
“People who have the most to teach us are often the ones who reflect back to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge our fearful positions.” ~ Marianne Williamson (Chapter 6, Section 5 of A Return to Love)
Jesse Crall can be perceived as a cynic and his views are clearly supported by a brilliant mind and extensive research but his compassion is what is apparent with the education and awareness he brings to issues like those that are affecting civilians across the globe as a result of the power plays between the US and countries like Syria (https://amplifireproject.com/2020/06/18/syria-and-silence/).
Love is not always pretty, but it is always beautiful.
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Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.