i love, revisited
I love. God, I love. There is just so much to love in human eyes and soft sighs and long nights washed with tenderness and rain. How could anyone not love such things: sunrays hidden in the silver moon, weathered books, and blessings from old souls and saints? I love the scent of autumn and the way green leaves give birth to gold. I love blank journals and the minds that fill them. I love the hands of woodworkers and the music of crickets. I love your open heart. I love that my mom is a potter and that I can drink tea out of her handmade mugs. I love that there are brave humans who put their lives at risk to help others, and that so many beautiful acts of selflessness happen in secret. I love that there are people who decipher palm lines and constellations and handwriting and auras and pulses—it just shows that we are so much more than we know.
I love my ears; I love yours too. All ears are beautiful—they’re like soft sculptures sticking out of everyone’s head. And they hear things like songs and waves and birds and rain on wooden rooftops and tap dancing and clapping and laughing and temple bells. I love when a lover whispers in my ear because it’s so intimate and when he says something sincere into that little space it opens me up like magic. If you could whisper in your own ear, what would you say?
I love Pablo Neruda. There’s just something about the way he describes a woman’s body that softens me. He sees the female form in colors and landscapes and flowers, and when I read his words, I feel beautiful. One of my favorite books of all time is his 100 Love Sonnets; I keep it by my bed. A few nights ago I was reading through some of the poems and this line leapt off the page: “From all the graces my homeland offered, I chose only your savage heart.” I chose only your savage heart. It’s hard to explain what happened when I read that, but I literally sat up and tears fell out of my eyes. It was as if he was saying those words directly to me, and I felt so seen and loved. Thank you, Pablo.
I love that I met a man once and we fell so hard for each other. One time when I barely knew him, he took my hand and walked to get some water from the kitchen. Without saying anything, he filled his cup and lifted it to my mouth so I could drink first. Do you know how much that touched me? Although it wasn’t possible for us to be together, I’ll never forget the way he put that glass of water to my lips with such love and kindness. Maybe sometimes we cross paths with people just to share sweet moments like that.
I love basil. Twelve years ago I actually worked on a hydroponic basil farm. That was during a time in my life when I had a little obsession with unusual farming jobs. The year before I spent a summer harvesting seaweed in northern Maine and, later, I shoveled cow shit on a farm in the Arctic Circle. It was a happy time—full of hard work, strong arms, bad beer, and good bread.
I love rainbows. I know that’s kind of cliché, but I don’t see them too often and last week I saw two. I love that in the Tibetan tradition there is something called the “rainbow body”—it’s a phenomenon that happens when great yogis dissolve their body in light at the time of death. Some accounts talk about the body shrinking and emanating rainbow light until only the hair and nails are left. I love that this is possible.
I love Bekandze, the Medicine Buddha. I love to sing his mantra. I love how his form is a deep, translucent blue, and how he holds a celestial bowl of medicine in his hands. I love that there are healing deities in so many spiritual traditions and that we can call upon them anytime. I love that I am just learning it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes I feel like I have to do everything alone, but that isn’t true; it’s just a lie I tell myself.
I love these words by Ajahn Chah: “There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free." I love that in every moment we have the opportunity to investigate our suffering and thus liberate ourselves from it.
I love that spirituality is not a self-improvement project or a way to become someone higher, bigger, or better. I love how it’s ultimately about letting go of all attempts to change ourselves, and to accept who we are right now. I love that Osho said, “When you stop trying to improve yourself, life improves you.”
I love jasmine flowers, old stone chapels, passing clouds, and muffins. I love that in India people put flower garlands on cows and cars and photographs and people. I love how the aloe vera plant looks spiky and stiff, but inside it’s soft and cool and soothing. If you just open it up, the nectar is revealed. Nice metaphor, eh?
I love how innocent we all are, know it or not.
I love how being in the fire for the past three years has burned away some of my fear about what other people think. I used to be absolutely terrified of being judged—terrified. And it’s not like I particularly enjoy it now. But the truth is, we can only like or dislike our perceptions of each other, and often those perceptions are based on hearsay or clouded by negative mind states like jealousy and fear. I think self-acceptance is the truest freedom.
I love that I am learning patience. It’s not always easy to practice, but magnificent things often take time to ripen and they are always worth the wait—a creative project, a fulfilling love relationship, a spiritual experience, a delicious meal, an invention, a garden. I love that the earth is patient. I love that mothers are patient. I love that trees are patient. I love that Rumi said: “The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full."
I love that in the Buddhist tradition it is said that this precious human birth we’ve been given is extremely rare—about as rare as a blind sea turtle coming up for air once every hundred years and putting its head through a single ring floating in the vast ocean. I love that some brilliant human came up with that metaphor. I love that it seems totally farfetched, but if you think about how many zillions of life forms there are, perhaps it's possible. Years ago I read something in the NY Times that said there are more intestinal bacteria in one person's colon right now than there are human beings who have ever lived, so… who knows?
I love pencils with good erasers, dirt roads, lilacs, and the body of a rose in full bloom.
I love that it's been ages since I've been in an intimate relationship—basically since I started singing. It’s kind of strange, but when music came into my life, it was like being swept away by a long lost lover; I gave myself to him completely. He was so familiar and so foreign at once, and I wanted to spend every day and night immersed in his world… so I did. But unfortunately, before I knew it, there was no room for anyone else.
I love that I didn’t fully realize all of this until six months ago when my neighbor’s boyfriend offered to take some photos for my album cover. He said, “What do you want to wear—a wedding dress?” I had no clue what he was talking about, but as soon as he replied, it all made sense: “Yeah, it’s like you’re married to your music, so maybe you should express that." I love how his words snapped me awake and I realized—holy shit, I have been married to music and I’ve neglected my intimate life for way too long. I love how much I cried that evening as I realized how imbalanced my life had become. Oh how I grieved for the seeming loss of that part of myself… and I vowed to call her back.
I love that a few days later I went to my shaman friend’s place and we sat on her cozy couch as the sunlight streamed through her big windows and she asked me some damn helpful questions and brushed a condor feather over my body and anointed me with palo santo smoke. And I went deep inside my heart and had a conversation with music and told him, Darling, I love you dearly, but we need to change the form of our relationship because there’s no room for me to meet my beloved when you’re taking up his space in the bed every night. He smiled and said, “But what do you mean? We’re not separate anymore.” Just then I looked around and he was nowhere to be found because it was true: he had become a part of me. This profound love of mine—I had assimilated him into my soul. I love that this may sound absurd but it is totally honest and I woke up the next morning feeling like I was single for the first time in years.
I love resilience.
I love that the same moon shines on every continent and the same sky embraces all beings. I love that snow leopards exist. I love that my spiritual teacher Amma has been asking people to visualize white flowers of peace raining down on the earth. I’ve been trying to imagine that and it’s a beautiful practice. Will you do it with me?
I love writing about what I love because it helps me appreciate everything so much more. I love that my hands can type this, and that your eyes can read this. I love that we are all connected in an intricate web of techno madness and boundless love.
I love you, sweet blog reader. I never tire of saying that because it’s true. I love the depths of you that resonate with the depths of me. I love your sorrow and your silence and your secret songs of joy. I love the void from which you tumbled into this life, empty-handed and open. And I love your mystery, which perhaps even you do not understand.
Yes, I see the beauty of you—never to be replicated—and I love your savage heart.