Instead of going upstairs to our usual comfort of finding a show to watch on TV, my son and I were sitting outside by the lake. The sun was just beginning her descent, so shadows were finding their way behind trees and into flower beds as the wind came rising in just a kiss of cool. And then it started -- the opening and sharing.
My son and I have known and loved one another for 21 years, but this was different. The veil was coming loose. For three hours, I sat there as my son unfolded towards me and I towards him. We were crossing an unspoken gulf that had so long yawned between us. We spoke in quiet voices. We spoke with grace and ease. Sometimes we looked at one another, but mostly we looked at the lake, letting the softness of sky and water hold us.
Very much his own person, my son has a spirit and mind that cause him to walk separately much of the time. I have ached -- and sometimes angered -- over his journey, wanting to fix it and make it match the doings and gettings that I think will make him happy. I so wanted the dream of a tall and smiling man-boy, who would cause me no questioning of his place in life -- or of my own.
Our ride together and apart has not been easy. But here we sat with a profound something happening between us. A new world of honesty and insight was opening between us as our words flowed back and forth. At times I wanted to run. I wanted to grab the remote control and click distraction into place. But I stayed. I held my heart almost breathless as the mystery that is my son began to be revealed to me in the potent beauty and truth of his words.
What had shifted that made this generosity of "self" able to be handed over with such pliant trust and powerful receiving? As I write these words, the truth is pulling me into the clear-bright answer. What has happened is that I've moved from a love that is wanting, hoping and needing into a new kind of love--one that is anchored in a fuller understanding of what love really is.
I've traveled through many, many years of not being settled or "quiet" in my own life. I've tossed careers and run from the authorities; I've created and I've destroyed; I've plied my oar and shaken my fist. It's only been in these last eight years or so that I've torn off the blinders and widened my spirit into seeing and feeling life with deep courage -- and an unstoppable willingness to own life's brutal gifts, dancing joys and "let's do this with our shoes off" wonder.
What I have learned -- what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt -- is that the biggest wonder, the driving power behind it all is Love. Love is the breathing, aching, knowing power that holds us. Love is the center of it all.
For me -- at least for today -- there are five qualities of heart and soul, that create love, hold love and build love in my life:
1. Being Present: I cannot be available to you, until I slow down and learn to be with you -- instead of all tangled up in you. Being present is to hold my place with quiet intention and a self-honoring of who I am. My emotions and thoughts are mine. Your emotions and thoughts are yours. Neither of us is "good" or "bad." We are each simply doing and feeling from our own understandings and choices.
2. Being Patient: There is a powerful grace in patience. There is humility, endurance and a peacefulness of soul when I am able to set aside my need to know what is happening. Being patient means that I pull the plug on urgency and let us both sit within this moment of now. When I am patient, I don't speed by the miracle and then wonder why things feel empty.
3. Allowing: Life is always unfolding. As am I. As are you. Forcing things is a hurting of life -- of you and of me. When I allow you to be as you are, I allow myself to be who I am, too. I get to see and feel, think and do; and you get to do the same. When I allow life, I don't have to mold it, control it, anger it or judge it. I set us both free.
4. Having Compassion: The word "compassion" means "to be together within our suffering." It is within the hurtings of life that growth always happens. I don't need to compare or repair you. Let me see you with the eyes of my soul as I hold your pain next to my own. When we come together in this core place of being fully human -- the crying side, the aching side -- it's impossible to be alone.
5. Being Consciously Kind: We are each individuals doing the best we can within the knowing of who we are at this one moment. I am not looking out of your eyes or feeling the beat of your heart. Being consciously kind is a deep knowing that I have no right to hurt you, judge you or think of you as less than worthy. Kindness is also about me choosing not to hurt myself. Because I first must hold my ill will within my own heart and mind before I can throw it at you.
Living within this way of loving has changed me. I now come to life -- to myself and to you -- from a softer place. I am breathing, holding and living this journey from a wider sense of self that makes me more gracious and easy, more willing and courageous. And, I receive the fruits of this kind of love in the gentle voice and trusting generosity of my son as he tells me his soul in the quiet of a deepening afternoon on a lake.
Robin Korth enjoys interactions with her readers. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
To learn about her new book, "Soul on the Run," go to: www.SoulOnTheRun.com