Our longing to be loved

 

I have just read the beautiful extract below in John O’Donohue’s book  Eternal Echoes :  Exploring Our Hunger to Belong.   The hurts that lodge in our body and soul from never being truely loved can run so deep, some of us try to deny them but never the lesss they are there and yet there is a flow of love we can find within, an inner wellspring that we may have to suffer to find through long nights of betrayal or abandonment.  When it awakens in us we are never again truely alone.

“One of the deepest longings in the human heart, is the desire to be loved for yourself alone.  This longing awakens you completely.  When you are touched by love, it reaches down into your deepest fibre.  It is difficult to realise actually how desperately we need love.  You inhabit your life.  You seem to be in control.  You live within an independent physical body.  From the outset, you seem to be managing very well. Because you present this face to the world, no one suspects that you have a different ‘inner body’ called the heart which can do nothing for itself if it is not loved.  If our hearts were outside our bodies, we would see crippled bodies transform into ballet dancers under the gaze, and in the embrace, of love.  It is difficult to love yourself, if you are not first loved.  When you are loved, your heart rushes forward in the joy of the dance of life.  Like someone who has been lost for years in a forgotten place, you rejoice in being found.   When you are discovered, then you discover yourself.  This infuses your whole life with new vigour and light.  People notice a difference in you.  It is nice to be around you.  Love somehow transfigures the sad gravity of life.  The gloom lifts and your soul is young and free.  Love awakens the youthfulness of the heart.  You discover your creative force.  It is quiet touching to see love bring someone home so swiftly to themselves.  The Connemara poet Catlin Maude writes:

His little beak

Under his wing

The thrush of our love

Even without the outside lover, you can become the beloved.  When you awaken in appreciation and love for yourself, springtime awakens in your heart.  Your soul longs to draw you into love for yourself.  When you enter your soul’s affection the torment ceases in your life.  St Bonaventure says in The Journey of the Mind to God : ‘Enter yourself, therefore, and observe that your soul loves itself most feverently.’

 

A road in the woods

Road

A road opened up

In the woods

Deep inside the wilderness spaces of this heart

That led to you

It revealed itself

When I let myself feel my loneliness and deep longing

Despite all fear

And answer its plea

By reaching out

You may not fully understand me

But you let me be

Who I am

We were alone in this wood so long

You and I

Separated by mist and fog

Inside I felt the silent cry of your heart

That no one else but one other could feel

This journey we are living out is cellular and emotional

As sisters we share a lonely legacy

I cried today

And you held my hand

I felt more walls coming down

I was always so frightened of you

But now I dont struggle as hard

With being the one

Who expresses feeling

For in the lonely wood

Where we connected

I suddenly heard a choir of angels sing

I am sure it was not just imagining

The heavens rejoiced

When you reached across that great divide

To hold my hand

And the empty space in both of us was filled

With a recognition

Deep pain

And unfathomable love

Unspoken

Disconnection and connection : some thoughts

Jung

From quite a young age I had a sense of being on the outside of the life around me.  I was the youngest in family caught up in other worlds, only lately am I realising the depth of aloneness I felt and how the attention was focused somewhere away from my inner self.  And so I believe I did grow into a loner, but one who craved connection of any kind, no matter what the cost.  I didn’t have wise protective radar for who was really connected to me though as I don’t think I was connected to a lot and so it felt unfamiliar, emotional abandonment or disconnect I knew (unconsciously at that point) so I attracted more of that in the years that followed.

I have been thinking about it a lot today and seeing what a hunger to connect outside of myself did to me before I was connected to my deeper self.  Put simply those connections just did not work and I always ended up sorrowing and empty.  In later years with all the trauma and insecurity I carried maybe I didn’t find it easy to connect to others as I had begun to turn to substances.  I also had an implicit feeling that I was a failure for not ‘fitting in’ and so I needed to change, but lately I am realising I didn’t need to change at all, my task lay in coming to know myself, so I had something real to offer relationship.

The Buddhist’s say the ‘self’ is just a construction and I do believe we can construct a false self of representations, but I am a firm believer that there lies inside an essential core of us we can know.  For me, as a sensitive, soul attuned person I find this feeling comes when I am connected to nature and my inner world.  I never feel more at home as on moments where I sit being comforted by the breeze flowing on my face, listening to the song of a local magpie who comes to visit around lunchtime and while writing or reflecting I touch base with something essential and lovely so deep inside.  At moments like this I realise that my hunger for connection outside of myself often led me astray.  My need to be liked or understood by those who could not hurt me and I also made demands at times out of a needy self that did not know how to hold her own hand.

I am so happy to say that lately these feelings of ‘need’ are dropping away.  I was thinking today of the young child or baby who cries out and when not heard collapses into depression or resignation.  In my own case I am learning to give up and surrender longings I direct toward unavailable sources.  And I have discovered a fundamental truth, that I connect best to those who connect with their inward worlds, something I touched on in a previous post about being an orphan.

Lately, I don’t feel that totally empty, bereft feeling of orphanhood that I did before, I am not making demands to have a different journey or fate than I have.  I will always probably be a loner but the paradox is that in society I connect with others when I see deeper in a way those who are on another plane don’t.  It’s not something that is easy to express and I know there are others out there a lot like me.  I don’t feel as alone in the crowd as I used to because lately I see more of our common humanity.

A fellow blogger helped me a lot a few months ago when I was sharing how I had met with a friend and we hadn’t connected by saying that connections cannot be forced and we cannot will them into being.  Knowing when we are connected and disconnected is important.  For me if I feel disconnected in a certain situation its a sign to retreat and listen to my soul.   I find so much loving connection, too from my blog and through reading the writing and blogs of others,   It’s that joyous moment of pleasure and uplift that comes from being received and ‘got’ and I am so grateful for it.  I am also coming to be more and more grateful for my times of deep solitude which are like a balm to me.  I am beginning to realise all the gifts I have and its okay to be alone, not necessarily a sign of something wrong with us.

I also feel myself separating more and more from my family on the earthly plane.  Deep at a soul level I know we are connected and always will be, but it seems to me I am beginning to be aware of playing a ‘role’ in that family can limit my soul which wants to be freer to breath new life into old past grief filled places.  Its beginning to be a real possibility that I can find a way to live outside of the pain of a past that nearly crushed me and for that I am grateful beyond words.

The ways you loved me

Always

The ways you loved me were not always easy for me to see

I could not feel before the ache in your heart for the ways you fell short through no fault of your own with the best intentions

Moving on was the only way you knew to cope And then there are the silent regrets you may never share About things we will never be able to change

So now I pray for acceptance Of all that went before Because the hurting that goes on is not good for me

You don’t really know how to reach out at times Because you were left alone

Now you don’t want us to have to carry a burden we never chose

But somehow we have to make the best of what is left Together For separation avoidance or denial will only bring more pain And sometimes it feels my heart cannot stretch wide enough to contain all these broken threads

Emotions gone mute never totally go away but form the swell under the surface that threatens to rise and fall in those silent quiet moments When my soul draws close to your soul

I will always love you And long for your body Because you are my body and I am yours Let me not forget this

For love is not disembodied but only happens to us in and through a body  awake alive to the vibrancy of soul and longing from ages past surfacing and resurfacing from deep within for healing

Father ; farther

Dad I never got to say goodbye

 I am sorry our last words were an argument

Father you were always farther away from me

And I struggled to understand

Could you really see, feel and hear the real me

So many times when I tried to tell you what I needed

You said no

So Dad now its so hard sometimes to trust

And to let myself have what I need

If you had lived today you would be 97

Now you are a ghostly presence

Who I will never truly say I can know

Lost to me I long for your holding and love

In all kinds of ways

So how can I resolve the need to be known and loved by a man?

Oh Dad how much I wish things were different

Somewhere deep inside I think I felt

All the things you hid

Under a cover of silence

But how will I ever know?

I hurt

I had a very strong experience today of really feeling the amount of hurt my body has carried in the past that I have swallowed down.  I shared a few posts back how my brother’s birthday came and went and I didn’t call as I am so hurt about his refusal to help my dead sister’s son and family which would have allowed them to return to live close to us just before my sister died. I truly believe she died from being exiled and also from a broken heart.  I was aware that his refusal to help bought up the deep pain of being separated from my nephews who were like brothers to me growing up due to being closer in age to me.  It was a wound that really damaged me and one I could not express but covered over for years in addiction. It was a far earlier wound that my inner child was making known.

Anyway last night at dinner the subject of his birthday came up and I was not honest about why I did not call. I have found that speaking my truth in the past lead to being sidelined and I am deeply disappointed in myself to say I was not honest.  My sister asked if I forgot and I just said nothing much.  Later on that night I realised I had not been honest and that was due to fear.  I realised I had let myself down and lost an opportunity to share my hurt and pain.  It may or may not have been validated but really their response is none of my business and this has brought up a big issue with me that I have that I don’t speak my pain out due to not being heard or received before and so my body ends up all twisted up with my gut in knots.  I shared with Kat, my therapist last week how I also feel like I have stampede of wild horses in my chest when real feelings come up and meet the wall of fear over how they will be received.

I wanted to call my Mum and share my honest feelings but I did not want to bring her down and so I swallowed the feelings in and just spent the day at the library and having a cup of coffee.  I could have called my therapist but I did not.

The deeper issue I always struggle with is whether to say anything or remain silent. You may not see this side of me come across in my blog as I present myself as someone who says you must speak up, but we do teach what we most need to learn.  The one good thing is that today I became aware of how much my inner child longs to be heard and how invisible she felt and how little of a voice or a sense of power she had growing up.  This part of me really cried out to me today and I heard her and comforted her.  That was one good thing.

Facing reality

Sometimes we can see no further than our own hurt We have our needs from relationship So often denied We see the refusal to give as a slight to us But what if it is really all about the other person?  A person who does not have the ability to really be there?  Or a person who is suffering from their own wounds If we love them we may question and deny  Maybe they told us there is something wrong with us for responding to them the way they are or for wanting what we did But maybe we are just being human Maybe we have needs they cannot fill That does not make our needs wrong It just means we may have to give up the fruitless search that leads in wrong directions and look elsewhere And then take care Of our own aching heart

These are not easy lessons to learn When you really long for a parent or a person’s love It can be hard to give up and know they cannot be there nor express things in the way you want Try to let go Try to forgive Not in saying it was okay but in saying I accept the reality of who you are instead of my wishful dream Then keep looking It may be easier to deny that anyone could ever care or give but I am finding that when you start to really heal you will find new friends, new loves who get it and get you Those who will stand by you no matter what the cost and really see and hear you

When you find those people keep them close  They are precious jewels in a life that at times can be oh so full of stones And we all need a soft place to land now and then!