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.’