Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice
Friday, August 19, 2011
Love is a Choice
Dr. Wayne Dyer often humorously says that friends are God’s way of apologizing for our family. That’s because, while we can choose whom to befriend, we were born into our family. For many of us, our family members challenge us the most, whether in disapproving of how we live our lives or acting in such a way that repeatedly tries our ability to love them. You know what I’m talking about, right?
As mentioned in my recent articles, I was with my entire family earlier this month. I’m so excited to report that it was a beautiful love fest! The first time I was with my parents and 3 brothers, we were standing outside the temple where the shrines of my paternal ancestors were installed—it likens visiting a cemetery. At that moment, it hit me that I was actually with everyone in my immediate family for the first time in 16 years! I got emotional, even though cognitively I knew I was going to see everyone. Despite (still) not knowing how to react to their crying sister, my brothers were touched. A few days later, my mom remarked to me that the bond among us 4 kids was really evident to her and it really warmed her heart.
The brief family sketch above may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is *huge* to me. You see, for a long time, love was not a word I’d associate with my family. I was born into a family in a culture at a time when being a girl was a rotten deal. My mom didn’t find her own mother until after all of us kids were born. At our first meeting with our late grandmother, my mom asked her what she thought of the 4 children. To that, my grandmother said that the 3 boys were great but not the girl – me. I was sitting right there! When I was 9, I came home excitedly with my glowing report card from school. My late paternal grandmother, who was living with us at the time, promptly picked up my younger brother and put him on her lap. With arms around him, she consoled him, “Don’t worry, next time you’ll beat your sister.” Up until I was in college, I was repeatedly told that I was not as worthy or as smart as my brothers, that I’d need a college education to compete with a high school graduate for a job. Well into my twenties, I’d frequently wake up in the middle of the night crying from nightmares involving my family.
For many years, the cumulative pain haunted me and weighed me down. Not having the tools to identify and release it properly, I stumbled through life looking outside of myself to try to fill that big gash in my heart. I also threw myself into working really hard to find a place in this life where I could belong. In the process, to my great surprise, I started to discover that, contrary to the messages drilled into me for 2 decades, I’m actually quite smart. It took many more years, but I eventually learned that I’m deserving, too – and not because I’ve earned it, but because I inherently am deserving.
Earlier this month, I was in a place to embrace with pure love the family I had associated with great pain for many years when I didn’t know any better. Thanks to continued spiritual study and practice, my perspective has changed. Those with whom I associated great pain have had their own unhealed wounds; they have been doing the best they know how to do. By electing to look at them through the eyes of love, I freed myself from the prison of my own internal suffering.
Love in its purest form isn’t conditioned upon anything. It has been there within me all along waiting for me to harvest, become and express it. I’ve been consciously following my guiding principles for this year – part of what I got when I meditated on New Year’s Eve to set intentions for 2011: Become the best version of you. Love awaits harvesting in your heart. I cannot adequately describe in words how free and full I feel from allowing love to flow from within, to be love in motion and action, and to see my family through love-filtered glasses.
In closing, I hope my sharing here inspires you to heal any wounds you may have from your own family life. Love is a choice always. Whatever you give, it returns to you multiplied exponentially!
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