UPSIDE IN

There are days
And times.
There are words
And signs.
There are tears
And smiles
To make it worth
Your while.

There are hopes
And dreams
And nothing’s as
It seems.
What you lost
Is found
In perfect silence
Sound.

In the darkness
Light
In your blindness
Sight
In your joy
Is pain
In every loss
there’s gain.

In freedom you
Are bound
Subtracting you
Compound
What you don’t release
Won’t stay
And from the night
Comes day

So when you read this
Know
That what you reap
you sow
In chaos is
The plan
And in the child
Man
~ sshenry

One Hand

sunlight2

I was drowning in darkness.

Unable to move

Unable to breathe

So deep that nothing could penetrate.

And then, alone in the dark

I felt a hand slip into mine

And felt another heart beating in the dakness.

One hand.

One heart.

And a whisper in the dark;

A voice my soul recognized.

Two words

“Trust me.”

And for the first time in forever

I stopped struggling and let go

Trusting your arms to guide me;

To bring me to the surface once again

To the light and peace and hope

I thought I had lost forever.

No longer drowning in darkness

But swimming in sunlight

And now your heart a part of mine

For always.

 

~ SSHenry, December 1, 2013

Too Much Love and Not Enough

“I can only Love. That is all I can do. That is all I can be because that is what I am.  I AM Love.  I am what encompasses you; moves through you and allows you to be everything and experience everything that makes you who and what you are; everything.  No exceptions.  It’s all here; all a part of the totality that makes up existence; that makes up life.  It all exists inside of Love.  And all of Love exists inside of Me.”

~ SSHenry

Does that sound like something out of a new age self-help book?  Does that sound like some sort of sentimental clap-trap? Perhaps it does, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

Before you throw up your hands in frustration and decide that I have indeed gone over to the dark side, let me get one thing straight here.  I’m not talking about generalized love; you know the kind of love that a person refers to when they are talking about “loving” a certain kind of soda or brand of clothes or sports team.  That is such a watered down and punk-ass version of the real thing that it really doesn’t deserve to have the same word applied to it.  Come to think of it, we do use that word an awfully lot, don’t we?

Forget just the generalized over-use of the word “love” in general conversation.  There are so many other uses for the word that it is no wonder that sometimes it feels as if it has been spread way too thin.

We use the word “love” not just to express intense like in an object or for an experience, we also use the word as a way to describe everything from intense romantic desire (falling in love) to the sexual act (making love) to the intensely deep and protective feelings for a child (paternal love) the abiding camaraderie of friends (platonic love) and even the all-encompassing acceptance/salvation/forgiveness attributed to God in whatever way you define him (divine love).

And any way we slice it, the word “love” has come to be associated with certain expectations.  Think about it.  When we talk about “loving” a product or an experience, that ‘love’ depends on the product or experience continuing to produce the same feelings in us as it always has or by producing the same result that we find so awesome.

When we talk about romantic love, falling in love or making love we assume that the other person in the scenario is going to return our feelings or that we are at least going to get some sort of physical satisfaction out of it.  The same concept holds true for parental love, filial love, the love of friends and any other sort of love that you want to define.  There is always some sort of expectation; always something that you get in return.  Even divine love has its expectations.

Yes, in spite of those who claim that “God is love” and that is his love is unconditional, there is still the problem of why it is that the rewards of his love (eternal life) are dependent on the one receiving his love accepting and returning it or showing their appreciation for it in an appropriate manner, otherwise you don’t benefit from the love (at least not in the long term).  I hate to say it, but that is not unconditional love.

True unconditional love knows no limitations and has no expectations.  It not only loves everyone unconditionally, it also bestows the benefits of that love on everyone regardless of whether that love is appreciated, returned or even acknowledged – ever.

There is no differentiating those who accept the love from those who do not.  There are no special rewards for those who acknowledge or return the love as opposed to those who do not.  One simply LOVES.  Not because there is anything in it for you, not because you are obsessed with the people or things that you love, but because you have no other choice.  It is simply who and what you are.  It is what you do.  You get to the point where you cannot NOT love even if the people do not appreciate, return or even acknowledge the love that you give them.

It may seem as if it happened over night.  In fact, you may wake up one morning with this love in your heart and wonder how the devil it happened.  But chances are if you look back at your life, you’ll be able to see its progression; how opening and re-opening yourself up to love (in spite of the pain of rejection), how focusing on the positive even when it seemed that the negativity was suffocating, how reminding yourself over and over again not to become attached to people and outcomes all paid off.

But let me tell you something; in spite of the fact that when you get to this point; when you find that you cannot NOT love the people around you (regardless of how stupid they behave or even if they ignore you completely); that you want the best for everyone (even those who have hurt you), it can almost be lonelier than it was when you could compartmentalize; when you could put people into categories of those you loved, tolerated, ignored or hated.  Because in order to love at this level; in order to love at all, you have to open yourself up to that love; including being loved (or not) in return, even if the amount of love you receive is not equal to that which you are giving out.  And there WILL be those who love you in return, even if it is not with an unconditional love. On some levels, that can be the scariest thing of all.

Why?  Because when a person returns your love; when they acknowledge the unconditional love that you are sending them and reflect it back to you, it can be so delicious that it can be addictive.  And you will be tempted to become attached to what it is that they are offering; to feel as if they are supplying you with that love when in truth it is only a reflection of what is there in your own heart.  If you can remember that; that there is nothing they are giving you that you do not have access to yourself, then you will be okay even if they decide for whatever reason that they no longer love you.  If you can’t remember that, you are opening yourself up to a world full of hurt as you slip back into the addictive and painful world of love that is wrapped up in attachment and expectation.

But if you can resist the urge of attachment; of looking to one person or experience that you crave; you will have found that in every person; even those who do not acknowledge or return the love that you give out without question; that there is a reflection of the love that you give out without prompting; a love that is then reflected back to yourself threefold enabling you to become even more than you already were.

Indeed, loving unconditionally will not only be your biggest challenge, but its own tremendous reward.  And even though this may not make complete and total sense to you now, it will.  Oh yes, in time it will.

Living in the Moment

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.  ~Buddha

When I first heard the phrase “living in the moment” I found myself laughing sadly and shaking my head at the gullible fools who would buy into something so inane.  Live in the moment?  What fool would settle for living in the moment?  Man oh man, talk about boring!

I didn’t want to live in the moment.  What I wanted was to live my dreams, to achieve my goals; to make something of myself so that when I died the world would remember me!  Forget about this living in the moment stuff. Obviously it was a cop out by those who hadn’t done anything with their lives; people who perhaps had once dreamed big but who had failed to follow through and were now regretting it; something to fall back on in order to make themselves feel better.

I knew better.  I knew that if you wanted to be anything in life; if you wanted to make something of yourself, you had to remain in control; not only of yourself but of everyone and everything around you.  Leaving anything up to chance was just plain foolishness.

If you wanted to get anywhere in life you needed to focus on your goals and break your projects down into small steps that you could accomplish and then, when all of the steps were completed, presto, your goal would be achieved.  Well, that was the plan.  And hey, it worked for businesses, why not for me?

There was just one problem. The goals that I had set for myself were not in alignment with my soul purpose.  Hell, I didn’t even know what my soul purpose was.  I had created a nice neat fiction for my life; a belief that when I attained a specific level of financial security or professional achievement that I would, at last, be happy. Well, that was the plan anyway.

And so it was that even when I had achieved each goal there was always something missing.  It was like baking a cake.  I’d followed the steps – added all of the ingredients in the proper order – and had a perfect cake sitting in front of me, but even though it looked perfect, it didn’t taste quite right.  What had I done wrong?

Over time, however, I have discovered something; I found out what was missing, and it was far simpler than I could have imagined and all the more difficult because of that to implement.  What I was missing was living (dare I say it?) in the moment; enjoying what I had already achieved without the expectation of what came next; of what I could do better next time around.

For all of my lists and my schedules; for all of my hopes and dreams and plans; for all of my visualization and projection; without being able to step aside and get out of my own way I ended up with a picture perfect cake that had little if any flavor.

This isn’t to say that we can’t dream.

This isn’t to say that visualization will not bring you your heart’s desire.

All this means is that we need to take the time – right now – to enjoy the moment that we spent all of our yesterday’s dreaming of and visualizing.  It is the enjoyment of the moment that we have created that brings us the flavor of our days. And it is here, in the quiet of appreciation and the letting go of expectation where we will find that happiness has been waiting patiently for us all along.

 

 

Living In The Moment

To take each day as it comes

To live each moment as it arrives

To hope for nothing

To fear nothing

To expect nothing

Makes each moment a priceless gift;

A gift from the universe

Straight to your heart

A gift to be treasured and adored

A gift to be enjoyed, experienced

And then released.

~SSHenry

 

The Price of Love

As strange as it may seem, it is possible to love without attachment.  I’ll grant you, that is an alien concept in a day and age when the concept of love has been watered down to the point where it is used in regards to your like of soft drinks and computer games.  But it IS possible.

Love without attachment is also love without expectation.  The object of your love is not required to do or be anything other than exactly what it is.  If it should change from one moment to the next; if, like a rabid dog, they suddenly turn on you and attack for no reason other than the fact that you are there, it won’t change the fact that you still love them.

Most people can get to the point of wrapping their brains around the idea of unconditional love; of love without expectation and attachment when it comes to a parent’s love for their child, but what about love for a perfect stranger?

For love to be truly unconditional it has to be based on more than what the person (or object) can do for you (give you love back in return, provide you with financial or emotional support, give you validation for your choices or provide you with a justification for being alive).

Truly unconditional love comes from a realization that all of us; you, me, the person standing next to you, the homeless man on the corner, the obnoxious politician – all of us; that each and every one of us is instrumental to the well being of the universe and of life on this planet.  It comes from an acknowledgement that even though we may each seem completely different, at our deepest core WE ARE ONE.

The True Price of Love

 

True love comes with a price – the price of pain;

 Of giving up a tiny bit of yourself to the one you love,

Knowing full well that you will never get that piece back;

Of knowing that as long as they live they will hold a tiny piece of your heart and soul.

 

And the true cost of living a life of love – whether it is the one love of a lifetime

Or many loves throughout your life – is that by the time you are done;

By the time your heart stops beating; there is nothing left of your heart.

It has been spread across the world – across the universe.

 

It has become a part of everyone and everything you have ever interacted with.

No matter how large or how small a part they played in your life,

You loved them; and in loving them you gave them a bit of your heart;

And in them your heart beats on and loves forever.

~SSHenry

Let Me Love You

There are some things that are very difficult to put into words.  Love; real love; unconditional love is one of those.

When those of us who have been raised in western socieities think of love we almost always associate it with things like romantic love, passion, sex, intimacy and those things that lead up to these.  But there are so many kinds of love!  There is the love for a lover, yes of course.  But there is also the love of a parent for a child, a child for a parent, for a sibling or a friend or even for a stranger.   But there is also love that comes from the feelings we have for a place, or an experience.  The kind of love we have for words and food and beatiful artwork.

In truth, anything that stirs the soul can be said to contain a bit of love; a spark of the divine to which our own souls gravitate.  But then of course,  there is unconditional love; an all encompasing love that includes every type of love that you could ever feel for any person place or thing that is or was or ever will be.

You see, unconditional love is not dependant on anything outside of itself for its existence.  It does not need to be acknowledged by those to whom it is given.  It needs no one to return it in order for it to be justified.   It requires nothing in order to exist.  It simply IS.

There are some people who can love like this – totally and completely – and who require nothing in return.  This doesn’t mean that they do not appreciate being loved in return or having the love that they give acknowledged and appreciated.  It simply means that regardless of whether or not anyone even notices, or cares, they will continue to love.

It is simply who they are.

It is what they DO.

They ARE love for they have touched the infinite, and once the soul has felt that grace, there is no turning back.  It is part of you, forever and always.

 

LET ME LOVE YOU

Let me love you.
Let me pour out my spirit, my soul;
let it wash over you until you are drenched in my love.

Let my spirit soak into your skin
and fill your eyes and mouth;
your heart and soul with the river of my passion.

Let the soft current of my desire
scour away any doubts and fears
let it sweep you past the point of no return
to where the waterfall of eternal bliss
cascades into the mists of eternity.

I never knew that my heart was made of wax,
But here it is melting every time I look into your eyes.
Maybe I flew to close to the sun of your smile
Because I feel my wings beginning to slip.
It doesn’t matter if I plummet to earth.
I’ve known the warmth of your touch
And my heart will never be the same again.

On Awakening

There is a moment; a moment in time when everything falls into place and it doesn’t matter what you believe.  Suddenly you know, and the knowing makes all of the difference.  It all makes sense; all of it.  Everything that you’ve been railing against finally slips into its niche and you can see for yourself why things are unfolding the way they are.

There are people who stuggle all their lives to reach this moment, and there are people who were born knowing.  Sometimes it comes to you in a rush of trupets and buglehorns, or with the happy bumbling of a playful puppy.  But sometimes it comes upon you gently; a gradual knowing that suddenly blossoms like a rose opening itself up in the morning light.  And sometimes; sometimes it steals into your heart like a lover’s kiss and leaves a searing mark on your very soul.

The important thing is that you have finally experienced this moment for yourself, and once you have, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, that moment can never be taken away from you.   People can make fun of you until they are blue in the face and you’ll just smile and shrug it off.   They can demand proof that what you say is true and argue their point until the cows come home and you find yourself sitting back and smiling at their enthusiasm.  They can claim that it is all in your head and that you must be suffering from some sort of mental illness and you’ll l augh.T

The knowledge that comes in that moment; that knowing; it doesn’t make you better than anyone else.  It doesn’t make you smarter or more worthy. It doesn’t get you any brownie points with any deity.  It simply marks a rather momenteous milestone on your own personal journey; one that you will wish that you could share with everyone that will listen, but which you will instinctively understand can only be experienced in order to be truly understood.

ON AWAKENING

Somewhere in the space between one blink of your eyes and the next;

When your heart is poised between heartbeats;

It is there that awakening occurs.

In that moment you open your eyes and the world has changed;

completely, totally and irrevocably.

You are seeing everything for the first time and exactly as it is.

And when your heart deigns to beat again

The wonder of it breaks you wide open.