How to Stay in Love and Out of Hell
We’ve entered the year’s most celebrated week of love, at least in the United States.
If you don’t know that Valentine’s Day is this Thursday, you’ve been living without electricity in a remote cabin since January 2. That’s the date when the Christmas and New Year’s TV commercials transitioned to jewelry store ads.
I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day fan. I prefer to celebrate love every day of the year and am opposed to mandatory gift-buying as a means of “showing” love.
However, love is in the air–manufactured or actual–and I’ll take it. In fact, love pushes to the forefront of mind every time I enter my studio to write. Hearts are everywhere, along with photos of people I adore and favorite toys and stuffed animals. I am a child at heart.
I like to make sure that love is all around me because love is my mission and my singleness of purpose. Love keeps me out of hell.
Hell, you say?
Think about it. How often do you find yourself in rotten circumstances caused by your unlovingness? Maybe you involve others but how about all the times you cast yourself into hell with your self talk and self thoughts?
Every time you feel guilty . . .
Every time you judge . . .
Every time you star as the victim in a story you’ve embellished . . .
Every time you undermine your feelings . . .
Every time you lie, cheat or steal (rationales don’t matter) . . .
Every time you participate in character assassinate (deserved or otherwise) . . .
Not much love in any of these situations, is there? Plus, when you’re active in these scenes, and you sit around wondering about why you’re miserable, don’t you also question if things are ever going to change?
Ah, the old definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.
Insanity is definitely hell.
Don’t you want out of hell?
I must warn you that getting out of hell and into love takes dedicated work and practice.
Here’s how you start:
1. Become willing to acknowledge that the responsibility rests on your shoulders. Please know that I’m not insensitive to issues beyond your control that placed you where you are, especially if you’re a victim of a crime. However, even in those circumstances, you can take responsibility for how you view yourself and how you choose to treat others.
2. Understand that you can learn the difference between what you can change and what you can’t. Sometimes simply knowing that difference is a critical game-changer.
3. Stop your perpetual motion. I’ve learned–the hard way, most times–that stepping away from constant action gives me the opportunity for peaceful contemplation. I feed my dark side less and less each time I choose to grow my peace.
And the big one . . .
Accept your dark side.
We all have one. We’re human, after all. Trust me, if you ignore the darkness in you, or worse, pretend it doesn’t exist, you’ll stay firmly rooted in hell.
If you believe that you are a holy child of God (or any other name you choose), you can co-exist with the darkness in you.
Didn’t the lion and the lamb lie down together?
The trick is to trust that your holiness is steadfast, even when you don’t feel like it is.
Rising from hell and into love takes constant practice. No one claims that it’s easy.
If you don’t already know this, you are worth the effort. We all are.
Happy Love Week.