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I hope with all the February/Valentine’s day madness you will indulge me a post about Love.  It feels like so much of my life any more boils down to making space for more love to enter and move through me.

Cue the Theme Music {{Love is a Crime—Anastacia}}

Love Is A Crime

“Look inside my heart, I’m admitting too, you wouldn’t have a clue, unless you felt it too….If love is a crime, baby, I do my time, whether its wrong or right, you can sentience me tonight, If love is a crime, you can sentence me to love….….I said, ‘Love is a Crime’ “

Often when I travel, I let my iTunes shuffle me a soundtrack for the journey.  “Love is a Crime” (from Chicago), cued up as the airplane home took off.

As I mentioned in my last blog post (“How Could There Be More Grace?”), I was traveling to be with my mom while she had brain surgery.  (She’s doing great, up and about and healing well.  We both have a lot of gratitude for the amazing surgeon, nurses, and staff at UPenn Hospital, as well as all the friends and family who have offered support).

I’m on my way home from that adventure.  And I’m guilty of Love in the First Degree.  (The next song my shuffled soundtrack?  “By Thy Grace”,  by Snatam Kaur.  Really, that’s all there is to say. Maybe I should take a nap and let iTunes write this blog post.) Albeit tired and a bit road weary, there is more love flowing through me with greater ease than before.

It was a big trip.  And despite the intensity of travel, surgery (did I mention some dude in a white coat had a little look-see inside my mother’s skull? um, ya.), 24 hours in the Neuro-ICU, and several days with very limited sleep and hospital food, somehow I’m emerging out of this time knowing what it is to be deeply clear and centered.

It took a little while to get here.  The preparation leading up to the trip actually held the greatest intensity. That’s saying something, given the night in the ICU.

Heartache (12/15/14)

My heart
always tells me
when i
think i am alone

that’s when the grace
pounds till
my chest hurts

and says
Here I am.

Waves of emotion rushed through.  Fear.  Anxiety.  Grief.  Loss.  A intimate dance with the mortality of my mother.  General freak out and looming existential crisis. Longing for control and to spare my mother pain. A whole host of ancient traumas said hello.  Through it all, keeping my eyes open for grace and support let it be a time of great transformation, and healing.

At some point, I realized I was in the dishwasher, so to speak.  Love was running through me like water flushes out a soapy glass. It wasn’t that I was worrying or creating worst-case scenarios as I pulsed and sobbed and ached.  Rather, I was being scrubbed out so I could be a clear vessel.  The water of love was being poured in filling me up, bubbling up any of the nitty gritty details that were not love, so that I could be fully present, without interference, to what was arising.  I can’t say it was a pretty process, but it was a good one.

Learning to be like water, in all Her forms

Learning to be like water, in all Her forms

I don't know where this image comes from.  But here's to healthy balanced eating.

I don’t know where this image comes from. But here’s to healthy balanced eating.

I got bodywork.  I spent time with friends.  I took moonlodge and retreat.  I rested.  I had total meltdowns alone and in the arms of beloveds. (Thank you.)  I made it out to the woods.  I soaked in hot water.  I prayed.  I gathered a small women’s circle. I sat and did nothing.  I oiled my body and put henna in my hair.  I ate really really well.  I conserved my energy.

All these things allowed me to open to more love.  The self-care and the deep prayer called that love in closer, and love ripped through me and washed me out.

By the time I got to Pennsylvania I was clean, and clear, and wet, and ready.

When I held my mother’s feet as her body shook and rattled coming out of anesthesia, there was nothing but love left.  The fear was gone.  When I washed out her mouth and fed her ice-cubes, love steadied my hand.  I was clear, present, and surrendered.

- translation of Tilopa

– translation of Tilopa

Love poured in, and out, and through, and some how gave me the strength to stand through the night after surgery and the travel home.  Love corrected my vision like rose-colored glasses so that I could only see the care of the nurses and staff, I could only witness the team effort for healing. I could only trust that my mother struggling with pain and fighting waves of nausea was also making room for more love in her precious body.

Love feels hotter and bolder than grace to me.  The two dance and intertwine like mating dragons.  Love moves into places.  Grace holds us there.  Again and again, I keep opening to receive love, hot and foaming.  Again and again refilling and pouring over, cleaning out the sticky places.  Again and again the water of love running clear.

Look inside my heart, I’m admitting too, you wouldn’t have a clue, unless you felt it too….….If love is a crime, baby, I do my time, whether its wrong or right, you can sentience me tonight,

If love is a crime, you can sentence me to love…..You can take away my freedom, but you can’t take my love from me,I won’t die alone in prison because my heart will set me free……

If love is a crime, baby, I do my time, whether its wrong or right, you can sentience me tonight,If love is a crime, you can sentence me to love….

I said, ‘Love is a Crime’ “

I do my time.