listening for love

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. – Rumi

When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. – Brenda Ueland


We’ve been moving slowly through February, battling the winter doldrums and bitter cold. The intent for the night’s group was to move from love of self to love of other to love of community. To do this, we worked with Parker Palmer’s five habits of the heart. While women jumped to discuss many of the ideas, their writing continued to focus on the tense and ever-shifting relationship with themselves or in love with another. This felt important. These are the bonds that create community is small steps, many many small connections. Love demonstrated profoundly in one room, one body, one mind can set the model for a town, country, globe.

They talked about life-long loves, life-long struggles, their children–loves and lives they’ve brought into the world– and addiction, a strangling kind of love that impedes all others. We have certain kinds of love stories we are told: fairy tales, romantic comedies, sitcoms. These are tidy formulas. None of us had tidy love stories. The equations they wrote defied reason, unturned gravity, begged for absorption or renewal. They carried contradiction in each line. Here was the messy nuance of love, the model that cannot be followed except through trial, accident, epiphany.

And with such a contradictory animal, we can’t solve for x. We can’t tell each other what to do or, honestly, even how to write. But we can listen. We can offer a blank page, a quiet room. This is the love we create in the circle – the one that hears, prompts unfolding. Or at least we hope to (hope, another of love’s subtle garments) for each of us.

Below is a love story told by one of our women.

From the gap between our aspirations and our behaviors, I have realized over the years I love you for the distance our love has created. It’s given me the freedom to express myself in ways that move me forward and yet we succumb to our habits and are left shaken from our distasteful behaviors. It is you in the quiets of my mind I think of. I dream big and my heart expands at the realization I’ve loved you for so so long yet there’s room to love you more. Every time I’ve pulled back the sheets and closed my eyes it was you who I longed to be there with, quiet rest security in knowing you shared my darkness. You showered me in light and you took the stars making them brighter than any 3 am light bulb, blaring its hum bum while I awake to eat a bowl of cereal. Your aspirations were always bigger than the life we live and your actions backed up your passion for our love. I am blessed knowing it is us, not you, or just pain old me. It’s us. The swing in our hips as we share a long stroll on the beach, it’s us. The long nights sleepless while we fight our demons and renounce our right to another go around, it’s us. Painting our Home, placing the picture over the mantle that sparks our love for that special place where we love to sit. It’s us that has long out lasted any misjudgment toward one another. It was worth every foot-stomping shout because without a doubt you are the strongest and better half in life and when the odds are stacked up against me it’s you who pulls me through. I miss your touch, the good morning kiss and the unknown whatever you made in my lunch bag. I miss facing you each night at a dinner table, sharing my day. I’m far more fearful sitting here each and every day being forced to eat with sometimes strangers not knowing what to say, pushing my food down, life, my fear not being able to push them out and just talk. I have taken so much for granted while you’ve given me every opportunity to listen and share my opportunity to listen and share my opinions with me and I’ve pulled away. It’s the demon of a lovely heart that keeps me at bay, restless and sick and its this moment right here that reminds me that there’s always an option as long as I give my own heart the chance to become evolved into a strong beating vessel, encouraged to fight this addiction and give in to a love so powerful that keeps me remembering I am loved and I do love you.


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