First let me say, I love j, from Zebra Sounds. She is courageous in Love, asks all the hard questions, writes with such a beautiful open heart and soul, and provides the safest environment I've ever encountered anywhere for open conversation regarding every aspect of Love, from the light hearted joy of silliness, to the soul searing fire of heart break. She has managed to gather to her blog readers who are equally as beautiful as she is, and who provide just as much food for thought in their sharing with open heart and mind. Her blog has become a truly beautiful community, with j being the perfect hostess.
It may seem fanciful, but I often get an image of all of us in Judy's court as Knights sitting at the round table, where we come in as equals, and share our adventures and experiences in matters of the heart. We have bravely gone where few dare, walked the fires of love, and after we all have shared our stories in any given session at the round table, we walk back out to our individual lives armed with new ideas, inspiration, encouraged to put ourselves on the line again for the sake of Love.
On Friday, Judy posted "Worth Fighting For," and asked the seemingly simple question, "Of all the things you could fight for, LOVE has got to be one of the most worthy. But that begs the question (and I really, really want to hear your answer): Should you ever have to fight for love?" Please, visit her post, and also read the conversation this simple question evoked from her soulfully beautiful readers. Within her responses to her readers Judy also posed other questions with a tighter view toward the answer she is seeking.
As I began to give my own response to her question, I realized it fired something within me that needed to be given a voice, and while my comment was long on j's blog, I knew I needed to say more on the matter, which is why I'm answering her question here also. Because as I began to write, it felt like a flood being released from it's gates. I had to let the words crash onto the page until I finally felt them settle into some semblance of a flowing river, happy with it's pace within it's banks. I can only speak from my own experience with and in love, and what this question evoked in me personally ~
I have been in the place devoid of love. It felt like I walked through the valley of death. For a time I could neither give or receive love, so paralyzed by fear was I. My world had grown smaller and smaller, until I came to the point where I couldn't move, couldn't breathe. I was held bound by nightmares, evoked whenever love entered the scene, dragons rising up to combat it, protecting me. Love was dangerous, evoked too much pain. Life was dangerous, too many enemies. No one could be trusted. For a time, the dragons and I agreed. They were created, after all, to help me survive. In my mind, they protected me from the nightmares of life.
There came a time when I began to outgrow them, desired to stretch my own wings, test the waters of love. The dragons turned on me, had taken on a life of their own within me. I withdrew, frightened by their dark whispers of danger. Yet the desire for love grew. So I built a secret garden hidden deep within my heart. I began planting the tiniest seeds of love, hoping against hope they would grow and bloom.
I didn't know that what I'd planted were seeds from my spirit, and as the tiny tendrils of new growth cracked open their casings, they began the journey upward, and outward through the hard ground of my heart, pushing, yearning, longing for the sun. I continued watering them secretly, while the dragons lay sleeping. My spirit began to rise with them, and I felt it's longing for expression in this world. Yet the fear in me, the dragons, ruled stronger.
There came a day when I despaired. I walked in the darkness of fear at noontime. Living the life of the undead. My desire for love had grown as the seeds within my heart grew. They'd grown strong and lovely, beginning to burst at the seams. I feared -- I feared they'd wake the dragons.
The choice came. I would live like this no more. I could end it all, or stand and fight for my garden, for the dream of love that grew there. For a love I instinctively knew waited for me. Searched for me. Called for me. I could hear the song in my soul.
I stood, knowing the dragons would be roused from their slumber. I stood, and knew I was in for the fight of my life. I stood...trembling, alone in my choice, wearing no armor. I chose love -- instead of fear. I didn't know if love was the correct choice. I'd never really allowed it inside or outside my heart. Yet something, a still small voice...whispered...that way is life. That way is living.
And as I stood alone in my choice, forces unseen and unknown to me gathered behind me and my secret garden.
As I've walked my choice, this path of love to love, grace to grace, growing ever stronger, battling the dragons created by fear, in myself or in another, I have come to learn that what my soul only hoped for in the beginning from a tiny spark of a promise whispered, has now bloomed into full knowledge, given through experience, as I have chosen love again and again. For every time I choose love, I choose life, experience and feel life more fully. And whenever I come again to a place where the darkness of fear, in myself or another, would bind me in shackles...I stand. I've been to that dark place, devoid of love, know where it leads. I will not go there again. For now I know love is the only choice. The only thing that is life giving, and real.
I follow the path of love lit from my own heart.