Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the nature of true love. I believe with all my heart that love comes as naturally to our soul as breathing does to our lungs. It is only when hurts creep in that our capacity for selfless intimacy is constrained. Our desire to love and be loved is the defining marker of our humanity. It is the wind in our sails and the fuel of our passions. It is the driver of our purpose and the sunshine in our day. It is our most captivating beauty and our mightiest power. Our highest self lives to serve love in a freedom that won’t be stopped.
My nanna has been an anchor in my soul from before I can remember. Her love for me was pure, and poured out of every part of herself. Her extension of deep, passionate love reached far and wide, and was experienced by everyone she came into contact with. One of my earliest memories was as a toddler, sitting on her kitchen sink, eating slices of pineapple as she cut them for me, not stopping till well after my tongue was stinging. I couldn’t get enough of my nanna. Her voice sang with a lilt, and her laughter babbled like a creek. Her eyes sparkled with mischief, and her gesture was lavish to all. She should have been worn down by life, but she was as sharp as a tack, and as full as a tall schooner of beer poured to the brim. She loved with the profound simplicity of a child. The fullness and honesty of this love revealed the vastness of a heart that seemed to have no end.
In 2006 I experienced the searing pain of losing my nanna. She had been sick for years with emphysema and finally breathed her last on August 31. I had managed to visit her in Hervey Bay before that devastating day, and I will be forever grateful that we got to create final, lasting memories of who she was, and how she loved.
Losing her tore me apart. Until then I had not ever encountered such brutal, violent pain. I never realised that there was a type of hurt that felt like a slice of my very being was slashed out of my core. This loss brought a new understanding that to extend love is to guarantee hurt. Love lasts forever, but sometimes it is marked by a raw vulnerability that stings like too much pineapple.
I have come to embrace that this is the deal with love. I don’t speak lightly about ideas like passion, and abandon, and biting off more than you can chew. This road of high love is not an easy one. It is a risky, sometimes merciless course that makes you want to run away to hide. But this is how it goes. It’s gonna hurt, but to this day I continue to work on being ok with that, because that’s the only way to access that golden love opportunity. I launch myself into love with my eyes wide open.
I wrote a poem for my nanna on her passing, and shared it at her funeral. In the spirit of risky, vulnerable love, I would like to share it here with you too. I do this knowing that openness is a scary space, but it is the only way we can experience the exhilaration and fulfilment of a Freedom that is Unstoppable.
I Love To Hear Laughter
A few months ago
I asked my husband if he thought
that laughter was something we learned
or something that was already deep inside us,
so much a part of us as the essence of our very self
I have stopped to consider this question
Because it seems that to cry
Is as natural as our first breath
But laughter only comes with the passing of many happy times
While the source of laughter remains a mystery,
I have come to understand that
Innocent, pure laughter is found in love
And is only heard in the place
Where a perfect drop of bliss
Splashes into a deep well of trust.
Laughter erupts from our core
In an expression of joy
That can transform any landscape,
And fill the air with sounds from heaven.
It was always there, just like a baby’s cry,
But only when we learn that it is safe
Can we allow our laughter to be exposed. In laughter we are vulnerable and bare,
And our soul is as naked as we were
On the day we were born.
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