Unconditional love

Hi there. Apologies for the lack of posting, but life has gotten very busy all of a sudden. My schedule this week has involved five days of work, one day of study and one day of errands with Beth. Outside of work hours, I’ve had three or four sessions of training. I’ve never been so busy before, not even when I was on full-time placement, plus training, plus a casual job back in 2008. This is going to be a pretty shoddy, poorly edited, highly mismatched entry which I mainly wrote a few days ago. I hope all of you are doing wonderfully, and that I might enjoy the pleasure of your company some time soon.

Love,

Xin.

***

A few days ago I had my first session with Naomi in several months. I confessed to her that despite really loving my workplace and generally enjoying the work, the glamour was starting to wear off and I was starting to find excuses to stay home or arrive late. Like a child playing with a puppy, after a few days the excitement isn’t quite as high, and the whole process turns into a lot of walks you’d rather not go on and poop you’d rather not pick up. Naomi gently asked if I recalled what Roger had said to me the previous workshop. He had turned to me suddenly and asked “Were you mollycoddled as a child?” After a moment, I said “Yes. Almost everything was done for me.” He nodded, satisfied, and didn’t offer any further explanation. Naomi was kind enough to explain that many people whose parents did everything for them, for the best of reasons and out of love, prevented them from learning how to do anything for themselves. And now that I’m finally getting some responsibility and independence, I’m rejecting it because I don’t want to deal with it after it stops being fun. She described her day to me: Staying at work until 6:30 or later every evening, going home to cook dinner, putting clothes in the washing machine, hanging it out if she has energy, going to sleep and waking up at five every morning. Saturdays she spends guiding others in their meditation, so the only time she really has to herself is Sunmorns. And she loved every moment of it. I couldn’t understand how she wasn’t exhausted and resentful that she didn’t have more time to relax, more energy for her self, and she gave me some very powerful advice.

Suck it up. In the words of the immortal Les Stroud, who was explaining how to cut down a small tree without a knife, “Just fuckin’ do it.” (Incidentally, if you ever need to cut down a tree without a knife, bite into the trunk and work your way around it like a beaver, using your teeth to strip off the layers until it’s thin enough to break.) Almost everybody works five days a week – why did I think I deserved special treatment? My sense of privilege and self-importance was blown out of proportion. She explained to me that she didn’t find all this work draining, but instead discovered it was invigorating – so long as she gave unconditional love to everything she did. As a psychologist, she helped her patients to the best of her ability. In return, she expected them to feel better so that she could feel good about herself. She had no idea she had been doing it until she met Roger. Now she gives freely of herself without condition or expectation of reward. She is like the apple tree, who doesn’t screen who deserves to receive its fruits; it doesn’t withhold fruit from people it doesn’t like, or think are worthy. Instead it produces the best apples it can for any who pass by, regardless of whether they appreciate the beauty and the sweetness, or if they’re worms in the earth.

These tiny changes in attitude have utterly transformed my world. No longer do I loiter around the staffroom for as long as possible, trying to stretch every minute of my break for all it’s worth. No longer do I spend as long as possible doing computer training, which is easier than heavy lifting and actual work. Instead, I give from my heart to every person, at every moment. At least, I’m trying to. I’ve found that it makes everything completely different when you really open your heart to someone to let them know you care. I’m extremely good at being polite, respectful, courteous and kind, but these things are not love. And to really, really love someone, freely and unconditionally, enriches relationships in ways I didn’t know were possible for me. I still have a long way to go, and a lot of practice to get in, but it really does make a huge difference.

So thank you all for reading. I hope you all have wonderful days.

 

 

Update: Things have been going well since I wrote this about a week ago. I’ve really enjoyed working, looking forward to it every day. I don’t fear boredom anymore because I’m no longer trying to draw out meaning for as long as I can stretch it. By devoting myself to every moment, however much or little there needs to be done, I am present and enjoying myself. I’ve also started being more responsible and arriving early to work most every day. Rather than clocking in at exactly 8am (or however late I dare to push it), I’ll arrive early, get settled, start work and then clock in when 8 rolls around. And it feels fantastic. It starts the day on such a joyous, giving note, rather than the stress of speeding through traffic and fearing what the boss will say. I treat each customer with as much kindness and radiant sunbeams from my heart to theirs as I can possible muster, and though I’m still exhausted (due to a low Vitamin B12 count), I’m joyfully exhausted and take great pleasure in helping people without complaining or drawing attention to myself. I’ve started drinking coffee again to invigorate me, and it’s amazing how it transforms my energy level. I do fear addiction to it though, and I hope as my B12 picks back up I’ll become less dependent on it. More sleep would probably help too. Speaking of which, good night!

 

PPS: I’m just going to put this out there. The past ten years or so, I’ve had no special love for cats. For a long time, I thought they were ungrateful, demanding, scratched you for no reason and believed to be our superiors in every way. But a day or two ago, I met a 14-week-old kitten named Sonny, a short-haired domestic tabby cat. He meowed at me from his crate, and so I unlocked it to pet him (because all creatures need love). He put his paws on my chest, and before I knew it, he was somehow in my arms, rubbing his face on my chin, batting at my glasses and purring softly. My heart melted into a little puddle of goo, and I felt an absurd urge to cry when I put him back down. It’s finally happened. I get why cats are (or can be) awesome. Since that life-changing moment, I’ve cuddled Sonny several times throughout the day, just because he watches me in that heart-wrenching way from behind the bars. Bethwyn be warned: there’s a frightful high possibility we’re getting a cat.

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One thought on “Unconditional love

  1. […] person in the world. This is a lesson that has been hard to unlearn, but I’ve really been giving of myself, from my heart to yours, really trying to listen to people when they speak and love everyone in every interaction. And […]

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