Giving Love

What happens when you give love and you don’t get it back?

Earlier this year, my beloved cat Rainn disappeared. I spent so many weeks searching for him, grieving his loss, beating myself up for not being more careful with him, imagining scenarios in which he was cold, hungry and scared in an unfamiliar terrain. As one who respects the volition of all beings, I also considered that he didn’t want to come back. Time heals, as they say, and I was eventually able to soften into compassion for myself and make peace with the uncertainty that I’d never fully know what happened to him. I have since held him in an image of finding his way to a kind grandmother’s house, being taken in and purring on a warm lap. Yet, it is in this not knowing that we can experience the most pain, especially when you lose something that you love.

I’ve had loved ones disappear from my life, and I’ve had times when I’ve felt like I’ve given love and been walked away from and not received it in return. I’ve struggled with this many times. Last night, I had a dear friend remind me of a truth that I always knew deep in my heart, yet his words were a balm that renewed my strength and courage in the moment. He reminded me that the love we give to others is in us and came from us, and if we can give it to others, we can give it to ourselves. I had a vision in my mind of a fountain, an ever-replenishing source of love. We can build dams to block the flow, or we can allow for the love that is in us to flow freely. It is as Rumi says: we do not seek love; rather we remove the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it.

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