I learned a neat trick.
A lifehack… actually, a lovehack.
I learned it in these dark moments.
There is a concept of “total pain” that is fitting. Total pain means being consumed by physical, emotional and spiritual pain to a degree that is unbearable. I experience total pain at times. I experienced it about four hours ago, actually.
My head is in a lot of pain which means I spend a whole heckuva lot of time in dark rooms with my eyes closed.
For some, that’s not a safe place to be considering the role fear can play in those dark places. I experience that at times as well.
In the moments outside of total pain, I do a lot of preparation for the hard moments that will come back.
I do a whole lot of prayer and meditation, affirmations and reminders. I intentionally take in the world around me, noting, close attention to the details of those I love. How they look when they laugh. How they do basic day to day stuff. How they live.
Here’s some things I noticed about some of the people I love:
My mom hums a lot and sings a lot. She often has a bubbling joy and it shines in her eyes.
My wife says “Ok” to herself a lot, right before she is going to move her hurting body over to the next task she is starting. She has the sweetest smile for me when I come in the room.
My son smiles in a very specific way right before he is going to say something funny. And he says I love you in a present, kind, authentic tone. My favorite sound.
Logan laughs, heartedly and fully. It fills the room in a very welcomed manner. It’s contagious and whoever is in the room laughs with him.
My long-time best friend Heather leans in when she is enjoying humor and looks up when she is going to drop some amazing wordplay.
My dear friend Jen does a sideways glance when she is about to drop the funny and she gets tears in her eyes from laughing hard.
Tylar breathes deep as they hear a hard truth. A centering breath and presence. They have the most amazing eye contact.
These are great attributes in and of themselves.
The payoff of being intentional in this way is rather amazing when put to use. It mitigates and eases the internal world I often must exist within. With my eyes closed and in the midst of total pain, the suffering can be shifted into an endless combination of peace, kindness, humor, strength, life.
That’s not the trick I was going to tell you about, though.
I know! Right?
You’re like “What else is he going to say?!?!”
I clearly deal in pins and needles.
My careful study and presence of mind helps me endure during times of total pain, but it does something else as well.
Loving people allows me to experience love when the people I love are not able to be with me.
Let’s take that again: My love for others creates space for me to receive love and live in it.
One more time for the people in the back: loving begets being LOVED!
In this moment right now, are you alert and aware enough to do a favor for the future you?
If so, give this next part a try before you return to the tasks and business of life.
Spend some time picturing the faces you love. Imagine them. Think about what you love about them. Get as detailed as you can. Sit with it. Remember best moments. Make a playlist of nurture and love that can hold you and be there when life gets dark and small.
When we actively love, it fills within us, it permeates our lives. It’s that “runneth over” thing…
Like a five-year old pouring his own red Kool-aid to the very tippity – toppity of his glass, sure to spill everywhere, love acts in the same way.
Love is messy.
Love gets clumsy.
Love splashes out to all aspects of our lives.
And just like that red Kool-aid, love imprints on everything that it reaches.