Love After Love

“True love gives us beauty, freshness, solidity, freedom, and peace. True love includes a feeling of deep joy that we are alive. If we don’t feel this way when we feel love, then it’s not true love.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Carbon Beach ~ Malibu, California

Hello, Beautiful Reader ~

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the Love vibe it celebrates is always present.

Being fully present is crucial to nurturing the beautiful bloom of true love. The wise and beloved teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches six mantras to guide couples into true love, the first being:

“Darling, I am here for you.”

“If you are truly present, this mantra will produce a miracle. You become real, the other person becomes real, and life is real in that moment. You bring happiness to yourself and to the other person.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, “How To Love”

Of course in order to truly love and be fully present for another, there must be self-love already established within oneself. As within so without. This healthy love of self is the most unselfish act you can gift your beloved. What this means is that you are not depending on your beloved to fill you up with love–you already are filled. You have so much love / heart energy within yourself that you are simply overflowing, and, when this happens, love is capable of deeply healing and liberating yourself and all you love.

So, how does one reach this overflowing state of love, you might be wondering. The first suggestion that comes to my mind is to forgive…yourself. Before you can forgive others, I’ve found, through my own personal practice, you first and foremost have to learn to forgive yourself…then…forgiving others comes much more easily and naturally. Forgiveness creates a state of purification within your being where love can bloom and grow.

Also, on the pathway of loving yourself, I’ve found gratitude plays an important role. When your mind is in a state of gratitude, you are in a loving state of mind. Can you imagine how wonderful a day would be that was solely focused on gratitude?

The poem, “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott is a gorgeous poetic resource as to how to embrace your beautiful heart deeply while truly loving the beautiful being that you are:

LOVE AFTER LOVE

The time will come 

when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

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Sunset in Malibu, California

Another favorite poem of mine, written by Rumi, is titled: “Bittersweet”.

Essentially, the poem speaks of the healing power of True Love. It speaks of a lover who fears the love created with his beloved has come and gone. But, not so fast, dear one! Your beloved hasn’t gone anywhere, as Rumi writes, your beloved is eager to continue the journey of love with you…your beloved has been practicing the art of true love and is not one to give up easily.

Here is the poem in all it’s powerfully healing glory:

BITTERSWEET

In my hallucination
I saw my beloved’s flower garden
In my vertigo, in my dizziness
In my drunken haze
Whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel

I saw myself as the source of existence
I was there in the beginning
And I was the spirit of love
Now I am sober
There is only the hangover
And the memory of love
And only the sorrow

I yearn for happiness
I ask for help
I want mercy
And my love says:

Look at me and hear me
Because I am here
Just for that

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl

I want you to laugh
To kill all your worries
To love you
To nourish you

Oh sweet bitterness
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses
I, too, have been covered with thorns

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Remember, whenever you feel your heart stretching to the point it feels as if it’s breaking, that, in truth, it’s actually expanding and providing you with an opportunity to dive deeper into exploring the sacred mystery of love, and, as the result of that expansion, more love is being created within your heart than ever imagined.

Love is the most powerful energy in the cosmos and, along with joy, is our birthright.

True Love Never Fails…

With so much love ~ Angela ~ xoxox

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