I think the closest I ever came to unconditional love was the love between my grandmother and I. I say this but who knows if it was so.
I left her side when I was 7 to live overseas. I didn’t come back for 8 years and when I did my parents and I moved to Virginia where my family including my grandmother lived in California. I was 15. It was that year that we had our first clue that my grandmother was beginning to show signs of dementia. At first we thought it was Alzheimer’s due to the fact her older brother had it when he had passed away. It was later we found out she was experiencing “mini strokes” and that was the reason she was slowly losing her senses. It was also the year I began to really rebel against my parents. I am so relieved she missed out on that phase of my life….perhaps her love would not have been so unconditional if she saw what I was doing or who I was becoming.
The second source of unconditional love I experienced was from the 9 dogs I have had since I was 20. I did not have them all at once and they mostly all had very long lives. Once I discovered that love I devoted my life to dogs. First I rescued them, then I learned to groom and had my own grooming business. While doing that I learned to train them and finally I went and got my degree in Biology focusing on Animal Behavior.
Who I really wanted unconditional love from was my husbands, my only child, my parents and even some friends…..but that is impossible. Looking back on my life I am ashamed I placed such high expectations on them….condemning them to fail in my eyes.
There is only one place, I believe, a person can find unconditional love and that is within themselves. This is why self-love is so freaking important for a person to experience true happiness and fulfillment. I do know that the Creator lives within each and everyone of us and perhaps that is the part we must try to connect to. But you cannot just love some parts of yourselves…you must love it all, the light as well as the shadows. I know for a fact that I will spend the rest of my life trying to achieve this goal for it is a very difficult task.
I had my first spiritual experience when I was 14. I was living in Athens, Greece. I decided to go on a ski trip with my youth group. It was a very bad year for snow. I had never skied before and there was no snow on the bunny slope. So I got talked into doing some cross country skiing. However the trail we were on was a bit icy in the shadows and I literally went right over the side of the mountain. At that point I was pretty sure skiing just was not for me. There was also no drinking age in Greece so everyone convinced me that going to a disco bar that night was a great idea as well. Needless to say I got really, really drunk.
Hungover the next day I decided to go visit the ruins right by the village we were staying in. You see the village we were at was Delphi. It is impossible to describe the ruins of Delphi. It is a beautiful, mystical place and should be on everyone’s bucket list. In among these magnificent ruins is the famous site for the Oracle of Delphi. I remember sitting there all alone surrounded by the ancient pillars watching the birds and clouds in the sky as the faint smell of olive trees drifted by me. It was there I felt a strong energy or vibration. Earthquakes were always a problem when I lived in Greece so at first I became alarmed that an earthquake was rumbling my quiet place. I quickly realized this was no earthquake but something all together different. I never heard a voice or saw some angelic being. Rather it was a deep knowing….like the energy that was vibrating around me was waking up the God Spirit within me. It was the energy of unconditional love and it was the most incredible feeling I have every experienced in my life. If I was to try to describe what the experience was like….what actually happened….the only thing I could say was when God reached in and touched my heart.
I suppose when I was younger to cope with living in a very dysfunctional home I turned my heart off. I had put it carefully in a box and sealed it shut, never to be pricked again. But that day the Sacred had opened that box and after the whole heart opening experience was over I had to go back to my life and it was at that point that I worked very hard to find a way to put my heart back in its box. In doing so I hurt myself more than anyone else could ever had.
I cannot undo that damage. I cannot wipe out the memories and pain but I have never forgotten the feeling of having my heart released and touched by God. That was the ultimate feeling of unconditional love. That was the day I received a very clear message that I must love myself to ever feel that feeling again.
I drove to see my daughter and my beautiful grandson’s yesterday and it occurred to me on the drive down that I can absolutely forgive myself of all my transgressions. I did the best I could and I cannot hold the blame alone. In fact no one has to be at fault. It was my path. Yes it was a difficult one and I probably made it much harder on myself then it had to be but ultimately I know who I am. It doesn’t really matter if anyone else does. This is really just between me and Spirit. And I believe I am a very good person.
So….no…I haven’t reached that blissful state of unconditional love from within but I think I took a step closer yesterday. My reward was holding a sweet two month old infant to my chest and it was ecstasy.
Walk in Beauty
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