Thursday, June 25, 2015

Say I LOVE YOU - Now!

When’s the last time you told your father you loved him (or whichever parent cant seem to express emotion to you)? Whether you’ve called him yesterday or haven’t spoken in years, take a chance and connect. While you’re at it, tell everyone who means a lot to you that you love them! The rewards will last forever, as the unexpectedly emotional participants in this video discovered. 

~Love, Social Justice, Science, Art and Music, with gratitude! _/\_

I was just thinking about this because of a class on contemplative prayer I am teaching on Wed evenings. We talked about the lower frequency of male participation in contemplative groups and the idea that cultural norms play such a huge part in keeping our fathers - men, in general - from expressing their positive emotions. We also talked about (and we are all Feeler-biased on the Myers Briggs) how we Feelers had to downplay our preference for full self expression through Feeling in the current culture, both at home and outside of the home. We talked about how our culture, even if parents are compassionate about affirming emotional expression, tends to ignore or downplay that particular aspect of personality. Maybe that’s because there is such a palpable energetic component to emotionality. That strong energy can be a threat, even below the radar of the conscious mind. And so often, we express strong negative energy more readily than strong positive energy. That does not fare well in social settings.

But somehow, it’s a stifling of both negative and positive expression. Negative gets us a strong, “No!” Positive gets us, “I’m not really comfortable with that.” Either way the message is, “Emotions are not welcome here.” So, we learn not to express them. We don’t change the fact that we have them and need to express them, we simply deny that part of our self, repressing, both negative and positive emotions. We do such a great job of this, that we don’t even know what we are feeling any longer. We lose touch with who we are as emotional beings. We fear intimacy with others. We fear the vulnerability that comes with expressing positive emotions. And sometimes, we expect one other person to be the sole source of that intimacy dynamic; a tough expectation that can lead to the disabling of the relationship. It’s a shame, really, because the world could use more love expressed. And just giving a hug or saying, “I love you,” can completely change the energetic dynamic between 2 people.

Amma, the hugging “Mother of the World,” knows the value of a hug. “My religion is Love,” she says. Gosh, that’s the message of the New Covenant too!! Yet, Amma seems to be doing a better job of loving the world than many people who would characterize themselves as Christians, New Covenant partners. What if we had a sermon every Sunday on the Great Commission to hug the person next to you or say I love you to 10 people that day?

The other thing I noticed about this video is that the people involved looked each other in the eye, with some period of silence, before they talked. This is a very intimate act. Again, when we sustain that kind of attentiveness, we become mindfully aware of the energetic nature of the other person. Our physiology responds to that, even before our intellect interprets it. “What makes you proud of me, Dad?” Wow! That is opening one’s heart to the blade! But guess what happens? Dad, who cannot seem to express himself otherwise, is challenged to bear his own heart! Sometimes, getting what you think you need means giving it out first. Sometimes saying, “I love you,” to someone allows their heart to open and their courage to swell, even if they are your parent and making their love known to you is at the top of their job description. I like to think of it as being more emotionally mature.

The lack of loving communication, the idea that one can assume they are loved because they are provided for or looked after, it just doesn’t work for a great many people. Often, they don’t even know this! They tell you very proudly about how they don’t need words or intimate actions like hugging or looking people in the eye to know they are loved. But this is how they perpetuate the relationship void and all of us live our lives with our hearts in a cage, with such hard isolation.

I will tell you, Feelers make better Thinkers (opposite judging preferences on the Myers Briggs) than Thinkers make Feelers. Why? Because we all use our Thinking awareness too much and our Feeling awareness too little. Helping us to become aware of our intuitions and emotions is the great benefit of meditation. That’s another blog, but the fundamental upshot is, give yourself some space. Heck, give the space to yourself and someone else – look them straight in the eye and say, “I love you.” You…and they will grow as a result!!

It's so worth the "risk" to give this gift of Love in the fleeting space of aliveness than to wish we'd had the courage to do so in the eternal space of what lies beyond.

I love you! Thank you for reading my words so faithfully! You are a blessing, as you are so blessed, a circle of love. Peace and joy be yours!

_/\_Peggy @ecumenicus

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