Love is a word we say a lot in my family. It is a name, Hi Love, I say when one of my children calls. It is how we often say goodbye, Have a good day, love you. Love is food; when I was breastfeeding our children, my husband would make a rich, protein-packed trail mix to fatten up my milk, and he called it I love you mix. And it even made its way into yoga poses. When my youngest was little, she’d wake up in the morning and come into the kitchen where I was usually still doing yoga, and she’d sit down on my mat and say, Eva-Mama Yoga Pose. And I’d embrace her; in my mind, it was always The Love Pose.
But love is more than hellos and goodbyes and names we give yoga poses. It is more than Hallmark cards and roses once a year. It is more than the things that make us feel good about making others feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I love roses and cards and sweet nothings. I love the calls that surprise me in the day, just to say someone loves me. I love to receive those calls and I love to make them.
But sometimes love is fierce. Sometimes love is becoming mama bear and putting on your armor to slay the dragon. Sometimes love means putting yourself first and saying no. Sometimes love is forgiveness, for which my favorite definition is, giving up all hope of a better past. Phew…that’s not an easy one. And it can’t be forced. Sometimes love protests, shields, protects, screams if need be.
Love has so many costumes.
And I wear them all. And I never really know which one I’ll require from one moment to the next. But a good sign that I am in the right zone, is when there is internal stillness, a deep knowing, when the jittery-ness has been pacified and I can soften and embrace. Or scream.
Which reminds me of the opening line of a Hafiz poem I came across the other day, The place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you. It’s ok, whatever form love takes today, it’s ok, you are loved, encircled, embraced.