My fifth, final and biggest lesson of the year has been the most significant in lots of ways, it’s been a lesson in Love.
As dramatic as it sounds, I started the year out quite honestly feeling unloved, unliked, unwanted and altogether a little bit pointless. I felt like I wasn’t really contributing to any of my relationships with family and friends, I wasn’t fun to be around and I could no longer light up a room.
None of this was true, not even close, and those feelings were all my own fault – I was just choosing not to see it or hear it or feel it. I was shutting the door in Love’s face and wouldn’t let it in.
But fast forward twelve months and even though I’m ending the year alone and silence in a far away land, my body feels quite literally like it’s about to explode with the L word.
LOVE IS WISDOM
Our interpretation of Love comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, displays and guises, but what I’ve discovered over this past year is a type of Love I’d not really paid attention to before.
It comes from the books and articles and teachings I’ve had on Buddhism and spirituality. It’s a compassionate Love for all beings and I can feel it within me – it’s like some sort of energy field that connects everything and everyone together.
It’s a Love that understands that everyone has pain and everyone has suffering and knowing that all anybody ever wants is to be happy. It’s a Love that feels for others and that puts everybody’s happiness on an equal level of importance as your own.
It’s a compassionate Love. A connected Love. A wise Love. And it’s the reason I feel euphorically grateful for the smallest of things and why I can’t stop saying I love life more than life itself.
LOVE ACTUALLY IS ALL AROUND
I wouldn’t have been able to tap into this abundance of Love if I hadn’t first given some to myself.
Once I started doing that, I was able to give it to others and once I started showing Love to others it came flying back at me stronger than it ever had before.
So every day, in small ways I give myself Love and I put Love out to the universe.
I compliment strangers. I help people lift their bags onto trains. I smile at the barista who’s had back to back twelve hour shifts all week. I pet rabid puppies. I hug strangers. I praise people when they do something amazing. I show them I’m listening and I genuinely care.
And I’m not trying to big myself up as some sort of Mother Teresa here, I’m just pointing out how simple and easy it can be. Because it’s these tiny, microscopic lashings of Love, the ones that could almost go unnoticed if you don’t pay attention to them, that mean the most.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
Then there’s the love that we’re all familiar with, loving another human.
I know we all say we love our family the most, and blood is thicker than water and we post pictures of how much fun we’re all having together and #bestmum hashtags on Mother’s Day, but I don’t know how often people to stop to really think a bout it.
I have this year and I really have felt just how important that bond of family Love really is.
I find it difficult to put into words how much mine mean to me, how lost or locked up in Thai prison I would be without them and how grateful I am, not just for their Love, but for everything they’ve ever taught me.
Then there’s friends, the Loves you deliberately surround yourself with – the chosen ones.
It’s an attachment to another human that brings out the best in you, loves you for who you are and promises to always be there no matter what. You laugh together, cry together, dance around the living room in rubber animal masks together, you eat, you love and you pray together.
And last but not least, there’s romantic Love – the kind I was a little bit scared of feeling again.
This is the kind of Love that magnetises you towards another human and glues you both together with a promise. It sends lightning bolts of happiness through your body every time you hear their voice. It blinds you with goodness, it deafens your ears with the chiming bells of joy and you can feel the excitement of it all trapped inside your body wanting to break free.
Maybe I’ve found that Love again in an unexpected place and maybe I’m writing a book about it. Maybe I’m already about to burst with the L word. Maybe.