Love makes us vulnerable like nothing else. Love is the brave acceptance of the reality that we might get hurt, and the understanding that without love, life is a dark and cold experience. Love is a choice, and we are built to say yes to it. Sometimes life teaches us to say no, but that’s just a result of pain, disappointment, fear, betrayal, or abandonment. If you were treated recklessly or carelessly, if you were raised in an unstable environment, if you were taught to keep your emotions buried, you may have to gather up your courage and dig deeply to be able to choose love again. So grab a shovel if you need to, because time is ticking away! Human beings and furry creatures and anything living will eventually die. People will change and grow, and not always in the same direction. Eventually we will all exhale for the last time. Built into love, if you’re awake, is the knowledge that at some point, there will be suffering. But living without love is a worse fate. Let my heart open and bleed out if it has to now and again, but don’t try to sell me on life without love. The you that you see at the end of the day as you brush your teeth is the most vulnerable you there is, that’s the you of you. If you have children, that’s the you they know because children see through masks, and they will become what you are and not what you say. There are no masks in parenthood, and if you allow yourself to love any other being deeply, there are no masks there, either. Because that you of you is your inner kid who is still peering out with wide eyes and confusion and sometimes with fear and doubt and sometimes with total, utter glee. That’s not a you to hide.
When your heart opens and you invite people in (and you must, or life will be lonely, indeed) discernment is a key ingredient. This applies to family members, friends, lovers, colleagues, and acquaintances. Because love requires trust, and I’m a fan of trusting everyone unless or until there’s a reason not to. But that doesn’t mean you have to strip down to your birthday suit and go cliff-diving right away (although once in a blue moon, that might be totally appropriate). Loving yourself well means sometimes you’ll need boundaries, not masks. Your heart and your light are precious and you need to treat them with care, and honor them as the gifts that they are. Familial relationships grow and evolve over many years. You may be related to someone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be connected to them. Love is a choice, and it’s a verb, it requires your participation, your attention and your care, and the same from the other people in your life. You need to have people in your life who know you and see you, who celebrate you, and also kindly hold up a mirror when you aren’t showing up as your highest self. And forming those relationships takes time, and effort and courage. But to live life with a mask on, is really not living at all. Your heart wants no part of masks. That incredible light within you shines best with no obstacles, no lids, no places where you’re holding on, or managing yourself, or trying to make things look good on the outside. Drop the mask and let love in. Love does not require that you be perfect, love celebrates your humanness, it invites you to explore it and to dig deeper, to open more. Love is accepting and liberating and full of yes. It will never hold you back or say you can’t or you shouldn’t. Masks are for Halloween, they’re not for life. Sending you love, as I always am! Ally