Only More Love

One of the things I've learned through the years is not to be pain phobic. So many of us go through life avoiding emotional hurt at any cost. We'll even go so far as to deny ourselves potentially enriching experiences and relationships in order to avoid being hurt or disappointed. I've never been afraid of emotional pain. In fact, I've seemed to rush toward it on too many occasions, but I would rather risk the hurt than to deny myself the good things that risk can bring. Sure, I might avoid meeting some baddies out there, but I also would miss the good ones. There are a lot of people I never would have met and a lot of places I never would have seen if I'd not been a risk-taker where my heart is concerned...

Over 35 years ago a wise woman told me that mountaintop experiences are heady, but nothing of any real worth happens up there where the sun is too hot; it is in the deep, fertile valleys that real growth takes place. I've contemplated this for many years because it resonates with my life's experiences. I've known a lot of pain, but happiness is relative: the more highs we desire, the more lows we must accept into the bargain.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't believe that we are here to experience happiness every minute of our lives. I believe we come here to experience the full gamut of life's broad spectrum. The neurotic desire for happiness without sadness, love without pain and satisfaction without disappointment is imbalanced and leads to emotional diseases like alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity and over-spending. Joy is what we should be seeking. Happiness is a transitory hit-and-miss kind of illusion that's dependent upon external things, but joy is something we can carry around within us and is untouchable by life's "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune".

A number of years ago, a therapist I was seeing told me that my heart must look like a patchwork quilt due to all of the emotional adventures I'd known. My response was that she was probably right, but that it will keep me warm at night when I'm old and alone.

I know it's cliché, but when I'm lying on my death bed, it won't be the things I did and the people I met that will concern me, it'll be the things I didn't do and the people I didn't get to meet.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Mother Teresa