beloved

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Okay, so I cheated a bit on today’s photo, but when I woke to read the word this morning, what could I do when I had this photo in my camera from yesterday’s walk?

‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’.

The word Beloved is one that once filled my being with light, the light of healing, of hope, of profound joy, and deep meaning. Those falling-in-love days, when the presence of Love wooed me in such visceral ways in order to get my attention, swept me right off my journey-sullied feet. Eventually, I came back from that mystical journey to land on the earth in a place of quiet beauty, but there is a part of me that deeply mourns the loss of that passion.

One way of looking at the word, Beloved, is to see the Beloved as a noun, the subject of another’s tender passion. I can still close my eyes and remember the feeling of being Loved like that, the feeling of being beheld, cherished, pursued, desired. Those days when the veil was lifted and I experienced a Love so profound that I knew it was Real. I caught a glimmer of that stardust again last week, when the trees themselves seemed to sparkle for me.

But, of course, one can also take the word apart, see it as a verb, as in to Be Loved, to engage in the intentional act of allowing oneself to receive love.  It seems that door is harder to keep open than one might imagine, though you’d think the opposite would be true. You’d think a person would want to keep believing and receiving, but in the absence of the body, the spirit is, as they say, weak.  It seems that in order to receive, there must be a ‘from’ that one can see and feel, or at least imagine.  As that experience of Love fades, it becomes something abstract,  and we begin to doubt it was Real at all. Perhaps it was merely a psychological game.

Why is it that, despite all the gorgeous proof surrounding me to the contrary, I have to work so hard to ‘suspend my disbelief’ to engage in this story sublime?   Love has got to be more than a glimmer, more than a fleeting experience of ecstasy, more than a feeling.

I know the ways of human love. Romance is followed by the work of a lifetime of learning to love. If we are made in the image of Love itself,  then perhaps this is  Love’s way too, growth in Real Love through the down and dirty of this mundane Earthly journey.

Oh, but it feels so very theoretical, when my heart wants to sing and my body to dance.

Ah, there it is. With the writing of those words, my heart goes at once to one place in my life where I feel such a unity of body and mind, heart and spirit. In a heartbeat, I am next to that water, gazing out across a landscape that makes me swoon around every bend.

Often, I wonder about my ancestors. Were they people of the canoe? Perhaps my great, great grandmother, the full-blood of family lore who captured my imagination as a child and whose photograph I squirrel,  was of the Anishinaabe people. Perhaps this also explains my spirit connection to the Turtle, She of their creation stories who carried the earth out of the water on her back, making way for the first humans to dance.  Perhaps this is why I come alive in the Presence of the water and the earth that is the North Country.

Of course, all of our ancestors, no matter from whence we trace them, once lived in such a relationship with the earth, surrounded, embraced, healed and nurtured by her gifts… both practical and esthetic. Romantic notion or not, I like to imagine the mundane wasn’t so mundane then, that to Love and BeLoved wasn’t so much an out of body experience, an abstract remembrance , or a theoretical ideal to subscribe to,  as it was an embodied knowing, a living in Relationship that was one of mutual giving and receiving, like a well-lived-and-loved marriage. Receiving the Beloved within every creature and plant, we knew viscerally that we were the subject of her tender passion.

I come close to that opening whenever I live close to the Earth. There, the door is swung wide  and I can stand stunned in that doorway, to receive Her full-mouthed kiss. Uprooted from Her, this part of me shrivels and dies, though my mind strives vainly to recall the feeling of Being Loved. And so, perhaps once again, I am being re-membered by Her, wooed by Her even, if I can just remember to open the door to step outside ….and in to the depp comfort of Her embrace.

 

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