Sunday, October 19, 2014

Love is... my own back yard


Sometimes, we meet people that absolutely speak to our spirit. Those people can stop by for a day, a week, or a lifetime and bring such experiences - pain, beauty, intense sorrow... but knowing them can also bring happiness and a tremendous opportunity for love.

Candace was like that.

I will never forget our first meeting. I think I was 22 at the time, and visiting her aunt. Candace walked into the living room like she owned the world. The sun shone through her big mane of hair. She was talking as she came in the door and didn't, at first, even see me. When she took a moment between topics to take a breath, her aunt introduced us. She turned to me and stood quietly for a moment. Then, she crossed the room, sat down next to me on the couch, looked into my eyes and took my hand.

I recognize that might seem odd, seeing as how we'd just met, but it wasn't. It was the most perfect thing in the world.

She said, "Hello friend. It's been a long time, hasn't it? I'm glad we found each other again."

And I said, "Hello friend. It HAS been a long time. I missed you."

In that moment, I clasped her hand tightly, immersed in this intense joy at being loved. It felt instant, complete and forever. My world shifted. I knew I had a person in my life that would always be with me, who knew me and loved me exactly as I was - just as I loved her.

I wish I could have seen that more clearly when I had her in my life.

In my life, I've struggled to see love when it was right in front of me. I've been on my Wizard-of-Oz/Dorothy journey to try to find perfect love and happiness somewhere outside of myself.

Recently, I was told I acted like I had the emotional makeup of a 15 year old. At first I dismissed it as ridiculous and completely off mark. As I thought about it, perhaps in some ways, I have been stuck at that age. At 15, I was taught that the 'best' love comes in a perfect partnership, and that the love of the 'One', is the 'best' love there is. I bought into the belief that some kinds of love and happiness are more 'valid' than others, and I believed in Disney's storyline.

This morning, with my window wide open and a cool autumn breeze filling my bedroom, I burrowed under my covers and thought about love, happiness, Candace, and so many of the other people in my life - and decided to stop labeling some love and happiness as more valid than others, and the 'One' more real than other 'ones'.

'Perfect partnership' doesn't have to be, for me, the end goal. My life shouldn't be about the happily ever after, but about the 'happily in the now'.

I missed a lot of 'happily in the now' moments with Candace, with my friends and even with partners, because I was so busy trying to figure out if it was perfect - if I was perfect.

Finding and appreciating love and happiness in all forms is important; moments of happiness are brief. There are no guarantees they will continue. Guarantees would mean Candace and I would be looking at golf cart ads and she'd be giving me advice on dating.

My goal is to get better at recognizing love and happiness the moment it is present. Like singing at the top of my lungs at a drag show with my daughter - Candace's child - and laughing about how close we are to the stage.

Losing myself in that moment walking along the water in Edmonds, holding hands and feeling tremendously happy. Watching the sunset and appreciating it for what it is, not what I want or think it has to be.

Being mindful of the moment is honoring happiness as it is, and finding it in my own back yard.

...if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

Not that I won't click my heels together in sparkly red shoes, because seriously, my life is seeking travel and adventure - especially when I know my shoes will always bring me home.

But in seeking love and happiness, I know I need look no further than the moments of my own heart.