The Love that made us created us receptive to Love's voice and direction. Know, then, that it is not difficult to hear Love's messages of comfort or guidance. Just pause, be still, and know that Love is speaking in your heart and mind. If your mind argues that it can't hear anything, just acknowledge that you are loved and, with trust, move forward doing what feels like the next right thing.
No matter what thoughts arise for you today, answer with "I am beloved." To your fears and angers and self-doubts and wishes and frustrations, systematically and repetitively answer "I am beloved." Rest in that answer until you can feel the truth of it.
One of Jesus's most famous lines is "Not my will but thine be done."
This does not mean giving up our dreams for dreariness and duty. It does mean being willing to recognize that the divine view and understanding is much bigger than our own. We must be willing to admit that our opinions are based on limited understanding, that our actions are often based on faulty and unconscious assumptions, that what we think we want may be different from what we really need.
"Not my will but thine be done" means to open to a divine reality bigger than our human views; it means being willing to examine our assumptions; it means that having a life in which we feel humanly organized and in control is not the same as living a life in alignment with Love; it means, most of all, leaning (tentatively or wholeheartedly) into Love, who attends to our truest, deepest needs -- the ones we might not even recognize.
Much of our suffering comes from unconscious self-doubts and fears which undermine us. Those buried beliefs make us defensive, block us from hearing another's point of view, make us distrust our own wisdom, permit us to be mistreated, cause us to back down too soon from a conflict or a goal--or to force an idea or plan too aggressively. To counter these self-doubts and fears, begin by knowing and feeling that you are precious to Love. You are embraced and adored and appreciated by Love itself. You can trust what Love knows and feels about you. With this awareness, the self-doubts and fears melt, replaced by humble, receptive confidence. You will have respect for yourself and for others.
Recently a friend said to me about someone I was worried about, "God has his back."
Love has your back. Love is defending and protecting you and arguing on your behalf.
Love has your mind. Love is holding and shaping your thoughts.
Love has your heart. Love holds your dearest hopes in safety.
Love has your knees. Love keeps you both stable and moving.
Love has your feet. Love directs your path.
Yesterday, we focused on Love's fierceness. Today, feel the tenderness of Love. Imagine a mother holding her newborn and feeling such depth of love, open-heartedness, gentleness, wonder, and compassion. Love holds you the same way. Today, focus on treating yourself with tenderness. Treat your emotions tenderly, your desires, your fears. Speak to yourself tenderly. Forgive yourself. Be tender in your expectations for yourself.
See others through tender eyes, too. Recognize their vulnerabilities. Begin with compassion.
We know that Love is gentle. Love is also fierce. Today feel the presence of the fierceness Love in enforcing justice, correcting misconceptions, protecting the innocent, rooting out ignorance, and revealing and enforcing freedom and rights. Sense this power all around you. Sense this power working through you.
Feeling the presence of Love is not an artificial process by which we glibly list our gratitudes and train our minds only to see good. Real Love reveals the places that are difficult in ourselves, others, our culture: places of smallness, blindness, grief, loss, dishonesty. But Real Love is also bigger and more powerful than those places of ignorance and suffering. Look honestly at suffering and breaches of integrity and then actively and consciously place those griefs in Love's arms. Know Love as a powerful, transforming, all-embracing, all-inclusive activity that holds us all. This is one way to pray.
Today, notice if you react to people with strong, stubborn opinions - either resisting or bending to their reality. Instead, listen first to the gentleness of Love who is speaking directly to you in this moment, guiding you. Trust this listening. Walk your own path, consistently and without defending yourself.
Likewise, notice your own stubborn opinions. Refrain from imposing them on others and instead actively acknowledged the presence of Love in others' consciousness, guiding their reasoning and actions. Acknowledge that your opinions may be based on limited experience or perception. Offer those opinions to Love and ask that Love shape them.
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.