In response to one of the assignments in my Sacred Sexuality course to watch the film “Enchanted April”, a member of the forum shared the following. I was so moved by her response that I asked permission to share it here. She wrote:

This film touched something deep inside me. After I watched it, I wrote the following in response to Lottie’s comment that “it is a wonderful thing to get on with one’s loving.”

Suddenly I thought, Oh my gosh, I have not been getting on with my loving! No, I have been hoarding my loving for myself, waiting for someone else to show their love first before I offered mine. My fear of rejection, my hurt feelings, my self-doubt that keep me forever asking what is wrong with me that more people do not flock to my door and leave baskets of their loving on my stoop, it has all made me stingy with my love. I have been loving for the love you get back, and I have wanted to get it back exactly as I want it (like Lottie’s obsession with justice and the way she counts out the love she gives and gets back).

I haven’t been loving for the rush of joy that comes from assisting a fellow human in need. I haven’t been loving for the peace that settles over you when you know that you are making the world a little brighter, the way a candle adds light to the sky even when that light is dwarfed by the sun’s rays. I haven’t been loving for the invisible benefit, the far-off possibility of reciprocity that cannot be counted on but does often arrive, the participation in life’s grand, unfathomable web that has nothing to do with quid pro quo, and everything to do with the “this and only this” of any moment.

All we can offer is ourselves. All we can do is love for the sake of loving. All we have to share is our hearts. I have been sharing a heart that is rusted over and growing fetid moss across its breast. I locked my loving away, waiting—always waiting—for someone to unlock the gate to my own loving. Could it be that I have the power, buried deep within, or hovering at the surface of my skin, to unlock to gate to my own loving? I am beginning to think so.

I wanted to share this because it was such a powerful experience for me, watching Lottie come alive to her own capacity for love. I feel inspired by it, but also frightened. I want to live as Lottie lives, freely planting a kiss on someone’s cheek, or letting the spaghetti sauce stain the skin around my mouth without shame or embarrassment.

Life is shorter than we think, and even when we consciously know that love is why we’re here, we spend so much time keeping love at bay. Why? Because our past pain causes our heart to “rust over and grow fetid moss across its breast”, and then a habit sets in that, if we don’t proactively work against it, becomes the norm. We long to love. We need to let love in. Yet fear and ego work in tandem overtime to keep love behind the safe walls they have erected around the heart.

Lack of attraction is the fear of loving.

Focusing on your partner’s perceived flaws is the fear of loving.

Feeling irritated constantly is the fear of loving.

Buying into the cultural myth that “you’re not in love enough” is the fear of loving.

What does it mean to proactively work against the habit of protecting our hearts from getting hurt? It means learning the truth about love then taking action every day that will create new habits, steps that will lay new neural pathways and heart grooves that will allow you to spend more time in the breathing accordion that lets love in and out and less time trapped inside the stifling, airless rooms of fear, pain, and shame.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety – whether single, dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of her popular eCourse
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