Religious choices aside, there’s a special something that we all seek to feel during the holidays. It’s a feeling beyond words and might be best described by “feeling moments.” Moments like walking into our home and watching family members leap across the room with excitement to be with us. Moments like walking out of the airport terminal to find family members wearing red sombreros with jingle bells to welcome us home. Moments when we walk into grandma’s kitchen and into a full-squish, soft-bodied, heartfelt hug. And moments when someone says and means “thank you” and “I’m proud of you.”
It’s moments like these that we feel truly accepted and appreciated as a meaningful part of a supportive family unit, community, or group. It’s moments like these that we know that we’re absolutely loved. It’s this feeling that can make life feel worthwhile.
Lookin’ for Love
It’s no wonder that for most of us, the holidays are heaving with anticipation—of what we hope will happen, what we wish will happen and what we fear will happen (based on everything we’ve experienced so far). We are all looking to feel that feeling of unconditional love—even if we’ve never felt it before.
Maybe you’ve never felt it
Maybe you never had a child run up to jump into your arms. Maybe your parents never told you they were proud of you. Maybe you don’t even know your parents. Maybe you’ve had experiences with religion that have left you feeling like there is no love for you there. Regardless, even if you’ve never felt this feeling of unconditional love during your lifetime—you know it deep down in your genetic soul. How do I know? Because we all seek this feeling in one way or another—through our work, relationships, hobbies, addictions, fun, and even through our isolation. We long for this feeling of being loved and belonging, and continue to look for it until it’s found. And when we’re looking for it over the holidays and don’t find it, we can make the holidays feel horrible.
Where’s the love?
Some of us may find the feeling of being unconditionally loved when we commune with a diety (God) through prayer, meditation, and life. For others, we might feel unconditional love when we are in nature. And for others, we may feel it when we are with a special person or pet. There are as many ways as there are stars to feel unconditional love.
If we’re “lucky,” we might have a special person, or a few special people, who embody this feeling for us. Whenever we see them, think of them, or are with them, we know that we are absolutely loved. We feel comfortable, relaxed and full—not the “full feeling in the tummy,” but that satisfied feeling when we know that the relationship is solid. Nothing needs to change or be fixed because nothing is stuck. The love flows splendidly just as it is. And it’s (mostly) very easy.
I was in my 40s when I first felt unconditional love from another human being. Although I had a great connection to my perception of God and the unconditional love and support that I experienced there, I did not know that it was possible for humans to embody this characteristic. And, not having felt it during my lifetime, I didn’t know that I was missing something that was possible—until I felt the love from a sweet stranger from South Carolina.
It was nearly midnight when I walked toward her driveway on that mid-August eve. I’d been driving eight freeway hours to get to her bungalow, which was nestled in the sandy grasses under the Loblolly pines. I’d rented it for a six-week sabbatical while working on my book. From next door, she came wafting down the paved drive, her long, lightweight summer skirt swaying breezily until she stopped–about five feet before me. She stood, arms crossed for warmth, under a peachy moon that clung just above the horizon and glowed around her like a soft, damp halo.
Although the words we exchanged to greet one another were probably as ordinary as any ever said, the feeling was altogether different. Again, words are inadequate, but the interaction with her felt as free and open and hopeful and promising as a sunrise before the best day of one’s life.
Over the years, Ms. Sonnie (such a perfect name for her!) has always expressed her love in every way. She follows her heart, follows through on promises, expresses her love, is kind and faith-filled for friends, family and nature and protects the sanctity of truth and goodness in her household. She has shown me that it is possible to be both strong and soft.
For me, the twin-fact that she exists and that unconditional love is possible to experience in humanity, are blessings beyond compare. These give me hope and encouragement year-round and are a gift that keeps on giving. When I need a reminder that I am better than “good enough,” I recall the feeling of her unconditionally loving energy, and what a perfect representation it is to me of divine love. It is this feeling that is at the heart of my holidays, my hope in life, mankind, and health—spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally.
My wish for you
It is my wish for you to experience unconditional love.
May you take an extra dose of “Christmas spirit” and hold it close to your heart. May you remember that not everyone in your family may be ready to experience unconditional love. May you accept that although some people may need to hold onto fear a little longer instead, you can be an example. You can lovingly care for yourself, and they may see. May you be generous of heart towards those who may perceive less love than you, those who may be angry or unkind. May you feel the kindness and patience in your own heart, and give yourself and others an uber-heaping scoopful, with sprinkles and glitter on top.
Always with love,