The short answer is not in the least. It is only fitting that this prompt showed up when it did on my calendar. It is after all a few weeks after my 45th birthday. Another year, single. It's such a blind acceptance that I don't even think twice about anymore when filling out applications, answering surveys, or signing online forms. It's the quintessential knee-jerk reaction.
But I made a promise to myself that if I survive COVID-19 after surviving Stage 3 cancer, that I would finally tackle this feeling of unworthiness. I could go into a story of how my parents, although caretaking and nurturing, never said I love you, but doing so puts the blame on them rather than taking ownership of my own thoughts and actions.
As a coach, I often invite my clients to resource the lowest common denominator in any given situation. This nudge usually follows a series of insights that are hard for them to ignore.
♬ Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
When your heart's not open ♬
💿 Madonna / Frozen / Ray of Light
💓 What do I feel in my heart right now as I focus on the words I am writing? Disappointment. Confusion. Angst. The image is of a scarab beetle caught in the Sahara Desert. A vastness that seems untenable. Sheltering itself from the pain but also from the glorious sun. If my heart could speak, it would say, I'm here. Find me.
What does it want? It wants to be held. It wants to be acknowledged. What does it need? It needs to know that love is a gamble. You must play in order to win.
🧠 When I tune into my head which is my go-to default, I am left with hundreds of passages, quotes, and greeting cards that profess that love is forever. But I don't really believe that. Love is like a moment in time. It is to be experienced, not held onto.
What is it saying? It is saying that you might get the love you want, but there is a price to pay. It's either the love you give or the mark you make in the world. Brutal. I know. But that is my truth.
🤰 Resourcing my gut. This is a very scary place. It is the place where my cancer was found. It is what kept me bedridden in the hospital for two weeks. It is what brought me to tears in an isolated room waiting to hear if I would be yet another victim of the big C.
What does my gut tell me when it comes to love? It says that love and sex are intertwined. If I can't have both, then I can't have any. Sex has always been more performative rather than pleasurable. I must somehow muster the courage.
So how do I make sense of this all? I don't know. But I do know the first place to start is in asking the tough questions. It's about time I did. Because if there is anything 2020 has taught me is to take nothing for granted. I am equally reminded of a quote I once read from the poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
I vow to still be seeking and searching.
So what are your "three brains" telling you? What are you non-negotiables when it comes to love? How satisfied are you? Comment below.
Every Monday morning at 10 AM I will post a powerful prompt which can be found here and follow it wherever it leads. The aim is to resource all three centers — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.