What's got you all tied up in a knot? What eats away at any possibility you have for happiness? What grabs your spirit by the "scruff of its neck" and throttles you from here to kingdom come? What is it that is slowly and steadily eating you alive?
Have you given up on love? Has a lover -- or two or three -- left you for another and broken your heart? Have you been betrayed by friends and felt yourself a castaway? Has life turned out to be one catastrophic mess -- one after another... and another... and another?
Do you look for "life" in alcohol or drugs? Do you have sex with just about anyone -- hoping you just get lucky and find hope in your endless bouts of loneliness and meaninglessness? Do you work yourself to the bone -- and resent your despair? Do you cry yourself to sleep at night (when you can sleep) and hope against hope that you will not wake up?
If you are alive (and reading this), then perhaps one or more of these questions have been a part of your life -- for many of us, these questions provide something of a summary of our life experience. Just today, a facebook friend posted a picture of a woman, alone, with the caption: "Have you ever wondered if anyone would miss you if you died?" My facebook friend simply commented that that was how she felt...
There is no getting around the simple fact that life is hard -- frequently, profoundly difficult and challenging. And very often we break. For a very long time in my life my constant prayer was for a stroke -- for anything to get me out of my misery. While this truth is a humbling thing to acknowledge, it nevertheless must be mentioned: at least for my facebook friend: for there is "oil to slip the knot": there is a way into the life that you deserve: and you deserve the very best: you deserve Love!
A quick -- to the point -- summary of my story: When all seemed over and absolutely hopeless for me, I had to play Santa Claus for a holiday party for migrant farm worker children. There was no way out for me -- I could not find a replacement. So I put on my Santa outfit and showed up... hundreds of children rejoiced and after dinner filed up to sit on my lap and receive their gift from Santa... now, all of these kids knew me, and most would say, "Hi Santa Robert"... I would hold their hands, tell each one how special they were, and of how very much they were loved... hours went by... all the children received their gifts and their families had left... and I still sat in my Santa chair praying for more children... finally, realizing that I looked foolish to keep sitting there as clean-up was going on, I got up to leave, and softly spoke to two high school volunteers saying, "This is all I want to do. All I want is to love." Driving home, for the first time in years, I didn't pray for a stroke: I prayed for a miracle! I said, "Oh God, I need a miracle... I just want to love..." And as soon as that prayer was uttered, another one welled up in my heart, "I want to live!"
I got exactly what I prayed for! (It cost me the loss of everything... but that is another story.) I gave myself over to Love: to the utter and total abandonment of Love. I gave myself the freedom to explore my possibilities for joy, for a deep interior transformation into radiance, and for the annihilation of the dross of conformity, small-mindedness, and limited vision that had dictated life to me. You see, when I gave myself permission to love with the fullness of my being, I was set free to do exactly that! All of the working theories of the theologians of "less" and "under-value" were simply set aside: I had had enough of that! I wanted "more" and "absolute-total-entry-into-One-Love"!
Of course, I am still a work in progress! I can be caught in the snare of memories that trap me in depression -- sometimes for days at a time... but the change I have been writing about and now living are testimony to this core, radical, truth: we are all -- every single one of us -- absolutely beautiful, absolutely worth the very best, and absolutely worth Love, infinite, boundless Love. Our secret identity -- the identity that life tries so hard to keep bottled up and oppressed -- is that we are the living mirrors of the Holy One: created specifically and exactly that that One could gaze in adoration at us, and that we in turn might adore one another and the Holy One with our every breath... with our service... with our work for justice, kindness, and peace... until it is time for the "oil of Love" to slip the last knot and we pass into the arms of our Beloved...
Do you see, my facebook friend? Do you see my friend -- whoever you are? The oil that slips the knot is the permission you give yourself to Love and to Love and to Love some more and then to Love everyone and to Love to the point that you -- your true self -- is revealed: you are Love.
One other thing, love is all about "the other" not "you": this is everything! Everyday practice the "One Love Blessing": Touch someone, anyone, everyone, lightly with either your hand or eye: gift them with the words "One Love Blessing" either verbally or silently -- but mean it, give it... Become a channel, an instrument, of One Love... change your mind by giving away this Love Blessing to everyone! This practice will change your life!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.