Welcome, 2017. Each year on Winter Solstice I try to ask the Universe for a word for the coming year. This year the Universe was slow about answering me, unlike last year when it threw the word LIBERATION out of the depths of my soul, pulled me forward into action and kicked my butt sideways a million times. Liberation is a helluva word to follow up and I thought that maybe this year I just would not have a word. Words are tough and sometimes painful. I’ve had Truth (2014), I’ve had Presence (2015) and I’ve contemplated the differences between passive words and action words. I’ve failed at words and I’ve been surprised by them. Words tend to come to life for me and shape my thoughts of the year.
So, I waited, not really meditating on a word or thinking about it too deeply until yesterday while I was sitting at the kitchen table eating vegetable soup. I was looking out the window at the horses, their backs to the wind and their heads down like horses will do in the winter. It wasn’t particularly cold yesterday but the wind was wicked, hence their hunkering in like it was necessary. Overly dramatic? Always, those two. My mind started to wander because, well, that’s what my mind does and I decided somewhere in the midst of that wandering to ask again. Hey Universe – that word? And it said – Love.
Oh, come on. Love? Give me something else. Please? Love is not the word for me. I’m not at all love and light and I need something to do. Something gritty for Hades-sake. Love? What the fuck am I supposed to do with that word? Love is too squishy of a word. Too happy and too damn clean. Love. Really? Hmphhhh. Whatever…
So, I went to clean stalls with my trusty barn playlist, which is really pretty much just my go-to playlist that I keep adding to. You’d think it would be all country but no, it is peppered with a million other things and ever since they died is heavily Prince and Bowie oriented. There is really nothing like Little Red Corvette when shoveling frozen shit I tell ya. I’ve got a bunch of general 80s stuff on there too. Just because, you know, I’m old and all. So I’m mucking and a Bryon Adams song pops on – the acoustic When You Love Someone from the MTV Unplugged session. This is a sappy damn song. Which reminds me of another sappy damn Bryon Adams song that I love as well ~ that one from the worst Robin Hood movie ever, which I also love by the way (mostly for Alan Rickman’s version of the Sheriff) so don’t you dare say it is the worst Robin Hood movie ever. Anyway, sorry, I digress. Despite all these sappy damn songs that Adams has, I’ve always liked his music tremendously. I grew up with it. When I listen to the song When You Love Someone I don’t think of human love. I tend to think of horses. I've probably cried over more horses than I have over men. I've also probably vowed to do anything for one horse or another, including put out the sun if I had to. I do this with a lot of songs. Think about them in terms of things other than humans. I actually change all the words to Taylor Swift’s Our Song in my head so that it is completely about a horse. I’m so over Taylor Swift by the way, aren’t you?
Anyway, again, I digress. So, I’m humming along to Bryon Adams and picking through frozen horse shit and I start to cry. Oh, man I hate it when that happens. People don’t think I’m very emotional but I cry at the craziest things. This season it was that damn Purina horse feed commercial about the old horse that just couldn’t get adopted… Holy shit I’m usually a damn mess. I’ve always been like this but I hide it because where I’m from big girls don’t fucking cry. But, there I was, crying in a horse stall to this damn Bryan Adams song.
And, shit (no pun), it hits me. Love is tough. It is a difficult road and all too often, more painful than not. It takes a fighter to love. There is so much struggle wrapped up in it, so much commitment and sacrifice and yes, even loneliness. Love requires patience, kindness and truth. It requires forcing oneself to embrace, to give, to receive and oh god this is dreaded…to need love too. That one is some scary shit. So, it requires one to be brave, willing, and open. Love needs one’s willingness to go on when all seems lost and one’s openness to let go when one should. It needs for us to be grounded but take the opportunity to fly. It needs us to know when we have more to give and when enough is enough and we should walk away. It requires us to think of others but also ourselves because without our own self love what is any other love really worth? It requires us to face the truth, have presence and yes, it definitely fosters liberation. So, love is everything and nothing. It is worth risking plenty and also locking the doors against the wind so as to protect what you risked yesterday. Love is kind, yes. It is compassionate, knowing and gives us hope. Love is also tough, decisive and…gritty.
My word is not looking for me to fall in love, with a particular person anyway. It is more global than that. Perhaps it is simply looking for me to give love. To my dream, to every creature I encounter, to myself, to the people that I do care about. Love doesn’t have to be romantic. It can simply be about caring for others, human and not. It can be about extending a hand, lending an ear, choosing to say something encouraging rather than not.
This year of Love will be about nurturing a future. It will be about speaking graciously to myself, something I’ve never been able to master. Love calls for the year to be one of an open heart and nourishing opportunities to encounter life’s work. This is the first year in which I have ever had a place of my own. Truly my own in the sense of the fact that I did this. No one else. For better or worse, whether I’m richer or poorer (and right now I’m definitely poorer), in good times and bad – this is my space in the Universe. This is the place of my dream and I will pour love into it as part of the recipe of my truth. This is the year my own story begins. I’m writing it. And a good story always contains some love.