August 25 – Love Is in the Being – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

The center I once glimpsed is all around me, a landscape I now live in, and I will not pretend anymore.

If those I love can’t recognize me with my soul out in the open, I will no longer retreat and show what is familiar.

You do not have to do anything to be loved. You do not have to perform, or achieve, or earn a merit badge, or be witnessed doing good. It has taken me almost half a century to learn and  believe this. It is my work to this day. For our messages to the contrary are deep.

Growing up, I heard my father say a thousand times, “Don’t tell me how hard you try, just show me what you accomplish.” But my life has shown me that the opposite is true. In my heart, where the  spirit of the world really comes alive, it doesn’t matter what I accomplish. The only thing that matters is how deeply I try. For out of this trying comes sincerity and love.

This has led me to another realization of heart: Being who we are does not let others down. For much of my adult life, I’ve heard the message,“You must consider others,” offered as a caution  against following your heart because it might upset others. Certainly, true compassion begins with the consideration of others, but the displeasure of others is no reason to muffle your love.

You do not have to do anything to be loved, and being who you are does not let others down. This needs to be repeated, and often. Simply be who you are, and love what is before you.

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