When the Nurturing Comes

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photo-2

A young girl sitting in her mother’s lap, feeling the warmth of her skin, head against her chest, heart beats to their shared rhythm. She is safe in the arms around her wee frame, soft one’s long hair draped over her shoulder like a blanket for her growing heart. Nuzzled in the nest.

Playing games, hugs and tugs and roly-poly, wrestling in the body of the deeper voice, laughs and growls and squeals and lifted screams, “You can’t get me!” Until he does, and holds tight with all the love in him, the home base of the strong foundation, the sureness to lean into.

How many ways do we try to create, or re-create, these dreams of original love?

Now adults, now too old for this, or perhaps never having received our parents' love, safe-holding, in this way… perhaps it came with a stronger voice and hand, a firmer grip to keep us secure and prepared for this difficult life… no matter, the longing for the embrace, the knowing that love is there for us, this want is always present at the core of our human selves.

Our hearts, our bodies, our minds never outgrow the need for this tenderness, for this nurturing.

Held in the arms of our lover. Laughing with the most trusted of friends. Crying on the couch of our mentor. Folding into the wisdom of our teacher. Trusting the ones, the special ones in our lives threads the meaning of our living.

For me, an only child who, although very social and extroverted, wore an inner patch of loneliness most of my life, that deep, trusted connection I so wanted seemed to pass me by over and over again – or perhaps it came to visit many times and I simply did not know how to make it welcome, to offer it a warm pot of tea and a place to rest within me. Searching for this love became my near-obsession, finding it continually eluded me. No matter where I looked, food, clothing, relationship, sex, the comfort was only temporary. Yet, I knew it was there. I knew I had felt it before, this important company, this love I longed to keep.

When I grew so tired, felt so defeated, had no more to give to the search for the thing, the person, that was going to fix and fill me, when I was ready to give up, it came, the feeling of it came and touched my heart.

“Spirit, God, Life, please show me how you feel about me. Please show me how you love me.”

A mentor of mine shared this Franciscan practice with me and I sweetly crumbled in the energetic embrace I felt wash over and through me. That mothering, that hug, that tenderness I had been longing, deeply longing for was there, right there in that moment, in the warm amusement, the tug and tingle I felt from Life’s touch within.

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photo 2-4

And then I recalled the many times I had felt it before, the adoring visit from Life. Yes, I had felt it before, when writing music, when singing, when sitting on the water’s edge and watching the waves lap against the rocks. I had felt it when my middle school advisor looked into my pubescent, broken heart with her loving, concerned eyes and put her arms around me. I had felt it when my voice teacher talked to me about her belief, her faith, her love. I had felt it when listening to the Beatles, headphones on, body and mind attached to the stereo - my lifeline to what mattered – the sounds that moved me, the feeling the sounds created in me, the feeling that connected me to all of that magnanimous expression in my own heart.

Now I feel it everywhere: in the sounds of the rain and the birds, the traffic even; the sights of the greens against grey, the white wispy clouds moving through the sky changing shape along their journey; the smells of spring flowers tickling my nose and reminding me of all the new life pushing though the cold, desolate places of hibernation; the touch and taste of fresh strawberries and wild, leafy lettuce, of the pink salmon sharing its life for my nourishment, my nurturing, my pleasure – I am so grateful!

The nurturing starts with the opening, the opening to receive.

Penetrate the layers of protection and let Life in.

“Spirit, God, Life, please show me how you feel about me. Please show me how you love me.”

Create a little room in you, an invitation to the kindness, the good, the beautiful. Invite them inside for a spot of tea, to sit down and stay awhile, stay in your heart, connect and converse with the natural nurturer that you are, and have always been.

(After all of these years of practice, feeling this love at my core still makes me weep, melt into joy with the greatest of grace).

to living sensual, xo Piper

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Images by Megan Tyler