I sat one afternoon with my phone clutched to my ear and listened as a girlfriend opened the floodgates of her heart and let her pain pour out. Within the same moment, I was liberated from my bullshit. I could no longer delineate where my ego ended and where my love began.
Prior to her calling, I had been doing that thing humans do, lingering in my head, pondering the same loop over and over, but the sounds of her wounded spirit and aching heart instantaneously jolted me back into my body; “I”, my ego, had no choice in the matter. Without a moment’s contemplation, my heart assumed the position it knows well but often forsakes; it stretched open as wide as the world.
Being love, loving her, became my singular focus. The fears, comparisons, thoughts, questions I’d had playing on repeat were transmuted into feelings of fierce and loyal compassion. What on earth could ever be more important than tending to a wounded heart?
She was grateful for my embrace, but I was grateful for a reason to open, to be more love, to give more love. My heart felt full knowing I had left her with a little more courage to face life and the trust that she wasn’t alone in her darkness.
This kind of opening is greater than almost any I experience when I’m writing gratitude lists or meditating. Those practices, and all the other mindful, heart-opening efforts, are worthy of commitment, but their roots live in the same soil as spontaneous and authentic acts of kindness. In fact, unconditional compassion is exactly what those exercises mean to emulate, to train you to feel.
Being love, acting as love, is the antidote to the shittiest shit feeling you can possibly imagine. So, what makes you love so hard your heart explodes? What catapults you out of your fear, out of your over-analyzing, out of your ego’s well-crafted stories, out of your victim state and your wallowing and into your fucking heart?
Is it showing up for a friend? Is it telling your parent you love them? Is it volunteering?
The chance to show someone the light of their own being brought my heart the fullness it incessantly craves. Intending to keep my promise to not let her drown, I cloaked her in as many layers of love as I could possibly get my hands on. And you know what? There was room for even more love than that.
That kind of fiercely compassionate love is magic. It has the power to heal the cracks in your heart, to smooth out the stories etched into your psyche, to patch the wounds you accumulated over a lifetime of not getting the love you wanted.
It. Is. The. Antidote.
But your love doesn’t need to be dramatic; no fireworks required. Showing deep appreciation for the person handing you your coffee, offering someone your seat on the subway, telling someone how beautiful they look, donating energy to a worthy cause all render as equally on the kindness scale as gigantic acts of profound love and are powerful enough to shift your entire state of being.
Set the intention for today—right now, baby—to do one thing that is kind, compassionate, loving.
As Mother Theresa said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” I’m almost sure what she meant by this is love until you think you can’t possibly love any more, and then love some more. Love when your heart hurts. Love when you’re having a bad day. Love when you hate yourself. Love when you hate others. Love when you hate your job. Love when you wish your life were different. Love when you feel sick. Love when you don’t think you can show up for even one more day of life.
Love until every fiber of your being is on fucking fire.
Keep meditating. Keep journaling. Keep going to therapy. Keep doing the inner-child work. Dive deeper into the depths of your self and root out anything that doesn’t feel soft, that isn’t evidence of your divine perfection. But make loving your number one priority. Love like your life depends on it, because it fucking does.