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How to Write a Love Letter
Let’s talk about writing love letters.
Not candy coated pap. Not romance novel fantasy crap. Not the “chick” thing.
True love letter.
Years ago I asked my first coach if he would write me an endorsement. Here’s what Drew Rozell wrote:
“Laura is truth. Laura is love.”
That was a lot for me to take in. I mean, replace your own name and sit with it for a while. It’s a lot to live up to.
So I wasn’t sure the world wanted truth and love. And I was not so sure that I wanted to put my heart out of you like that. So I projected in these waves of fun where no one has to worry about drowning, (like teaching people how to write websites, identify their niche market, brand their business, or organize their time, and find some balance in life…)
Then someone asked me a few months ago, if I could teach him to look at ants. (Which, of course, planted the seed for this blog.)
Not to increase profits, or get more things, or become famous or famous or powerful.
To look at ants.
And my heart started to soar… is this permission to go THERE?!
And then one of the dearest people I know lost her husband.
He is my age, 42. It is not for me to share his story here but I will tell you it was sudden.
It was a 4 am knock on the door.
He was “No, we can not let you look at him.”
It makes me cry even as I type this.
So I was sitting across from my own husband the other night. We haven’t missed a dinner together for months now, no matter how late we work or how late we eat. We know an awakening when we hear one.
We sat there and I shared how my friend was doing and he took a bite of his food. The food was excellent. The kind that makes you close your eyes and turn off all other senses. After that, his eyes were raised and he talked about the tsunami and all the children who were devastated by the loss of their parents. Scott works in pediatric rehab and has had a rough year. Several deaths and increasingly tragic stories.
And his tears were of gratitude and humility. That we are alive. That we have each other. That we could sit down and have an amazing meal.
We do not deserve this. Let me go on record saying that I don’t think anyone deserves a damn thing. I don’t, you don’t. I think the word “deserve” is one of the most destructive forces on the planet but that’s not where I’m going on that little tangent.
In the midst of Scott expressing his appreciation and love for me, I could feel his presence and I had this flash. For a moment I thought, “Oh my God, he’s going to tell me he’s dying.” I was wrong. I got no bad news. But you know something? One day one of us, if we are lucky enough to have advance notice, will have to do this. And we’ll have to figure out how to say goodbye.
Jack Kornfield, in one of my favorite books, A Path with Heart, shares a spiritual exercise where we must see everyone in the world as an Enlightened Being, a Buddha if you will. Yes, even the guy who cut you off in traffic, and your mother-in-law, your bad boss (oops, you ARE the bad boss? sorry)… everyone. And they all “get it” and we’re the only ones who don’t. Our job is to know what they are trying to teach us.
I have seen a lot of death around me in the past few years.
And I know a lot more is coming.
Everyone dying will teach me that loving someone means you get the whole package. When you marry someone, or develop a true friendship with someone you agree to go far. the distance
As Paul Simon would say, in his most excellent relationship CD, You’re The One,
“Ask someone to love you, it takes a lot of nerve.”
When we accept someone into our hearts, regardless of the relationship, we don’t just say, “Will you share my life with me?” We are saying, “Will you share my life with me and love me knowing full well that you will have to let me go one day? Can you go THE distance with me?”
And as I let myself stand in that reality, I witnessed many things that made me want to grab people and shake them silly.
I see people looking for a boyfriend like it’s a kind of job interview. I heard someone express concern about marrying a woman, who he feared would tend toward anorexia, because he wasn’t sure she was always attractive enough, especially when she wasn’t wearing makeup.
Before you blow a gasket, let me tell you this is a person who has a really good heart and that I love very much. I know where the pressure came from that led him to say that because he suffered the same kind of rejection himself. Rational or not, love or not, I understand that he would hesitate to make himself even more vulnerable to rejection when being with someone who is not perfect. It makes all the sense in the world to me. It’s fear. We all have fears and they make us do and say crazy things. And don’t try to tell me you were immune. I know better. It can appear in the way we evaluate potential mates: What will other people think if they see me with this person? Are they attractive enough? Rich enough? Ingenious enough? Will they represent me well? Is this the perfect ornament for me?
It can appear in the way we relate to ourselves.
I was at a Grand Opening of a boutique and several business people were there. I heard this exchange:
“What do I do? Well, I make women beautiful.”
“Oh, you must be a plastic surgeon.”
“Why, yes, I am.”
Then I see woman after woman asking if they need botox again. Not knowing if someone shot botulism in you is a good thing. There was no “if” in this regard. The “if” was simply a matter of timing. This is what we have to do to be beautiful?!?!?
Again, I see where this is coming from. Look at any magazine or TV show. It makes sense that everyone feels so insecure.
Can I just say something, though?
For the love of God, people! Get out of it!!!
Get a grip on the fact that we are human. We become adults. We are dead.
The question is, do you want to spend all your time and money trying to run from reality pretending that somehow you have been granted special immunity at 4 am knocking on your door or hearing really bad news from a loved one or do you want to wake up and face that square in the eye and NOT RETREAT?
Like I said, I’m not going to get all touchy feely with you here. I have a picture of Samuel L. Jackson looking at me. I used to have a beautiful calligraphy that translated to “Calm”. I took it down. I am not calm. I am not floating mindlessly in an illusion. I’m not here to be comfortable and preach a little “I’m fine, you’re fine” to you.
Psst…Hey, Laura, I thought you said you were going to write love letters?
Um…this doesn’t sound like love to me…I mean..”
On the contrary, my friend. I say this precisely because I love. You see, once you look into someone’s eyes that allow you to face the impermanence of your life … once you really get this … you will get very clear very quickly about what they loved and a people really mean. It’s not about decoration and earning potential. It is about embracing the fundamental, essential humanity that is common to us. It is about showing up without having the mask on. It’s the scariest and most beautiful thing we can do.
I’ve given you a lot to absorb here, so I’ll let you pour another cup of tea and maybe you might want to grab a pen and paper and just start with this sentence:
“I don’t know how long I’ll get to be with you, so while I have you here there’s something I want you to know about what it means to have you in my life…”
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