Over five years ago, I found myself in a place more unique than any of my experiences. One of my favorite parts of traveling is experiencing sights, sounds, and tastes that deviate from my normal routine. Yet, this was no country. It was a city that sprung to life, and vanished, in less than one month.
Burning man. The burning man. Were I to try and explain burning man to somebody who hadn’t been before, it would be difficult to know where to start. Additionally, if that person were to ask somebody else what burning man was, they’d probably receive a different answer than the one I gave them.
It’s a place where sights, sounds, and experiences overtake your mind. Just when you think you’ve ‘seen it all’ something new and different comes across your path; reminding you that this life experience isn’t predicable, planned, or ordinary.
One of the rituals at burning man involves visiting a large wooden temple, where thousands of pilgrims come to leave their mark on the wood with Sharpie markers, leave behind relics, while silently passing each other inside the temple walls.
My experience at the temple involved writing the universe a short letter on the walls. “Make me a beacon of love” I wrote.
Days later, the temple burned to the ground; a tribute to the frailty of life, as well as the return from ashes to embodiment that all of us go through in our life experience.
Love. What is love? What was I asking the universe for? What is burning man? Who is John Galt?
This afternoon, I found myself sitting in a patio in beautiful Tulum, Mexico. Despite the clouds, it felt nice to sit under the shade offered by a table umbrella.
“How do you define love?” I asked Her.
Looking over, I saw a lizard running up the side of a tree. Instantly, I felt my heart feel a boost of joy on a day where it felt fatigue.
“That lizard.” I said, “I’m not in love with the lizard, but I feel a sense of love and joy when I pause to look at it and appreciate something so small.”
Love. There are many aspects of it. It can be a kiss on the forehead, walk in the park, time (3 years…) restoring a 944, or gift from one loved one to another.
It’s a compliment, forgiveness extended, a bite on the tongue, apology, painting, love note, act of service, working three jobs, or getting to know somebody different than you – without judgement.
Love is patient, kind, gentle, strong, enduring, humble, innocent, contrite, sincere, powerful, generous, and wild.
It’s driving in the car and grabbing the bee with your hand before it stings your child with a bee allergy. It’s the grimace as you carefully pull the stinger from your own hand, knowing your child never saw what you did.
It builds, heals, restores, and grows. It is the essence of life, itself.
Love is eternal. It doesn’t seek affirmations to build itself up, because It exists within itself, away from itself, and returns to itself in perfect timing.
It is the most powerful force in the world that cannot be measured, bought, understood, or recreated artificially – though some may try.
Hollywood paints a portrait of the love story as an image of perfection; passionate lovemaking, beautiful sunrises, perfect hair when the alarm clock rings, and two sets of footsteps walking into the horizon.
The love that takes out the trash would like to have a word with Hollywood, please. The pregnant Mother vomiting in the bathroom would also like to tell Leo a bit about reality…
“God is love” was a phrase I grew up hearing repeatedly from those who felt they fully understood the Divine Nature enough to dictate its’ words and claim to speak on its behalf.
Once something is understood, it loses its power. That’s why religious who claim to practice love still fall far short of making the global impact they sing during ‘history maker’.
I’ve come to terms with a lot of things in my life. One thing is that I’ll never come close to understanding who I am, why I’m here, or what purpose I have on this planet; those goals continue to shift, evolve, and change…just like I do.
Another thing is that I don’t believe I will ever fully understand the concept of Love in its entirety, because the way I’ve seen it manifested in my life have been so far, wide, and beautiful in their entirety that I would be doing myself a disservice by taking the proverbial brush from the artist (the universe) and ruining a canvas that was meant for me to be a part of, rather than create.
The closer you come to something you’ve never seen before; something happens that goes against our ego-driven mind; rather than understand it more, you will find that your senses, ability to describe, and awe of its wonder surpass your understanding with each step you take.
Love is the one thing I’ve known it’s safe to surrender to. Every time I find myself releasing to its lessons, I recognize new life emerges from the seeds I once held in my hands; clinging selfishly to because I didn’t know they were trees.