July 21

We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present.

Marianne Williamson


Today's Meditation:

Marianne's words resonate with me because I do know people who claim that all of their problems in life come from the way their parents treated them as kids, and that they're really not responsible for things going wrong in their lives now.  But when you step back and look at the way that these people are living their lives, you see people who are completely self-absorbed, seemingly unable or unwilling to make changes in their lives that will help them to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

And being self-absorbed keeps them from giving love to others.  Being so focused on themselves seems to be a result of fear and the ego working together, telling them that they can't give or they'll get hurt, tricking them cruelly because the fact that they don't give love to others is hurting them more deeply than any other person could possibly hurt them if they did take the risk and extend their love to others on a regular basis.

Extending our love can be a result of an act as simple as sharing a smile with someone who seems to need to see a sincere smile.  It can be shown in acts such as encouragement, moral support, compliments, or even silence if we're just there for someone who needs someone to listen or to be there with them in times of grief or loss.  In all of these cases, though, we are focused on someone outside of ourselves, someone else, and not on our own problems or tribulations.  We're aware of the needs of others and we're showing compassion, and we're giving from our hearts, not from our pocketbooks (though sometimes we can show our love that way, too). 

We may think that by not extending our love, we're protecting ourselves from hurt and pain, but the truth is that by not extending our loves, we're holding ourselves back, we're keeping ourselves down, for we're not allowing ourselves to grow and to give, to feel and to share.  Instead of being butterflies who are leaving our cocoons to become something beautiful and graceful, we're keeping ourselves locked in without any possibility of becoming more than we currently are.

Questions to consider:

How can we be holding ourselves back if we're not extending love to others on a regular basis?

What are some ways in which we can extend our love out into the world where it belongs?

Why do so many people find it difficult to extend their own love to others?

For further thought:

This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love:  the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting.

Rainer Maria Rilke


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