Unconditional love

Warm chocolate chip cookies are keeping me company tonight. I've been feeling lonely and sad the last few weeks because this is my first holiday season in 29 years I won't be spending with my family. The stars are just not aligning to make the journey home so I'll take that as the universe's way of perpetuating my immediate destiny. I have to admit I am putting up quite a fight against the obstacles unabashedly. But as gloomy as I feel for being homesick, I also feel joy from being full of love. 

I have been cultivating the art of loving unconditionally for quite some time. I falter at it on many occasions as I'm still learning how to get rid of my ego and pride when dealing with others, but there are times when I get it exactly right. How do I know that I'm truly loving unconditionally? That's easy. I feel happy and my soul feels loved. You see, this kind of love is not for other people. It's for yourself. Giving love away over and over again, without expectations, without an open hand waiting for something in return is the single best way to love yourself. When you give love this way, you give your whole heart without reserve. This love isn't just for lovers. It's for friends, family, strangers even. When you give your time, energy and attention to someone, you give them your love. When you do these things even when this person has hurt you, disappointed you or has just not given you any love, you gain so much internal power. 

This week I have given as much love as I could to someone who needs some uplifting energy right now. Today I just wanted to let them know they are special and deserve the life they want. Their response was beautifully fulfilling and exceptionally sad. They said "my heart is full at the moment thanks to you. I feel guilty that you do so much for me." I told them not to feel guilty.  What good does that do either of us? There is no competition on who can give the most love and there is certainly no payback that I anticipate. I give my time, my energy and my love without any expectations of return just because I want to uplift those I care about. I don't need anything. I don't need that love reciprocated. I don't need a thank you. The real reward is how I feel when I am able to find a small moment in my own life where I can be selfless, without pride or ego, without presumptions or expectancies. It is in that moment that I am truly loving myself while simultaneously giving my love away. Loving someone should feel liberating and energizing. If the love you give or receive feels draining and burdening, it's probably based on conditions of you or someone else being/acting a certain way. Find the love that wakes you up then give it all away.