Posts Tagged ‘feeling loved’

I feel loved when I feel appreciated. When people show up for me. Is that an act of service, showing up? I feel loved when I feel connected to something bigger than me. Like watching the Swenson-Lee family of 10 from Minnesota on Extreme Makeover – Home Edition. Their father died in an auto accident 5 years ago, their mother and her boyfriend shot and killed a year ago by a deranged ex-boyfriend who stalked the mother, first stabbing her in an attack, and finally killing her, the oldest daughter witnessing both her mother and father die.

I could not believe the courage of this young girl. It’s strange but I felt an all-loving god when I watched that show last night. Like a giant angel was hovering over the entire family and the sister that took her nieces and nephews in, treating them like her own. I cry every time I watch that show. I feel loved when I see people helping other people.

I feel loved when I walk through the woods. The smell of earth, a drip of rain, moss on a rolling stone. Yesterday, driving the Rebel along the parkway, as soon as I turned on to Theo Wirth, all I smelled was forest. The Eloise Butler Wildlife area is 100 years old this year. A vision of preservation and beauty. Thank goodness Minneapolis was raised on an elaborate system of parks, lakes, and Mississippi River trails, green city space.

I feel loved snuggling close, eating popcorn, watching a movie under a warm blanket. I feel loved when a person shows gratitude for my gifts, for the things I am able to give. I felt loved when I visited my family a few weeks ago. For all of our differences, there was so much love in that room the night I popped out of the birthday box for Mom. I feel loved when my friends give me a hug and say they are glad to see me. Or they have missed me.

I do like touch. Not in the same way I used to. I no longer equate sex with love. Sex can be a part of love. Sex is not love. I am talking about more loving touch: a kind gesture, an acknowledgement with the eyes, a touch on the cheek. I feel loved when Mom calls me Honey, or Liz calls me Shug, or when I listen to an old voicemail from my step-dad that begins, “Hey, Shug, I just wanted to talk to you before you leave…”, the Southern accent warm and comforting to me.

I feel loved when I listen to my saved voicemails, a chosen few, one from each person who is important to me. I save them because, once in a while, hearing the voices of those who love and care about me is enough. It lifts my spirits. I don’t have to be next to them. I know they are always with me.

Love is more of a feeling for me. I don’t really care about material possessions. I value time with loved ones. I feel loved when my opinion is considered. I feel hurt when I become invisible. As a girl, I tried to be invisible. To wrap up in the tiniest ball I could muster and disappear. In the loneliest of times, I thought I had succeeded. I feel loved when people really see me, deep down, for who I am, not who they imagine me to be. I am vulnerable, insecure, sometimes fearful and needy.

There is strength in vulnerability. This is the wisdom that comes from living. To be vulnerable is to be strong. Don’t believe them when they tell you it makes you weak.

Kindness and love, no, they don’t make you weak. It takes more courage to stand up and admit a mistake, to make amends, to tell someone you disagree with that you’re sorry and you love them, than it ever does to cut ties and disappear. I’ve run a fair time or two. It leaves a vapor trail. I try to show up, to do what I say I will do. I don’t always succeed. And if I can’t show up, I have to make amends.

I feel loved when I connect with the people that are important to me. I feel loved when Liz washes and folds the laundry, or Mom or my brother makes a home cooked meal for me. I guess those truly are acts of service. People do these things out of love and care. When I lived alone all those years, I felt loved when a friend would call to check on me. I used to think I could disappear into the woodwork of that old Northeast apartment and no one would find out for weeks.

I thought I might die old and alone. But in the end, I decided to take the risk of living, connecting, being hurt, opening up for others to see. I am flawed. And vulnerable. I don’t want to hide my weaknesses anymore. I feel most loved when I allow myself to fail.


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, November 26th, 2007

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I feel loved when I hear the words, “Hi, you.” That’s what Jim sometimes says when he answers my call on the cell phone. They sweep me off my feet, those simple words, and if that were all he did for the rest of our lives together, I think I’d be happy.

I feel loved when Em comes up and hugs me. She reaches the top of my waist, hugs tightly, then pats my back with her little hand. I am surprised by her capacity to love, how did she get so much room in her tiny body?

I feel loved when my family gets along, no quarreling over sharing the peppermint bark or which movie to watch on the computer or who gets a skirt and who doesn’t. No bickering over your turn to cook or I’ve cooked all week. Mine is a need for harmony, and more than that, optimism and kindness.

I realized after staying in bed most of yesterday that I rely on others to make me feel loved, rely on the smooth humming of those who live with me. When Jim gets sick, as he was Thanksgiving night, with bad pains in his lower abdomen, I feel unloved, or overwhelmed, unable to carry forth. It’s not how I want to be, I want to be a strong, loving partner, but sometimes my strength comes too much from the strength of those around me.

I’ve been reluctant to write about love, reluctant to look inside my heart and ask, What is love? Love isn’t gifts, I know that. I love touch, but more than touch I need words. Simple “Good morning,” “I love you.” Even if “I love you” is doled out every few intervals, as long as it’s said with a lift in the voice, it takes me with it. On a trip to lovedom. Dumb lovedom.

Love, love is. I remember the movie Love Story. Larry watched it sitting on the orange beanbag in the den. It was past my bedtime, but I crept behind the bar separating the kitchen and den, and I watched to the end. Love is never having to say you’re sorry. The next night I crawled into bed with Mom and told her I thought I had cancer. I guided her hand to my chest and showed her the small lumps in my breasts.

“Oh,” she laughed, “those are breast buds, the beginning of boobs.” I cried, partly from humiliation, partly relief. I thought I had the same kind of tumors that killed Ali McGraw, thought my tragedy greater than hers, me younger, me real, me not loved by a handsome Ryan O’Neal. Never knowing love and knowing in the soul inside my heart what this meant, loving to the point of not needing to say you’re sorry.

Only later did I find out that I feel loved when after foul words are spilled, my beloved can tell me that he is sorry.


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Heart & Soul, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   

Heart & Soul, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, on the hill behind the zendo, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

My sister-in-law told me about a book she’d recently received as a gift, The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. It’s about the ways individuals express love. And the ways they like to have love expressed to them. What makes you feel loved?

On a recent 62 degree November day, I was taking a walk by the Susquehanna River with my mother, and we started talking about the subject of love. The lively discussion led to many questions.

What if the way you are able to give love is not appreciated by your partner or spouse? What if your partner or spouse doesn’t know what makes him or her feel loved? What about friends? Isn’t it important that they know the things that make you feel appreciated?

According to Chapman, there are 5 primary languages of love:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

          Heart & Soul - Inside Out, Mabel Dodge House, through the zendo window, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved    Going The Distance, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved 

Think about the things that make you feel loved. Are they acts of service. Thoughtfulness. Gratitude. Is quality time high on your list. How deep is the well. Half empty? Half full? To love we need to be able to both give and receive. How do you like to receive? How is learning to receive different than taking?

If you’re having a hard time answering, Chapman provides some clues, questions to ask yourself to help determine your primary language:

Contemplation, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

 1) What does your partner or spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply. The opposite is probably your love language.

After The Fire, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, along the path outside the zendo. Taos, New Mexico, February 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  

2) What have you most often requested of your partner, spouse, or friends? That thing is the thing that will probably make you feel most loved.

Meditation Heart, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

3) In what way do you regularly express love to your partner, spouse, or friends? That method may also make you feel loved.

After answering the 3 questions above, pick up your pen and do three, 15-minute writing practices:

I feel loved when…

What hurts me the most is…

I know my friends care about me when…

 Heart Of Taos Mountain, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, outside the zendo, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Sheltered Heart, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved


The journey is discovery. Where would we be without love?

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, November 20th 2007

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