I am a firm believer in the notion that the more you love, the more capacity for love you have—in other words you don’t run out of space. You can stress yourself out over time and energy and yes there is only so much of that, but there is endless room for love. You don’t have to be guarded or worry that by loving one person you cannot love another. To be clear, I am not talking about romantic love—that is an entirely different ballgame. I am talking about love for everyone else in your life or everyone else in the world for that matter.
I have accepted this conceptually for as long as I can remember, as I was raised with an enormous amount of love. However, despite my upbringing sometimes I am guarded. This is perhaps out of fear or a perceived need to “protect” myself because I feel overwhelmed at how much I can love and am naturally afraid of the potential for pain that necessarily comes with such deep attachment. It is usually not a conscious decision. I just contract and put up walls. There have been times when I literally feel like I just don’t have anymore room available.
In the past few weeks, since returning from my last trip to Kenya I have been recovering and getting my wits about me. This trip was emotionally more taxing than usual. This was a little puzzling because on many of my trips I have experienced and witnessed far worse things. Of course every trip is emotional. I am spending time with these beautiful kiddos that I love dearly and when you have 17 kids there is a lot of joy and pain co-existing. When something is going well for one child, another is experiencing a rough patch. It is always hard, it is always emotional, and it is always wonderful. It is usually a process to get through, but oh so worth it.
Upon returning home from each trip to Kenya I always need a little down time to reflect and appreciate what I just experienced. This time was a bit different. I have been stuck in this emotional fog since my return and I couldn’t figure out why? I have been hibernating more than usual and have felt unable to take on anything else emotionally, even positive things.
Then I had this profound experience that is somehow easiest to explain with a Dr. Seuss reference. Those of you familiar the book and film ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ will no doubt know the character of the Grinch and (hopefully) recognize how little I have in common with him. However, in the story there is the following line: “in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes that day.” While this is being said you see the Grinch’s heart breaking through barriers. In the Jim Carrey version you see his heart beating out of his chest and growing bigger. It actually knocks him down and causes him physical pain. I had an experience similar to this about a week after returning home. I could actually feel my heart expanding and making room for more love. Since then it has been like peeling back the layers of an onion, slowly accepting both the positive things and painful things alike—feeling lighter by the day...
Now I actually know this to be true; love begets love. It was a little painful and it wasn’t easy—but true growth never is. The feeling of being overwhelmed turned into a feeling of gratitude for each and every person in my life that I hold dearly.
The beauty of it is that there is room in all of us to actually love everyone else on the planet. I understand that it can sometimes be overwhelming or you feel you have reached a limit. But, I promise, you are much more capable than you can even imagine. Sometimes loving people can feel like a “burden”, like a heavy weight on our shoulders. It can make us contract or shut down. This is the moment to resist that instinct and dig deeper—to open up and love more. If you can just “power-through” the fear there is nothing but love and peace on the other side.
Love begets love—bravely step towards it.
Immense love and gratitude to all of you in our ever-expanding Restore Humanity Family.