Category Archives: The Question.

Am I Loving Now…the beginning.

Some while ago I was journaling and the question ‘Am I loving now?’ came through.

Am I loving now? Am I? I am now as I write this and honour the part of me that is creative and expressive. A child part,perhaps,that wants to be seen,to be heard. To be acknowledged. An adult who struggles with being expressive and dancing the delight that for me is writing.

Kind, generous people have encouraged me to write. Spirits have kept gently insisting.

Three, four, maybe five years ago the fierce question Am I Loving Now came to me. And at last I am choosing to answer this question and,boy,does this scare me. Terrifies me as this is a truly life changing question. It’s not one that allows hiding,no shirking the truth.

In the spirit in which this question has been asked of me I commit to writing here at least three times a week.

The question is a Soul question, a life question. For me, for you. One of the many reasons I’ve avoided writing this is because a perfectionist lives inside me that says ‘How can you write this? Who do you think you are? Look at your life,look at you! Who would ever listen to you? Get perfect then come back!’ Well,if I waited for that I’d never turn up and the shame,my shadow would win.

So I’m showing up here. I can feel my belly leaping but it’s time to love myself now by taking a risk,by showing up here. I love writing. Absolutely love it. And yet I also know its a gateway into me and that scares me as its an honest gateway.

So, I’m going to leave this opening to my question for today and leave you a poem. My favourite lovers poem because the lover that David Whyte asks us to meet is myself. Is yourself. And when I choose to meet me I truly am loving me.

The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don’t want to any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

— David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press

Am I loving now…I just realised I was.

I was terrified earlier as I saw view after view come in.

It was like the Universe was saying…’Right,Tom,show up. You love writing now do it. And whilst you’re at it put your heart on the line because this is the only way to live that will fulfil you.’

So I did. After my last post I was walking to work and a deep scream came up inside and I found myself clutching my head as my whole being screamed what the hell am I doing. The doubt,the shame,the fear,the lack of worthiness in one lightening bolt through me that essentially was saying hide,no, yelling hide to be followed in an instant with the realisation I can’t now. I can run away but that’s a pattern of mine and I know for sure I will be swamped in shame.

But then something happened. I liked the feeling of knowing someone was looking at what I’d written. I even know a few actually read it. Then something really strange happened and I realised I was happy. Quite honestly my food tasted better,music sounded clearer,I was smiling at strangers,I started to believe its ok to put this out there whatever it may bring.

Then the most important realisation.

Quite simply I was Loving Now. I was Loving Me Now.

I was doing what this is about. Loving.

Loving the poor,lost voice that wanted to be heard. Loving the traumatised children that were me as a child. Loving the me that wants to love. Loving the creative,the writer in me.

Loving me.

Loving Me Now.

I’ve had encouragement all day long from people saying go for it or thank you. I’m touched. My troubled heart feels a little easier.

Thank you all.

Am I Loving Now…and why it can be so damned tricky.

Man,it’s easy to be loving isn’t it? I mean what’s to it after all other than, well other than loving. And there’s the crux of it’s trickiness.

I truly believe this question can change the world. Could a Prime Minister and its cabinet send troops into war to kill and be killed if they asked the question…Are We Loving Now? Would we turn a deaf ear to the shrieks of domestic violence next door if we asked ourselves…Am I Loving Now? I think I might have a point.

Do I live by this every moment,every day? No. If I asked myself if I’m LN(Loving Now) before I lit up a cigarette I’d never light up. I’d exercise more,sleep more,play more,create more. It’s a long NLN(Not Loving Now) list. So I’m not perfect and in this moment the shame gremlins are far enough away for me to be ok with this. Another day all hell can break loose internally.

So I was thinking and feeling into this earlier in the steam room(LN) and found myself getting so angry. I wanted to push this away (NLN) and melt into a thoughtless state. Well, I couldn’t and decided to Love Myself Now and welcome my anger and see what arose and where it took me.

The descent took me into my family and an acute awareness of how little real love there was for me there. I was privileged in a lot of ways,more than most. Lovely home,good schools,an ex-model mother,self employed businessman/successful sportsman father. Some of the good schools were boarding schools from the age of eight-trust me,they fuck you up whatever anyone else says. I got left with a sense that I wasn’t wanted,that I wasn’t good enough to be allowed to stay in my family. That I wasn’t loveable. Which was thoroughly embodied when I screamed,begged,pleaded not to go back and to stay home but the response in the car outside the school was my father played a trick with a 50 pence piece to distract me from my terror and got me into school. To this day he thinks he was very smart. As an 8 year old I gave up on me,on people,on trusting and in believing I was loveable. There’s a lot more to my story than just this and I visit and re-visit in therapy deeper,deeper,deeper.

We don’t all have stories like mine but I know we all have stories that stop us from loving ourselves fully. Some story that says I’m not worth it. The emotionally unavailable parents who stop you crying instead of holding your pain…who tell you you’re naughty(internalised by a small child as bad) when you’re angry and need this honoured…tell you to stop messing about when you’re playing…beatings…shamings…teasing in the playground…bullying…being bullied…

This is the tip of an iceberg that’s an awful lot of shame.

If you didn’t feel worthy then, why would you now?

Loving Now is not easy. You know it,I know it. And I feel deeply that we are all worth it and sometimes that is so painful so I know I can hide,make myself small and treat myself as I was for no other reason than it makes sense. For me being loved is threatening,terrifying as it makes no sense other than I’ll get hurt,get punished,that you’ll leave,that I’m not worth it. And that’s before I start loving myself.

The task is pretty enormous as it’ll challenge the hell out of our belief systems,our shame,our need to feel unloved because it makes the most sense.

I want to feel loved,to allow this into me and know I’m worthy.

I want ‘you’ to love…you a lover, you a friend, you my God,you my life. I want to find the courage to allow this,to feel my vulnerability and stay with it.

And me. I want to allow myself to love me more. Did I mention this can be tricky?