I Choose Love

Beth, Bradley and I arrived home in mid-afternoon after a 3+ hour drive from Long Island. As we passed the exits for our former co-op in Yonkers and the parkway that leads to our previous home in Yorktown Heights, I couldn’t help but glance at the GPS and note “1:42” meaning that we had over an hour and a half before we would arrive at our new home in Sullivan County. Yikes!

“What have we done?” asked Beth.

“Yeah, I know,” I replied. “But it’s an experiment. We’ll know if it’s right and we can always change our minds.”

Interestingly, it wasn’t much longer on the same drive before we were talking about extending our time in Sullivan for another year. Call me a flip-flopper but such are the internal musings of wandering minstrels and searchers.

I consider this flexibility to be a great evolution in our ability to think through options. Sure, it can be anxiety-provoking to juggle choices if we think of them as sharp knives that can cut us if we make a mistake. However, when we look at our options with a softer gaze, it can be rather, well, adventurous.

Sarah Rubin

One of our marriage therapists, Sarah Rubin, taught us to use the phrase, “what’s next?” When we ask ourselves this question, we give voice to our inner child’s need for exploration, curiosity, and creativity. We move our adult, critical-parent thinking (YOU BETTER NOT MAKE A MISTAKE), again, to something softer.

With our first yoga teacher, Brahmani Liebman, we learned about “Soft Belly”. This is another great way to remind us of the need for gentleness in our lives. For me, anxiety begins in the belly and rises to my chest. In some cases, it can radiate out to my armpits and palms causing perspiration. With a few breaths and the internal guidance of “soften your belly, Scott,” though, the process of anxiety moving through my body changes from a tightening to an easeful loosening.

Other alternatives I find effective are “Let Go, Let God” or “Be Kind to yourself, Scott.”

Recently, Beth and I have been listening to “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson in the car. This is her book about teaching “A Course in Miracles.” Marianne would probably say that these moments of anxiety are a movement into fear as opposed to love and we need to turn ourselves around. Almost all of us have been trained by our culture (or some trauma) to see a tiger on the rock when it’s not there at all. And so, we might say, “I choose love. I choose love. I choose love.” This is a way of retraining ourselves, a creation of a new habit. It brings a smile to my face to type this.

I’m smiling because I’ve got a lot of tools given to me by wise teachers. With these, I can walk into progressively darker places because I know I have a powerful flashlight, the ability to soften instead of tightening my grip on it and the joy of finding a new route through the dark woods.

Covenant House

This week, Beth and I will be writing songs with kids or young adults at Covenant House in New York City. We’ll be teaching them about John Lennon, his influences and his honest, open songwriting and how these experiences moved Lennon from life as an unhappy, rich, famous Beatle to a man who loved and respected his wife and recaptured his love of creating. John found the tools and we hope to pass some of them along to these kids who are living a very tough life on the streets. At the very least, we hope to have some fun with them and write/record some cool songs.

Still, I’m a bit scared because this is new. I want to do well and, if I’m not careful, can make this experience all about “doing it right.” Ugh.

“Softening” myself for this and other responsibilities I have this week is a better, healthier choice. I can feel my spine tightening when I think about the days ahead, so I intone the words, “Let Go, Let God” or I take some deep breaths and think, “you can just get through this, Scott, or you can feel and experience all of it. Your choice.” And in that moment, I am healing myself. I am saying out loud, “I am scared, yes, but I choose love. I choose love.” And in that moment, I know that God wouldn’t put me on this path if I didn’t have something to teach and to learn. It’s all good.

May you express and release your fears and may you soften and choose love. We need more people to do that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *