Read an Excerpt
365 Days of Love
By DAPHNE ROSE KINGMA
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 1992 Daphne Rose Kingma
All rights reserved.
It's Happening Now
Whatever you dream of, hope for, want to change, or wish would happen in your life—it's happening now. Wanting change, dreaming a dream, wishing for things to become as you envision them to be, are all acts of the unconscious that, molecule by molecule, set in motion the chemistry of change.
Imagination is instantaneous; achieving what we hope for takes time. Still, once we have started to hold a vision— in our hearts and minds, in the feelings of hope and expectation that we quietly acknowledge to ourselves—we have already initiated the process that can make the possibility real.
So whatever you desire, whatever change you want to occur, whatever outcome you seek, remember that it's happening now. The desire itself is already creating the outcome.
Loving someone brings up old fears: the fear that things will be the same as they were in the past, the fear that the person you love now will make the same mistakes you lived through before, the fear that, having revealed yourself, the person who loves you won't care enough to learn who you really are, let alone minister to your needs.
We all have fears, and we can either silently coddle them—and ensure that they'll come true—or reveal them and allow the person who loves us to love us in the midst of them and beyond.
Healing old fears takes time. The only thing that can help you overcome your fears is more time ... and more love.
Infused with Love
Any virtue, attribute, or aptitude of personality will come to its full power only when it is bound together with love. No talent in its own right and no quality of character will reach the apogee of its impact until we marry it in our hearts to the love that will alchemize it to its full potential.
For love confers a quality of truth upon everything into which it is infused, a presence of light that elevates it far beyond the ordinary, lifts it to the place where we can hear the deepest meanings that are trying to be spoken, see with eyes beyond eyes the truth of the invisible, the mystery of the unseen.
Therefore, whatever your form of expression, whether it be language, music, color and design, or the movement of your body, be sure you fill it with love, so it can be received to the depths of its power.
Being able to receive another person's feelings is a sign of emotional maturity. That's because as difficult as it may be to express what you yourself feel, it is even more difficult to allow the expression of another person's feelings to penetrate the crust of your own self-involvement.
A sign of the quality of your relationship and of your own emotional capabilities is the ability to truly take in another person's emotional content.
Reach for this capacity today; allow the person you love to touch you, move you, even to enrage you, for receiving another person's feelings is the measure of the maturity of your love.
Honoring Your Spirit
Spiritual abuse is the subtlest form of unlove that we know. It means that in the most sensitive avenue of our being, the place in us that is connected with the deepest truths of the universe, we are treated like idiots or morons, told we don't know what we know, don't feel what we feel. Instead of having our spiritual gifts acknowledged by those around us, we have our precious perceptions negated when they occur.
Because, in general, we don't take account of our spirits, we are often also unaware of how deeply they have been bruised and mistreated. The healing for a hurt and wounded spirit is the love with which you honor it yourself. So begin now to honor your beautiful spirit by trusting what you see, feel, and know.
The Mother of Your Friends
To the mother of each of your friends you owe a great debt. These are the women who gave birth to the people with whom you share the pleasures of life. The consequences of their nurturing—and even of their failures—are what you have now to treasure and enjoy through all the days of your friendships.
So today, find a way to express your appreciation for the love that has been passed on to you because of the mothers of your friends. Send a card or note, or, when the opportunity arises, tell them directly how grateful you feel. Something like: "Thank you for bringing ______ into the world and for all that you did to help her become the friend that I cherish. I want you to know how much I appreciate and enjoy her, how very grateful I am to you for being her wonderful mother."
The Gifted Lover
From time to time we are given the gift of a wonderful lover, a person whose special grace brings us into the physical presence of the holy. Because of his or her beautifully developed sensuality, we are reminded that sexual passion is one of the most precious pleasures of being alive.
If you have been given the gift of a wonderful lover, allow yourself to receive it. Acknowledge the power of sexual healing to change you, to make you more beautifully whole. And give thanks to the person whose capacity to love you as a body allows you to encounter a new depth of loving with your soul.
Love As Duty
Love doesn't always consist of doing what we "feel like" doing. Love is also a duty, what we have chosen to do because we have made a commitment to loving. Dutiful love demands that we move beyond the impulse of momentary sensation and reach for what love calls upon us to do, rather than just how it makes us feel.
Thus we not only love our children because they delight us, we love—and discipline—them in order that they may grow up to be whole human beings. We love our parents not because they loved us perfectly, but because we have made a commitment to honor them for the places they hold in our history. We love our friends through a fiery argument because we have made a commitment to be steadfast in our friendship; and we love ourselves even when we are disappointed in our own behavior, because as a spiritual duty we have made a commitment to honor ourselves.
Making Peace with Your Body
Making peace with your body, accepting it as it is, nurturing it with your care, feeding it well, strengthening it with exercise, admiring its beautiful aspects, honoring it with comfortable clothes, treating it as a temple, enjoying it as a ballroom, being awed by it as a palace—all these are expressions of healthy physical self-honoring.
Being at peace with your body isn't easy. It takes effort. At the most complex level it means coming to terms with the fact that your body both is and is not your essence. Therefore, making peace with it is a paradox. You must nurture it as though it will last forever—at the same time knowing that it will break down and that, at the end of your life, you will finally have to abandon it.
Living with this paradox is a challenging spiritual lesson, but living it out in awareness is the highest kind of love you can give to your miraculous body.
Emotional Hide and Seek
When you don't express your feelings directly, in a sense you make emotional servants out of the people around you. Instead of taking a risk and being clear—asking for what you need, saying what you feel—you manipulate others through silence, sickness, absence, or moodiness into trying to figure out how to love you.
The inability or unwillingness to express your feelings is a form of emotional tyranny and not a way of maintaining privacy as you may think.
Risking self-revelation is an act of vulnerability that always fosters the deepening of any relationship. So don't be an emotional scaredy-cat. Say what you feel today and strengthen the bonds of your love by taking the risk of revealing yourself.
An Absence of Strangers
Every human being is your counterpart. Every other human being possesses and embodies aspects of yourself: your dreams, your sorrows, your hope that your life will not turn out to be a dirty joke.
For each one of us there was a time when the world was young, a springtime of spirit that was tested by the winters of discontent, and in the midst of each of our lives lies the haunting shadow of death. Therefore we are all quite alike; indeed at the core we are all one—all lost and found in the same mysterious enterprise that is life.
Hold this truth in your heart as you go about your day, and the world will cease to be inhabited by strangers. The journey of life will no longer be a process of loneliness. Indeed you will find a kindred soul in everyone you meet.
The Meaning of Family
The members of your family were given to you to help shape you. You may not always love them. They may not always understand you. In fact, your most important experience of them may come when, because of your differences, you separate from them. But they are your teachers and sculptors. Their influences, more than almost any other in your lifetime, formed you.
If you have parents, brothers, and sisters who share your life's pleasures and sorrows, who, comfortably, you enjoy; be thankful for them. But if your family members are people whose lifestyles and values diverge so painfully far from your own that you feel like a stranger among them, give thanks for them too. For in the crucible of their inability to understand you they have defined you, insisted that you discover most deeply who you are, forced you, without their even quite intending to, into your truest and most beautiful becoming.
A Process in Time
Those whom we have wounded may be able to forgive us only sometime in the future. Just because you feel better now that you've screamed and raved about whatever it was that scared you, doesn't mean that your darling, the dartboard for your outpourings, will have recovered from your hysterical attack the minute that you're done with it.
Forgiveness is a process in time, the time it takes to understand the deeper motivations of the person who was mindlessly cruel, the time it takes for new experiences to be applied like soft gauze bandages over scraped hearts and bruised feelings. You may want forgiveness now; be ready to return to a state of balance, but that can't always happen according to your own sense of timing.
Therefore, if you have wounded someone and desire forgiveness— a return to the way things were before the bad thing happened—you must not only apologize, but also have patience. Forgiveness takes time.
Your One and Only
Your body is the cocoon for your soul. It is you. Whatever you do in your life will be expressed through it in one way or another. It is a material construction of the rarest components, of the most elegant capacities.
Therefore, its well-being is of infinite importance. Everything you dream of for your life is posited on having your health. So love yourself by taking care of your one and only beautiful and precious body.
The Grace of Gratitude
Gratitude is an act of grace, a way of blessing yourself into a future abundance of gifts. For when you are grateful you open a channel of receiving in yourself. You develop the sense that what you have already been given, you can be given again.
In relation to others, gratitude is good manners; in relation to ourselves, it is a habit of the heart and a spiritual discipline. For when we are grateful, we expect the cosmos to bless us.
What specific things in your life do you have to be thankful for today? By making a list of them, you can be consciously grateful. And gratitude is the way to make blessings happen again.
They Weren't There for Me
Often when people are mad at their parents they'll say, "they weren't there for me." When people say this they are usually referring to some vague pain, not to the specific disappointment they felt with one or another parent.
She wasn't there after school, waiting with cookies and milk? He wasn't at home at all? He wouldn't talk to you? She didn't tuck you in bed or read you stories at bedtime?
We say our parents "weren't there" because we don't want to feel a particular pain or our fear that the future will consist of others who won't "be there" for us. In order not to repeat the past, we need to specifically identify our pain so that now, in the present that contains the possibility of being loved, we can ask for what we want and notice that, more than we ever imagined, we can and we do receive it.
Behavior Has Consequences
Behavior has consequences. They may not be noticeable or immediate, but in time they will make themselves inescapably clear. If you drink to excess now the consequences of your habit may not be visible for ten or twenty years; but in time you will see them. If you offer the gift of healing love now, the rewards of your gift likewise may not be apparent for decades.
But make no mistake, what you do will bear fruit. And whether that fruit is a poison apple that will bring your life to an untimely close or a rare exotic flower that will open your awareness to worlds beyond worlds, know this: whatever you are doing now will surely have a result.
Therefore undertake your words and actions with conscious awareness, knowing that what they are now is only the merest seedling of what, in time, they will become.
Letting go of the reins—of life, of the person you love, of the way you think things ought to be—allows you to open to the possibility of love.
Relinquishing control is an act of faith and of supreme liberation. For the love that comes into view when you do this is real love—not love as you thought, imagined, or expected, not love according to your plan, but the kind of love that, unasked for and unruly as a rainstorm or a wild animal, seizes you by the heart and makes you whole again.
This is the love that will teach you, change you, and shape you, the love which in being so big and asking so much, will show you who you are and what you came here to do.
Where do you need to let go of the reins? In what circumstances can you surrender control? How can you open the door to real love?
The Joy of Love
Above all, love is to be enjoyed. I often hear people talk about "working on" their relationships or on any one of a dozen issues within them, as if their relationships were only difficult—mechanical, problematic, pieces of machinery perennially breaking down and needing non-stop repair.
A relationship does take effort, and we have to be willing to do the required work. But we also need to remember that love is above all a pleasure, a treasure to delight in, a miracle to savor, a gift to be enjoyed.
Today, don't "work on" your love. Abandon all effort and allow it just to be.
For No Reason Whatsoever
Love isn't based on merit; it's a gift from the angels. No matter how much we may try to be worthy of it or insist it into our lives—by preparing ourselves, by being in the right place, by trying to be deserving—love when it comes is a purely gratuitous gift, an unexpected miracle.
You do need to do all you can to entice love to knock on your door, but at the same time you need to remember that when it arrives it has come both because of and despite everything you have done.
Love appears for no reason whatsoever—and for every reason. It's a favor from the angels, not a consequence of effort.
The Power of Proximity
Through a process of almost mystical osmosis, proximity generates transformation. We experience another person's essence through the possibilities we see ourselves enacting just because of being close to them. There are certain ways we change only and precisely because of being in another person's presence.
For this reason, we need to choose the persons with whom we surround ourselves with the utmost care—whose breath we breathe, whose sleep we dream, whose words we hear—knowing that in time and through proximity we will, inevitably, take on the colorations of their character.
To see those who share the intimate space of your life in this light is to see them differently. Whose intimate presence fills you with peace? With play? With joy?
The Ultimate Connection
Love is what connects us to the spiritual. This is the deepest reason we seek it. We don't always consciously know this. We imagine we want love because it distracts and delights us, but actually we look for it because it meets us at the level of our most profound longing.
After we have tried to satisfy ourselves in all the ways we do, with diversions and achievements, we eventually return to the aching inner yearning for the real thing: the love that liberates us from the endless little and big disappointments of our lives, the love that delivers us to the life of the spirit, which only and always can truly fill our hearts.
Excerpted from 365 Days of Love by DAPHNE ROSE KINGMA. Copyright © 1992 Daphne Rose Kingma. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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