On my last day in Bali this May (after teaching a workshop) I let myself go for it and feel utterly sorry for myself. Tears poured down my face and into my tea. I was remembering that the year before (also when I was returning home from Bali) the man I had been dating hadn’t arranged to pick me up at the airport. In fact, he had made plans with a “new friend” and when I called him from arrivals he mentioned that maybe he might be free to see me the following week. The following week! after I had been gone for so long. Ouch. I put the phone down, cried on the curb, and waited for a Lyft driver to come get me.
“And now this time,” I wept to my new friend Michelle, “the guy I’m seeing doesn’t even know I’m coming home! He never even asked what day I arrive… what’s wrong with me?”
Then we discovered that we were actually arriving at SFO within 30 minutes of each other. “My boyfriend will pick us both up!” she exclaimed.
I felt grateful… and also awash in shame. I felt pathetic. Needy. Third wheel to her romantic airport reunion.
I found her man in arrivals before Michelle got through customs. He was dressed up, wearing a green button down shirt and a bright smile. “Are you E?” I asked. He beamed. “Yes!” and thrust a bouquet of sunflowers into my hands.
I burst into tears, totally caught off guard. “Thank you..” I choked as I hugged him. “No one should arrive home from such a long journey and not be met with flowers at the gate,” he told me. And then I couldn’t speak because I had to keep crying and so he put his arms around me while we waited for Michelle.
“There’s a lot of love out there!” a friend told me recently, after describing her very unsatisfying marriage, “and I intend to get it!” And I’ve thought of this a lot lately. There’s a lot of love out there…
Sometimes we think it needs to come from one particular person, or it doesn’t count if it comes from someone else’s boyfriend. But that love, the love in those sunflowers, from a man I’ve never met, went straight to my heart. His love for Michelle that made him want to do something kind for me… and in this way I got to have it too.
It’s my birthday today.
And there is some part of my mind that wants to tell me that things should be different. That my life should look a certain way. That love should be coming to me in a different form. That my life is broken. Or that I am.
But here’s the truth: I woke up today to a flurry of love notes on Facebook and even a tribute from my friend and mentor SARK. Friends and family called. My Wild Writing class (led by Laurie Wagner) will arrive at my house soon and we will tell our sacred stories. My house is warm and quiet and candlelit and surrounded by redwood trees. My girlfriends will make me dinner tonight and we’ll laugh and watch the finale of Project Runway.
There’s a lot of love out there indeed… but there’s also a lot of love in here now. Self-love has been showing up in so many ways lately. Today it’s in receiving all the kindness, all the love that is available to me, in all its forms. It’s love arising in me. It’s love moving through me. It’s not someone giving it to me so much as me being willing/open to being a receptor of love. SARK honored me this morning by saying, “Andrea is one of those rare souls who sees with love eyes and goes into the dark and illuminates it.”
I am learning to do the most important work of my life – to see myself through the lens of love. To go into my own darkness with love eyes and illuminate it.
Thank you all for being in my world!
P.S. The BIG superhero necklace sale continues for a few more days! Get $40 off anything in my Etsy store.
Wishing lots and lots of love today, inside and out, birthday girl, from yesterday’s birthday girl 🙂
Happy Birthday to YOU!!! The beauty, magic and amusement you create brings even more!!!! Thank you.
Aww, girl! Happy Birthday. Do you know how much love you shower onto the world?! Tonight I will light a candle in celebration of you. xo
Thank you for sharing that beautiful, vulnerable story. Wishing you so much love, in all its forms, in this new year. May your love for yourself continue sink its roots deeper into your soul and may your love for others continue to radiate further outward into the world. May true, connected, passionate, nurturing, tender, spacious love find you. Happy birthday, Andrea!
YES! I think about this all the time. Love has come to me through so many channels in this life (family, friends, teachers, sweethearts, husband…). And, I have been a channel for so many different kinds of love (as a daughter, friend, sweetheart, godmother, stepmother, wife…). So grateful for all of it!!
Sending you love on your birthday – and always!
I loved the comment by mhck to this article:
Not that I want to analogize your situation to someone dying, God forbid, but I liked the commenter’s thoughts (“Being ignored by someone you love while they stare into a laptop is surprisingly easy to achieve”), even more than the author’s.
Another beautiful, beautiful, amazingly moving post.
Love from far away,
Oh Andrea! Happy Birthday.
Thank you for this story. Oh, I relate – and I am also “learning to see myself through the lens of love.”
Much love, Beautiful Andrea!
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