you know why you are advised to keep your gas tank close to full, or at the very least, not to let it get to empty, right?
if you don’t know — or if you have very little to do with cars and gas tanks and such things — the reason is that there is naturally-occuring sediment in gasoline. when you top up, it sinks down; the sediment collects at the very bottom of your gas tank.
it is perfectly innocuous until …
… you let your tanks run low or run out of gas entirely. and then, the sediment starts to circulate through the car’s system, causing problems, mucking up the works.
strange, murky sediment gets kicked up when we let our own gas tanks run low.
i’m becoming a resident expert (and should have an honorary degree by now) in all the reasons and seasons, seen and unseen, cosmic and practical, that my personal gas tank runs low.
one piece of sediment that kicked up recently for me showed its mottled and mangy face one sunday afternoon while talking over tea with friends.
i mentioned that sometimes i feel that (although i am usually and rationally clear the people in my life care deeply about me and love me absolutely) that their love and all love feels unstable.
i further explained my piece of sediment to these friends: that as long as i am doing and saying the things that generate love, then i feel loved and cared for. as long as i’m making the love flow, all’s well.
but the moment i stop generating, it seems that the love drifts somehow. it floats away, and i float away from the minds and hearts of the people i love and who love me.
(doesn’t matter if i know this isn’t “true” — i and we don’t hold our limitations and sediment in our rational parts.)
there’s a contraption i’ve heard about but have yet to see with my own eyes, which is a bike that is hooked up to a power source. for example, you could go to your local smoothie shop, get on the bike and pedal, and make the blender go. you power your own smoothie getting smooth. (i’ve often thought this would be great for kids; if they want to watch a tv show, they have to pedal to keep the tv going).
my little piece of sediment operates like that: “want a love smoothie? pedal, sucka.”
one of my friends, jennifer, turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, “i understand how that occurs for you and of course that it’s more true for you when your reserves are low, but i wish i could bequeath to you my own world-view on love.”
“which is?” i asked.
“that love is assumed. that people’s care for me is enduring and robust. that i am loved beyond what i can see with my naked eye. that i have such a well of regard from the people that i love, that very little i could do or say could shake their love and care for me.”
that one grabbed me by the short hairs and shook me deeply and well, lovingly. that’s the grace of trading one belief (or world-view) for another. sometimes it happens in a moment like a flash of heat lightening, and sometimes it soaks in slowly, like rain on parched earth.
what if i assumed love was assumed, enduring, robust, unshakable?
how much less would i be compelled to pedal? how much freer would i be to notice afresh how the world — and the people in it — are telling and showing me they love me, all the time?
how much freer would i be, to be all the facets of me, instead of favoring like a favored child, the ones that can pedal the fastest, hardest and longest?
walking home from that tea, i got nearly knocked over by the scent from a hedge row of night-blooming jasmine. it was rich, sweet and unapologetic.
my dizzy brain remembered these lines from a mary oliver poem:
“i don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
the sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
then a wren in the privet began to sing.
he was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
i don’t know why. and yet, why not.
but i thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?”
so, then it seems that this must be done:
1. collect love evidence.
what are the seen and unseen ways the world — and the people in it — are trying to knock you over with the sheer volume and intensity of their love for you?
… the leaves on the japanese maple, shaking in the wind, saying, “hey you, i see those fine tail feathers you have. shake ‘em with me, sister!”
… the perfectly sanded table top, saying, “when you rest your hand here, feel the hours spent making my surface velvet. feel as though i could touch your cheek. feel welcome; feel at rest.
… the love letter from last year, still in its original envelope, with a chocolate smudge on the corner, saying, “the feelings ink-dripped onto my pages may have shape-shifted, but their essence and power remains, indelible.”
… this article.
2. perfect your prayer.
if you are jasmine, by god, be your jasmine-y-est jasmine self. your swaying-est, yellow-est, sunflower-est self.
howl when your lungs say, howl. sexy-dance when your hips say, sway. let your silence be jewel-toned.
we can take it. in fact, we need it.
this world is busy re-making itself in the shape of love, and this world now has a place for me, for you, at our largest, boldest and brightest — and our most grief-soaked, hell-bent and shriveled.
as in, what’s landing for you.
as in, grace the comments below.
i know you can hear me. 🙂 and i want to hear you.
i’ll meet you there,