Love and Respect

Happy New Year!  Or as Byron Katie says, “Happy New Moment!”  We have this utterly delightful and ridiculous propensity to be both eternal and ever-changing at the same time:  this human existence.  I love that I can come home to my parents’ house and put up the Christmas tree we’ve had since high school every Christmas.  I love that each year, there are new ornaments.  I love that there are ornaments from junior high and high school on the tree.  And I love that the day after the first of the year, today, January 2, 2014, I can take down all the ornaments and know how my Dad liked them put away and stored.  Each year, the person who comes home to my parents – me – is the same ol’ me – and yet, totally different.  This year, 2013, was the first year we celebrated Christmas without my Dad in his physical body.  And strangely enough, I did not feel sorrow, sadness nor grief.  I miss talking to him.  I miss hugging him. But in my heart, I feel that he is always with me and with his family.  His love for his family is that love that is both eternal and never-changing.  And our love for him is the same.  Family is forever.

Yogafly,  Yoga Illumined

As I meditated on the past few years of my life and this very moment, I heard again a lesson I heard from Joan Suval at Ananda Ashram years ago.  She explained that what we are all wanting – even beyond Love – is Respect.


An old friend and I recently discussed the many different ways people (specifically adults over the age of 30) choose to express Love.  We talked about how some folks we know, who are more destructive than constructive, like to explain that they are “doing the best they can.”   These folks are “doing the best they can” while trampling all over the flowers you spent time tending in your garden.  Most of the time, these are unconscious acts, and are not intentionally malicious.  But destructive all the same.   Other times they are intentional and malicious.  So are these destructive people showing us love?  And are we meant to love them even when they spend time shitting all over our yards?   Yes.  It’s the same love we show to children – “oh young child, we know you are still learning to wield your emotions, your tempers, your energy – and as you do so, you may be much more inclined to destroy.”  My sweet three-year-old nephew, for instance, is in his “Look Ma, I broke this!”  phase.  Yes, we love – AND – just as we gently remind our young children how to play and work well with others, we show these adults love back by telling them it is inappropriate for them to trample all over our flowers.  And we put up loving boundaries.  And teach them how to respect us and all beings.  There’s that word:  Respect.

Respect is why we learn to temper our passions and our infinite capacity to wreak havoc with our emotions.  Because we know that we are not the only people on this planet and that every little, tiny action we choose affects the whole of humanity in its own humbling, tiny way. Each tiny action is a wave, crashing into other waves to create a huge tidal wave of Unconscious OR Conscious choice.

Dignity.  To uphold all Sentient Beings’ dignity is what we mean by Respect.  It is what we mean by the word “Namaste” in Sanskrit.  Namaste means “I respect you because I respect myself.”    To this great place of respect within each of us, we bow.



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