Loving What Is

April 17, 2014

Recently, I’ve been reading Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is,” which I consider to be a pretty good introduction to her work. She’s a luminary in the self-help field, and has helped many people to work through their suffering to a place of peace. Pain is inevitable, she says, but it’s your own untrue thoughts about that pain that cause suffering on top of it. Confront those thoughts, and you remove suffering. Katie will argue against your thoughts on anything — heartbreak, cancer. Heartbreak AND cancer.

That’s powerful enough, but that isn’t all of it. The title of her book isn’t “Not Totally Hating What Is,” or “Tolerating What Is With A Tub of Ben & Jerry’s And Some Wine.” It’s not just about putting down those thoughts that conflict with the objective world.

It’s about what you do afterwards. Or maybe about what you don’t. See, what do you have left when you burn yourself clean in your own fires and release all your drama and strain and desperate pleas for things to be different?

You have love.

I just saw this great little video about “The Love Monkey,” about a little monkey who starts off his journey with a perfect, shiny red heart. As he goes about his life, struggling through hardship and insult, his heart wears down. It becomes rough and riddled with fissures, ragged and almost unrecognizable.

At the end of the story, this weathered remainder of his poor little monkey heart is all he has left. He crawls onto the sand, sad and somewhat ashamed.

And some other monkey, with her own roughed-up heart, finds it wonderful.

What’s left at the end of your own difficult, awful, stories? Your own beautiful little hearts.

If I could hug you all and call you ‘sweetheart,’ like Byron Katie does, I would, but I don’t have the gravitas she does. What I do have is this:

Hold up your bruised and crumbling heart like a beacon on a mountain top for us all to see, a message of love and compassion for yourself and others.

It’s what is.