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Of Gratitude and Love, A Reflection

My anchor lies deeper within substantial relationships, acknowledgements, self-awareness, belonging, and again, faith.

Hey, let’s start by setting the mood. I am listening to A Place to Call Home by Michael Ottosson as I write this, on repeat. There is something sweet about the melody, more so because it has the same tune as a portion of Maleficent’s ending score (it’s a really teeny part, but enough to leave an impression).

Funny enough, “a place to call home” is a great theme to start this reflection with. As I have written in previous blog posts, I moved to California in August 2021. It would be an understatement to say a lot has changed. Especially since the past month or so has brought huge ones in my life. Purposeful changes.

I will try to keep this reflection short, since I have other pressing things I need to attend to. With all that is happening, I felt a pull to share Of Gratitude and Love, which are significant parts of my life throughout this journey.

I am a fortunate soul, I believe. I am always blessed with good people wherever my feet take me and this comes with a firm faith in knowing I will be okay. From near or far, love is palpable in my life. Not a shallow love based on appearances and niceties, those are good to have, but they are fleeting. My anchor lies deeper within substantial relationships, acknowledgements, self-awareness, belonging, and again, faith.

Sometimes it can be difficult to explain what I mean when I say, “I am so Loved.” I found this challenging recently as I come to terms with the fact that people will develop different perceptions of who I am. Thankfully, from years of practice and healing, I know these perceptions do not reflect my truth. And that’s where fact and truth differs. That is where I find acceptance.

When I talk about Love, with a capital “L,” I am referring to a love that encompasses time and distance. Someone who comes to mind is my grandfather. Even after his passing, moments we shared which became core memories of my childhood are alive and well in my heart. Despite those years not being as perfect as it was, this innate love I experienced leaves me with an overflow of gratitude. The fact is: he is gone. The truth is: his love was so powerful, it still impacts me to this day. He gave me the space to explore my creativity, even if it meant making a mess or bothering him while woodworking; he encouraged my love for music with afternoons of watching live concerts on DVD and bragging to my mom when I memorized the words enough to sing along; and he was the first person who showed me that genuine generosity does not seek something in return.

And now I realize, that he is still teaching me a lot of things about love. Of course, definitions of love are subjective. Now that I am reflecting, I resonate with feeling loved when I am seen, simply for who I am. Because that’s who I strive to be, frankly, that’s who I am most competitive with: myself.

Another part of it is feeling a sense of connection with others, most importantly, belonging. Belonging with an individual or a group requires a certain understanding of each other, again, not only on surface characteristics and traits, more on the essence of the person.

The thing is, I don’t only experience this kind of love with my family. And that’s where I count myself as fortunate. How lucky am I to experience this love in most, if not all, environments I fall upon? Perhaps it’s not luck, but as I mentioned earlier, an acknowledgement. An acknowledgement of gratitude with the people who share that Love with me and an acknowledgement within myself to know that those parts of me are worthy of being loved. Thus, making the acceptance of it much easier.

It hasn’t always been like this. But I am glad to have this perspective now, when it counts. Despite making friends and welcoming purposeful, positive changes in my life, I can’t help but feel lonely sometimes and miss my family and people I value in Hawaii. Like I have been saying, the facts are different from the truth. And the truth is my anchor during these times.

During these times I realize that a home is not just a place, it’s the love that surpasses time and distance. It’s the people who make it count.

Instead of fearing to lose this, like past me would, I recognize that love based in fear are not a part of my anchor. Regardless, I am grateful to experience love in both ways – fleeting or otherwise.

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