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LOVE- The Story of a Life, of Any Life

September 8, 2009

It’s time to write about LOVE. I haven’t written about it for some time, although this blog is a labor of love, and both the ‘Mommy’ and the ‘Mystic’ part of ‘Mommy Mystic’ are all about love. Certainly love is the only thing that keeps parents going some days, fueling us through tantrums and stomach flus, missed curfews  and rebellions. And perhaps the only teaching mystics from all the world’s traditions can agree on is that love is the essence of our being, and that all the individual loves we experience in our lives – parents, children, partners, friends – are like refractions from a prism, brightening and focusing this essence for us.

I wanted to write about love this week because it’s been about three months since my friend and student Matt passed unexpectedly in June, and his 31st birthday would have been a few days ago. His entire life and path oriented around love, and his parents and friends have started a foundation in his honor, highlighting this. I haven’t written much about him here because I didn’t think it was my place. But the timing feels right now, and I think this foundation is a beautiful idea and would like to help publicize it (and for you Stumblers out there, I have stumbled it, please click through and add your thumbs-up to do so too if you like.)

As you’ll read on the foundation site, on one level Matt wasn’t subtle about his mission. He was a huge Dave Matthews Band fan, and years ago when attending a concert (a common event – his family found 78 DMB ticket stubs in his safe) he got the inspiration to make a big sign that simply said ‘LOVE’. With a friend’s help he did so, and held it up for the entire concert. He did that at every concert he attended after that. After his death his friends and family contacted Dave Matthews, who remembered Matt and his sign well, and dedicated a concert to him (you can hear the audio on the foundation site). In addition, many fans who had never personally met Matt began to hear of his passing and remembered his sign, and one has made a beautiful photo collection featuring it. (One of the foundation’s main fundraisers is pins and stickers with his LOVE logo on it.)

Matt’s sign was a wonderful, fun way that he demonstrated his connection to love, and what I particularly like about this act is its fearlessness. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him and his sign. He wanted to stand for love, so he did it. And this fearlessness was one of his defining characteristics on his spiritual journey too. He was willing to face any part of himself in his quest to know love at the core of his being, and in his mission to bring that through him out into the world. He was willing to question, to see the shadows, and to abandon the walls so many of us build in the name of self-protection, but which so often block us from the love inside us instead. In that he was unusual, especially for one so young – he seemed to know that he didn’t have much time. I had never seen someone radiate out so much love when meditating, and he was largely unaware of it. Again, it was fearless. Love is the antidote for fear, love is courage.

Matt did all this quietly however – even his sign was not something I personally heard him talk much about. In daily interactions, he lived love in smaller ways, in little kindnesses, which of course is where the rubber really meets the road. He would crack a joke to relax others, stay late to clean up the room after a class, be the first to volunteer to rent a car on retreats. And when speaking with friends and co-workers after his passing, I learned of so many other little ways Matt lived love in his daily life – sitting with a woman who had just had a minor car accident outside his work until the paramedics arrived, comforting the friend of a friend who was distraught at a party, cleaning out the work refrigerator, giving up birthday presents and asking his family to give to charity instead.

I don’t want to give the impression that Matt was some sort of holier-than-thou type walking amongst us. He was a normal twenty-something, with an apartment and a sales job, who loved to play touch football on the beach and hang out at bars with his friends (and go to DMB concerts of course.) But that is exactly the point. As much as I love to write about history’s ‘saints’ and ‘masters’ and ‘mystics’, whether our name is ever written down or remembered as theirs was is obviously not the point. We are each part of a fabric of love, a thread in the weave amongst our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, blog-commenters and even Twitter followers. And what we radiate out impacts every single one of them, impacts the entire fabric, and that in turn impacts their fabric, and so on and so on. The way Matt’s life is rippling out and generating changes and insights amongst every one who knew him (and many who didn’t) is truly awesome, and the best use of any life, in my view.

I also don’t think love is necessarily the driving orientation of everyone’s spiritual quest either, although it’s always the destination. In Matt’s case, they happened to align. In my own, I would say I have been more driven by a quest for truth, on many levels. And I think people orient through all different themes – peace, joy, power, stillness, compassion, wisdom, knowledge. But they all lead to love. Truth and love are the same, power and love are the same. Sometimes they appear in contrast at the relative level we live on, in the realm of action and ideas. But ultimately, they all come together, and that may be another thing all the world’s mystics could agree on.

So there you go, the story of a life, the lesson of a life, and in a way the story and lesson of all our lives. In honor of Matt, try to live the love inside you today, bring it forth in some small way, out into the world, instead of leaving it dormant inside you. Face down the shadows, the problems, the irritations, all the things your mind tries to tell you are more pressing than love. There is nothing more pressing.

And if you like, in the comments (which I live for) share your own thoughts on love – in life, in meditation, in religion or spirituality, in any context you like. Or share the memory or story of someone in your own life that has taught you what love really means. As always, thank you for reading. Namaste-

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 8:39 pm

    Oh, Lisa… I love this! I wondered if you would ever write about your friend that passed. Sometimes it’s easier not to, but I’m glad you are sharing this story because now WE get to know him too!

    I wrote a post for Urban Monk once, about how Love and Compassion can cure depression. The reason for that post was a dear friend of mine who had taken his own life during a phase of despondency. What’s interesting about this now is his birthday would’ve been a couple of days ago (on the 6th).

    I spent that day with Jay (of Porsidan), who is such a loving a compassionate soul. I remembered my friend and thought to myself how happy he would be knowing that I was in such good company that day. It was a total celebration of life and good times.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling… but I really loved that you shared this story with us. 🙂

  2. mommymystic permalink*
    September 8, 2009 8:41 pm

    Lisis, I remember your Urban Monk post, it was so wonderful and powerful. I’m glad this one struck a chord. It is true, love is the answer. I am all about cliches today, I don’t care!!

  3. September 8, 2009 10:14 pm

    This is a truly beautiful post, Lisa. I loved it. My spirituality is all about love, and connecting with the Divine, universal love that ties us all together. I spend so much time reading about the different spiritual traditions in the world, finding common themes between them, and trying to resolve the conflicts that separate them from each other. I love how you wrapped it all up into one nice, eat little package with these lines:

    “I think people orient through all different themes – peace, joy, power, stillness, compassion, wisdom, knowledge. But they all lead to love.”

    More than anything else I have ever read, anywhere, that speaks of “truth” to me.

    Love,
    Jay

  4. September 8, 2009 11:30 pm

    “…peace, joy, power, stillness, compassion, wisdom, knowledge. But they all lead to love.”

    I love this part. It reminds me that we all come from the same source (no matter what you choose to call it) and that source is LOVE.

  5. September 9, 2009 12:07 am

    Lisa,

    I want to thank you for sharing this story about Matt. I admire greatly the magnitude and and impact of his simple gesture. Does love need to be complicated anyway? I think not.

    I am going to share this story with others. It has impacted me on a deep level.

  6. mommymystic permalink*
    September 9, 2009 1:58 am

    Jay and Lori – I am glad you both liked this part! This is kind of how I have come to view the different religions and spiritual traditions, at least from the perspective of personal experience – that they each offer a different doorway to love, and we are drawn to the one that resonates with our own proclivities and needs in a given period or lifetime.

    Keith – I am so glad Matt’s story has resonated with you, nothing could make me happier. And thanks for visiting.

  7. September 9, 2009 2:57 am

    Your friend, Matt, sounded like a true inspiration. I would have loved to know him. You are indeed blessed to have been touched by his kindness and light to all.

    Love is the most powerful healing energy. I have been working with it in matters of self-love and helping others through sharing the steps I have taken. As a Raphaelite myself, I find it easy to connect with others through the heart chakra.

    Yes, I have reached the same conclusion as you that all journeys ultimately lead to remembering that one is Divine Love. May you be blessed always!

    Evelyn

  8. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2009 7:40 am

    Namaste

  9. September 9, 2009 9:56 am

    Lisa,
    I have to tell you, I became completely pulled in to the many levels that Matt connected with people, as I read not only here but also at the sympathytree website. And as I sit here and think about all of this, and what does it really mean – to me – I go back to what you’ve said here: “We are each part of a fabric of love, a thread in the weave…”. And truly what kind of fabric are we (am I)? Am I fabric that holds up under all the things life throws at me, or do I break under pressure?

    Lisa, it’s so clear that Matt was filled with a deep and meaningful love. And what a beautiful way to touch our world, than to give a little love out in all of our days. The “Love” sign is a real visual of this – yet it’s really the things that happen, every day, that really define what this was. And that is really where this young man shined his love into the world.

    So, is love always easy? That’s the question I’m asking myself today. I want to say that it is, that choosing love is the easy choice always. Yet, I know there are moments when that’s not what happens. Why? Why not choose love? Lisa, today I do. Choose love. Consciously. Even when my kids are fighting. Even when I’m late for an appointment. Even when something I’m doing fails. Even when my wife and I have a disagreement. Today I choose love. And I do believe it’s there, in all of us.

    Lisa, what a beautiful message you’ve shared, and what a gift Matt continues to spread!

  10. September 9, 2009 11:14 am

    Hi Lisa – he sounds like a beautiful man, who expressed his love freely. I really like the way you describe love as being the destination of a spiritual quest rather than the path – we have different themes for our journeys. And I agree – there is nothing more pressing than clearng away the blocks to experiencing love. We need it!

  11. September 9, 2009 6:15 pm

    You have said it all, Lisa, in this brief, but heartfelt post. “Face down the shadows, the problems, the irritations, all the things your mind tries to tell you are more pressing than love. There is nothing more pressing.” “This is it,” (as my friend, Kenny sings) there is nothing more important than stripping out and away all that keeps us from living with wide-open hearts. You are such a powerful role model, MM, to that end, and I am so glad we connected last fall. That was a holy encounter….

    So here’s to us, to all of us, and to continuing to live in Love, the Love that we already are. May each awaken to this and leave fear behind. Now. Love to you!

  12. mommymystic permalink*
    September 9, 2009 7:38 pm

    Evelyn – thanks for mentioning self-love, I think it is easy to forget the importance of this, as we can’t truly love others as a manifestation of love if we don’t know ourselves as that also.

    Lance – I am glad you liked the ‘fabric’ metaphor, although I think others have used it before me so I can’t take credit! (I started out with ‘web’, but I kept thinking of spiders which wasn’t exactly what I was going for.) I actually think you are an example of this fabric idea in the way you comment on the blogs we both visit. All of your comments are always so supportive, positive, and insightful. I know that you truly put time, thought and heart into every single one, and it impacts everyone who reads it. To me that is a perfect example, and I suspect that you pour that into all the fabrics you are a part of.

    Robin – Thanks Robin, you can see now why I was intrigued by your own post this week, as it connected so well to what I was trying to say here. More on that in your comments, when I get back there (and the Oprah thread, which I still do plan to read – it’s on my rather long ‘to-do’ list!!)

    Jan – thanks Jan, you have written very eloquently on this yourself at times. Love to you too.

  13. September 10, 2009 1:46 am

    Love is a beautiful sentiment. To choose to celebrate the life of someone you care for is a menaingful gesture. Where love is the underlying intention for an initiative, then soul knows you are on the right track. You are connecting with the centre of being.

  14. September 10, 2009 3:09 am

    Hi Lisa.
    And in this post Matt is sharing once more his love through you.
    It is the love that we are that will live on.
    What else is there to do than what Matt did “Matt lived love in his daily life”.
    As you say that is where the rubber hits the road, nowhere else.
    He shined and showed us what life is, love in action.
    Love Wilma

  15. September 10, 2009 1:52 pm

    This is woderful post, both in sentiment and its prose.

    I especially enjoyed how you pointed out that love isn’t necessaily eevrybody’s “driving orientation”. Many wesites/books fail to appreciate this and often people are left feeling as if they are inferior onthe great spiritual quest, or somehow missing something. We are all created differently, and that’s part of the beauty of the human experience too.

    Mine was Truth for the longest time, now… it’s something else.

    I know it might be what seems an obvious one – motherhood, but it isn’t. Not in the overwhelming deepest love that I have for my child, but in the experience of being a mother. Specifics such as the meaning of relationship, acceptance, surrender, creativity, etc. they all point me to Love.

    I’m trying to stumble without the stumble bar, not sure if I can. Am looking…

  16. mommymystic permalink*
    September 10, 2009 4:07 pm

    Wilma- “It is the love that we are that will live on”, thanks for that. That is our legacy.

    Mon – I’m glad you liked this post. It was a tough one for me to write – a bit sappy for my Aquarius moon:-) And of course since it was a tribute, I wanted to get it just right. I think I know what you mean about motherhood itself not being the driving orientation for your path, but it being part of a larger theme. That’s how I feel about it too.

  17. September 10, 2009 4:55 pm

    Wonderful tribute. Sounds like he was the real thing. Love is the main point to me too – and it’s much clearer and easier to point to a real-life example like Matt than discuss in the abstract!

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