I found love in my lunch break today. I passed through the Tate Modern on my way to a meeting and there it was in big letters. LOVE. I don’t know about you, but I love love. Can’t get enough of it.
By that, I don’t mean the romantic kind. That stuff is overrated and highly pressured. You’ve never seen a more terrified creature than my husband on Valentine’s Day – he has never forgotten the time I lost it on finding that my special treat was an M&S £10 dine in ready meal deal. I was younger then. These days I’d bite his hand off for any meal that can be eaten in pyjamas with no make-up on.
The love I am referring to, is a love for fellow human beings. And animals, flora and fauna too. I sometimes feel this love after a few gin & tonics, but most recently, I experienced it following a phone call with my spiritual mentor Marion.
After doing three three hour Journey sessions with Marion, we had a closing call, just to tie up loose ends. I hadn’t thought much about it. To me, it was just a chance to say ‘Thanks, everything’s great now. Gotta be going.’
However, during that call, Marion said something that pushed my buttons. I won’t bore you with the details, but it really upset me. I mean REALLY upset me. I spend most of my waking hours in defence mode, up for a fight with anyone who dares, but because I’d just spent an hour on the blower trying to access what I call the ‘void’ (aka the emptiness that one tries to fill with booze, drugs, sex, sugar…whatever your addiction happens to be) my defences were down. I didn’t have the oomph to tear a strip off a piece of paper, let alone Marion and it completely floored me.
My reaction was way over the top. What the hell was wrong with me? I was tempted to fire off an e-mail, telling Marion that she had behaved unprofessionally, but for once, I decided not to react in the heat of the moment.
I felt awful for days. I e-mailed Marion and explained that I had gone right off our relationship. It was too intimate, too intense. I felt she had all the power, which gave her the ability to hurt me. I wanted to run for the hills.
Marion suggested we schedule a call to talk about this. The trouble is, I’d used up all the time I’d paid for and didn’t want to fork out for another session. She explained that she was happy to do this for free. Yuck. If there are two things I really hate, it’s asking for help and accepting things that I haven’t paid for. I felt horribly uncomfortable, but eventually decided to take the call.
It lasted for an hour and a half and it was momentous. Not because of what was said, but because Marion treated me with such compassion and kindness.
It must be catching because the next day, I woke up brimming with love. I found myself carrying bags for old ladies, smiling at strangers and generally being a much nicer human being. I saw that same love and kindness in Russell Brand’s eyes last night when he greeted people who wanted their books signed. I even heard him say ‘I love you’ to a couple of fans.
That is what I want to feel. There’s nothing nicer than feeling love for others. It’s just so bloody awesome. So much nicer than anger, rage, resentment, jealousy and all those other negative emotions that we all experience.
And of course, it all starts with the relationship you have with yourself. After my call with Marion, I believed it was possible that I could be non-judgemental and loving with myself in the way that she had been with me. It sounds easy enough, but let me tell you, if you have an inner critic as vociferous as mine, it’s a struggle.
I’m working on it though. I fail a lot of the time. I’m always losing my rag with myself and those around me. Just a few hours ago, I shouted at my daughter for eating her sister’s Creme Egg (it’s the second time she’s done that this week) and then my son, for leaving the living room door open and allowing our dog, who reeks of fox shit, to curl up and fall asleep on the sofa, which absolutely stinks as a result.
And then I tell myself to stop worrying about ‘things’. They don’t matter. I was tested on this last night when somebody spilt red wine all over the lining of my favourite coat. That sort of thing really winds me up, but I managed to take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I was at an event which was most probably attended by a number of people who like Russell, have struggled with an addiction to alcohol – it would’ve been churlish of me to worry about a wine sodden coat.
I shall be relaying some of this back to Marion and the other four women in my mentoring group this evening as we have our first conference call. It’s audio only thank God, which means the PJs are on and the make-up is off. Yay!