Here's an Excerpt from My Journal on February 9th:
"I've lately been thinking about the innately human desire to be loved. Where exactly AM I with that? On the one hand, I seem to have died to the need to be loved and accepted by people - especially by women, which I'm guessing was a subconscious attempt earlier in life to find a replacement for the affection my mother was never able to give me. But do I now have a hard heart toward the desire to be loved? Perhaps. Although on the one hand I seem to make a friend of everyone, on the other hand I've been told I can be too intense, which causes me to back off from engaging in too much interaction with people. That way, I can spare them from being subjected to my intensity.
"These days, the longing to be loved has shifted more to the excitement and aliveness I feel whenever I'm out exploring and photographing beautiful wilderness settings. The longing I feel to commune more deeply with Nature's beauty has, over the past decade or so, become a satisfying END IN ITSELF. Rather than focusing so intently on the desired object, I've learned to shift my attention instead to the DESIRE itself, and to the fact that Beauty never fails to GRASP me through the vehicle of my own longing, HOLDING me in Her loving embrace.
Somehow, the beauty I experience in a wildflower meadow, in an alpenglow sunrise, or in the artistic wind-carved ice of a frozen alpine lake, OVERFLOWS to me, HOLDS ON to me, and makes me feel attractive as well. For it is an experience of being loved in the act whereby Beauty GRIPS and HOLDS me within the embrace of Her stunning and vivifying presence!
"But I still wonder: am I open to the experience of being loved by other people? Hmm. Perhaps the question is itself ITS OWN answer. For my heart informs me that my query is actually an echo of the SAME question asked silently by the Wilderness Goddess! For She, it turns out, is hesitant in MY presence, shy about being open to receiving love from me or from ANY human being. After all, we've hurt Her in the past and continue hurting Her, through our air and water pollution, our deforestation and our obsessive religious focus on a life hereafter, on a heaven far removed from the Earth. And perhaps THAT is precisely what I'm feeling on these cold, winter days when the Goddess seems tight-lipped about communicating, when she's all about "keeping to herself." Very well, then; it's MY task to draw Her out and give Her reason to trust me!"
Photo: Bird's-Beak Lousewort and a misty Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, WA
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.