Walking down the streets of Winnipeg I found myself saying goodbye. I was booked to fly to Chicago early the next morning on a one way ticket. No plan to return and already a little homesick, the next year of my life will find me facing great challenges and I worried about doing this alone, so far from home. Processing my feelings about this next leap, my walk took me from downtown, to the area I consider my childhood neighborhood. The “granola belt” we used to call it for the all reasons one might refer to a nutty, healthy, old school breakfast source when seeking adjectives for their domain. Crystal shops, used books stores that also sold free trade coffee and thrift stores with as much traditional ethnic garb as jeans. A perfumery and two organic groceries run by a kind of co-op are placed as a triangle in the centre of the belt. We were the people who banned together to fight against the spraying of mosquito poisons over our homes and children. Yoga taught out of apartments and energy healers bartering for treatment. There’s a park of varied shapes and sizes every few blocks where all summer long you can find a musician or painter or aspiring novelist seeking inspiration. It’s the area I had my very first concert as a teen. Home.
A young couple walked my way just outside of the downtown area. I noticed that they were somewhat unsteady in their gate. The boy caught my eye and brazenly asked, “Do you know where I can buy ecstasy?” I knew he was referring to MDMA or methylenedioxymethampehtamine, the synthetic drug with hallucinogenic properties. I politely informed him I did not, however the question struck a chord and stayed with me for several blocks. I, in fact, do know how one can buy ecstasy, though the price for some is too high.
The effects of MDMA to be plain, is love. The illusion of love anyway. Perhaps the allowance of it for some because the drug can give you a sensation of self-confidence and empathy. The desire to touch increases. You loose your inhibitions, heart rate increases and sometimes you feel dizzy, have blurred vision and nausea (sounds like love to me). Every sensation is heightened, every experience full of elation and each person you encounter is so full of wonder and yummy goodness you can hardly contain your adoration. Okay, it sounds more like the endorphin rush and dopamine increase that occurs with infatuation but that too is often mistaken for love.
The problem is in what happens when you come down. Once the drug wears off, there is a feeling of depression and sometimes distress. Some get seizures. There is a risk of muscle breakdown, kidney failure, hyperthermia, anxiety and depression. Still sounds a bit like infatuation to me but I digress. The cells that produce serotonin, the chemical in our bodies that regulate mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory are damaged. The side effects and dependancies vary from person to person leaving the natural desire for such intensity too risky as a daily practice.
The physical issues aside, that kind of high can have a very uncomfortable low just as the end of an affair can break your heart. When we seek love from external sources there is a high risk of losing this love. This is conditional love. This is fallible love. What I long for is true love.
I have much to learn but I know a thing or two about a thing or two on the subject of love. The only way to total unconditional love is to get to the real source. It’s like there is a tap deep inside the core of you. Very deep. Sometimes too deep or at least it feels too deep and unattainable when the loneliness or anger or grief is thick and nurtured by day to day life. Often we are aware, at an intellectual level, of the self love we can access but if we don’t know how to find it or are simply too bogged down to try, we give up and keep perpetuating the stuff outside ourselves that may give momentary salves.
It’s there! It’s waiting for you. Yes, this is my gluten free, vegan, granola eating neo pagan new age, enlightenment intensive loving, artsy fartsy heart calling out to you! There is a holy grail waiting for you to forge and fight through it’s overgrown path leading from your consciousness to it’s heart. The price is high because that over growth is comprised of your darkest secrets and deepest fears. That path is full of demons in the form of memories and regrets and upsets and conditionings. It’s a battle to be sure and the raging through of which might open you to suffering. The truth of who you are could be uncomfortable and for most of us, discomfort is abhorrent. Furthermore, that path, once clear, still needs tending every single moment. It’s not easy. But my dear friends, that Love is flowing towards you, pushing at the damns your broken heart has built, waiting to rush at you and cover you in it’s hot springs. It’s endless and boundless and tireless and unconditional once you allow the flow to begin.
The first step is the knowing. Know that you deserve good things and that the quality of that goodness has nothing to do with what you acquire or collect or achieve or entice or seduce or beat out of external things around you. That goodness lives in You. You just have to go looking for it like a mother who’s lost her child at the carnival – fiercely and purposefully; never giving up.
Please don’t give up because I need you. I need the real, clear, awakened, aware and loving You to be out there in the world to protect me from the falsities that prevail in our culture. If you’re not there, then I lose. If you’re not there, then I will fail to be heard and understood. I sing therefor I am yummy but if there’s no one there who can hear me, I am lost.
I promise in return, no matter where my path leads, I will fight to be there for you, too.