• Jan Rybeck


Updated: Feb 14, 2021

How do you live fully when life feels like it is contracting around you?

It’s been almost a year of living within the same 1800 square feet with the same man, walking the same neighborhoods, and dancing around the same fears. The only variety is whether it’s HBO, Hulu, or Netflix after dinner.

I’m not complaining, in fact feel quite privileged to get to live in this safe, contained, warm consistency when others don’t have those options against the pandemic.

And yet I am increasingly aware of how life… and love can feel limited, stuck, and stale.

Did I mention that this same man says to me every single day (several times in fact) some version of “I am so lucky to be married to you!”? Each time he says this with a fresh, genuine, heartfelt enthusiasm. Not shabby for 30 years of marriage.

You’d think this would fill me up with joy and tingly sensations of adoration that wake me up all over. That would be nice.

And yes, sometimes it does touch me. Other times, they are just words that distract me from what is spinning on my inner turntable. Many times, in fact, I brush them off as his need to connect when what I really want is for him to not leave his dirty dishes and banana peels around the house.

Ouch, it hurts to write that.

I imagine this is a bummer for him. It would be for me. But he keeps offering what he has to give. What a mensch, what a guy, what a love.

What if love, like sunlight or the mysteries beyond the stars, just keeps flowing out, limited only by our capacity to drink it in, let it soak into our bones and being.

Truth is that often what my husband is offering is not what I want at that moment. And yet it is his offering. Who am I to say it’s not worthy of my letting it in? Who am I to not meet it with kindness and an open hand…to not see his need to connect as an offering no matter it’s wrapping?

A cat quietly drops a mouse at the doorstep.

A dog jubilantly drops a slimy ball at your feet.

A child rests their sticky, snotty, tiny hand in yours.

In many ways, life has felt small these past 12 months. And I am learning how love expands to fill the space I offer it.

And to do that, I need to get myself out of the way and let it in a little more with each moment…Trusting that love just is.

It cannot be contained by our definitions of romance or self. It will continue to find ways home to fertile spots where it can grow, breaking through cracks in the pavement so that the rote and regular path comes to life in new ways.

If we let it.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it- Rumi

What gets in the way of letting in what is offered?

What shifts for you when you let in a little more?

When you imagine letting in more, what mindset is enabling that?

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