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Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Guest Blogger - Diana Raab - Happy Month of Love!
HAPPY MONTH OF LOVE!
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
Greetings from Santa Barbara where the past two months have been laden with two evacuations following devastating natural disasters (fires and fatal mudslides). As we're gradually allowed to re-enter our community, which for more than two weeks has been barricaded with police cars, fire trucks and mud-removing vehicles, we're slowly beginning to feel a sense of balance again. I feel blessed to be safely at home with clean water and a working internet, but I cannot stop thinking about and mourning for all the loss of loved ones and structures to our magical community (read my article below in the Montecito Journal). While it's normal for PTSD to surface at times like these, it seems like a good time to honor and count our blessings as well.
In honor of this month of love, I vow to consider new beginnings and saturating our world with love. A good intention for the month of February is to fill ourselves with compassion. Compassion may be defined as showing love and concern for others who are suffering or going through some type of turmoil. In recent weeks, I've felt a deep sense of compassion and profound need for interconnectedness in my community. I've hosted dinners at my home for evacuees, held healing circles, and facilitated Writing for Healing workshops.
When we have compassion for others, we're inspired to go out of our way to help them, whether that is on a physical, mental or emotional level. When we're compassionate, we're sensitive and have keen observation skills. Most poets are compassionate because they need to be in touch with their feelings in order to write compelling poetry. They also have to be keen observers of the human condition. The Dalai Lama often speaks about having compassion and the importance of having compassion for both ourselves and others. As he once said, "Compassion is a necessity, not a luxury."
This classic book was originally published in 1969. A year later, I turned 16 and my family physician gave it to me as a gift, saying, "In the years to come, this book will come in handy for you." I went home, sat in my reading chair and flipped through its pages. The discussion was way over my head. It seemed too grown up, deep, and incomprehensible to me at the time. I filed the hardcover book away on my shelf.
Numerous times in subsequent decades, I've picked up the book up, only to realize that it is indeed a gem, not to be read at once, but in small doses. Rollo May, one of my favorite humanistic psychologists is a seeker who looks to examine the inner reality of the way things are, whether he writes about, love, will or creativity. He says that our task is to unite love and will, but will often fights against love, because human will often starts with a 'no,"' and this willing begins againstsomething. May says, "Will comes in to lay the groundwork which makes a relatively mature love possible," (p. 285). Finding a balance or agreement of love and will is indeed a human achievement that ultimately leads to integration and wholeness.
Although my book of poetry was published four years ago, many people tell me that it's still one of their favorites, which they confess to keeping on their bedside table.
Here's a review from Amazon:
"A passionate journey through private emotional moments, Diana Raab's Lust voices the pain of loneliness and the heart's yearning for love while transcending the depths of human desire. In her fourth book of poetry, Raab employs narrative verse that is alive, titillating, and seductive. Lust examines the emotional and physical complexity of love, helping readers navigate the risks of intimacy as we move toward the realization that every experience enriches our lives, whether we perceive it as joy, pain, or out of the ordinary. Yet for all their psychological richness, the poems's simplicity and accessibility will resonate with women and men across all walks of life. Lust is a book you won't put down and won't soon forget."