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she asked ‘are you in love, what does love look like’

to which i replied, ‘like everything i’ve ever lost come back to me.’

—Nayyirah Waheed

As I held my week-old nephew, he blinked his eyes, struggling to attune to the air, the light, the sounds, the smells. Everything was instinct. He was completely present; he knew no other way to be.

Awareness is who we are. There is a wise, untamed part of each of us, yearning to breathe, waiting to be reclaimed. We can and we must make a home of the body, a land of safety, an ocean of love that moves with us into the world. Step by step, feeling the lungs expand, the belly deflate, we notice the changing rhythm of the heart during the day; we feel the temperature of the hands as we move from one task to another; we stay in touch with the soles of the feet. We learn to taste, touch, smell, and hear the earth inside and outside all at once. We welcome this animal home with infinite tenderness, deep patience, and a good sense of humor.

Make no mistake, the practice of touching the fullness of each moment is a radical, deeply courageous act. Awareness decolonizes the mind and awakens the instinctual wisdom as we begin to taste the pesticides embedded in Western society, in ancestral trauma, that we accumulate through living; the lies we have swallowed and now continue to feed ourselves. Once we see these stories, an incredible freedom is revealed. The spaces that formerly seemed blank or menacing become friendly; we begin to exercise choice rather than enacting old narratives for survival. As the veil separating us from our bodies is lifted, we join the river of life, and a richness blooms. You may look in the mirror with wonder, cherishing this unique being gazing back, marveling at your unknown capacity. This is the practice of love, the practice of a lifetime.