By Shavawn M. Berry HOLY FIRE

Accept Your Tenderness: Love’s Got You In Its Sights

I came across a whole series of photos last night that were taken not long after my last boyfriend and I broke up. I was a total mess at the time. What showed up on my face was a steely strength.

What shines out of those photos is this Gloria Gaynor-esque, ‘I Will Survive‘ look that roughly translates as, “Yep, I am hurt, but I will survive even this.”

“Of course, I’ll hurt you.
Of course, you’ll hurt me.
Of course, we will hurt each other.
But this is the very condition of existence.
To become Spring, means accepting the risk of Winter.
To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.”

~Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince

Weep. Wail. Kvetch. Dance with the wrathful dachinis. You can lament your tenderness, or accept it as a fact of life, and get on with things. It is your choice.

At the time, I felt absolutely destroyed. I didn’t think I would survive it. At. All. However, I am still here. I got up again. Despite being shattered, I rallied and I got on with my life.

“Winter never fails to turn to Spring.”
~Nichiren Daishonin, Buddhist Monk

I think sometimes our terror at being hurt (or at hurting someone else) has to do with buying into this notion that we cannot rise again. And, of course, we can rise again. Because we must.

Until we take our last breath, we must rise up, regain our footing, and strap ourselves in, so we can keep going.

Don’t Stop. Don’t Give In.

This is what it means to be human: love others and love yourself.

That’s it.

The chase, the long pursuit of accomplishments and cars and clothes and McMansions, means nothing.

Without risking love, you might as well punch your ticket and move along.

Love is what you landed here to learn.
Love makes you softer and more open.
Love makes you kinder.
Love stipulates that you show compassion (especially toward yourself).
Love wants you to love the world like you’ve got nothing to lose.
Trust that love has you in its sights.
Love will catch you if you run hard and dive deep.
Love will find you even if life mows you down.
Love knows where you are and what you’ve been through.

So, let it in, damn it. Let it in. When it knocks on your door, don’t pretend you aren’t home. Answer the door and ask it to come in and sit a spell.

Shavawn’s writing has appeared in Trickster Literary Journal, Poet Lore, Olentangy Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Huffington Post (Huffpo 50) and Living Buddhism, to name just a few.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends How to Love (Mindful Essentials).



Shavawn M. Berry

Shavawn M. Berry's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Trickster Literary Magazine, HuffPo 50, Be You Media Group, elephant journal, Journey of the Heart: Women's Spiritual Poetry, Olentangy Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Vagina - The Zine, Rebelle Society, The Cancer Poetry Project 2, Kinema Poetics, Kalliope, Poet Lore, Westview – A Journal of Western Oklahoma, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Concho River Review, North Atlantic Review, Synapse, Living Buddhism, Blue Mountain Arts/SPS, and Poetry Seattle. In 1998, she received her MPW in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where she specialized in Creative Nonfiction and Memoir. Ms. Berry teaches writing at Arizona State University. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter. You can read more of her writing on The Wonderland Files, or via her website.

  1. Tanya Markul

    Ah! I loved this — it’s SO hard to let go, trust and move on… but if everything is love, then EVERYTHING is love. Thank you for sharing your magic here with us! XOXO

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