Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

“Willingness to Love and Be Loved in Return”


On this full-moon autumnal eve (October 27), wrapped in an orange blanket and sipping hot butternut squash soup in an effort to overcome a bad cold, I’m reminded (by something I don’t give much credence to, other than as poetic muse: a horoscope) that I’ve a strong heart. That I’ve been gifted with “the physical, energetic, and emotional strength” that this heart of mine affords, with its “reliable pulse” that has pulled me through “time and time again.”

Tonight’s full moon, says my horoscope, “highlights your love life or your love of life.” I’d take a “love of life” anytime over a “love life,” which probably goes a long way toward explaining why my love life could stand some real-life romance these days, yet also, more important, why I don’t “feel alone” (as I’ve heard so many, mostly women, who are “single” say of late, as if all the love in our lives isn’t worth a goddamn, or so says heteropatriarchy) nor lacking. Just the opposite. Far from lacking, my life — and my love of life — are a headlong dive into fullness. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even say I’m lacking romance. I see and feel it many places, from a “single” red maple leaf on the sidewalk to the sunset to casual flirtations to the beauty of being surrounded by comrades and friends recently in Greece.

One cannot have a “love life” without a “love of life,” nor can one understand, or give or receive, love at all without loving life, fully, expansively, encompassing humanity and the entirety of the nonhuman ecosystem of which we’re (supposedly to lovingly be) a part, and all the cycles and seasons of life and death.

My horoscope nudges me to remember, too, to “let yourself be loved,” which is a more difficult task for one with a strong caretaking heart — even when people aren’t asking for that strength and/or care. I give my heart away often, freely, even if unnoticed or, worse, callously tossed aside, to everyone from near-strangers and crushes large and small, to situations and social movements, to chosen friends and family. But, as I’m astrologically being challenged on this full moon to ponder, “How many times [have] you treated it like it wasn’t … valuable”?

“Give thanks for the slightest sweetness. Offer it in return, but mean it. Give of your good energy and receive it.”

I think we all have strong hearts. It’s just that too many go underused, undershared, from lack of practice or, more often, fear. It’s the lesson that Max learns at the end of “Where the Wild Things Are.” We all have many parts within us, shades of rage and sorrow and joy and self-doubt and vulnerability. What keeps us torn apart, from self and others, what keeps us from not being whole, is a four-letter word: fear.

If I’ve treated — and still do, too often — my heart as “not valuable enough” because I share it too frequently and too frequently that means hurt — it’s because I long for a world in which we don’t have to fear for who and what we are. I long for a world in which we can find each other, often, as strong open hearts with reliable pulses and vulnerable sweetness that pull us through time and time again, in the knowledge (and practice) that love is always about a profound mutualism. Love is/as the great leveler. Love is/as egalitarian. Or it is nothing resembling love at all; rather, it falls back on mere fear, and all the trappings we pile on to distance ourselves farther and farther from love — of self, others, and life.

Not that I’ve got any of this love thing figured out. But I’m always willing to try, try, try, fail, fall, and try again.

So, goodnight sweet loves around the world, under the same full moon ❤

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, Autumn day on Turtle Island, October 2015; shout-out to Chani Nicholas for horoscopes “meant to be read as inspiration” for self-reflection and the title for this piece.)


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This entry was posted on October 28, 2015 by in Dispatches from Life.
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