Yesterday I was doing a heart meditation practice and getting extremely frustrated because WHERE IS THE LOVE? I FEEL NOTHING. And then I realised the fact I was there, showing up for myself, holding a space for love to be present, or not — THAT was the love. My presence. My willingness to be with the numbness. The container I created for myself. And something in me softened.

Love wasn’t something to look for. Love was already there in who I was being.

And then I looked back at my year and my life, at the challenges and ‘oh shit’ moments and regrets and ‘shoulds’, the stuck places and sadness, the social conditioning and projections and less than amazing patterns of behaviour and I saw something new.

The red thread through MY ENTIRE LIFE has been love.

This surprises the hell out of me, because I’d always been scared of love. I was scared of all my emotions to the point of choosing not to feel them so often and so successfully I began to believe I’d been born without any feelings.

And while I bought into all the self help books and articles I read that told me loving myself will solve most of my problems, part of me has always been skeptical it would ever be something I’d find.

But there it is. The red thread of love, winding its way through all the challenges of the year. All the challenges of my life.

Even when I couldn’t see it. Even when I was choosing my own trauma over thriving because feeling shitty was familiar and comfortable even though it sucked.

Inside all of it is love.

Why? Why am I now seeing love where I used to see brick walls and things my inner critic would do cartwheels of judgemental delight over?

I am seeing how I’ve had my own back, for my entire life. I’ve had my own personal knight in more-or-less-shining armor, right there, protecting me. Keeping me safe. And it’s done an amazing job, because here I am, in my house, writing this.

At the heart of this perspective shift is what I’ve learned about nervous systems.

My nervous system is mostly interested in keeping me safe. Safety looks like a few things — physically safe (no lions waiting to eat me), but also socially safe (am I loved? Do I belong here? Will my boundaries be respected?).

If my nervous system/ knight perceives something as not safe (lions, criticism from others, someone asking me to do something I don’t want to do), it will jump in to protect me.

Usually for me, this involves checking out of the situation. I feel numb, I feel tired, it’s hard for me to think, hard for me to make any sense in conversation (sorry, all my past partners who didn’t get why I couldn’t communicate when we needed to have a ‘serious talk’). I tend to freeze up, isolate, try to be invisible, wait til they stop talking, give up, go away.

For other people, the protection their knights offer takes on different forms — maybe they walk out on the situation, maybe they get irritable and argue and fight back, maybe they’re easily sucked into drama and story. Maybe it’s a combination of a lot of things.

My knight looks out for me. Always.

And if this protector is sometimes (usually) operating on outdated information, protecting me from things that aren’t threats in ways that aren’t working, I can work WITH it, instead of fighting it. I can support it to support me. I can teach it. It wants to learn.

The cool thing about my perspective shift is how it feels in my body, seeing that I have my own personal knight there all the time, looking out for me. Guarding me against lions and awkward social situations. I feel more relaxed. I am more present. I feel more open. More available for all that life has to offer. More alive.

Trusting the red thread of love runs between us.