• Tom Boyd

The Paradox of Loving

Jeff Foster Poems

The Paradox of Loving

My love, you cannot truly “be there” for another until you learn to “be there” for yourself.

Be there for your breath as it rises and falls. As it slows, quickens, deepens. As the belly expands and contracts. Be there. Be a loving witness to this extraordinary power that moves through you. Be there for all your feelings, not just the pleasant ones. Be there for the grief and the anger, too. The ease and the frustration. Be there for the sorrow, the emptiness and the fullness, the wildness and the calm, the life and the dying. Be there for all your thoughts. The ones you love and the ones you hate. The ones that scare you and the ones you seek. Be there as they arise and dissolve. Stay there as they stay and go. Be there for the broken heart and be there for the healed one too. Be there for the answers, but don’t abandon the questions either. Be there for the clarity, but don’t neglect the confusion.

Be there for all of yourself, my love. Like a mother, there for her children. And you will be able to be there for all of me.

Look after me by looking after you. Find me by finding you. Let me in by staying near. This is the paradox of loving.


In your attempt to be an ‘adult’, you lose touch with your inner child. In your rush to be the ‘expert’, you disconnect from the amateur in you, the inner lover, innocent and wild.

In your quest for security, you run from your insecurity, bury your anxiety, crush your doubts, until one day they explode all over the place. And make a mess of your nice, ‘ordered’ life.

Don’t confuse the role you play with who you truly are. Don’t confuse the adaptation with the actor, the changing weather with the vastness of sky.

Your true identity lies in Presence, friend. And wonder. And creativity. And an infinite number of new beginnings.

Each moment. Each canvas. Each Now.


If you want to be at peace, then stop trying!

When you ‘try’ to be at peace, you are holding up a mental image of ‘peace’. You are trying to be ‘the peaceful one’, something false. A mask. A persona. Your ‘trying’ takes you away from the very peace you desire!

Let the image of ‘peace’ fall away. Let the dream of ‘calm’ collapse. Let the hope of ‘relaxation’ relax. And turn towards your present experience. Come closer to Now. Drench the moment with loving attention.

Get curious – What’s it like to feel “not at peace”, now? Are there turbulent thoughts? Loud voices in the head? Bring some acceptance there. Are feelings pulsating, rumbling, burning in the body? Bring some loving attention there.

Throw away the image of ‘peace’, and bring some tenderness to this inner storm. Bring a warm presence to this disturbance. Drench this restlessness in awareness, which is love.

Yes – you can be at peace with your lack of peace! You can discover a deeper, unconditional Peace. Not of the mind, but of the Heart. The Peace that drenches ‘non-peace’ with tender love. The Sky that holds even the most violent storm.

Throw away the search for ‘peace’, stop trying to be ‘the peaceful one’, smile at your struggle to ‘stay calm’, and bow to what is, even it’s uncomfortable, even if it burns.

This is the Peace that passes all understanding. The Peace of self-love. The Peace that is the ground, holding you.

Jeff Foster

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