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The Inner Well of Unconditional Love: A Personal Allegory


The Inner Well of Unconditional Love: A Personal Allegory

By Deb Kline, 10-24-23

I wandered inwardly seeking, to find my inner well of unconditional love. The divining rod of my heart led me to a void. “That can’t be right,” my mind argued. But time and again and despite venturing in new directions, the spirited wand kept circling me back to the void.

Perhaps my divining rod was broken. Perhaps I was using it wrong. Surely nothing good could come of a deep and vast empty space. The void frightened me. It was as ominous as it was hollow. Perhaps the well of unconditional love does not exist, I complained, at least not within me.

I flung open the door to the outside world, searching for any well of unconditional love I could find. Most people I encountered hurried past me, disinterested in my plight. Others had no idea what I was talking about and called me bonkers. A handful said they had heard about a well of unconditional love that resided in a lofty place beyond this earthly plane. Heaven is what they called it, but you had to die to go there and very few people were allowed entry.

Thankfully, on rare occasions, I encountered a sage.

As scarce as they were scattered, each sage ladled compassion from her own inner well, overfilling my tiny collection cup. I eagerly guzzled the nectar provided as the excess spilled down my chin. In drinking the last drop, I thirsted for more.

“You do not need my nectar, dear. You have a well of your own unconditional love inside you,” the wise women would remind me before parting. I almost believed them. I wanted to believe them. If only that were true.

At last, I finally protested, “But when I searched within myself, my heart’s divining rod led me to a terrible void.”

This spritely crone with flowing gray tresses and violet eyes reassured me, “The well of unconditional love lies beyond the void, and when you reach it, the void will disappear. But first, you must pass through and reclaim the parts of yourself that you discarded to fit into the outer world, the pieces of you that others deemed unacceptable. By banishing them to the void, you agreed to leave valued fragments of yourself behind in exchange for the conditional love of others.”

Stunned and bewildered by the truth of her words, and daunted by the task before me, I wondered if I was capable of this quest. Were these ill-fitting bits of myself worthy of love? If they were, why did I get rid of them in the first place?

Fear. Fear of my shortcomings. Fear of my mistakes. The fear and embarrassment of not being enough. Even though fear had shredded me into umpteen throwaway parts, I was more afraid to face these remnants again, knowing that by dismembering them I had disfigured me. Would they even want to return after enduring the ultimate insult—my own rejection?

No longer capable of avoiding the void, I gulped my dread, spat my pride, ditched outer world . . . and rerouted inward.

Tossing aside the divining rod, I trekked a direct path to the cavern of nothingness. My boundless grief spilled tears, overwhelming me as I crumpled at the rim’s edge, bemoaning all my losses into the pit. My weeping filled the former emptiness into a turbulent ocean.

Shards of myself as if newly shipwrecked breached from the depths and bobbed in the waves, pleading for help. In an adrenaline surge, my body dove in, surfing the undulating whitecaps, rescuing one wailing scrap at a time, swimming to shore and back again, scavenging each amputation.

As I cleared the sea of my debris, the water evaporated and disappeared, the void with it, leaving me and my marooned selves gasping for breath on the resolute sand. One by one, I embraced my shortcomings, mistakes, and embarrassments, offering my apologies. One by one, they bewailed the pain of being abandoned by me yet forgave me. One by one we agreed to love each other from here forward unconditionally.

The endless well of unconditional love materialized as if out of nowhere and exactly where it had always been—within me. I am enough, as is, imperfections and all. When in doubt, I can visit this sacred oasis, dip my chalice, and replenish my soul.

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