Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.''Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
to love life, to love it evenwhen you have no stomach for itand everything you've held dearcrumbles like burnt paper in your hands,your throat filled with the silt of it.When grief sits with you, its tropical heatthickening the air, heavy as watermore fit for gills than lungs;when grief weights you like your own fleshonly more of it, an obesity of grief,you think, How can a body withstand this?Then you hold life like a facebetween your palms, a plain face,no charming smile, no violet eyes,and you say, yes, I will take youI will love you, again.
I was always reaching for love, but it turns out love doesn't involve reaching. I was always dreaming of the big love, the ultimate love, the love that would sweep me off my feet or 'break open the hard shell of my lesser self' (Daisaku Ikeda). The love that would bring on my surrender. The love that would inspire me to give everything. As I lay there, it occurred to me that while I had been dreaming of this big love, this ultimate love, I had, without realizing it, been giving and receiving love for most of my life. As with the trees that were right in front of me, I had been unable to value what sustained me, fed me, and gave me pleasure. And as with the trees, I was so busy waiting for and imagining and reaching and dreaming and preparing for this huge big love that I had totally missed the beauty and perfection of the soft-boiled eggs and Bolivian quinoa.