Exposing the truth about something can be painful. Most of us are already in pain over this concept, this one word: Love.
If we reference a dictionary we get this:
Love: “a feeling of strong and constant affection for a person”, “an attraction that includes sexual desire: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship”. (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)
Not really the deeper answer we were looking for yet many of us stop right there, settle-for, and spend countless hours secretly musing that there truly must be more. There is. Please don’t stop believing in love!
In order to stop believing in something we must choose to do so. If we truly knew what love could be we may choose to believe in it. Most of us are not blessed with a true understanding of the concept of love and what getting there involves. We choose to either believe in what we have settled-for, or not to believe in love at all. Wait.
It was not so many years ago that I chose not to believe in love. My idea of love was jaded and one-sided. Truly, I had no idea what love was or what it could be. I did have a big ego, poor self-esteem and rolled in and out of depression like restless waves in the ocean. When it came right down to it I was a very difficult, miserable person to be with. I left my marriage of 15 years, my job as a tenured high school teacher and threw myself headfirst into the blackness that I had somehow chosen to become my life. Over the next few years I emotionally hit the wall. I subsequently lost everything including my own self-dignity and crashed hard into the emotional abyss. How did I get here? Nobody loves me…
Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. (A. Einstein)
Somehow while wallowing around in self-pity I had gleaned that everything is a choice. At that instant I made the conscious decision to seek change and embarked on a journey which almost 10 years later has transformed my entire being. I am now very deeply in love and in a very loving relationship. Many beautiful people have touched my life along that journey, each leaving a gentle scar on the tapestry of my heart, my very soul. Lets’ take a deeper look at understanding the raw dynamics of love and loving.
If we gather the intuition to allow us to understand who we are, then love truly transcends this lifetime as we begin to recall important qualities from other times, other lives, other loves. We become fascinated by how deep the ‘rabbit hole’ of love goes. And so, with self, begins the quest for a deeper understanding!
Love is not something that one pokes a stick at.
It begins with each of us individually. Understanding love requires strength, determination, great compassion, empathy and the ability to be very humble. It’s hard, rewarding work. Down the rabbit hole then! Lets examine what love can be.
A starting point is to go back to our beginnings and re-connect with the love we must have for our selves, for us. When we can stand naked and truly love the reflection in the mirror, we are ready. Now we may move forward and create different results! Only then are we ready to focus on loving someone else. Love in a personal relationship exists in a reciprocal state. If our state of love for ourselves is solid, we will be able to truly give and receive a much more intense love to others than we may have ever thought possible. Man, woman, no matter!
An understanding of gender-roles is imperative. The feminine and masculine are truly interchangeable within each of us and have little to do with ones own birth gender. Many people have issues with this in their relationship(s), believing that one person must always be the feminine, and the other always the masculine. We are intrinsically both and should exhibit the beautiful qualities of both freely throughout our lives. The puzzle is coming together.
The Ego has no place in love. Why bring that up here? Because, if ego controls love, it destroys… and we end up once again in that forlorn place doubting that love even exists. Practice being humble, forgiving, empathic and loving. Not being a doormat, simply being a beautiful human being. Be genuinely grateful for you. No, not stuck-up or full of yourself, that’s ego driven. Yes, it is about truly loving ourselves first. It’s hard work to manifest personal change – but oh so rewarding!
Lets’ believe that love dwells within a variety of mediums: chaos, spontaneity, truth, honesty, sensuality, trust, sexuality, friendship, the ability to truly listen, empathy, the ability to yield with trust, curiosity, respect, equality and pain to list a few. How many of these qualities do we each possess? Are our own qualities true, non-judgemental, unconditional and non-injurious by intent? How many of these true qualities does our partner possess? Is that balanced between partners? Will both evolve and stay in love, or do they begin to travel different paths. Why does the intensity of loves flame begin to whither?
Each person’s raw, no fluff, contribution to the relationship will determine its eventual outcome. What are you giving? Examine that and be honest in your conclusions. What is your partner giving? Light some candles, pop the cork on a good bottle of wine and speak with each other. Is it possible to have an honest, open conversation about what each can offer, and what each wants? Is what was mutually laid on the table conducive to love or destructive? Such open, honest discussion can lead to choices, realizations and conclusions. Realizing the potential for deeper love and understanding is just as important as comprehending that our partner is on a different path, a path that may go entirely somewhere else! We’re not done yet!
Every love we have ever encountered on our life journey left an imprint, a scar on our hearts, minds and souls. Those scars are all still there. Some are painful and allow us to choose what we don’t want. Some were always delicious, awesome and the reason we chose to be that way. Close your eyes and allow your heart and soul to take your mind back to those beautiful scars. These timeless memories are each unique for all of us and collectively are what truly define our own personal experience of love. This is our book of wants and desires.
“Love is something we draw on from the beginning of Earth. The initial impulse of love and all the loves that have ever been, all reside within us and if we can tap into the rawness of that, we can find our way with the lover we have chosen.” (Monika Carless)
There is great significance in channelling all of the loves that have been, that we have ever been a part of. In order to effectively do this we must come to terms with everything that has been discussed. “What steps can I take?”
Truly love the self and let go of Ego’s control over life. Choosing to be humble, open and vulnerable will allow us to experience an entirely different dimension of love. Be mindful to avoid confusing the willing absence of Ego with weakness! We have now chosen to do things differently. We have chosen different paths, people and devices to affect a different outcome and are monumentally closer to an outcome that will re-define love in our mind, heart and soul. It will redefine love in our life.
Today I am so very deeply in love. Mia is my best friend, a soul mate, my intense lover and my partner. We both made similar choices on our own years ago that eventually led us to each other. All of the things discussed so far apply and we have given much focus to continue to evolve in our love for self and for each other. Our ‘rabbit hole’ has many tunnels and many openings. Above all we have learned to fully enjoy the journey!
The combined loves of our lifetimes will lead to an understanding of the love that can be. The first and most difficult step lies in making an honest assessment of ones self. Make the choice. Make the changes needed to be free, to experience what love truly can be! Our rabbit hole will go as deep as we are willing to work at lovingly digging it! We begin to attract like-minded souls and then our lives feel like they are just beginning! Go, get ready to expose your love!
Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer