Exposing Love…

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!

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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.

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“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.

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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!

Much love.

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

Discovering the Laws of Spirit. — Simply Solitary

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make all the difference. Wouldn’t you agree? This happened to me while reading a tiny little book called The Laws of Spirit by Dan Millman. I’d already read Millman’s work in another book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I loved the way he wove life wisdom into the […]

via Discovering the Laws of Spirit. — Simply Solitary

Relationship Speak

“I love you”, means…

The ability to actually, truly listen transcends even our perceived limits of the deaf. Yet truly listening seems to be an elusive character trait prevalent in only a small percentage of human population.

Listen: “to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc”,“to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important or true”. (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)

Lets imagine that we do have the ability to truly listen for just a day! With that ability lets focus on what we hear in a typical day of being in close proximity to a multitude of different people. In order to make a much more personal point, lets focus on hearing the words, “I love you”, or even just, “love you”. Each time we hear these words spoken by someone lets focus much harder and also observe what transpires immediately before, during and after we hear these words. Why?

Hollow: “an empty space inside of something” (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)

The words we speak can be ‘hollow’ in the sense that they are empty or devoid of any true meaning. Just something that leaves our lips in an audible tone as our minds already race elsewhere and our focus lies far down the path of our day.

In my neighbourhood I have observed and heard, “love you” being yelled over a shoulder as an afterthought to a significant other. In observing the scene more closely tears flooded my eyes. The recipient of those hollow words stood in an open doorway visibly longing for eye contact, for those words to be spoken lovingly with meaning and validity. One hand clung to the door, the other waived at a partners disappearing back. A facial expression exposed the desperate wanting for those words, “love you” to transition in a deliciously passionate kiss, for that feeling to fill the day with joy. Not so. This observation was not an anomaly. Why does this happen? Do we not sense the underlying emotion silently screaming desolation?

IMG_1562We are programmed, almost hard-wired, by society our jobs our education to run, produce, focus on the future, forecast, predict, plan… our every-day lives place incredible pressures on us to conform. Genuine, loving communication requires focus and commitment. Do we have any of that left by the time we return home to our partner! We must dig deep down and contribute to the dualistic nature of relationships. Our partner ‘won’t care how much we know unless they first know how much we care’. Do they truly know? Or is that something we now simply assume and take for granted.

Effective communication involves all of our senses combined with body language and spoken words. Paramount is the ability to truly listen as well. Deaf people know that they can listen with their eyes and other senses! Conversely, the way we speak, how we use all of our senses of expression will have a profound effect on the message being delivered. If what’s said is focused, genuine and carries substance, a person truly listening will not only hear but will receive that with all of their senses! Often our body language speaks more loudly and clearly than the words leaving our lips. Combining all of that can take communication to an entirely different level!

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What if the scene I witnessed earlier was different. What if there was a genuine focus on communicating. What if the words spoken were not hollow?

“Love you”, he almost growled with lust in his eyes as he leaned in for a kiss that would certainly last a day. Passion flared, soft hugs exchanged and the lingering scent of patchouli wrapped itself around her like a warm blanket. She watched his form disappear down the walk and waved lovingly as he turned to blow one more kiss in her direction mouthing the words, “I love you babe”. This is most certainly communication filled with genuine substance. A stark contrast to the hollow words witnessed earlier. I want to be in this relationship, I am!

The difference is a sharp focus on merely seconds out of our day yet the lasting effect of endorphins and pure joy is hours. It truly is focusing on and choosing to live in each moment as it unfolds. The choice to be in love is ours. Unless we choose to communicate in a loving effective way our partner may come across someone else who does. If we leave it at that the love will eventually dry up and whither in the winds of change. The choice to be deliciously in a love that gives, takes and flourishes is also ours. That involves being present, living precious moments to their fullest. It requires relationship speak with loving intent, a focus on truly caring about what we say, how we say it, what we hear, how we hear it and making each moment one that we have consciously chosen to live.

Does your love feel desolate? When we focus on examining our relationships, communication should be one of the first qualities under the microscope. This one quality encompasses so much more than simply speaking and listening. Know now that it includes all of the human senses and truly can be tantric as well. One must not always speak to be heard in a loving, compassionate and caring relationship.

My partner and I often share the same space for hours without audibly speaking. Body language, facial expressions, blown kisses, gestures and touch all combine in some of the most awesome communication we have ever experienced. Our relationship speak has become a precious quality that we focus on and practice all the time. We have been together eight years and have chosen not to ‘fight’. Sure, we have had arguments and passionate conversations. Our ability to effectively communicate with one another transcends the need to ‘fight’. Living the moment has become fantastically important. What we choose to communicate within those moments has also become precious.

Care about what you speak and what you speak will care about others. So tomorrow is another day, it will begin with another morning. If I were watching quietly, what would I hear, what would I observe as you left your home to get on with your day?

Much Love,

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

*All photos are copyright of Peter Lerch Photography and may be used by written permission only.

Moments: Balancing the Journey

We are all on a journey, one that is simply referenced as ‘life’. Whether we choose to view it that way, or to even admit that to ourselves is of no consequence, it’s happening regardless. Of no matter is gender, colour, race or spiritual persuasion.

Interesting is how different people choose to indulge this simple fact. One may become so obsessed with what this journey should be that the actual journey itself is sadly unrealized.

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Endless hours spent meditating over what ones true purpose may be, musing over whether what we are pursuing is in alignment with our true purpose in this life… meanwhile this journey is happening all along, each beautiful day and each wonderful night, all right there in front of us. By the time I fully acknowledged living in the moment I probably missed a total of years out of my life!

Someone coined the infamous expression, ‘we are not able to see the trees for the forest’. How many of us truly take the time to consciously acknowledge the individual moments that make up the cookie crumb trail of our journey? Oh, we don’t have the time!

Yes, we do have the time. We all do, we all have exactly the same amount of time each and every day. We all however make our own choices as to what we do with that time. Sometimes we require a kick-in-the-ass to remember why we are truly here… to live our journey one sweet moment at a time, to embrace those moments and allow them to profoundly imprint on our psyche!

Our journey is an intricate mosaic composed of trillions of moments, each having a direct impact on the next, with or without our conscious consent. Lets allow ourselves to take the time to experience a few of these moments today. In the big scheme of things it will be milliseconds out of our day that will occur regardless of our conscious choice to participate or not.

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True living occurs when one makes a point to choose to participate in the individual moments that create the path that is our journey. No, it’s not always  beauty, iridescent joy and love. I understand fully that some of those moments have been, are and will be excruciatingly painful. But, I choose to acknowledge them as mine, as a part of my journey. Through consciously choosing to live even these moments we may truly appreciate the entirety of our journey. It is what allows us to continue to make choices that influence and lead us to a powerful sense of being involved in living our own lives… a sense of self-worth, if you may.

Lets choose to live a few of our many moments today… much love!

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

Subservient to a Dominating Influence

Slavery is not a new concept by any means and it has existed for centuries worldwide in various forms. Yes, it is the 21st century and we are living here in Canada, a ‘civilized’ country by most indicators and modern standards. Upon casual observation and research slavery is illegal here in Canada. Taking a closer look is unnerving and will rattle your cage!

Slave: “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence” (Merriam-Webster, 2016)

Most of us weave through life searching for our identities, loves, paths and purpose generally following the status quo. Yes, some of us choose our own life paths entirely and consciously… we know that slavery is alive and very prevalent in 21st century Canada.

We go to grade school (graduating or not), then we make choices to either continue our education or work, or travel, or something else. At some point we begin to understand that life can be more if we can just have more of what we need to get more… usually that is money.

This is where things can become confusing, fast. We hear others say things like: “money is the root of all evil”, “not having money is the root of all evil”, “life is more fun with money than without”, “wish we had more money”, “need, want, got-to-have”.

Regardless of where we live in Canada, money is required to exist… unless of course you plan on going 100% off the grid, which by most practical standards is just about not legal! We must live somewhere. We either rent, or purchase a place to live. That requires money. Unless one has access to a padded trust fund, that means working.

Ok, now we have a roof over our heads, hopefully one that does not leak. What about food and eating? Money. Yes, we could grow our own basic food, but then we also have to fit in going to work so we can pay for our home. That wears thin quickly. It becomes easier and more cost-effective to work and purchase our food. Work.

We have to wear clothing, footwear, we may need eyeglasses, medications, personal care items – we could call this having the basic needs of life being met. Money.

We have not yet begun to touch on wants and desires and the 21st century concept of ‘modern slavery’ has already started to define itself. No money equals a dismal existence. (This particular blog is not about the welfare system, so we won’t visit there!).

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Modern media in all of its various forms brings all of the wants, desires, must haves right into our most personal space, constantly: cars, computers, furniture, clothing… stuff. We quickly learn that getting these things can be as simple as applying for a credit card or five, lines of credit, second and third mortgages on our homes, loans and oh so much more!

Here we are in 21st century Canada with a home mortgage or rent to pay, several credit card balances, a car loan or two, student loans, lines of credit to pay… we must continue to work to generate an income that will pay for our chosen existence. If we are ‘lucky’ we like our chosen job or work and for the most part smile a bit each day. On we go day by day choosing to work in order to pay for the privilege of living. We know people who borrow two moths out with their paychecks from work in order to survive. We know people who, ‘have it all’, but are so deep in debt that all hope of actually enjoying life begins to fade. We know people who work hard, play hard, look happy for sure, but drop dead at 35 from stress induced cancer.

…”one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence”.

Where do you fit in? Are you, right now, justifying your existence? Should we have to justify our existence, our subservient existence, to make it sit better in our minds?

A few years ago I gathered all of my things, my stuff, sorted out what I truly ‘needed’ and either sold or gave the rest away to family and friends. I moved to South America, down to 48 degrees or so south latitude. I lived surrounded by like-minded souls who also had very little, mostly only what they needed to survive, but were the happiest people I have ever met and known. I was so very happy with so very little. There was no need to have more, nobody to compete with, no ego trips needed. Unfortunately I had to return to Canada. My life is different again, but I have made certain very conscious choices that enable me to just skirt around the outside of the subservience we are discussing here.

What was learned:

If we choose to live within our means, to exist in a definitive balance between earning money and spending money, life can sit tenderly just on the cusp of modern slavery. Learn to be genuinely grateful for what we have, to openly love where we are at and to focus on living in the joy of each moment as it unfolds. When we choose to exist this way, we shrug off the need to compete with the ‘Joneses’ of the world. Living within our means, a balanced existence, becomes down right enjoyable, fun even. Holidays, real time-off without the stress of having to continue to pay thousands of dollars in bills each month, that can be a reality. Spending quality time with family, enjoying the simple love of life itself can be a reality.

Now, the words we dislike hearing, “it’s simply a choice”.

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Or, we can choose to continue competing with the world and become subservient to the money we require to live with that choice. This is modern 21st century slavery.

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer