Love is the conversation we need to have. A post from Dogma to Divine I read this morning illuminated for me what to write about today. Love. Not romantic love. Not love with attachment or conditions. Love as a way to be in the world. Love as a way to hold space – with others, for others, for ourselves, for conversations that want and need to happen. Love as a healing energy. Love as a pathway in the world. Love as an illuminator.
Fear tries to obliterate love. The inner voice of the judge tries to shut it down. We have come to associate so much disappointment with love, we are afraid of love. Afraid to let it wash over us, our relationships, our way of being in the world. We are afraid we will be disappointed, exposed, hurt. Afraid we will be vulnerable in ways that allow others to take advantage of us, our good heart, our good intentions – in which case it is no longer love but something posing for love.
We are afraid to know ourselves from the field of love. We are afraid to know others from the field of love. Yet it is who we are at the core.
It is hard to love others when we do not love ourselves. It is hard to let love in from others when we do not love ourselves.
Love is misunderstood. We have come to attach so many conditions – or feel conditions attached – to it that rediscovering what love is becomes a practice, a journey to open heartedness. If we allow it. If we invite it. We are not even aware of the conditions and the expectations we attach to it. To those we love. “If you loved me, you would….” Yup. Fill in the blank. For any one you are in relationship with. We all have many of them.
If you loved me, I wouldn’t have to tell you what I feel, what I need from you. If you loved me, you would just know. Because you don’t know, you don’t love me. Now I am hurt. Now I shut down.
If you loved me, I wouldn’t have to love myself. But if I cannot love myself, I cannot let your love for me in. I deem myself unworthy, undeserving of your love. Not romantic love. Human to human love. Spirit to spirit love. Soul to soul love. Just love.
We discover love and how we relate to love through relationship with others. Yes, romantic love counts here too. And it is so much more than that. Children. Parents. Siblings. Friends. Colleagues. Acquaintances. Strangers on the street. Those who love us. Those who challenge us. Those who don’t even know they impact us. Or don’t know how much.
Disappointment arises when expectations, hopes, conditions we are carrying are not met. When we harbour this disappointment it casts shadow over the field of love. When we replay it over and over again, it grows. Then we feel the need to armour ourselves because we have learned love only leads to disappointment. Anger shows up. That we would be treated so. That someone else doesn’t care enough about us. That people are only mean and selfish anyway.
The journey to open heartedness invites the inquiry – into hurt, pain, grief, disappointment, attachment. It invites the release of whatever shows up during the inquiry. It invites forgiveness. Of self. Of others. An opening up of space. Expansiveness. Generosity. It also invites inquiry into joy, beauty, delight and love itself. It is a pathway to peace. A practice we don’t get perfect but we can perfect the practice of inquiry and deepening the journey to open heartedness.
Practicing love does invite us into our own vulnerability. A vulnerability that comes from our willingness to see ourselves fully and allow others to see us. In all of the imperfectness of who we are. Vulnerability that invites us to be in our strength and power. We can be in a field of love and make different choices about different relationships. To be in some. To not be in others. To make conscious choices. To appreciate our choices. To make choices that invite generosity of spirit, not from a place of hurt, anger or denial – although some of the choices may start there. We have the opportunity to shift the shape of the story at any time. It comes with hosting self. Growing awareness. Growing practice.
Generosity and a willingness to love others without an expectation of performance in return for love or even having that love returned in the same way. This is a difficult practice at first. To let go. To not follow a path of hurt or shame. Just to offer love.
Love is the conversation we need to have. Now. Always. With each other. With ourselves. As we journey deeper into open heartedness, we grow our acceptance of self. Of others in their journey, wherever they are in their journey. It doesn’t always require words. It can simply radiate from the heart. Become a way of being in the world. The more it becomes this, the more people respond, even when they don’t know that they are, or what they are responding to. Love is the conversation we need to have. All of us. Every where.
Lately I’ve been reading about how love is found in the spaces between…our words, our thoughts, our stories, and each other. I find this a deeply tender notion, particularly during those inevitable periods of time and space where conversation is not possible, and in fact counter to what’s needed, and true.
What a beautiful post to read and reflect upon, as I sift through my abundant post-season e-mail. It stopped me. It made me close my eyes and take a deep breath in to receive it within and set an intention to share it back out. Thank you for sharing this with such beauty, vulnerability and invitation. We were recently at an event that celebrated the life of a great teacher in our yoga lineage, Swami Kripalu. Like many great teachers of the world, his message was that our lives are an exploration, a gift, and a journey into love and service.
With heartfelt gratitude and love,
Thank you Michelle and Katharine, for such lovely contributions to this post and for touching my heart today.
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