Friday, February 14, 2020

Love. An energetic force that binds and tears apart.

In a world that seeks to know, understand, move forward, advance, what space is there for love? Why does it matter? And what is this magnetic force anyway that draws us near and then tears apart, sometimes it seems all at the same time?
Multiple colors forming circular movements

I have been reflecting on the power of love in my life and its capacity to at once hold everything together and then tear everything apart. This sounds odd. Let me explain.

It is love, of course, that first draws me near to my loved ones: my husband, my parents, my children, my dearest friends. And this initial draw is a glorious feeling of warmth, excitement, possibility, openness, all the energies of the universe seem within our grasp when love shows up - and in some sense they are!

Once I am in love's hold I become intimately close with those who are in this embrace with me. And this is where the rub begins. This intimacy asks of us to move toward acceptance of what is and have faith that more will come, and that is not something we can do without letting go. So odd that loves asks us to let go, but it does. I need to let go of all of my ideas of how I think these loved ones should behave, respond to the world, how I think they should love me, what I think they should do - love says let go and let me take hold of your heart and bring you faith and trust.

This is where love tears apart, it tears apart any false beliefs I have about who I am, that I am some how need to be okay with how others should show up to the world, how others should respond to certain situations, how others should even love me - especially if I love them. Love also tears apart any veils that keep me from seeing the truth of others - that all my loved ones are human beings in the process of opening up to their own true capacity, like me, and in this process will make big mistakes and move in ways that may be confusing or cause me to question who they are and how they are approaching life. And then love will say, let go, just love them, that is all they need. It is hard to do this, I want to tell them what they should be doing, how they should be doing it, even where they should be doing it and with whom! Goodness! But love is strong and because it is so strong in my life, it reminds me constantly that my only job is to love. Should these loved ones approach me to share their difficulties and ask for guidance or support - than yes! I can offer what ever I have and then again, let go and stay in love.

As I've traveled this journey with love a few times, there are a some nuggets I've learned:

Sometimes, its not as important to stay in love as it is to know how to get back to love! It's the journey to love that matters most, because it builds all the capacities we'll need to stay longer and longer periods of time in love.

When we show up everyday to the moments of our lives, even the difficult ones and perhaps even most importantly those, it is here where we develop all the tools necessary to illuminate the barriers to love. Thus those things that we once thought were obstacles become stepping stones!

Big boulder like rocks randomly lying around on grass
 So what does it look like to show up? And what are the obstacles that keep me from loving someone unconditionally? That's it! Identifying what are the conditions I place on others on how they should love me - those are my obstacles.
So if I think my husband should do certain things for me - kiss me when he gets home, tell me he loves me every day, hold me when I'm sad, be romantic, give me gifts and flowers on my birthday - or that my kids should do certain things - hug me when they see me, become doctors or engineers, tell me what is going on in their lives - then when I expect these things and they don't happen, I am placing conditions on how I think my husband and kids should show me they love me!
I'm saying, this is what love looks like so love me this way. Of course, we can do this, but by doing this we might miss the magic of how to love more openly and how to receive love from someone else through their own gifts. It's okay, you say, I want my love the way I like it! That is okay, then what I have learned from love may not be meaningful to you. For those who are interested, read on!

Whenever I see love through my own eyes and begin to expect others to love me this way, these expectations have hidden message and they become obstacles:

  • Why doesn't he kiss me when he comes home from work? - message: He isn't happy to see me
  • Why doesn't he hold me when I'm sad? - message: He doesn't care
  • Why doesn't he give me gifts on my birthday or why doesn't he know what I want on my birthday and give me that? - message: I'm not important
  • My kids pull away and don't tell me what is going on in their lives - message: I'm not trusted
  • My kids don't know what profession they want - message: I failed
Obviously these can vary, however, hopefully you get the gist - expectations that we hold over others and how they express love can become oppressive and ultimately create false beliefs about our value. Love asks me to flip these obstacles over and find their gifts. One of the ways to do this is to identify the emotion that is tied to the false belief and then look for its opposite, what would happen if you flipped the obstacle over?
Circular Stepping stones in a shallow body of water
  • If my loved one isn't happy to see me, is it me? Am I the problem? - Emotion: Fear, flip it over its faith
  •  If my loved one doesn't care about me, is it me? What if I'm unlovable? - Emotion: Fear, flip it and unlovable over and it can also become certainty - how can I not be lovable, whoever created me also created the majestic mountains and endless oceans!
  • If I don't get expensive gifts from my loved one, does that mean they don't value me? Emotion: Sadness, flip it and of no value over and it's joy and worthiness!
  • If my kids don't share with me all of their joys and pains how can I help them? Does that mean I'm untrustworthy? Emotion: Sadness, flip untrustworthy over and it's joy trust!
  • If my kids don't know their path in life then I failed and if I failed, will I ever be good enough? Emotion: Fear, flip it and not being good enough over and it's limitless faith and self-assurance.
None of these messages are intended to bring shame. In my own personal healing work and in working with others, I have found these hidden messages to be universal across gender, ethnicities, etc. 

What I have also found is that as I steadfastly walk closer and closer towards love, I am asked to release these false beliefs, about myself and others! And when I can do this, others become incredibly beautiful in all of their glory. I stop deciding how they should love me and keep focusing on how very much I love them and how to continue loving them more!

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