Love Is All
About 8 years ago, I wrote a relationship manifesto. It included the values, needs, and intentions that I had within relationship. That was the starting point for aligning my relationships with my expansive experience of love. It required me to step away from the incomplete lower-case love of the dominant culture where love is transactional, limited, scarce, romanticized, hierarchical, clung to, and centered around ongoing access to sex. In intentionally moving towards expansive upper-case love more fully, it asked me to turn towards and explore all of the difficult feelings just under the surface of the conventional fabric of relationship—the fear of abandonment, the historical wound that told me I was unworthy of love, the fear of becoming consumed by another and losing touch with myself, and the biggest resistance of them all, finding out that I could love so completely and be loved completely and then watching myself shatter into a million broken pieces when it’s time to say goodbye. But that’s the cost we pay to love, isn’t it? When we say yes to loving in an expansive way, we’re tapping into our tender open-heartedness, our capacity to be touched and broken open so fully by life. In being broken open, I’ve found freedom. The freedom to love beyond conditions or need. The freedom to love the other as they are. The freedom to share. The freedom to hold the partners and children of those I love as if they’re an extension of that love. The freedom to create relationships by design. The freedom to not force things but to be natural and easy. The freedom to say goodbye over and over and over again.
Sometimes though, I have an affinity for someone and in my naiveness I forget that they’re not able to see love as I do, but instead, they see it according to the conditions of their mind which frequently reflects the values of the dominant culture. Despite how common these situations are for me, they’ve not become any less heartbreaking. In my usual way, I eventually say goodbye as it’s the kindest thing I can do for both of us. Sometimes these loves come to mind, and when I think of them, I imagine that I’m wrapping my arms around them and sending them all of the warmth and love that I can, and I hope and pray to anything that might be hearing me, that they receive it. Often, I cry when I remember them and find myself whispering “I’m so so sorry” which lately I’ve been changing into “Thank you so so much”. I allow my heart to break into a million pieces because I know that this is where love is cultivated and where freedom is born. It reminds me of William S. Burroughs reflections upon his death, "There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve." Sadly many of us wait until our last breaths to lower our defenses and soften enough to let love in. But it doesn't have to be that way.
One of my loves was guiding me through a meditative practice recently and as we sat together silently, I began crying. I could feel them being curious about what was happening with me and I wanted to share with him, but I couldn’t. There were no words. After a while, I said, “All of the love we could ever have access to is already here. It’s not somewhere else. It’s not waiting to be found. It’s not in someone else. It’s here with us.”
Please, don't wait to feel fully. Now is the time to discover your capacity to love.
Image of me and a love taken by yours truly, Charlie Windy Nicely