Love. Many of us love to be in love, and yet how often do we actually love each other well?
What’s interesting to me is how humans struggle to exude love on the macro-level – loving all of creation as a manifestation of the divine – and also struggle to be accurate with our labeling when it comes to the specific people, places, and things in our lives.
Consider anything you might be addicted to. Like cigarettes. I have heard many people say they love cigarettes, but actually, when it comes down to it, they don’t love cigarettes at all. In fact, some smokers downright hate cigarettes, but that warm embrace when the chips are down feeling that comes with smoking feels like a kind of love. Even though it really isn’t. And the same thing is often true of our intimate relationships.
I can recall multiple times in the past when I claimed to love someone in a romantic sense when it really was lust. Or I was making the claim to keep the other person around until I figured out if I truly did feel love or not. Driven by fears of being alone, I would say those three words “I love you,” and in the process override the uncertainty that comes with any new, or newer relationship. It’s been done to me as well by a few women in my past. In fact, I can distinctly remember one former girlfriend’s comment that she thought she loved me, which was followed less than a week later by a call for us to break up.
Love is beautiful and amazing and lifegiving, but it’s not always easy to express, and it’s almost guaranteed to bring up our most intimate fears and anxieties in the process. Because to love someone completely means to be fully vulnerable to the entire universe.
One of our biggest problems in actually finding love, and embodying love – whether with a beloved partner or for the whole of the universe – is that we’re usually coming at it all from the outside in. Thinking that someone, some thing, some experience will bring it to us, failing to recognize that we are it. That we all contain love within, if only we’d stop and listen to ourselves more closely.
Whatever love actually is, in the end, it has to be experienced from the inside out. It’s only through tapping into what is really your inherent nature, that you can discover that which is the stuff of intimate relationships with others.
May you have much love during the holidays this year. And may you all spend some time reflecting upon the ways in which you’ve mistaken something else for love in your relationships.
Image from Texample.net
Recent Nathan Thompson Articles:
- A Balm for Your Body and Mind
- The Gifts of Comfrey
- Learning in the Community Garden
- The Beautiful, Powerful Coneflower