What is Love?
Updated: Jun 28
I recently declared to a man that I love him. The thing is, I realised I had been waiting for him to tell me first that he loved me (classic reasons: gender stereotyping, fear) – but I was actually causing myself pain by suppressing it and holding it in. So, with courage, I let it out, and it felt good.
We aren’t together anymore.
And so I find myself contemplating and philosophising over the juicy question that perhaps resides within all of us and begs to be answered…
What is love?
I don’t feel in love with him all of the time, I reflect to myself. Sometimes I feel deep love, especially when we make love (biology, I know). Feeling the clear presence of love and an open heart, is that the same as being in love? Is being in love supposed to be constant, tangible and known? Sometimes I feel neutral towards him or unsure or that he’s just annoying! Someone once told me that after many years of marriage, some days she feels like she wants to divorce her husband, the next day she feels totally in love with him.
Pretty much everyone I talk to seems to experience similar waves in relationships.
But in the quest for a partner in life, I feel it’s pertinent to consider and examine my (our) wishes, desires and expectations.
I feel that I’m starting to understand that being in love is not a fixed state, like any emotion, it comes and goes. I’m learning that love is a practice, and to continue that practice is a worthy commitment – one that I can carry into all of my relationships, no matter how sticky or complicated they may be. The more I can continue to show up and practice love, the more fulfilling and meaningful my range of experiencing becomes. Easier said than done I know. Practice makes perfect, so they say. (Who’s they anyway?) This relationship has also shown me the enormous capacity I have for love, growth, patience and compassion.
But how do we know if it’s the ‘right’ person to practice with? The ‘right’ relationship to commit to? It should come with a sense of ease, say some. All relationships are f*cking hard work, there’s no such thing as ease, say others.
Perhaps, as the object of my affection pointed out in his research, what we’re searching for is a knowing. A knowing that “compels us” and says “go this way!”*** (see end)
I want to talk about that missing feeling. Come on, you know the one I mean. The yearning, the longing, the loneliness. Yes I know, self love. This man I speak of reflected that perhaps my strong wish for a partner is blinding me, I would add, in following what is truly good for me. Ouch. Oooof, ouch!
But it’s true.
I notice when someone expresses pure love towards me, I feel good about myself and a lift in energy. So here is the key! This is my work. This is my hole or “missing piece”. How can I create within myself that delicious feeling of being loved, connected, whole, belonging and enough?
Practice, of course!
I was at a wedding in June, where the bride’s mother spoke of her late father-in-law, who said: “all you need in life is someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.”
I’m very grateful that after many years of practice, and still in progress, I find an enormous ally and deep sense of fulfilment through my creative work (“something to do”), which in turn allows me to feel a deeper sense of love towards myself. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a growing sense of community and tribe, as I build and co-create my life over here in Israel.
As for “something to look forward to” – I still haven’t been to Sinai or deep-sea diving. Yalla 😀
And as for “someone to love”, if you want my phone number, just ask!
And meanwhile, I’m looking at her in the mirror, babe.
*** wisdom imparted by Eliot Cowan, Plant Spirit Medicine healer and Marrakame Shaman in the Huichol tradition:
When facing a crossroads you will always hear two voices—your mind voice and your heart voice.
The mind will speak the complicated voice of fear: “If I go that way, how will it work out? What if something bad happens? What evidence do I have that this is the right way? I doubt that I can figure this out! Etc.etc.”
The heart voice speaks the simple voice of knowing. It just says, “Go this way!”
But mind asks, “How will it work out?”
Heart: “Just go this way.”
Mind: How do I know that is the right way?”
Heart: “Just go this way.”
Mind: I’ve gone that way in the past and it wasn’t so good!”
Heart: “Go this way.”
Mind: “I’m scared to go that way!”
Heart: “Take courage and go this way.”
The heart voice is compelling, yet peaceful. It doesn’t goad you with fear. If you can’t hear or feel that compelling yet peaceful counsel, then wait until you do hear/feel it. Nothing is gained by taking an action guided by fear, unless you are on the road with a bus speeding toward you. Even then, the heart will say, “Go this way, (pointing to the curb).
Yes, sometimes it requires courage to take the heart-guided action, but courage is always present along with the presence of fear.
Check out another exploraion on what is love from the adorable and talented Annie Rose Bentley ♥