We’re a culture obsessed with love. And why wouldn’t we be? Love is a beautiful thing, a pure magic. It transforms the quiet of night into tender intimacy. It makes rain the soundtrack of homebound retreats. It turns glances into novels. Undeniably, what a magical thing this love stuff is!
But is it love that does all this magic, or is it our newfound ability to see what was already there, all along? It’s the warming of our heart, or the opening of our eyes?
One major reason love is so sought after is it’s ability to help us see the beauty of everything around us. Take any montage of a newly fallen lover; Joseph Gordon Levitt skipping from Zoe Deschanel’s apartment the morning after, greeted by a flurry of singing pedestrians and cartoon birds. Fictional singalongs aside, was the morning always that bright and beautiful? Yes. Why can he suddenly see it now? He’s engulfed in the moment. Because things are going well, he wants to be in the moment. He choses to be in the moment, thus he can see the divine perfection of everything around him. His mind isn’t so trapped in the wishes and wants and have-nots of life. Suddenly he trusts the moment, and is no longer distracted from it. It feels as if everything is lining up for him, the sun is shining thanks to his new love! But in truth, the sun was shining all along. He was just too preoccupied to see it. He was too busy looking forward toward the love he wanted to look up and see, yes, there is the beautiful sun.
The explanation doesn’t end there. The poetry of the love that is all around:
The sun is committed to shining upon the earth, and does so with such great love. Don’t we call this being bound to service toward that which we adore, isn’t this the definition love? Doesn’t the dedication of the sun to shine on us and warm us prove it’s energetic love? In turn, the earth is dedicated to spinning and revolving around the world with such love. It spins and revolves dutifully, it cannot help but spin and revolve around the sun. And if you were to say “that’s simply science”, you’d be right. And all of science, in the way that everything is so interconnected, shows the dependence of all things on each other. The loving vibration, the loving dedication and commitment of everything to work with, to grow with, to serve everything else.
When we fall in love, and can see the beauty of the day like new again, we are only resonating with the deep and profound love the sun and earth show for each other every day. We replicate it’s dedication, spinning around our lover and blessing her with adoration, warmth, and the nutrients of our affection.
Love is always everywhere. In the blossoming bouquets spring offers to the world each year. It’s in the way that rain plays a symphony, and the way the waves gently caress and cleanse the beach. When we feel the same kind of profound desire to care for another person, we can see that love was actually everywhere all this time.
The Myth of Loneliness
What about when we’re not in love? Those deep and dark moments of the night when we are alone can feel so isolating. But when a new love steps in, and suddenly the pillow beside us is filled, we no longer feel the isolation. But the problem was never the silence nor the chill of an unused pillow. It was that we defined the isolation as scary rather than rejuvenating. Isn’t it funny the way that when we are at the office, surrounded by ringing phones and complaining clients, we beg for isolation. We spend all our money and vacation time on two weeks of isolation in a resort on the other side of the world. But when we get home, and isolation is readily available, we deem it out of place. We say we don’t want it, and we rename it loneliness.
The truth is, love is here as well. The silence is there to caress us into sleep. The chill of the pillow is there to refresh us. The isolation of the night is there to replenish us, to help us rest, to offer a soft and comforting companion on which to rely, so that we can forgo all the self-doubting messages of the mind and all the tasks of the day and simply refresh ourselves. It is with such great love that the quiet night greets us, and protects us so that we may rest. It’s our mind that turns it into fear and loneliness.
He Makes Me Feel Beautiful
There is a contradiction in these kinds of thoughts. Whenever we say that a lover makes us feel a certain way, do we mean that he instilled that quality in us? Were we not beautiful before he or she came along? No. The beauty was there, he was just the person who pointed it out to us. Why? Because we believed him. Our love put trust in this other person, and so we believed his thoughts and opinions. Why didn’t we believe our own? Because we didn’t manifest them. We hid them behind our own negative judgment and criticism. All that criticisms and judgments do is give us excuses for not doing work. If we criticize ourselves, we excuse ourselves from the work of appreciating ourselves. If we criticize our looks or find fault in our looks, we don’t have to treasure them. Treasuring, appreciating and respecting ourselves does take work, but it’s the most wonderful and rewarding of work. It takes diligence and patience and kindness and compassion. It takes care and a kind hand. In truth, it takes the same amount of time and energy to say to our reflection in the mirror “I don’t like my nose” as it does “I love my eyes!” It takes the same time to say “I hate the way I look” as it does to say “I love the uniqueness of my heritage.” It’s all the same, we’re just choosing the former so that we don’t have to do the work of appreciation. Appreciation work means honoring your looks, letting them shine out, caring for them with love and, yes, all the beauty treatments you think they deserve. (YES. A trip to the salon is an act of love. Who wouldn’t want that?)
So when he says “you are beautiful” and suddenly you feel beautiful, remember it is not because he made you beautiful. It is because you already are, you always were. In fact when he says “you are beautiful”, he’s not only intending to make you feel beautiful, he’s asking you to live up to your beauty. You must embody it. He’s asking you to live up to the potential of your unique perfection, the beauty that was there all along. He’s asking you to SEE IT.
If you are single, consider first that: your singleness is a gift. It is an opportunity to see the vast and infinite forms of love all around you. In the air that you breathe, “prana” or life force as they call it in yoga, and the sky above and all the birds that explore it. In the snow that falls so gently to the earth so as not to hurt it but to adorn it with pure white. In the soft wind that sings songs through the trees. In all the animals of all the earth that have let us take over their planet, and still continue to do their work and live by our rules. Love is everywhere, all the time. Being present in this moment, realizing that life is flowing through you as it is through all the planet at this very moment, is being in love with life. Life loves you, it is moving through you with energy. Feel it vibrating in your very fingertips. Love it back!
Second, consider that you are looking for love in the wrong places. As mentioned before, that means looking for love only in humans (specifically another human, not yourself), when really it is everywhere all the time.
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I acknowledging the beautiful parts of my self, the unique parts of my character, and putting those out there for another person to see and enjoy?
Am I bringing my best self into the world? Am I being the kind of person I would want to love?
Am I asking another person’s affections to solve my problems? To reassure me in places that I should reassure myself?
Am I putting too much importance on romance to fulfill all areas of my life?
In doing so, we miss our opportunity to feel and see love in other areas of life. It diminishes our quality of existence.
Am I allowing love to surprise me? Or am I requiring it to look and be exactly like my predictions? Am I allowing life to teach me that the right kind of relationship for me might not look like I imagine it to?
Am I putting out enough love for someone else, or am I asking for a love that only gives to me but never receives? Am I offering out enough of my love for someone else?
Am I allowing myself to evolve in and with this love? Am I allowing it to change shape and form as it grows?
Am I allowing my lover to grow and evolve as an individual as well, or am I expecting him to always stay the same?
For cancer survivors (and non-survivors willing to ask this difficult question): Do I trust my lover’s to be as strong and brave as I was during my fight? Can I be strong and brave for him if he should ever need me to be?