A friend told me I should blog about my understanding of the love stuff. As I start to write this I must admit I feel more confused about what I know and don’t know than ever before. You see, I am in love with my best friend and I have been for a long time. Depressingly, I have kept myself trapped in this unrequited saga for over a year despite trying for the last 6 months to find some distance and move on.
This is not my first foray into the dizzying desperation of unrequited love. At 13, I fell in love with my kid neighbour and pretty much made all our parties miserable as I pined for him and dreamt of our love from across the room, as he quite rightly, tried to ignore me. I would mope to the best of Celine Dion (it was the 90s) and feel the agony of my tender little heart beating unloved. Or so I thought.
I have always been sentimental. Romantic. Dramatic. Clearly. But what I have also been is miseducated in the meaning of love. Miseducated by the early separation and divorce of my biological parents, miseducated by my biological Father not being in my life consistently, miseducated by the crud on TV, miseducated by Disney (my Prince will come) and miseducated by society – by adverts, friends, enemies, boys, naivety and our consumerist & celebrity culture.
According to my yogic understanding, I have also been operating under karmic patterns – with tendencies towards the dramatic & doomed aspects of love relationships (Mars energy), and to be distracted or drawn to tempestuous love affairs and inevitably burned (the fire of the Sun and that pesky Mars combined), and born to a family with the karmic pattern of divorce and an absent father due to my past life karma. My soul chose the family it did in order to deal with these lessons for my soul evolution in this life. Complicated hey?
In order to understand love, I believe you need to understand why we are here. We are here to evolve, as a species but also as spiritual souls. According to Western and Eastern science, we are all energy, radiating at different frequencies, made up of cells and atoms which are magnetically drawn together and fuse in different forms of matter – rock, cow, human, doughnut. (May not have found that last one in my yoga resources..)
So, what is love? Love is the energy of attraction. It is the pervasive energy within us all, it is the heart, the life energy, of everything. It brings us together in relationship and in community. We were created from love and we will return to love when we reach spiritual enlightenment. But my goodness we have a long way to go before then!
Relationship love is something we can experience in this gift of being human. It is not just partners, but includes the relationships we have, sustain and often destroy with our parents, children, and other relatives as well as our partners. Human relationships make us feel accountable to someone else – to believe (wrongly) that we are either responsible for someone else’s happiness, and/ or that someone else is responsible for ours. We place conditions on the love we provide, almost automatically, when we enter into these relationships. To be human and alive means you have experienced relationship love on some level. You were born to a mother, who may or may not have provided you with unconditional love, but in order to have become an adult someone was care-giving to keep you alive until you became self sufficient. That, even in a limited form, is still an expression of love. And that relationship came with expectation, pain, and lessons to learn.
I have experienced love, lust, unrequited love and spiritual love. I have felt in love with the world, I have felt a warmth in my chest, a contentment in my heart on a regular and almost daily basis for a while now due to yoga, and the practices I do. I have fallen in love with life and with love (or God or Universal energy). But it doesn’t mean I don’t long for a Partner and children. It doesn’t stop me wanting those human experiences of love that I see around me and yet feel beyond me. But perhaps that’s because I keep myself preoccupied with someone who doesn’t want to be in a partner relationship with me? Yoga is about taking responsibility for your soul evolution and that is what I am trying to muddle through.
We all can, and I, for sure, get snared up by ‘rejection’. When a relationship has failed, or a guy hasn’t asked for a second date, or just wants to be friends, I feel rejected, unwanted, unloved and unworthy. It compounds the limiting belief I have that I am not good enough. I wasn’t good enough as a child because if I had been, well then, why did my Dad leave and hurt me? If I am good enough now, why am I still single at 35 (nb: clock ticking childbearing age)? If I am enough now, why doesn’t my best friend, who values me, want more?
Can you see how the cycle goes? And we believe these stories. And we fuel them by attracting relationships (partner, personal, professional) that prove our limiting belief to be true, time and time again. We react in the same way, say and do the same things, and brace ourselves for the next round of disappointment. Because that’s all we know, and sadly, it’s how we feel safe – safe in our known victim status that we are not enough! I have believed my story for the last 34 years and I’m still now trying to excavate the root of this nasty limiting belief that permeates my life and keeps me from the one thing I truly wish to feel – LOVE.
When someone walks away from you, ends a relationship with you, or starts one with someone else, it isn’t because you are not worthy of love. It is because that person wasn’t for you at all or at that time. And that attachment you have acts as a block to the magnetic pull of love that underpins the Universe. By remaining attached to someone, you are, in fact, telling the Universe that you think you know best. You know what you need and what life should look like. And you don’t want to evolve, have faith, have patience and trust in the underpinning energy of love that is your birthright, that is your true nature. In addition to that, I am experiencing that developing trust in love involves acceptance that love will undoubtedly be offered to you, just perhaps in another form than relationship love.
Every break up, every disappointment, every challenge is a lesson in love and soul evolution – it’s an opportunity to firstly, eat vast quantities of pizza and ice cream, but after that, it’s more importantly, an opportunity to explore your own needs and feelings and to be honest about whether the relationship was/is really serving your highest good. Or are you holding on, settling, refusing to move on because of fear, mistrust or some other self denying belief.
On reflecting on my patchy path through relationship love, I can see that each knock helped to turn me towards Yoga and God. I wouldn’t have got to where I am today without those painful heartbreaking unrequited experiences. I was born to an absent father so I would learn how to evolve past dependency on men, on others, for love and validation. Because of the pain, I have become me, I have evolved as a result of every knock and dissatisfying relationship experience I have had with men, including male bosses. And if I am honest with myself, had my best friend wanted more from me before I left the UK, I would have prioritised that relationship love and not had this time away for myself which has given me the gift of falling in love with God, and knowing that there is more than one way to seek, feel and share love. And for that I can say, sincerely, I am grateful. I am blessed. Despite my heart still wanting more with him.
The shackles of my miseducation are being rattled. And perhaps I can shake yours too. There is more, so much more to experience in this life than just relationship love. I have felt it. Love is the connection to the source of energy within us and around us – spiritual love, and spiritual connection. And on occasion, I have felt the energy of love pouring into me and out of me, exposed, raw, and beautiful. I have felt soft love, like a mothers cuddle, as well as the inklings of spiritual ecstasy. And I have also closed back up to that love due to that pesky limited belief and the terrifying power of actually FEELING LOVE. And learning that I have to trust it, because as someone who has crafted the story that I have been denied love for 35 years, it is the scariest thing to embrace.
Spiritual love is truly the only form of unconditional love. Because in relationship love, we have expectations. Eg – I love my boyfriend but I have an expectation he will marry me if he truly loved me. And even the unconditional love of parent and child can hurt us – when a Father cannot give the love a child needs due to his own limitations and pain, when a child doesn’t love us in the way we want to be loved, or grows up and moves away, or chooses to join the circus and not obtain a doctorate (I personally would prefer the circus for my imagined kid!). I’m not suggesting the love doesn’t exist and remain there but it causes us pain within that relationship due to our expectation of how that love should be shown and felt. Because we expected that human relationship to make us happy. Whereas the only pain in spiritual love is realising when you’re not connected to it, and that it was always there and that you, YOU, were the one hiding from it THE ENTIRE TIME. That’s what I have felt anyway. And I am still hiding and playing kiss chase with God!
We have expectations or hopes of our fellow humans, even if we are not in relationship love with them. I love my best friend. But that doesn’t entitle me to have more from him than he is willing or able to give me. And it is my responsibility if I interpret that as rejection, and then feed it into my story about not being ‘good enough’. It’s important to feel all the feelings of love – the pain and the joy as that is how we evolve. And through the pain of a recent triggering event with him, I have realised I have the choice instead, to be grateful for his role in my life, in showing me that a man exists who shares my values, dreams and yoga love and laughs. A kind, sexy, spiritual man who enjoys my company, who supports my dreams and rambles. But it is ME who has interpreted that as meaning he’s the only man who can do that, the only man who is made for me. And with that limiting belief I reveal to the Universe that I still do not trust that I am being loved and guided, that I still do not believe I truly deserve love, and that I do not fully appreciate the love I have experienced elsewhere, and accept that everything is happening as it should for my soul evolution.
Because that again, is why we are here. It’s not to obtain a white wedding dress, have a party and a wedding album to signify love (not that they aren’t valuable parts of human life that I still want). It’s not necessarily to have children either. Women are here to birth and create but that can be other things than babies such as art, business and conscious community. It has often felt to me that there’s one ‘normal’ represented way to love and to live life and that resulting drive for a husband and children has caused me a lot of heartache and disappointment as I still sit without those things.
But if I lean into the love that is available to me, if I trust that love comes in many forms, then I feel content. I feel loved. I can accept that my best friend can’t offer me more, and I can love him still, without expectation (this is a work in progress folks). He has held space for me whilst I wrangle with my emotions, and he continues to respect my feelings and my need for space. His love for me is helping to set me free. And perhaps this is the best thing for my soul evolution. Perhaps that is the reason I met him and loved him. Not so we can have sex and babies but so I can finally compare my experiences of love, sit with the brutal truth that my love for him carries expectations, and to learn, painfully, to step through that and let the idea of relationship love with him go. It would be easier if he was a bit of a tw&t! But there in itself is growth and love. Despite the pain I feel for now, I also feel blessed to have him as my best friend.
Love isn’t a pretty pink picnic. It’s the messy glue and matter of the Universe, of our soul, of each of us. It is our greatest teacher, and our greatest gift, if we can learn to distinguish between real love, and love without fear and love without expectation.
Dedicated to all the lovers out there. Be brave. Be vulnerable. Believe in love Xx