Ah, the age old question. It’s been sung about, written about, lamented over, and pondered for eons. And is the answer a universal one that we can all agree on? That’s a good question.
Love is the essence of life. It is what we all are, what we all return to when we leave this physical plane, and what we all seem to seek while we’re here. People seek it through different things – relationships, material possessions, fame, you name it, the root of the seeking is the same: we want to feel love(d).
How do you go about feeling love(d), if you don’t know how to feel Love? That’s the key question. We’ve all no doubt heard the ‘relationships are mirrors’ thing too many times to count, and it can start to feel a bit cliché after a while. The thing is, it’s one of the greatest truths of our existence – we are all mirrors for each other. If we cannot find Love alone on a mountaintop, or in the depths of our despair, we will never find it outside of ourselves.
We cannot chase it, because it is not outside of us, nor is it anything we can catch. We cannot change who we are to bring it to us, because who we are is it. We just have to be, and ease our hearts open to the experience of Love, and embrace life as it shakes us out of our safe, controlled environment into one of abundant joy and Love.
Let’s take as an example, what happens when a love relationship breaks down. Do you stiffen up, and hear your heart say, ‘I’m hardening myself to avoid these painful feelings again….’ If instead, you can shift our mindset to softness, you will experience a deeper Love than you’ve imagined.
This is one of the biggest lessons of Love – you cannot harden your heart to protect you from the pain (of loving and potentially ‘losing’ that love) or you will never get to the Love you seek. You have to soften it instead, like a downy feather.
As situations test you, and challenge you, don’t close down, open up. Allow the flow of Love to be like the flow of breath, in and out in equal quantities. In and out, in and out. The pain breaks us open to deeper and deeper experiences of Love.
Lately I’ve been reminded to look in the mirror every morning and say, ‘I love you.’ Thinking about this practice, I also realised it is a beautiful (and literal) example of the concept of reflection. As you say to yourself, ‘I love you,’ do you expect yourself to answer? Do you see the love reflected back at you, and how do you feel? Is it difficult to accept that from yourself? Can you give Love without thought of it coming back to you in any form?
We expect others to reflect Love to us, without first asking ourselves if we can see it within us. We want to feel that something on this Earth Loves us, and therefore we have value because we are loveable. We want Love to make us feel love(d), yet without the feeling of Love, we’re hooped. It’s a Divine Catch-22.
There’s a revelation in here about letting ourselves go, and it has a number of layers to it. Firstly, there’s the idea of trusting the flow of Love, letting ourselves go to be swallowed up in the beauty of it, which isn’t an altogether unpleasant feeling.
Then, there’s an underlying warning, to not be swallowed up so completely that we let ourselves be dissolved in the context of the unit which is ‘the relationship’ (thus letting our Selves go).
Finally, there’s a reminder that what happens when we let our Selves go (energetically or spiritually), is that we let ourselves go physically. We stop caring for our appearance, our health, and other parts of us that while they don’t define us in totality, they add to our overall ME-ness. We are not meant to let our Selves go just because we feel or we desire to feel love(d) by another.
If we truly love our Selves, we will never let ourselves stray from the beauty that makes us so completely who we are. We will not allow ourselves to be swallowed up in the quest for that fleeting feeling of love(d)ness which comes from without, and instead find the truth of it within.
By staying centred in the knowledge that Love exists at the core of each and every one of us, and that our job is simply to express that as brilliantly as we can in the world, we build firmer and firmer foundations in our lives. We no longer seek the validation of Love from external sources, but shine on in the knowledge that it comes from deep within us.
Here are some song lyrics, from Howard Jones’ 80s hit ‘What is Love?’ which sum up the idea of openness beautifully.
And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door always must be left unlocked.
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting.
What is love anyway?
(By Howard Jones and William Bryant)
About Jenny Griffin
Also known as 'The Catharsis Coach,' Jenny loves exploring life's twists and turns through the lens of transformation. Her own journey through catharsis, a deep, deep letting go of ingrained patterns and beliefs, resulted in a feeling of connectedness, with the world around her and with that wise and wonderful voice within. Jenny has learned to engage with her life and experiences in a way that allows her to use the knowledge gained through them to serve others. When she's not writing, she's coming up with new ways to help people move through change with grace and ease.