“Love is a river, drink from it.” ~ Rumi
Of all the thousands of people I have met in my life I remember meeting him the clearest.
It was a sunny day in May and unusually warm for Canada. I wore a yellow skirt, probably too fitted for a wedding, and a low cut top, probably a little too revealing. I was tired and unsure if this was even where I wanted to be. I was seated on a front patio surrounded by new people trying to make small talk. Trying to fit in. Trying to pull my damn skirt down.
Suddenly there he was. Looking up into the clear blue sky, the sun hit my eyes and then there he was. His face backlit so he actually appeared to be glowing. He was a jolt of electricity. He was a magnetic force. He was a stranger I felt I had known for a long time or in another life. He smiled and said his name.
I can’t remember what happened next. I don’t remember if I stood up from my seat or remained where I was. I don’t remember what I said. I must have introduced myself in return. I looked up and all stopped except for his face. There was a remembrance at the back of my mind of this man and yet we had never met before.
Do we know when we meet the love of our life?
What are the feelings, thoughts, and sensations that lead us to love? What tricks does the mind do to keep us from that love out of fear? What does the heart seek that keeps us pulled toward that one anyway?
I had always loved love stories but did not plan for one in my own life. In fact I had always held back from love. I preferred the idea that I would have many lovers in my life and not one big love. This way I could be free to experience who and what I wanted. This way no one could ever leave me. This way I could contain my heart for myself. This way I was safe.
Have you ever felt an entire possibility open to you and then within seconds completely close yourself to it? Have you ever felt such knowing, yearning and desire and then completely turned away? Have you ever had a time when someone offered you revelation and you stayed in the dark?
How many missed chances have we all experienced? How much has humanity suffered because of what appeared to be circumstances that we could not overcome or personal fears that kept us locked in our own prison? How much of our depression, addictions, sorrow and even warring has been created from denying our heart’s deepest longing – be it love, passion, grace, freedom, purpose? How many of us have turned away from the deep well of knowing to return to the surface of suffering because we thought that was expected of us or simply because we didn’t believe we deserved any better.
I felt it in that moment. I saw the possibility of love, truth and desire and then quickly pulled away. We could not be. We would not be. How could we possibly be together? It was a cosmic joke for we were both in other relationships for one thing and secondly, I was not ready to love like this.
I spent years denying my desire and deep connection to this man. We became friends, a sweet torture. He married someone else. I became engaged to another and addicted to sleeping pills, partying and self-loathing. Just when I really felt like I could take no more Grace kicked my ass into action.
In a tequila induced haze I told him how I felt. Not the proudest moment of my life but probably one of the most important. Something within me was ready to be vulnerable even if it was a little too late.
It turns out I was not too late. That man is now my husband and is one of my greatest teachers. Love and marriage is not easy and continues to be a journey ever deeper into vulnerability, trust and transparency, but I now know the power of an intimate and loving relationship as a way to experience my own beauty, truth and potential. Through deep love for another we can connect to the Divine place inside us that we often feel we have lost. What I know now is that Grace loves us so much that she will rattle us with such deep desire to help us overcome our various trances.
Love wants its way with you. Love is the most powerful energy in the universe. It is far more powerful than fear, hate or shame. Love took over. It occupied, crucified and then rarified me. After all the denial it persevered and I finally gave myself to it though it has been and continues to be a journey of allowing, surrendering and opening the flesh deeper.
I believe we all want and need to believe in love – not as some fairy tale romance where the prince saves us but as a way to experience transformation, evolution and just plain joy. We all seek to overcome our family, societal and personal patterns and our relationships can be the catalyst and the crash pad to do so. This requires we hold our lover in great esteem. We see him or her as the god or goddess they truly are and stop projecting our shame, blame and pain. Can we see our beloved as just that – truly an incarnation of the Divine. It requires also that we choose love and know that it is actually the surest way home.
Edited by Jennifer Cusano, elephant Love and Relationships Editor