Love IS

Via Nadine McNeil
on Feb 12, 2011
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Mother Nature's expression of love

Where there is love there is life.~ Gandhi

“Are you willing to accept the possibility that you may spend the rest of your life alone?” he asked, as we discussed the woeful challenges associated with the male/female relationship dynamic. In shifting roles, my yoga student had now become my teacher during this conversation that took place on the mat after concluding our private session. “I don’t know” was my immediate reaction to this question, one that brings me too close for comfort to one of my greatest fears.

His inquiry haunted me for days afterwards, both on the mat and off.  And then true to yogic form, one morning, the answer appeared:  No, I was not. I have not yet arrived at the stage where I was prepared to resign myself to living a love-deprived existence. In spite of a series of supposedly failed relationships including three close calls to the altar all of which I might add would have ended in tears, I remain an advocate of love and love relationships.

To be alone is not in harmony with being human. Within the context of human relationships, it is entirely natural for one to seek companionship; Universal law dictates this. The continuity of the human race is predicated on our ability to be in relation and community with each other.

A recent encounter with one whom I’d regard as a kindred soul has led me to move beyond the conventional wisdoms of relationships towards something far deeper; the hallmark upon which all human relations in principle ought to be based. Here I speak of the notion of love.

The essence of love is one without boundaries and thereby void of definition so I will not attempt to do so here. Entirely personal and immeasurable on a widely acceptable scale, how we love is shaped by our circumstances, our upbringing, our culture – I encompass religion within this realm – and our experiences. It is the conditionality of love rather than its essence that humanity is conflicted by. The mixed messages that we receive about what love is supposed to be lies at the root of what numbs humanity’s ability to love.

As February 14th, the day that celebrates the patron saint Valentine approaches, largely its commercial aspects bombard us – the acquisition of cards, flowers, chocolates and the like. We have been seduced into believing that these token gestures serve as some love validation. I question however the heart-felt meaning of these commercial gestures if we are still in a quandary regarding our visions of love.

For many of us journeying along the yogic path, invariably our feelings about love will become apparent. In fact, it is not surprising to note that many practitioners were led to the mat either through a broken heart or having arrived there with one, set about mending it through practice. As we commit to our practices, in time, we are able to open up to our heart chakras.

It is the absence of love that lies at the root of all of the crises that we are experiencing in our world today. Ponder this. Love is the one vital ingredient – besides breath – which we all need yet are paralyzed by our fears to such an extent that we shut it down – mainly through addictive behaviors which are ultimately excludes love from our lives.

Why is humanity so afraid to love? To love, to be love, to give and receive love is vital to our well being. Though unlike breath that is largely an involuntary physiological function, the ability to love is equally essential. Perhaps the difference between the two is the illusion of choice – we can choose to love or not. However in the long run, an absence of love threatens our ability to live fully. In fact when love is combined with breath, this in essence becomes our prana; our life force. Love in its purest form is innate – we only need to look into the eyes of a newborn creature or being, not yet scarred by life experience to witness and understand this.

For most of us reading this, we understand – at the very least intellectually – that any change that we wish to experience in our environments needs to emanate from within. Love is no exception.  There is a wholeness to love that when we truly experience it, includes only one person; namely our selves. It is from this pivotal point that we are then capable of ‘spreading the love’ to others.

Our capacities to love live in our willingness to die time and again, so that we may be re-born. Love is akin to a newborn child – emerging into the world pure and naked – physically, mentally and especially emotionally. Once we have stripped away the various layers that have been imposed upon us about love, only then can we begin to create a loving relationship with ourselves. However long this process may take varies, and we may discover that for a while, we must stand alone, empty.  This aloneness I speak of is one where vulnerability is invited as well as encouraged. Love cannot thrive amidst inauthenticity.

The likely fear that may arise as a result of being open with one ’s self we ought to welcome for in it lays the seeds of change that we seek.  When faced with the daunting question like the one posed at the outset of this discourse, you are able to gracefully face it and respond from the heart.

As we re-build our love relationships with ourselves, other aspects of our lives as we once new it will also shift and evolve. Our attitudes, beliefs and interests are bound to change. One telling sign of this will be the communities that you selectively re-create around you. By virtue, this metamorphosis will also impact on whom you draw energetically towards you and whom you repel away from you. Be mindful of self-flagellation here – acknowledge those former persons in your lives as your teachers as it is through them, you are now able to determine your love worthiness. Forgive them and release them from your hearts so that there is space to welcome those who may serve your greater good. Remember that the relationships that you now create are a reflection of who you are being – the other merely serves as your mirror. This can sometimes be a confronting and conflicting concept – after all no conscious being would knowingly invite into their lives anyone or anything that may compromise our ideals of ourselves.

In the life that I now choose to lead, there is no room for apathy.  Subsequently, giving up on love is not an option for me. Being a Love Warrior-ess, with each passing day I channel love firstly towards myself so that I’m able to show up in the world with an open heart – one that brims with compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.  In honoring the Divine that lives within, I surround myself with loving people, places and things. Daily I am reminded that the more I’m able to love and embrace who I am being, the easier it is for me to ‘spread the love’ without attachment and expectations.

Breath + Love = Prana.

Release all fallacies, notions, beliefs, conditions, assumptions, definitions and attitudes about love. Our seeds for love are buried beneath these cloudy, murky layers rooted in the opposite of love – fear.  Once empty, take the time to re-fill our souls with nutritious and wholesome love. The resulting, inevitable shift will be beyond our wildest expectations if we surrender to the force within all of us that is immeasurable beyond words.

Love is the only foundation upon which humanity can thrive.  Without it, we are doomed, truly. World peace is attainable and possible only through world love, a love that begins in our hearts, one beat at a time.

‘What we need is love, to guide and protect us on…seek happiness, come on you all and speak of love… what we need is love, sweet love…’—No More Trouble, ~ Bob Marley


About Nadine McNeil

Yogini. Humanitarian. Spirited. Compassionate. Storyteller. All of these words conjure up aspects that make Nadine McNeil the person she aspires to be: an evolutionary catalyst committed to global transformation. Now fully devoted to expanding the reach of yoga through what she refers to as the “democratization of yoga,” she designs and delivers workshops to a wide cross-section of communities who ordinarily may not be exposed to nor reap its benefits.To join her mailing list and to learn more about her work and receive special offers, please click here.


11 Responses to “Love IS”

  1. Joe Sparks says:

    Any human being loves, deeply any other human being that he or she gets to know- regardless of age, sex, or anything of the sort, except where painful emotion has interfered and gotten in the way. For most of us our humanness is tied up in hurts that have gotten in the way. It isn't surprising that our society has come to regard love as a precious sometimes-jewel and to teach us that once, perhaps just once, the peacock's wing dips and touches us with its iridescence, and then love. Of course, for many of us it is just about that rare. That this precious, rare thing (and it has been rare in our culture) is existing in tremendous amounts all around us. That all people are ready to love us except that they're afraid; they're hurt; they're sure of, or fearful of, rejection; they're embarrassed. That they're just as anxious to love us as we are to love them, except that we're scared, we're embarrassed, we're afraid that we're going to make fools of ourselves or get involved in sex before we're ready, or something like that. Great article! I really enjoyed it! Thanks!

  2. Hi Nadine,

    Beautiful post. It is obvious it was written from the heart and it is always a joy to read posts written by love.

    Love is one of those topics that brings up so many thoughts. In my mind, when a person loves who they are, they are better able to love others and give others the space to be who they are without judgment. I think what prevents people from being love is pain. We all have our issues and our baggage. And we often carry those past pains into new relationships which kind of dooms the relationship because it prevents us from having a new experience.

    When I was miserable, I had a hard time with love. My track record in that area was really bad. However, when I made my peace with myself, my experience changed and I ended up meeting a wonderful person who is now my husband.

    Many times people are afraid to love because they may not be loved in return. I used to think like that but I have come to see that It is far better to love and possibly lose than to never love at all. A cold heart is not something to be proud of.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jack Daw and Bob Weisenberg, Red Fox. Red Fox said: Love IS […]

  4. Audrey says:

    Most people aren't brave enough to love. Most people haven't developed a large enough capacity for pain. Every and anything we love will be taken from us–when it does, or when we do–and the more we love the greater our hurt, as we end up feeling the inevitable pain (and less inevitable suffering) of those we care about. Love is the cruelest of allies.

    If I could choose not to love, I would take that choice in a heartbeat. Life would be so, so much easy, and so much more peaceful.

  5. Nadine says:

    I loved your final sentence. In the words of Sade, "love IS stronger than pride." Blessings and Light to you!

  6. freeandlaughing says:

    Oh Nadine! There is truly One Mind One Heart One Love! I sat in meditation this morning acknowledging my Divine Feminine as I observed some issues in the left side of my body, the left side representing the feminine. I released and embraced the Divine Goddess expressing as me, as pure love. Now I sit to write my Valentine's blog, and what is the first thing to pop up in my e-mail? This post! There is truly One Mind One Heart One Love! For your words express the universal truth – love love love. Like you, I have "been there done that" in terms of the "failed" but really learning relationships. And like you I remain a Love Warrior-ess (oooh – love that). Warrior Pose now takes on new meaning as I stand firm in LOVE! Today I commit to love – seeing love, hearing love, speaking love, feeling love and BEING LOVE! Thank you thank you thank you!

  7. Chinaryoyale says:

    Beautiful! ALL WE NEED IS LOVE, ALL WE NEED IS LOVE! LOVE! LOVE IS ALL WE NEED….is that the beetles? And as a single human being on this valentines day weekend I decided to love love and love some more. I loved me!!!

  8. Suzette says:

    Super sweet…and as i read through this article again….i understand that I look into the eyes of love with my two dogs…they expect nothing more and nothing less but absolute pure love…and to think of them as basic "creatures" as in eating,sleeping etc., is to deprive them of the most basic life force of love. They in their purity give you the space for you to allow love.

  9. RISEN says:

    Really you think so, seriously?????

  10. RISEN says: