Saturday, June 18, 2011

Feeling the love

It’s an overcast day on a Mexican beach. The breeze that’s blowing steady and strong has tempered the sticky humidity that has hung in the air. Marc Anthony and latin dance beats are pumping softly through the hotel speakers, and I can smell the ocean as I watch the waves rolling from my perch on the hotel patio. That I am here bearing witness to all of this is a manifestation of love. That my heart and mind are largely back at home despite my physical presence in this place is a manifestation of love as well.

One of my oldest and closest friends got married yesterday in a small, intimate ceremony on a private island in paradise. It was a beautiful affair. She was a beautiful bride. I was a constant observer of the intricacies of love that were all around us at every moment. Here we are, celebrating the love of a couple who have chosen to formalize their commitment to one another in this way. I remember meeting him in the early stages of their relationship, coincidentally being in town the weekend they moved in together. I was there when they got engaged, and now I have been there to see them exchange their vows. I am so happy and full of love for them.

As with all meaningful experiences in life, this prompts major reflection for me. In this case, I find myself reflecting on the bride and groom’s love, as well as the love of the others here with us. In this small mix are couples who have lived decades by one another’s sides, some doing so as travelers walking a parallel path, others so in sync and intertwined that their two paths have merged seamlessly into one. There are those still searching for romantic love and companionship, and those who seem content to experience love in others ways and forms, preferring to walk their path solo. There is my ex-husband and I, both in attendance for this experience, and to experience each other on a new and different level than we’ve ever known before- real friends. While that is happening, I am constantly thinking of the man who, though relatively new to my life in terms of time spent, feels as if he has been there forever and knows me better than anyone I’ve ever known. He is the man who holds the key to my heart and has given me such intense and extensive lessons on love since walking into my life.

So here is what I've come to with all this thinking, feeling, reflecting: Love moves. Love grows. Love ebbs. Love flows. It is so dynamic, so all-pervading, so constant. Love cannot be pigeon-holed or tied down. Love of one form or for one person is not mutually exclusive from any other. Love is experienced differently by everyone, we interpret and express it differently, and the key, I am coming to understand, is finding someone who loves the same way that you do. While the language of love may be universal, the more subtle nuances are not. We perceive and understand love in unique and varied ways. Accordingly, if you happen to be in the company of someone who’s perception differs from your own, it can be challenging to sustain and nourish that love for long. But when you find someone who speaks the same love language that you do, it is magic. It is coming home. It is salvation. It is validation. It is life.

I am grateful for all the love I have known, all the ways that I have been privileged to experience its life-affirming, awe-inspiring magnificence. I am grateful for the love I have witnessed between others, for the love I have exchanged firsthand, and most acutely and profoundly, I am so beyond grateful for the love that is in my life at this very moment. This love is allowing me to see the world through clear, open eyes, to have new appreciation for people and relationships I thought I previously understood, and to feel so safe, so happy and so full. As I honor this love, I do so by wishing that each and every one of us has the opportunity to give and receive a love so powerful and so pure because it truly is what makes life worth living. Infinite blessings.

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