Friday, February 13, 2015

It's All Love

I’m going to be a tad predictable, and dare I say cliché here. I’m going to write about love for Valentine’s Day. Just go with me on this, or don’t. Either way, it’s all love.

My experience continues proving to me that those words are in fact the ultimate truth: it’s all love.

“What’s ‘it’?” you might ask.

“What isn’t?” I’d reply.

There are the popularized, commercialized incarnations of love that many of us have been sold on for far too long. Take the essentials for this particular holiday. If you are to believe the hype, you must:

  •        Have a partner in order to properly celebrate Valentine’s Day
  •        Exchange the perfunctory cards, flowers, chocolates with said partner
  •        Prove you REALLY care with something extra. . . jewelry? Lingerie? Two tickets to paradise?
  •        Spend the big night in wildly romantic fashion, complete with mind-blowing sex once you’ve finished feeding one another chocolate covered strawberries, mouth-to-mouth, for dessert
  •        Let’s not forget that champagne toast!

I’ve experienced all of this before, and I adored it. Clearly I’m not above a little predictability and cliché in my life. In fact, just last year I was sharing much of the aforementioned status quo with a partner who I was so deeply in love with that I even allowed myself to fantasize I’d never spend another Valentine’s Day alone again. Score! Right?

Yet here I am another turn around the sun later, and I am single. Yup, I said the “s” word that many a woman in her mid-thirties cringes at that sound of.

I. Am. Single.

You know what else I am?

Deeply in love.

I feel quite certain I will not wake up on Valentine’s Day to a partner magically fallen from the sky, so there won’t be anyone gifting me a handwritten card or a racy corset. It’s possible I could end up having a wildly romantic night, complete with steamy sex, and we just might feed each other chocolates, but you’ll have to check back with me on that one. And I’m just not much for champagne these days. Amazing how getting serious about this spirituality business can rid you of your taste for booze.

So I don’t have the trappings of the traditional Valentine’s Day love affair. How can I be in love?

Let’s dissect that for a moment. In . Love. As in to be inside of this thing we’re calling love. You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t smell, touch or even hear it. So how can you be IN it?

I like answering questions with questions.

How can’t you be?

Love is life. Love is death. Love is rainbows and earthquakes and sprouting plants and smiling babies and grieving widows and starry skies. Love is the sensation when you shudder with aversion and when you undulate with bliss. Love is every rising and setting of the sun. Love is the stillness and the silence in between all sense perception. Love is.

I am in this world of pure and utter magic, this world of love, and so I am in love, as are you. There is simply no way around it. You couldn’t get out if you tried. It’s the sacred marriage to end all marriages. You exist and thus you are in love.

So why then are so many of us walking around unaware? Why do we say we fall in and out of love as if we were talking about changing our clothes each day?

It’s because we’ve forgotten. We’ve lost our way. The ultimate truth, it’s all love, is also the truth of who we are. We misguidedly attach our love to objects, often other  people, and then believe love is lost when they have gone away.

Yet think about that for a moment. What has actually left? Even if it’s a living breathing body you’ve attached your love to that ceases to exist on this earth plane from one day to the next, what has actually left us? Not love.

Love is transcendent. It encompasses all that we can perceive and all that we cannot. It is in us and all around us. It’s our nature, and when we remember this, when we find our way, we awaken to the truth that we are, always have been and always will be in love.

I started ruminating on this while I was on an amazing mission I dubbed “Operation Cupid”. You see, a friend of mine in the U.S. asked me to deliver a surprise Valentine’s bouquet to her beloved who happens to be in the same town in Bali as I am. That involved me hand selecting the card, transcribing the given message, finding my way by scooter to a flower shop where I chose each and every stem in the bunch and even the color ribbon it was tied with. Then once back on my trusty Scooby scooter, I set off to find the house where this gesture of love would land. I got lost. I was covered in sweat and breathing in the exhaust of just a few too many tourist buses. I realized that no one would be reciprocating any such gesture toward me on this particular Valentine’s Day. And I felt so wholly and totally in love.

Observing my sheer joy at this mission started me reflecting on what it is to be “in love” and how it was that I was having the exact same felt experience of being in love as I’ve known in the more traditional context even while I was negotiating traffic and juggling stress, wholly and totally by myself. It occurred to me that as in love as my friend is with her paramour, I am in love with the call to service I was fortunate to receive, I am in love with every breath I get to take (even if it is a polluted one) and whether I am happy or sad, accompanied or alone, I am always in love.

So my share is for the sake of inspiring your own reflection. Whether you will honor Valentine’s Day in the most cliché manner possible or by dressing in black and sitting in mourning or whatever the hell you feel called to do, I invite you to really ponder what the words “in love” mean to you and see if you might catch a glimpse of that ultimate truth for yourself. It really is all love.