For years I thought Love was a polite word for having Sex. People spoke of ‘looking for love’ and ‘making love’ and so I grew up with the belief that fundamentally it was something outside of you, something that you created with a physical act. I would feel slightly embarrassed when I heard the word spoken, would raise my eyebrows if someone said they ‘loved chocolate’, and never said it myself in case someone misunderstood me and thought I wanted Sex. I grew up very confused, and a little afraid of the ‘L’ word. It turns out of course, that’s not what Love is at all.
In my parents house, Love wasn’t in common use. ‘I love you’ was never said. If it was it must have been so infrequent I have no memory of it. Love was implied in some form however, my Mother would hug me and try to support me, and my Father would provide us with food, clothing and a roof over our heads. There was no physical abuse in the home, and there was never so much as a raised voice, as arguments – or even heated discussions – were forbidden. We all lived together, in a kind of pseudo-Amish emotional vacuum, my parents, my brother and I, in the same house, sharing the same meals, watching the same tv, and I can see now how truly dysfunctional we really were.
Love isn’t about having Sex. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t that. Anyone can have sex with anyone else, and it can often mean nothing. Surely to feel Love, Loving and Loved is more than lying down with someone. Surely it is more than something that can be done in moments…
When I had my first child I felt Love. It was so powerful, I didn’t know what to do with the intensity of emotion that swept over me as I watched her sleeping. My heart came alive, and my whole being was consumed by this devotion that I had never so much as touched on before. My life dramatically changed with motherhood, as I was now tapped into a power so strong I knew I would – I could – do anything to keep her safe. This was the Mother Love of the Universe, the energy that creates worlds, and ensures the survival of us all. It was joyous and expansive, and I was living life to its fullest.
But time passes, and the intensity slows. I don’t know why it should, but it does. Things happen, people happen, and the direct flow from the Love source gets shut off here and there, and before you know it, the feeling you had is just a memory. Love then becomes a longing – a feeling you once had but now is lost. Again it is on the outside – out there somewhere, waiting to be found. No longer is it the feeling that floods in every morning on waking. The feeling that calls you into Life. Now it has slipped away again, behind a veil of sameness and mundane daily life, and we wonder if we can ever get it back.
But Love isn’t outside. Love is inside. To be allowed and felt, or to be shut off. It is a choice. But who would do that? Who would choose to shut Love off? Why would anyone do that?
I don’t know why. I only know that I do it all the time. It is like an amnesia. I simply forget that Love is there, I forget to be in the flow of Love. My mind is thinking of problems and solutions and keeps itself fully occupied. The subtlety of Loving needs space in which to be felt, and I am always too busy for Love. Only when the chance to show it has passed, when those who are dear to me have gone, will I remember. And then it is with longing once again, for something lost.
Perhaps it takes practice. Perhaps I should begin with myself – after all I’m always available and I’m always with me! If I feel loving kindness towards myself, will it not spill out to those around me? If love is a flow that never stops unless you turn it off, then surely that might be.
I will try. I will practice. I will start with gratitude and kindness towards myself. If I can do that, then maybe Love with show its gentle face again. If it is true that what you put out always comes back to you, then I should see some changes soon enough.
‘Is love a feeling or a fancy?’ Perhaps it is both.