With a heart washed fresh by tears,
I turn to gaze as love creeps in—
A returning tide,
Swirling ’round my feet,
Lifting me high.
With no time to hide,
I half laugh, half cry,
And surrender again
To that wonder of life.
Sometimes when we give up being so insistent on love coming through a particular channel and we turn around, we realize we have backed ourselves into a corner—closing off the infinite channels through which love might have found us by our insistence that it reach us in only one way.
Love has no respect for the social and mental constructs that we try to build for her, or for ourselves—for walls that try to restrain or contain her. And, if we’re open to the possibility, that Great Mystery, which is life, will always find a way of rekindling the flame in our heart, of finding a way to bring us back into contact with love.
It’s up to us then to bow our heads in humility and allow ourselves to be laid bare by her warmth, wondering at her magnificence. It’s up to us to allow her to work her magic of breaking down our resistances, unrestricted by human fears that try to shape her to our liking. Are we brave enough to allow her in when she comes knocking, or will we continue to push her away because we fear the consequences of letting love rule?
I wrote the lines above a few years ago after struggling with an intense love that flared up quite unexpectedly. At first I fought it, trying to explain it away logically, looking for reasons why it couldn’t be love. Then I surrendered. And with that surrender a feeling of grace swept through my life.
I wasn’t looking to leave my longterm relationship, although all wasn’t rosy. Nor was I really all that interested in an affair—I had enough going on in my little world at the time—but I was definitely needing to feel that radiant warmth of love again. And it had found me, through the intense eyes of a friend I had barely noticed in that way before. My choice was to acknowledge or reject it, and I chose to acknowledge it.
The intensity of it lasted perhaps a few months, but it was enough to re-tune my sinking vibration to a higher frequency again. It reminded me of the gift that love is, no matter how unexpected, or even unwelcome, it may seem at times. It also showed me how easy it is for us to block love by our assumptions that we can only love particular people, or types of people, or at particular times, or life stages. And how easy it is for us to try to restrict love to certain channels—marriage, social groups, one gender.
What if we committed to being open to love in whatever way she shows up? What if we allowed ourselves, and others, to love where and when and how we are prompted to? Would that be the ultimate rebellion or the ultimate surrender? Or both? What mental and emotional adjustments would it require of us to give ourselves permission to love freely and to permit our loved ones the same gift? How might that feel?
When I began to allow myself to live that way—accepting love when it appeared, either through myself or through another—all the small and large blocks that I’d built to that energy showed themselves. Questions arose around marriage and commitment. Could loving many and committing to one co-exist? Did I need to change my commitment to my longterm partner? Would he reject me? Questions arose around how far I would express my love to others. Did it feel right to tell another how I felt about them or did I keep it to myself? And if they shared the feeling, how far did we go in expressing it to each other? Did love always mean sex?
Ultimately, it has been a balancing act and I’ve realized love will flow as much as the channel is willing to open. I’ve been finding out where my boundaries are at the moment, and have been gently nudging them further out without beating myself up over areas where I still hold back. I’ve also been finding out where the boundaries of those around me are, and have been gently nudging those when it seems right to do so.
It’s not that we’re either open or closed to love. It’s more a question of degree. And the degree also depends to some extent on context. Somehow it seems much easier to be open when single than when in a long term relationship that involves children.
When we’re afraid of losing something, we also close down to love. ‘No thank you, I don’t want any more love in case I lose what I have.‘ It seems ridiculous when expressed so simply, but that’s often what lies under our reluctance to admit more love into our lives.
The one constant for me along this fascinating journey, though, has been noticing how consistently love shows up. When I’m feeling the lack of it in one area, it pops up in another. And even when there doesn’t seem to be a lover at close quarters with whom I can share with, the vibration of love is always there to be tuned into through the quiet moments in my life and in meditation.
I’ve been learning to let love rule, and it has become the quiet rebellion of my life.
(Originally published on Elephant Journal)