I sat down to feel into what romantic love is to me. Some of the questions I came up with are as follows and maybe try to answer a few for yourself.
What is romantic love to you?
Does it differ from the way that you love your friends or family?
Are you more loving and accepting of your friends and family and their mistakes than your lover?
Do you need to have different expectations for your lover because you have a different relationship with them that involves sex?
How does sex play into romantic love? Does it expand it or limit it?
Can we start moving away from time being a measure of success of romantic love?
Can we wake up and release our romantic loves everyday and practice non attachment?
Can we love someone in a way that makes them feel free?
I found an old email from a past love of mine and in this letter he writes to me what he believes love is. I have to say, I agree with them.
"That night turned what should have been one of the most boring, uneventful periods of my life into 7 of the most amazing months I'll ever know. And somewhere between the ecstasy-fueled nights and the lazy-humid afternoons of last summer, I fell madly in love with a girl. Sure, there were signs right from the beginning. The energy I gleaned just from being in her presence, the earth-shattering sex, her sense of humor... And it wasn't something that only became true as we said goodbye for the first time last August. It was born of it's own means and took on a life of it's own. To this day, I don't know when exactly it happened. I just knew that I was re-learning what Love is and what Love could be.
Love is not just a formal agreement to enjoy another person's qualities or company. Love is not just time-tested familiarity. It's not holding hands, kissing, not even fucking, and Love is definitely not present just because you say it is. Love is an uncontrollable, exhilarating, intoxicating force of nature that possesses your heart, mind, and soul rendering you helpless as it charges through you. It can make you fly to the edge of the universe and back and it can crush your soul to the size of a single atom. It can make years go by like seconds and it is the only known way to make time stand still. But at it's best - it's most tender core - Love is being so caught up in the inherent spontaneity, the sense of adventure, the absolute freedom of sweet surrender that you can be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing else matters. And that? That's how you make me feel. "
I think that is such a beautiful way to describe love. We can get so caught up in the past or the future that we forget about the present, the now, the what’s in front of me. Some may call that immature or fleeting or lusty, but I think that is how you maintain your self in love is to be present in every moment of what’s there and not just going through the motions of habit.
I define habit as a behavior that we are aware of and keep choosing it for ourselves in a habitual manner. The main component I feel of romantic love is awareness in all things. Our love relationships bring out the deepest issues that can normally hide or that might not get trigger by our family and family. The romantic love is the juice behind the squeeze of self awareness.
Recently here in Austin, TX we just finished up hosting the music festival Austin City Limits, better known as ACL. The energy as you walk up to the venue starts to get stronger and stronger and you feel like you are hurling yourself into a world of unknowns, yet you darning enter. If you have gone to any major music festival then you’ll know what I’m talking about. For me this year was different just coming from John of God and not supposed to be drinking or having any excitement or activity. Now there is whole other dialogue I have with myself about the festival and being in the yoga/spiritual community, to party or not to party, that is the question?
So what to do? How can we find the center of ourselves amongst the party? Do we limit ourselves because of our profession as yoga teacher, lawyer, doctor, or school teacher? Why do we put this limitation on others of their humanity? Clearly, you never want to be doing something everyday then that would roll you over into another category. But, it seems like because of said profession that there is somehow this expectation of not being into activities like have a beer or two and getting down to some rock and roll. There is moment of feeling “busted” when you see someone you know in a crowd of 40,000 people while your having your good times. Can we ease up on this? Can we let people have their human experience and also find their truth in every moment and not just while your meditating or at yoga? I think so.
For me I think I learned more about interacting with the collective at music shows than other spiritual events I’ve attended. Music is so raw, primal, and moving to so many of us and all walks of life are at these things. The first note of a song can take you back to places of your memory that you haven’t thought of in years. To me, that is a spiritual moment of awareness and gratitude that someone that has impacted you in the past and now having a new experience in the now and then over time you have these multi layered musical memories and they are so deliciously cosmic.
You can truly see how passionate and loving people can be at a show they love. There is this smile and spark dancing across their face like that of child. I think that is why music shows with a bit of party is a perfectly acceptable way of getting your spiritual connection on. I think the answer is to let go of what doesn’t serve you and stop trying to fight the things that truly make you happy. Just always remember the cardinal rule my father taught me years ago, “Everything in Moderation.” Thanks Dad and also Pearl Jam for rocking the roll right off my face.
Find your own truth and stopping giving your power to other people. You know you best, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Light and love.
This week I chose to pick an old picture and reflect on how I was feeling in that moment in front of the camera and in my life. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, and I fully agree with them.
In first glancing of the picture it seems like a beautiful photo and it is, but as I look into the energy of what is behind the photo it tells a much different story than the pretty face looking back at me.
I noticed my eyes at first. There is this long lost longing in them that is just searching outside of myself. If I look like this, or have that dress or this boyfriend, then I will feel better, or rather, find myself. I remember being so excited to take those pictures that day and feel beautiful and confident because people were telling me I was.
The next I noticed while looking at this picture was my skin. I was in full party mode when this picture was taken. I also didn’t like drinking real water at that point in my life. So maybe I would have a glass a day then have a Vitamin Water or black coffee, more coffee, then some energy drinks. I was unsettled in myself always striving to be thinnest I could be and I thought pumping my body through of all that stuff would contribute to that goal of perfection. That takes a toll on your radiance. I feel my skin looks more vibrant at 30 than it did at 22.
It is an interesting thing to see a beautiful picture and know the pain and suffering underneath as well. Happiness really is an inside job. It can’t be bought or acquired from someone else, it must be from within. Never judge a book by its cover, or better yet, just don't judge. That is the story behind the Throw Back Thursday photo. Light and love.
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.”
This quote really embodies what this blog is all about and that is bonding with others. Normally, I do a throw back Thursday, but I thought this week since being at John of God in upstate New York at the Omega Institute I would write from a place of the now.
There is something magical about seeing 1,600 people all coming together and wearing the color white to connect with spirit and themselves to ask for an emotional, spiritual, physical, or mental healing. People of all ages, places, health status, all unifying to bond as one singular unit of prayer. It has been an absolutely moving experience as well as challenging.
The thing about being a group with people is that there is typically always one person that just gets under your skin and you feel frustrated with them, or confused, or just think they are down right oblivous to life, and then you have to thank them and realize that is also me. Whatever I judge in that person is something that resides in me as well. This is why we need each other.
We also need those people that we can be totally ourselves with. That person that you can reveal all the darkest parts of yourself and you break down in front of them and they still look at you in the eye and tell you, I love you. That is why we need to bond. Without exposing the truest parts of ourself we live in an illusion of this person of who we think we are supposed to be instead of being ourselves. Why is it we are more afraid of the the true version of ourselves than the masks we wear to fit in or please what we think others expect of us.
The truth is we can only live our truth. What fits best for our individual experience. That being said, we need our tribe to reflect the truest parts of ourselves back to us. The parts that we may deem to intense or not enough this or lacking that, and getting that gental affirmation that we are just right.
That is what I think the most potent experience of John of God has been. It is not the epic hearings that this man has done, which are incredible but the nature of walking around after the day workshop around town and seeing your fellow companions wearing all white and you node and smile knowing we are all in this together.
3 ways to Form your Tribe:
1.) Admit what it is you are interested in
If you like to knit or draw or talk about draconian implants find that person or people that you can get your 100% weird on with. It is important to create healthy expressions of your interests to keep you truly happy. When we are truly happy with ourselves we help stave away things like disease or depression.
2.) Trust your Gut
When you see someone that has a glow about them or you just keep o staring at them or whatever it is trust yourself and go up and introduce yourself. Chances are they are perfect addition to your tribe of your authentic self!
3.) Enroll in something you are interested in
Again, finding what you are interested in and putting action behind it. Perhaps its a retreat, or a healing workshop, knitting, or a dance class, whatever you are passionate about find somewhere in your city that people are doing that thing. If they aren’t, create one of your own on meet up or reddit. The universe can set things up, but it is up to us to put it into action.
Now go out there and find your tribe! If you are lady looking to find your empowerment tribe come and join myself and my tribe member and best friend, Malia Scott at living waters retreat center on Lake Travis. Book today at http://www.illuminatedvitality.com/events.html