psychotherapy for individuals and couples in Denver Colorado since 1995
meditation classes, astrological readings, and long distance counseling also available
Beth Strong, MA, LPC
Strong Suite Therapies
April 19, 2014
Let's talk about love.
Ah, sweet love. I woke up this morning wondering why I hadn't included it as one of the seven pillars. I don't have a good answer for that, except that maybe I'd thought it was a given. But more often than we might want to admit, I see we as humans couple for other reasons, or we stay together because we "love" each other in ways that don't look like a lot of fun, let alone love.
What's your definition of love? Think about it. Is it loyalty? Is it enduring togetherness? Is it attachment? Is it - dare I say - fear of being alone? Is it a warm feeling in the heart that nourishes you when you are with someone, lover or friend, parent or child? And another question, How important is it to you to love your partner? I mean, underneath all the hassle and hard work and annoyances and disappointments that a long term relationship can bring. Or did you get caught thinking that all those challenges cancel love out?
And maybe the most important question of all, what's it look like to love yourself?
I used to think love was a connector between another person, or animal, or food, and me. A verb: I love him! I love good bread with a thick chewy crust, lots of butter, and spicy jam!
Then, a teacher suggested love doesn't depend on there being an object after the subject and the verb. Love is a noun. An experience. A vibration, that grows as we tend to it, sink into it, nourish it, sit with it. Something that lives in the heart, not the head or the stomach. Something that brings reverence and respect. Can you identify someone whose heart has become dry? Or someone who lives in love all the time?
How do you love? Noun, verb, adjective; when you think about it, it can be all those things, because its quality is expansive, not limiting. Its qualities breathe, silent.
I spent some time on Facebook yesterday (not a daily habit for me) and was touched by so many offerings of love. They show up in the tenderness of how we soften around animals. How we try to shore up our courage with helpful sayings. Pictures of grandchildren, babies of every species. Many with music, emerging spring. Ahh. Many of these sweet offerings were my husband's posts. You know, it changed me, seeing his gentle spirit, what his eye chooses to focus on. I can forget. I get caught up in those hassles, annoyances, disappointments, just like the rest of us. But then I was reminded of why I chose him in the first place. It's how he sees. How he teaches me, without ever thinking he can teach me anything, where to cast my vision. I feel blessed.
Maybe what we long for is to be brought back, over and over again, to that state of love. Openness. Quiet, content breath. Trust within ourselves that beauty and gentleness give us the courage to go out into the world yet again to forage for our dreams, and share them with the ones we love the most.