Unconditional Love

I’ve been working through a meditation series recorded by my friend and brilliant astrologer Jenn Racioppi, and today’s audio track asked us to focus on our fourth chakra and unconditional love.

Unconditional love is…impossible.

That’s where I went.

And it’s not that I totally believe that, since I’ve seen and felt the unconditional love between parents and children, but at that moment, I was thinking about romantic love, which always seems to come bound up with a long list of conditions. We’ll call that list the “I’ll love you as long as you…” Insert your insecurities there.

Because I simply can’t just breathe and feel unconditional love, I started thinking about what it would mean to allow myself to unconditionally love a romantic partner. Is that even possible? Could I be capable of loving someone even if he cheated on me, or yelled at me, or ignored my needs?

I don’t know that I could do it for anyone, but the guy I’m dating now is pretty special (okay, he’s exceptionally special and we’re in love) and we’ve had a rather unconventional and deeply emotional courtship. Could I do it with him?

Would I be willing to try?

Why not? Why not say yes? Why not open myself to the bigness of that love and see how it might transform me, might transform him, might transform us.

And that doesn’t mean I would stay with him if he cheated. I definitely wouldn’t stay with him if he hit me or was cruel to me. But he’s not that type of person, and even if he were, the challenge is to love him beyond being with him, even if we weren’t together, even if it didn’t work out (though I really am hoping it does).

So I’m starting with him, opening myself in an incredibly vulnerable and exciting way. Unconditional love.

Let’s see where this experiment goes.

Binary Star Systems

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In some worlds, there are two sunsets.

What stories might have been told by people watching one sun chase another in the sky? What myths would be born to explain the daily pursuit?

A hunter stalks his prey. A lover is pursued by her love.

We are binary stars.

We find ourselves circling what we want, who we want, the life we want. We can feel the gravity, the pull, the lure.

This is the dance: exquisite, perfect, epic.

Everything teaches us: the want in gravity, the thought in separation, the desire in movement.

It is the beginning of every great love story.

And while we seek to close the distance, learn first to fully embrace the moment and the dance.

(Soon two stars collide.)

My heart has been pulling me toward unexpected places lately. What are you being pulled toward?

{image from NASA JPL}

Letting Go to Let it In

gregwestfall

Sometimes, we hold on to things tightly because we’re afraid of what will happen if we let go.

Relationships, jobs, routines.

We grasp them tightly. They’re familiar, comforting.

But what happens when we know they’re not working anymore? What do we do when we know they’re not right?

It’s easy to continue our existence tethered to these things. But the adventure comes when we release them, when we open ourselves to new experiences and opportunities.

And that’s precisely where I’m at: knowing I have to let go, terrified of falling and failing, but willing to risk everything because my dreams are worth it.

What have you had to let go of in the past to get to where you are now? What do you need to release right now?

{photograph by Greg Westfall, used under Creative Commons attribution license}

On Being Humble

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Somewhere in the past, I discovered humility and put it on the shelf of virtues I wanted to possess. I chased it, searched for it, was willing to do whatever I must to possess it.

But I never properly understood it.

I thought to be humble was to believe you were not better than anyone else. And in some ways, it is precisely that: to see everyone as equals. Perhaps we have different talents and strengths, but we all possess that infinite potential of being.

My humble was something else: I believed that to possess this virtue, I had to put myself down. When people complimented me, I brushed those compliments off, afraid the confidence they might inspire would diminish the humility I’d worked to create.

I had it all wrong.

It was only recently that I saw humility for what it is: the willingness to give of oneself, one’s knowledge, one’s wisdom. Humility allows you to be confident, to believe in yourself, to accept compliments graciously. Humility is passing what you know onto the next generation in hopes they will shine more brightly than you.

I’ve stopped criticizing myself. I’ve stopped telling myself that I’m not enough. And I’m rediscovering my confidence. Because more than anything else, I want to help people shine like supernovas.

How do you understand humility? And what virtues have you chased?

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.