When I was barely out of my teens I met someone who shattered my illusions of love. I thought love was fair. I thought if I gave love I deserved to receive it in return. Deserved—like there was some tally in the sky that kept track of all the love I gave out and made sure I got it back. But he couldn't. He couldn't love me back. After that, I made sure that anyone I loved could love me back. Excellent protective measure, but not the best criteria for loving. And then I had the tables turned on me. I was the one who couldn't love. I had to walk away not able to return the love I had been given.
|Photo by Kathleen Keagy|
I question it. I question whether any of it was love. Romance, relationship...yes. But love? I have my doubts.
Then there are the models of love that are steeped in self-sacrifice. Taking care of another at the expense of yourself at the one end and the willingness to die for someone you love on the other. When I was eighteen, we moved out of our home to take care of my grandmother who was dying of cancer. I loved my grandmother, but I was angry. I was angry that love meant turning my life upside-down for someone else. Was this love? Commitment, family...perhaps. But love?
Then what is love? If we take away the trappings of romance and self-sacrifice, what is left? What is the energy of love?
The energy of love is energy. Okay, so this is circular logic. But it makes sense. Love isn't personal unless we make it so. Love doesn't have strings unless we attach them. And as an energy, love surely doesn't know how to keep tally. It's too busy moving around. When love gets stuck, it's no longer love, but the energy of fear, of jealousy, of loss. And when love is flowing it becomes freedom, forgiveness and joy.
Love is not the destination, but the ocean we sail to experience a range of emotional ports of call. When we take love out of its box—when we untether it from the notion of relationship—it roams around gathering experiences, gathering opportunities, gathering people that match its vibration. Love is the ultimate “right here, right now” energy. Seeing love this way makes it easier to feel without having to know why. The why is the experience. The why is the reason we are here.
So do I still say “I love you”? Sure. But now it is with a twinkle in my eye. It is a thank you—I am thankful for the energy of this moment. It is an acknowledgement—I am thankful that you are part of this experience. It is an affirmation—I am thankful for this chance to know I am here.
So what is the energy of love? The energy of love is the means, not the end.