Valentines Special: What’s Romantic Love Got to Do With It?


I remember, almost wistfully, the pre-awakening days when I was addicted to falling in love. The heady intoxicant of new romance always came with a huge surge in well-being, optimism, equanimity and even synchronicity. I yearned for the in-love-drug the same way a junkie craves the next hit.

Then, abruptly I woke up.

The awakening shift in one fell swoop, undid a lifetime of chasing the biochemical high of pair-bonding with a new mate. (And trust me, I did a lot of serial mating in the years after my first marriage ended.)

It wasn’t until I was married to my second husband that an overnight self realization pulled the in-love-rug put from under me. All at once, the gig was up—this desire for a special union that somehow would elevate me from my own small self, this quest for BIG LOVE, was a crazy wild goose chase.

Because the love I was chasing after was never out there, in another. It would never be found in the romance whirlwind, the vows of forever, or even in the steady love of longterm bedmates. All of this was a kind of love that ebbed and flowed, a changing and fickle love.

I remember my then-husband always searching for greater emotional intimacy in our marriage. And I would try my best to supply it, usually falling far short of what he wanted just because my personality was wired as a thinker not a feeler. He equated love with emotional vulnerability and I equated love with amazing idea-saturated conversations.

But neither of our notions of love had anything to do with true love. In the post wake-up aftermath, it was obvious to me that intimacy was unavoidable and ever-present. That awareness was exquisitely intimate with all of reality, with every person, plant, animal and thing. That being intimate is our normal and truest state of being.

True love does not need two to tango. True love tangos with totality.

I just finished reading the book, LOVE WARRIOR.

In this Oprah-pick best-seller, Glennon Doyle writes a lot about about what she calls her “representative” self. That is the guarded and isolated part of her personality that showed up in relationships, especially with her husband.

Her breakthrough shift in the story was her choice to show up as the “real” her. This real self, this love warrior, was willing to be present and honest with her husband about the once hidden array of fears and feelings, and to use her voice to speak them out loud in the moment as she experienced them. And certainly while this kind of vulnerability is an emotional intelligence growth edge for Glennon, what is not seen by her is that her new emotionally transparent facet of self is simply a new representative.

It reminds me of the Eminem song, “Will the real slim shady please stand up, please stand up.”

You see, a more emotionally available persona is not more of an advantage or more laudable than the emotionally distant one. It’s all contextual. In her marriage, it was a welcome growth edge for her and her husband.

Yet the ultimate growth edge toward true love will never be the romantic relationship—sure love unions can be a crucible for emotional maturity in the same way a school can be a curriculum for intellectual advancement.

But your soul is not an intellectual nor emotional creature. It is made of a finer stuff. The true love affair, the one that will sweep you off your mortal feel and carry you across the threshold to your divine self, is an affair of surrender.

And surrender is never mentioned in a Valentine’s card.

I leave you with a poem that I wrote two years before the awakening. I had begun to tire already of the romance dance — my soul was yearning for truth and surrender was on the horizon.

Holy Moral Dilemna

There is promise here, in this paired place,
of a safe ease without the buzz
of what next, what if, if only.

And yet here, I am sometimes restless.
As if my soul is wired for action, for split
second love and last minute partners,
adventure in each turning.

As if I am alive only
when I walk the edge
of maybe.
As if certainty
is certain death.

And I think to myself:
do I have “commitment issues?”

Perhaps I commit fully
to not knowing.
the way a warrior
commits to battle–
with my life.

Or the way a monk
commits to God,
in each holy moment
with no expectations
for exclusivity.

How special we make each other
when we promise to love
in twosomes, as if we
are the last pair on earth
and our narrow love
will save the day.

I imagine God
loves in multiplicity,
and with no conditions.
That God has figured out
that there is more than
enough of her to go around,
that love is never
in short supply.

I can’t imagine God
saying, sorry,
I’m taken.

November 9, 2009

—-

PS: Interested and curious about going deeper into living a surrendered and magical life? In April 2017 I will be teaching a four week course: Awakened Magic. An enlightened approach to radiance, power, love and purpose. To get on my invitation list, just CLICK HERE.

Featured image:Jean-Paul Avisse, 1948

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