Monthly Archives: January 2019

Holding Space for Love

space for love

There is nothing more easy than to lean in to our partner during our moments of joy and bask in the glorious feelings of LOVE. But in a moment of conflict, we are left feeling distant, disconnected, disappointed, and often bitter. To be able to lean into those moments is a skill that takes practice, but the result is a strengthening of our own personal resiliency, the resiliency of our relationship, and an increase in our understanding of real LOVE, and an increase in our capacity to love deeper.

To run away from that precious moment is to run away from an opportunity to exercise our heart muscles and learn how to love better.

What if in those moments, with all the strength and courage we can manage to muster, we lean in and BE loving instead of pull back? What does LOVE look and feel like in those moments?

In those moments, treat the conflict as an opportunity to open space in our heart to really hold our loved one in all their entirety, allowing them to be with us in all of their flaws, mistakes, and disappointing behavior. Rather than punish them for disappointing us, and rather than try to “fix” them, or change them, or prove our point, or make them wrong and us right, what if we just opened our heart up a little more and allowed our Love to simply be who they are in that moment?

To be vulnerable in front of our Love in that moment, we fear we will be hurt. We put our guard up and get on the defensive. We justify our behavior or belief and make them wrong and ourselves right. We demand they see things our way. Yet ironically our loved one is deeply desiring, “if only my partner could see things my way…”

What if instead of armoring up to defend ourselves, our opinions, or our desired outcome, we spent all that energy remembering the Love we have for this person? In that moment of remembering Love, our hearts and minds open, and often open just enough to allow our Loved one to also feel safe enough to put their shield down as well. That is when the magic happens.

What we often mistakenly believe in those moments (and what crushes our opportunity to lean in to Love) is that just because we open our hearts and mind and lean in toward our loved one, doesn’t mean we can’t still acknowledge our own pain and disappointment in our loved one’s behavior. We blindly think that if we let our partner be right, then it will mean we are wrong or that our pain is not real or justified. We can still be justified and feel the very real pain we are feeling, and STILL respond in a loving way that brings us together rather than pull us apart.

We want to trust that our loves will not disappoint us, but the fact is we can only trust that our partners will always show up exactly as who they are: both wonderful and flawed. This is the nature and beauty of having someone share their life with us. We too bring both our wonderful and flawed selves to the relationship.

If you are so blessed to have someone choose to share their life with you, cherish it.

What is Love?

The decision to love.

What is love? I get asked that a lot. Even now I don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that the decision to actually choose love over that which is not love, is not an easy one.

Day in and day out we are faced with endless opportunities to choose Love.

We see it in the moment our children come running for a hug but we are rushing out the door, late for a meeting. We see it in the moment our partner passive aggressively complains about something we’ve said or done, again, about that petty thing we are so sick and tired of hearing about. We see it in the moment we check out at the grocery line and could have spoken to the cashier, but just wanted to pay and go home. We see it on our long commutes home when someone else is trying to merge and we’d rather speed up so as not to “lose our place in line”. We see it in the meals we cook for our loved ones and the potential conversations at the dinner table. We even see it in the moments we look at ourselves in the mirror and judge what we see as not good enough. What are we choosing in those moments? Are we choosing Love?

There are other unexpected places we find opportunities to love. Sometimes we see it when our loved ones decide to leave us. Sometimes we even see it when we find ourselves in a situation in which we must decide to stay or go. We can find love in the most painful moments, when we know we must let them go.

Yes… love can feel amazing at times… but sometimes love hurts as well…

Opportunities to chose Real Love are around us, every second, and every moment of our lives.

While I can’t for sure say what Real Love is, I can say for sure when I’m choosing to love and when I’m choosing “something else”.

So… if I’m not choosing love, what am I choosing?

Maybe that will bring us closer to understanding what LOVE is.

My answer to the question “what is love?”, is simply: “the decision to choose that which is loving, over, and over, and over again. Never give up on choosing Love. Never give up on Love.

The more we choose Love, the more we know it; the more we really start to feel it; the more it becomes who we are; and yes, finally, we look around and realize we are surrounded in Love.

A Sinking Ship

“Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.”
– Shunryu Suzuki

Relationships are a part of life, and in this case, they are no different. No matter what type of relationship we are in, the relationship is destined to end. It may end in death or breakup, but surely it will end. We will eventually lose everyone we hold dear to us, and everyone that holds us dear will eventually lose us as well. This is life. We embark on these relationship journeys and whether we go into it knowing this reality or lie to ourselves thinking differently, the pain of that loss is the same. The hurt, the anguish, and the grief is all the same.

After my most recent loss, the thought occurred to me that maybe I should just live alone for the rest of my life. I spent quite a bit of time alone and came to realize I actually enjoyed it very much. But during this time alone, I also came to realize that the benefits of being in any relationship (family, friends, or romantic) far outweigh the benefits of being alone.

In relationships, we are constantly introduced and reintroduced to ourselves. Our loved ones act as mirrors and show us the glorious and the not-so-glorious sides of ourselves. Our loved ones remind us of how amazing and lovable we are. In an act of love, we can also change our not-so-glorious parts that tend to cause our loved ones pain. Sometimes our loved ones simply accept those parts of us as well.

But the ultimate benefit, I believe, that comes from being in a relationship is that we learn how to love, forgive, and be forgiven; something that is extremely difficult to do without another human being. We learn how to look beyond ourselves and our ego. We are able to reflect on the things that we have done and learn and grow, because we love those around us and cherish their presence. We strive to be better parents, friends, children, workers, and siblings. We do this because we cherish the presence of others, even if their presence can come at the cost of us having to give up some of our bad habits to make our loved ones feel a little better sometimes, and they do the same for us.

Life, and all the relationships we are in, are boats set out to sail and destined to sink. Sometimes the boats have lots of holes in them and sink very quickly. Some have minimal holes and last for quite a long time. Some seem to be sinking quickly but are patched up mid-sail only to extend the remaining time allotted for the trip.

But whatever boat you end up getting into, I strongly believe that, be it a short or a long ride, if you must pack anything, keep your baggage light, and only bring joy with you, and treat every moment as your last, because you never know when it actually will be. sinkingboat