“If we aren’t in love, what are we?” she asked finally.
“I’m not sure,” I said.
“You really don’t think we’re in love?”
“Time matters to love. It’s what changes everything.”
“Then what is this feeling?”
“It’s the wanting to be in love, I believe.” - excerpt from If We Aren’t In Love by Evan L. Klein
This conversation makes me wonder how many times I’ve confused the wanting to be in love, with the actuality of being in love, or even if it’s possible to want something that doesn’t already exist. I have a strong notion that whatever it is we want in the world, is already in existence, already within our grasp, if we could just find the way to open to it, to let it in. I feel that there is no difference between this concept of “being in love” and simply being love. If we are being love, in our everyday existence, how would it be possible not to be in love with all we come into contact with. Once we come to a place with being in love with life, with existence itself, then we are in love with everything.
Of course there are times when we encounter another soul with whom we experience this love towards, only to find that it’s not reciprocated. Not everyone is loving on the same levels or in the same way that we are. This doesn’t mean that our love for that person is futile or a waste of energy. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over time is that to express or experience love without it being returned or reciprocated, or even received, still builds love within myself. In this sense, the love that we send out to another person, who perhaps isn’t in a place to receive it, can have a boomerang effect, coming back to land in our own hearts again - allowing us to experience, if we will, a greater sense of self love. Mostly we end up loving another person for what they bring out in us, whether it’s a feeling of opening up, expanding or blossoming, or a reflection we see in them that shines a light on a part of ourselves that we may have ignored until that point of seeing it in them - this is an amazing gift in itself, regardless of whether the outcome of that loving feeling results in the scenario that we’ve projected into the moment.
My father once said that we don’t get to choose who we fall in love with, but we do get to choose who we spend our lives with. Therefore, I feel that we can live our lives in love with all that comes onto our path, yet we get to choose how we foster those relationships. We can love it all, and still have the choice on how we will express that love. Not all love leads to intimacy. Some love is expressed and felt from afar - where there is no chance to delve into the intimate connection that the energy of love could potentially foster - but that doesn’t mean that love itself doesn’t exist in that situation - it is ever present, regardless of any actions or inactions.
Over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of self study on the topic of relationships. One such piece of information that stands out is the idea of whether a person can fall out of being in love. Many of us have been on the giving or receiving end of this comment: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore”. An article I read ages ago, stated that the author, who is the founder of The Relationship School and creator and host of The Relationship School podcast, believes this statement to be utter bullshit. He feels that this statement is a complete cop-out of facing our own blocks around the concept of love and intimacy. In a similar vein of truth as my own around there being no difference between being “in love” and “being love” itself, this statement really only reflects our inability to hold the concept of love as something that simply exists and can change in the way it manifests over time, as far as how it makes us feel and how we react to it, depending on our own path of growth and what traumas and blockages we encounter along the way.
One thing that often comes up and is spoken alongside that first statement of “I love you but I’m not in love with your anymore” is the idea that “something is missing”. I’ve also been on the receiving end of that statement. Upon some deep inner reflection, I’ve found that the thing that is most often missing, is the willingness and ability to show up to that person in an authentic and vulnerable way - so in essence, what is missing, is the truth. What is missing is the ability to access and witness the absolute core of that other person, or perhaps the ability to access and witness the absolute core of who we are. From my experience, usually, by the time a relationship has reached the point where this conversation arises, both people in question have slowly been shutting down and putting up walls, creating a lack of vulnerability and authenticity. It’s common and normal for this to happen as most of us carry a lot of our past experiences into the present moment and can easily confuse the fear and hurt that is born from past trauma, with what is happening in the present moment. But just because it is common and normal, doesn’t mean that we have to stay living within these detrimental cycles and patterns.
I believe people come into our lives to help teach us things about ourselves so that we can show up in the world as the most true versions of who we are beyond all of the conditioning, expectations and wounds (both big and small) that have been inflicted upon us since the time we incarnated into this human form. I’ve found that three of the most important tools to carry with me and use on a regular basis are patience, compassion and grace. Not only are these tools handy to have when relating with other people, they are also extremely handy when it comes to relating to ourselves.
I had a teacher once tell me that an easy route to self compassion was to practice compassion with others. This might seem like a backwards route to take, because we may question how we could have compassion for another before we can feel it for ourselves, but if we look at the notion that most of us are way harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else, trying to start with self compassion would be the biggest challenge. What I have found through this practice of developing compassion for others, is that I have ignited, and over time deepened my self compassion simply by experiencing the feeling towards others. This works for me because I have a strong notion that on an energetic level, every single thing that exists in this universe is intricately connected. So, when I practice compassion for another, in essence, at the same time, I am also practicing self compassion.
Two of the people that I am closest to at this time in my life (and have been for quite some time!) have recently said things that kind of surprised me, but at the same time reaffirmed that the tools I have been working with for many years have not been used with futility. One of these people said that she feels I am the most patient person she knows. Wow, I take that as a giant compliment, and attribute it to many years of consciously choosing to walk the path of patience and understanding. One of the things that has helped me on this path is the choice to come from a place of responding, rather than reacting. This leads into the tool of grace. With choosing to use grace as a tool in my life, my understating of the importance of slowing down and accessing my true feelings in a situation, has resulted in me being much less reactive. My sister (one of the people I am closest to) and I were discussing a situation and whether the person in question would be bothered if we chose to move forward with our plan, and I said, “well, if it was me in that situation, I feel like I would be grateful that you made that choice and did that thing” and she said “well, yeah, but you are quite an exception”. I don’t know if she knows how much that touched me, for her to recognize the way that I generally respond to life in a non reactive manner really meant a lot to me. I feel it touched me in a particularly strong way because she is also one of the people in my life who reflects back to me all of the places in myself that I have yet to find compassion for. Family members are really great at this!
To loop back to the beginning, tying it all together - all of these practices and tools that I use, have helped me come to a place of experiencing love as a never ending energetic source. We cannot want to “be in love” if we are already ‘being love”. We cannot fall out of love, if we are love itself.
This post was written in April 2019...since I'm in a constant space of transformation, I'm not sure if all of these words ring true to my heart still...but they are there and I figured I'd share them!
morgan leigh callison
mostly i write to remind myself what it means to be me. it is through words, my soul finds expression & my mind finds a place for form to take shape.