Love: A Practice

The day before we met I had just finished a workshop that totally kicked my ass and was sitting in the tea gardens at Moda having a Turkish coffee with friends. I covered my finished coffee with its little plate and flipped the cup over. I let the coffee grinds dry and my girlfriend peered into my little cup to read my fortune (one of my favorite Turkish traditions). 

She told me that I would meet a great love very, very soon. She also smiled, and told me that he would have the body of a greek god and have a slightly offset nose, maybe from having been broken in the past. 

The next day I walked into my 9:30 yoga class and noticed a newcomer in the corner. I went over and his eyes grew big as saucers as I crouched down to say hello.

Maybe it was the fortune telling or maybe the fact that I was leaving to Thailand in three short days, or maybe because I knew that he was someone special from the moment I looked into those big blue eyes but I told him I loved him two days after we met. 

Loving him is so easy and such a privilege.

And for the record, my fortune teller friend was spot on about e’erythang. 

I love the way he loves, the way he calls me boo, and mama, and baby girl. They roll from his tongue naturally because he’s from Texas and maybe in Texas you get comfortable calling your person boo, and mama, and baby girl. 

I love who we are separately, and I love what’s created when we are together. 

It’s sweet. It’s healing. It’s the feeling of being suspended in an airy space right in the middle of child-like fragility and super human strength. 

It’s beautiful and it’s scary and I catch myself wavering between wanting to share it all with the world and wanting to keep it all to myself. 

I don’t want to share it with the world because I don’t want to appear like I am throwing my love and happiness down your throat. I don’t want to sell you the idea that you need another person or a romantic relationship to be happy (because you don’t) and I don’t want to perpetuate the social delusion of ‘happily ever after’ because I know how damaging it can be to an individual and a relationship. I don’t want to share it because it’s private, and meaningful and painfully sacred to me. I don’t want to share it because of all the what -if’s attached. What if our love is judged or ridiculed? or TMI? What if at some point, these words are no longer true? what if sharing about it devalues it? Do i really want to open it up to the projections of others? what if it ends? what if one day it feels like a lie?

But I also want to share it, I ache to share it, because it’s alive and light-bearing and alchemical. Because its complexities are compelling to me. Because it is a new multiverse to me; one that can’t be summed up with a single picture, or platitude or quote. I want to share it because my romantic relationships were once such a shitshow, once such a source of confusion and pain in my life, and now that the wheels are turning with newfound ease I want to share this with the world out of sheer gratitude. Because maybe someone will read this and gain something from it. Maybe absolutely no one will read it but I will have gained something from giving time and reflection to my experience. 

It’s been my experience that seamless romantic relating and “the dream” partner is just a big fat lie. A fair chunk of my own work around my relationship is learning to allow my partner to be himself and to feel safe with me as he is. Releasing my program, the unconscious operating system that defines my ‘picture perfect’ and who my person needs to be for me, and what my relationship needs to look is key to this. 

Letting go of the unconscious programs about who I need to be in order to be worthy of love is also key. After years of failed relationships wherein I hid myself from my partner and tried desperately to mask myself so I would be liked and loved, I’m now trying something different. With the help of reflection, journalling, honesty, and non-violent communication, I try to employ courage and vulnerability. I do my best to bring awareness to the patterns and games that are an unconscious and sideways effort at securing my partner’s love. My intention from the beginning has been to show up as myself, with as little pretense, as little armor, as little manipulation as possible. 

A lot of the time I feel naked and exposed and scared that my partner loves me only for my light: I’m afraid that my dark is too heavy and too twisted for someone to witness and still want to be with me. It’s surprising to me, but often the result of stripping down and baring all to my partner is more trust and more love: within myself for truly showing up and honoring who I am; and within the relationship, for being a safe space to be seen. 

Sharing my insecurities, my bat-shit crazy, my weirdo tendencies, my quirks, and my fractured pieces with my person is helping me to like myself more. I don’t always like what is exposed but it feels better than colluding with shame and guilt in order to keep parts of myself hidden.

It’s not glamorous or perfect. But it’s honest and transparent, and the clarity created from these two things opens us up to each other in ways that are both comfortable and uncomfortable. It opens both my partner and I up to so much love. 

It’s an honest me and an honest him, seeing each other clearly and creating a mutual freedom to love each other, even if we don’t always like what we see. 

We have a lot to learn. And things get messy and I feel at times like I don’t have a fucking clue how to navigate it. It’s a practice.

We are a practice: a practice of kindness, acceptance, and grounded, real-life love.