The holidays can bring up a myriad of emotions. Love is amongst them.
Love can make you feel on top of the world and can warm every cell in your body but the perceived absence of it can also leave you feeling lonely and lost.
How do you describe ‘love’? I’ve pondered, fretted and mused over the concept of love for years and thought the timing of the holidays mixed in with a few things that crossed my path with clients, friends and privately, love became the topic this week.
I was touched by a recent post of a dear friend on FB. He seemed sad and burdened. I wasn’t sure of the details but I knew some backstory. I reached out and it was a reminder of how hard the holidays can be on the heart. I get that. I’ve had more than my share of hard holidays on the heart. He is feeling lonely and he is missing that feeling of being loved and being someone’s number one right now.
I started thinking differently about love after his post and that led me to exploring different angles of how love shows up in our lives:
Is love ‘seeing’ someone?
I had my little one all to myself for hours. Life has been so busy the past few months and I’ve had a full house at times. We don’t always have the house just to ourselves. We snuggled, we shared breakfast, we did laundry… nothing inherently special but it was the way we kept coming back to each other that mattered. We would share a glance, a laugh, a snuggle. With a toddler those moments are often swift but, man , are they powerful. My favorite moment happened while I was on my knees pulling wet clothes into the dryer and saw her cute little feet approaching me on the other side of the clothes heap. She had a silly look on her face and was staring at me. I sat back on my heels and shared that moment with her. She wanted me to see she was being silly. She wanted me to share the silliness with her. She wanted me to see her. Love.
Is love thoughtfulness? Is love in the details?
A friend recently lost her mother after an excruciating battle with cancer. I traveled to the funeral. The care and thought she put into every detail of her mother’s service was exquisite. Thoughtful. Beautiful. She worked tirelessly for each detail and the love she put into every decision was palpable. One such decision involved getting the nurse who sang to her mother in the hospital ward to travel the distance to sing some of the hymns at the service that she sang to her mother during that trying time. Her voice was angelic. The meaning behind why she was there and what she was singing touched me greatly and I could barely see through my tears.
Is love unspoken understanding and knowing?
After the funeral , we found a moment together and hugged. It was a soulful hug. We didn’t speak, we just hugged and cried and shared grief and understanding silently but loudly heart to heart. We are very dear friends and my love for her is big and deep and she gives it back tenfold.
Is love intensity and passion? Is love familiar and comfortable?
A client of mine is having an emotional affair. She has a connection with this man unlike with any other. His texts send her on a tailspin of distraction and spark. Their meet ups bring her a mixture of guilt but fulfilling pleasure. Their intensity and ease throws shadows on the comfortable and familiar relationship with her very nice but not well matched husband.
Is love sharing vulnerability and providing safety?
I’ve had the experience of getting to know someone long distance without ever meeting face to face. Sharing yourself through writing and talking without seeing someone or sharing space makes for an interesting dynamic and beginning to a relationship. In some ways, you get to share the full truth of yourself. Sometimes vulnerability feels safer through writing rather than speaking face to face.
Is love found in the complexities of the mundane being accomplished as a team or in higher level things like sharing dreams and personal musings on life and revealing past histories?
When it is long distance you can pick and choose what you share and you don’t have to share the drudgery like bill paying, floor cleaning and dishwasher loading.
Is love the exchange of energy and something in tangible form? Is love sisterhood or community?
I went to Bali recently to speak at a women’s conference. It was full of women who were spiritually liked minded sisters. It was intense, it was beautiful, it was sisterhood in tangible form. There was one woman who joined a Bali ceremony with a water priestess. She worked with crystal and singing bowls. When you saw her, you saw light. I am not kidding. Love emanated from her core. The way she hugged greeters, the way she eye gazed, the way she interacted with her bowls. It was mesmerizing.
Is love forgiveness and release?
I’ve been hurt by several people very close to me this year. Ugly, brutal, heart wrenching level stuff. There is a lot of love there but what happens to that love when it has been annihilated with yuck? With my personality and perseverance, I couldn’t stay in the yuck for long. I’m inherently allergic to the victim stance and know that life is short and precious and I’m not so special that I will win the award for self-indulgent wallowing. And frankly, I just don’t have time for that shit. So I have to live in forgiveness and I need to release the pain to have room for good and happiness. How does that love transform when forgiveness and release enter the picture?
Is love humor and resiliency? Is it found through longevity?
My father was diagnosed with memory issues and it has been a major shift for our family to say the least. Most of all for my parents’ marriage. They have celebrated 50 years together and their love for each other is something to envy. This diagnosis is a motherfucker though. A slow robbing of their relationship and future dreams of their life together. They have found humor and resiliency throughout each turn of the journey.
Professionally, I added ‘love’ in the Circles of Sexuality because I think it is an important component of our sexuality that is overlooked clinically. There are several aspects of love that have a clear relevancy to sexuality. Self love (aka self pleasure, i.e. masturbation), romantic love, spiritual love,…you get it. But I know Love is also relevant to sexuality in a deep way as it is inextricably connected to our essence, to our core. I believe in and have witnessed the draw we have to love as well as the positive movement with us when love reveals itself and the powerful ramifications when it is removed.
All we need is love. It is a song. It is a spiritual truth. It is a quantum force.
One of my family’s favorite movies is Interstellar. I went with the kids to see it multiple times in the theatre and we watched it in our home when you could stream it. If you haven’t seen it, do. And open yourself up to the message of love woven within it. The punch line of the movie is a love whammy.
Love is everywhere. Love is everything. Love is our sexuality. Love informs our sexuality. Love is influenced by our sexuality.
Love is fragile and fierce. A very astute someone wrote that today to me. It is spot on. When speaking of matters of the heart, our physical heart isn’t unlike our soul heart. It is fragile in that we must take care of it, we must respect its vulnerability and we must protect it. We can’t take our heart for granted. You will literally die if you do.
But our physical heart is also fierce as hell too. It races and slows and powers our body and organs. That is nothing short of miraculous.
Our soul heart is also fragile and fierce. It is fragile and can be erased in an instant. It is precious and fleeting and vulnerable. It is also righteously fierce. Don’t mess with a mama bear and her cub,-take a bullet for you kind of fierce. Love does conquer all.
Fragile and fierce also describes me, my essence.
What is IT to you? How do you describe love? How has love shown up in your life? How do you put out love through your essence and sexuality to those in your world?
Share your love stories with us now and bring love into your world in many forms as you journey into the holidays in the following weeks.
Many love blessings this holiday season. Xoxox, Dr. Juliana