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January 23, 2019

Unconditional Soul Love 101: Can we still Love Someone even if it Doesn’t Work Out?

We loved each other too much to be together.

So often on social media, we hear about a linear version of love. People are either posting about their new relationship with butterflies in their stomach or they’re sharing about the heartache of their breakup. It seems that there is a start and an end point to the story of love. I always struggled with this concept, as it felt very conditional to me: “I love you as long as…”

What if we learned to love people in their totality? It is why I choose to hold my former partners in reverence, even that ones who hurt me. I didn’t love them because they validated my self-worth by being with me or because they made me feel happy. I loved them for who they were, who they are, and who they’re becoming, knowing that like me, they have their own journey to walk. They are not the source of my happiness—I am. They are not the cause of where my self-worth is; they are a reflection of it.

The people we attract are the most sacred mirrors to our internal story line. And how we choose to love, or not love, tells us how much we’ve grown, how ready we are, what we’re willing to sacrifice, and what areas we still need to work on.

For some people, they take a risk going after someone, and if they don’t get the result they want, they disregard that human being as if there is no value to that person outside of the relationship container they were seeking. Over the years, I’ve seen lovers become friends, and long-term friends suddenly become lovers. I have learned to love in close proximity and also how to love from afar.

There is only one kind of love that I want to experience. Authentic, soul-based love. It is a holistic approach that focuses on seeing and appreciating the essence of a person’s soul, rather than an attachment to a physical outcome. It is feeling grateful for the journey, instead of basing the authenticity and the depth of the love on what form it takes.

So I choose to switch up the social media narrative and share this love story with you all, to challenge what you consider a happy ending in the pursuit of love.

When a love interest doesn’t work out, do you perceive that as a failure?

What if we can expand our perception of love from a linear goal-oriented venture to an expansive multidimensional experience?

I ran across a woman named Nalaya Chakana who runs women’s retreats in Peru. One thing I was seeking in my next partner was a woman who is stepping into her power, and Nalaya embodied that. I was instantly in awe of how she carried herself and what she offered to the world.

If we didn’t explore what was there, it felt like it would have been a disservice to the conscious spiritual partnership we both thought we were ready for in our lives.

After many flights and countless hours to meet this woman, I was finally at her door. She opened it and my heart pounded through my chest. In a state of total fluster from being overwhelmed with a mixture of excitement and fear, all I could think of saying as my first words to her were: “Nope! Can’t do this!”

I then turned around and walked away. Then, I laughed and of course ran back to give her a hug.

Now, even though that moment was just a joke, perhaps there was some truth to that initial reaction that my body had to run—to run from all the potential she represented of what I looked for in a conscious partner.

The thing that we want the most is often times the thing that scares us the most when it finally arrives.

We both showed up with complete vulnerability and a willingness to dive deep. We showed each other all our childhood wounds and held each other beautifully. We were so compatible and complimentary in so many ways, even though we came from two different planets.

Yet, even with such comfort and a sense of home, our feelings would get jumbled up and leave us both feeling confused. The closer to the heart somebody gets, the more fear there is. The higher you fly, the more painful it will feel if you fall. But even with our defense mechanisms, at the end of the day, there was nowhere for us to hide.

Love is the flashlight to the darkest corners of our hearts.

Thoughts came up that suggested that maybe we’re not supposed to be intimate partners. And that very well may end up being true. We may discover that we’re just meant to be friends. Or visionary partners. We eventually landed in a place of not needing to know. We were both willing to let go of what “this” means, or what’s going to happen next. Our time together was a constant practice of opening up and then closing again. And then finding our way back into love in order to open up one more layer deeper.

It was a practice in staying present with the lessons of each moment. It is such a gift to have someone be able to hold space for your deepest wounds. The emotional confusion eventually took a back seat to the opportunities to dive deep with each other and take it day by day.

There are times that you think it’s love when it’s not. And there are times that you don’t think it’s love, when it is.

What if our feelings sometimes lie to us?

Throughout most of my life, I have experienced relationships as an initial rush. Our eyes would first land on each other and our hearts would skip a beat. We both would be interested and pursuing and hoping and wishing. The lust and attraction that we’re feeling would be so strong, that we both would want it to be real.

We want it to be real so much that we will create a narrative to reinforce our feelings. We spiritually romanticize what often times is just a biological reaction to what we are attracted to, or what we feel is missing in our lives that this person can provide. When somebody falls in love with us, it gives us an amazing feeling of being enough. We are chosen. All of our childhood wounds where we felt unchosen or unseen suddenly get washed over with joy and love.

Love is blind because it filters out red flags. After all, those red flags are enemies to the positive emotions we feel when we fall in love. And on the flip side of that, focusing on the other person’s positive traits actually magnifies the soothing feeling we have when we fall in love.

It’s cognitive dissonance at its finest.

We ignore the fact that we actually know nothing about this person. We have zero data. We don’t know who they are when they fully let their guard down. We don’t know their biggest insecurity or their darkest shadow. We don’t know how they show up in a relationship or when they’re triggered. We only know the initial story of them. Yet, we’re willing to put our entire heart on the line just in the hopes that our projected stories may be true.

But I came to this realization: love isn’t something that is found. It is something that is grown.

If, right now, I handed you several seeds and told you to choose which one will grow in the healthiest way, you wouldn’t be able to tell. The only way that you will know is with time and with nourishment.

Time is not the enemy of love. Rather, it is the best friend of truth.

Because all fictional story lines eventually fade away with time, and after life sifts through these illusions, what’s left is the only thing that is real. So, what if we learned to love that way from the beginning of our interactions? What if we learned to love the essence of each person we explore with? What if the only way to get ready is to be in the situation that makes us so uncomfortable?

I understand the desire to run away from intimacy—especially after you experience a few heartbreaks. It’s easy to think that something is wrong with you and you just need to heal wounds on your own before you step into another relationship. We oftentimes have this story that getting ready means doing that self-work solo. And sometimes it does. However, it’s also limiting to how deep you can go into certain wounds, because ultimately, we are relational beings.

We can spend years doing our healing work as individuals, and then enter a relationship and have all of our attachment wounds come back up to the point that we don’t even recognize ourselves. Or perhaps we feel disappointed that we aren’t further along as we thought we were.

This same concept is why Ram Dass says: “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

Because ultimately, no matter how much work you do, you can’t complete your healing out of context with the situations that bring up your wounds. This doesn’t mean to intentionally activate them. It means to pick up the emotional regulation and communication tools on your own, so that when you find yourself in a relational context that is challenging, you are better equipped at dealing with your self-sabotaging, triggered reactions.

Nalaya and I eventually took away the possibility of jumping into a relationship at this point in our lives, and we both were able to breathe a little easier once we did. We let go of the titles and the subconscious expectations and the hopes. And when we got past all those future-focused thoughts, we landed in a place of “zoomed out” love.

The more you zoomed in to someone, the better you’re able to see and love their details. But it can also prevent you from seeing the wider scope of all that the other person is, and the beautiful sovereign being you initially fell in love with. Zooming out gives us a bird’s-eye view on the situation, outside of our tunnel-visioned filters and projected stories.

And once we do that, we’re able to go back to an open palm version of love. We’re able to see each other’s wholeness again.

At the end of the day, there is a difference between love, sexuality, compatibility, and life alignment. We can have either one without the other three, or we can have all three of them without one. For a relationship container to work, we often need all four.

Just because two people are in love doesn’t mean they’re meant to be together.

Their lives may have different purposes on this planet. But just because you didn’t enter a romantic partnership with the one you desired to doesn’t mean that it won’t happen in the future, nor does it mean that you can’t love each other right now. If your love for a person is based on what they give to you, then your love is conditional.

My ego wanted a specific outcome. But my soul just wanted pure love. It knows that love is infinite and expansive, and that it exists both within and beyond any container that can be set.

For now, we choose to walk our own path. But a bond has been formed that will last a lifetime, and one that I would have missed out on if I only saw her in one way. We choose to support each other’s visions. We choose to love each other as is. We choose to love ourselves enough to not stray away from our own path in the pursuit of something that isn’t currently in alignment.

It is one of the most beautiful things in life—to be able to see and to be seen, to love and to be loved, not for what we give to each other, but for what we give to ourselves.

So yes, this is an unconventional love story of two people that are in awe of each other and truly love each other—so much so that they chose to not be together. And from all that I have experienced, this type of love is far more healing and far more real than the grasping kind of love that is attached to outcome. This isn’t based on running away, fear of commitment, or fear of attachment. It’s based on honoring what is instead of clinging on to what could be.

Don’t miss out on your best friend just because they didn’t become your lover. There is power in what can be cocreated between two people who have opened their hearts up to one another. The world can be healed by that kind of love.

There are many reasons why two people fall in love and there are many purposes to two hearts coming together—being in a romantic relationship is just one of those many possibilities. Don’t cut yourself off from the potentiality of soul love and all that it can create because of your preconceived notion of what falling in love must look like.

You can’t put conditions on love and then call it unconditional. Love that person and honor their journey, even if it’s not walking side by side on yours.

Honor your connection. Honor the lessons you gave each other. And stay open to all the lessons that are yet to come. If you can do that, you will tap into something much more satisfying than just another earthly relationship that ends and makes two people go their separate ways.

Instead, you’ll get to experience true unconditional love for another soul. An unbreakable bond that can last a lifetime.

How do you choose to love?


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