What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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By: Dr. Nicki Monti

An Excerpt from: Our Love Matters: Find it, Fix it, or Let it Go! (P. 347)
“It’s complicated—this finding love business, and really not complicated at all. Mostly, the difficulty comes from our refusal to look history in the eye, to embrace authentic, vulnerable behavior, and to remember faith.
When I was a little girl, I thought love meant getting attention.
When I grew into shape, I thought love meant being desired.
When I grew into a relationship, I thought love meant being needed.
When I became a teacher, I thought love meant being helpful.
When I become silent, I think love is Divine inspiration.
I don’t know. Not really.
For a thoughtful person, lack of definition promises both freedom and fear. We want containers for our liquid offerings. We require parameters to frame our dialogues and delineate our territories.
But more important than any definition is to recognize the ways we have lost track of ourselves: how we’ve turned away from the Heart of the matter; how we’ve fallen prey to our baser fears, foibles, and follies.
In this, then, we’ve lost touch with our Divinity.”

I’ve been studying love all my life. Or more precisely – I’ve been mostly circling the drain on love lack, both perceived and actual. And there’s the rub with love, as with most things, when it comes down to it, even that which appears “actual” begins with perception. This is good news and bad news because it means only you can decide what love means in your life – be it love of another, love of self, or love of Spirit. And one thing I can guarantee: your ideas on the whole love business will ebb, shift and even transmorph depending on your age, stage and experience.

Let me repeat: to a great degree whether we know love or not, depends on how we see it.

Annoying. It means we can’t all come to some unalterable agreement on what love looks, feels, tastes, or smells like. It means we each need to count on our own experiential conclusions and truths.

Of course, trudging the road to this understanding is most often fraught. It requires slicing through disheartening pain and life-collaborating confusion. It necessitates for most of us, slogging through the toxic rain and over the unstable land-fills presenting as days and years.

In my case it was only when I began to work with Dr. Brugh Joy in 1992, and simultaneously settled into my now long-time brilliant while confronting marriage, that the pennies began to drop. Finally at that point, after a zillion other versions of exploration, I started to truly glimpse the underbelly of the stunning beast called love.

Now, Brugh tended to talk mostly about Love with a capital “L”, which eventually I came to understand as something called Trans-personal Love. Not the kind that kicks you in the where-did-it-go gut as you lay writhing on the floor; not the kind that kisses you on the lips promising to bandage early wounds; not the shiny romantic kind written about in film and story. No. Transpersonal Love has purity to it. An unconditional nature. A sincere ability to bring you to calm in the midst of chaos. Transpersonal Love is rooted in a Heart-Centered Radiance that can impact the world around you with a stunning healing capacity. Once connected with, it can tangibly pulse through us and outflow like a sweet, powerful radio wave, its vibrations changing the very world around us. Quite the revelation, this delicate and at the same time resilient energetic expression!

Well, that sounds all very fine and good but how does that warm your bed, or hold your hand in the dense, dark moments? It doesn’t. Not really. Spiritual types will say it does. But the hungry secret is, from my perspective, it’s not enough. Not for every nook and cranny of our lives. Not for the daily what-do-I-do-now’s.

Still, neither, I’m sad to say, is personal love enough. You know — the one we’re all running around grabbing for. The thing we pinch and scrape and read and yearn and cry for. The do-our-families-love-us…enough? Our friends? Our careers? The ones we bed? Does the Universe love us enough? Where’s the “proof”, we sadly wonder.

Nope personal love is not enough to satisfy our deepest loving-life issues. Not enough for the bold moments that require facing the most terrifying decisions heart-on, nor for appreciating our lack of control over outcome, nor for a more profound connection with our deepest creative resources. Not enough even to help us face ourselves in the mirror with a clear eye!

Turns out when we look for love from others, or even attempt with all our might to plug into Spiritual Love, we’re simply brushing the wrong side of the mule. The actual first focus wants to be: Do we love ourselves? Do we love the all of us?

Too often, the sad answer is no.

You see, self love, which we might define as the embrace and acceptance of all parts of us – good, bad and ugly – is quite the adventure. Few attempt it. Like climbing Everest. It requires assembling the right equipment, years of smaller mountain climbs in preparation, and most often, a team to assist. Still, this is where quality loving of all kinds begins.

Now please understand that I’m in no way ignoring or denying the importance of Trans-personal love. Not at all. I’m only saying that the bottom line is: when it comes to a fully embraced appreciation of love in all its rainbow of colors and forms, what’s needed, in the best of all worlds, involves the interweaving of the two kinds of love here described – the personal and the trans-personal. Because self-love that doesn’t recognize there’s more than what meets the eye is simply small-minded and most often selfish; while Love that doesn’t embrace personal qualities and considerations is most often dry and lacking in true Humanity.

Yes, I’d say, the human mess of us is an important part of the true love equation; equally important is an appreciation of what exists far beyond the personality we tend to insistently express.

So what’s love got to do with it? What does it have to do with a truly abundant, joyful, fruitful, brilliantly functioning life? Everything. Yep. In right-now ways and in for-all-eternity ways love is the point. May you find it now.

Dr. Nicki Monti

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