Longing to Feel In Love

The Google search terms “how do you know if you’re in love” or “not in love with my partner” are some of the most common ways that people find their way to my work. Because our culture has sold us the bill of goods that romantic love is the answer to life and that when you fall in love with the “right” person you’ll have arrived at the golden elixir of happiness, when you don’t feel that feeling, it’s understandable that you would wonder what’s wrong.  The culture tells you that you should feel swept away, and when you’re not you assume that there’s a problem. How many healthy relationships and marriages have ended because one person says to the other, “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Translation: You’re not making me feel giddy and alive, so you must be the wrong partner.

While the culture instills the belief that real love means longing and infatuation, giddiness and glitter, the culture is merely exploiting a basic human longing to feel wholly alive. In times past, when it was largely understood that marriage was a business contract above all else, people sought to meet this longing through their connection to creativity or spirituality. But when the idea of romance altered our expectations of longterm relationships, the culture seized on the opportunity to capitalize on the primal longing for aliveness. The problem isn’t the longing itself; the problem lies in cultural belief that the longing can be met through the “right” romantic partner.

What you’re longing for is the elixir that new loves brings. What you’re longing for is the feelings of aliveness that arrive on the wings of new love, and most often with infatuation. As I’ve said a hundred times on this blog but I’ll say it again: It’s not your partner’s job to make you feel alive; that’s your job and yours alone. It’s not your partner’s job to fill in your empty holes and light up your sky; it’s your job to fill in those empty places. It’s not your partner’s job to drip the elixir of life down your throat; it’s your responsibility to learn how to create your own elixir. As Robert Johnson writes in his autobiography, “Balancing Heaven and Earth”:

“Probably the next important evolution of Western humankind is to find a proper container for religious life so that we do not unrealistically expect another mortal human being to carry this high value. In short: don’t ask a human to be God for you.”

What Johnson is saying (and is the essence of his book We: The Psychology of Romantic Love) is that the aliveness we seek must be found in our own spiritual experience, whatever that means for you. For some people, that might mean a traditional religious devotional practice of following the prayers, rituals, readings, and customs of their lineage. For many others these days for whom religion has lost its luster, spirituality may come through creativity, connection to nature, working with dreams, meditation, or through their own innovative prayer practice. What matters is that we stop projecting our gold onto other humans – real or imagined – and instead reel in the projection and claim what is rightfully ours. The gold is our aliveness. The gold is our magic. The gold is our purpose. The gold is the voice that says YES and WOW and HALLELUJAH. The gold is our compass: how we know ourselves and trust ourselves. The gold is our passion. The gold is what makes every day worth living.

But how, exactly, do we take back our gold?

By falling in love not with a person or a house or a job or a hobby but with life itself.

When we’re connected to flow – whether through art, nature, prayer, gratitude, acts of kindness and service – we fall in love with life. And when we’re in love with life, we fill in the holes in our well of Self and edge out fear. On the other side of the fear of death is embracing life, and the fear of death is the portal through which we’re invited to learn how to embrace life, which means falling in love with life. In other words, when you fall in love with life, you edge out the fear of death. The two work in tandem to propel us into a deeper relationship with life itself. Then, instead of being buffeted by life’s waves, we begin to have a conversation with them, and eventually we learn to ride them.

And that’s when life gets fun ;).

If you’d to learn the information and practices that will allow you create your personal toolbox for taking back your gold and falling in love with life, please join me for the inaugural round of Grace Through Uncertainty: A 30-day course to become more comfortable with the fear of loss by falling in love with life. The course will begin on Saturday, September 29th, 2018.

Grace Through Uncertainty

birds in flight

“Whether through birds in snow, or geese honking in the dark, or through the brilliant wet leaf that hits your face the moment you are questioning your worth, the quiet teachers are everywhere. When we think we are in charge, their lessons dissolve as accidents or coincidence. But when we’re brave enough to listen, the glass that breaks across the room is offering us direction that can only be heard in the roots of how we feel and think.”- Mark Nepo

Uncertainty is part of life. Part of the human condition is to be aware of and struggle with uncertainty, yet few people inherently know how to live with it in a graceful way. Left to its own devices, and in the absence of a culture that teaches us how to create footholds that help us anchor into life in healthy ways, the mind will choose the path of least … Click here to continue reading...

How to Let Go: A Dark-Night Page from my Journal

As I shared a few weeks ago, our older son, Everest was planning to solo for the first time in a glider after he turned 14 (the minimum age you can solo). He had been training all summer and had planned to fly the day after his Bar Mitzvah, but the circumstances didn’t align and it had to be postponed. Every day that week he asked when he would solo, and every day we told him, “When it’s the right time.” The following Sunday night, his instructor called to tell us that tomorrow would be the day. We decided not to tell Everest until morning to increase his chances of getting a good night’s sleep. We wanted him fully resourced the night before he would take to the cockpit without anyone in the backseat.

As I got into bed that night, I could feel fear creeping into the edges … Click here to continue reading...

Health Anxiety, Money Anxiety, and the Fear of Loss

As highly sensitive people we’re physiologically wired to look for what’s wrong or amiss. While this hypervigilence once served us and our community extremely well when we were living in the outback or jungle and we were the first to scan the horizon to notice the slight wisp of smoke that signaled that a band of marauders was a few miles a way or the slight change in grass the indicated a tiger around the next bend, this evolutionary advantage can feel like a curse in modern culture. It’s fair to say that at least one element of modern anxiety is our evolutionary advantage, the part of our brains that kept entire villages alive, left hanging. As it’s primary job has been taken away, it now swerves into the path of least resistance, which often looks like scanning the inner horizon for danger: Am I with the right partner? (Is … Click here to continue reading...

To See Beyond Attraction

There comes a time in a relationship when, if you’ve done your inner work, you see beyond all externals into the essence of a human being. Clients who are struggling with the attraction spike often ask me, “I’m constantly checking to see if I’m attracted to my partner, and when I’m not I get a pit in my stomach. Will the day ever come when I look at him/her and just find her attractive?” Not only will you find your partner attractive, but you’ll stop checking. At some point, when you’ve worked enough with fear walls and rejection/projection layers, your partner is just your partner, and when you look at him or her you’ll look through eyes that see at the level of being.

This reminds me of something a woman named Jill, who I interviewed for my book and again for my e-course, said when I asked how she … Click here to continue reading...