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Loving One Another

Loving One Another


Love One Another

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.

For the pillars of the temple stand apart.

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

-Khalil Gibran


On this day in which we celebrate all aspects of love, I find myself reflecting on ways in which I have personally experienced this powerful emotion. More often than not, love has been the driving force in many of my life decisions and directions. It has taken a process of growth and maturity to discern the various presentations of love and one that I continue to focus intently on even today.


My story is not a unique one. I come from a large and loving family. Yes, we have our differences, but we genuinely care for one another. As a young child, I recall bearing witness to the great love that my mother and father have, yet at the same time not having the benefit of discussion about what it meant to deeply love another. It was in every way, an education by example. Born into this caring environment I had no reference for the difference between infatuation and love, that lesson was yet to come.


Given my innate curiosity, in my teenage years I was attracted to the darker side of infatuation and unknowingly feel into its grasp. The man that would become my husband was much older than myself and had already experienced many things in life. Not being able to discern the difference between lust and love, I was completely drawn in by this relationship and felt trapped by my conservative moral obligations. It was not a healthy relationship, in fact it was quite damaging for me on many levels. Similarly, as one the connects very deeply with anyone I choose to give my heart too, it took great strength and will power to unravel these connections as well as two decades of my life to be completely free from the grip of infatuation.  


Thankfully, I did not leave this relationship without having experienced true love in some form. Having given birth to two children by the age of 24, I was deeply blessed to experience the unconditional love of mother to child. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to continually engage my heart in the way God intended in loving these children. If not for them I do not believe I would have felt alive during the darker years of my marriage, the despair was that intense. They are two beautiful angels that have held my heart when I could not find the strength on my own. That is love in every sense of the word.


“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”



Recently, beginning a new adventure that requires bravery and some faith, I find myself feeling tentative and protective of where I have come from and where I now stand. In reading the poem by Khalil Gibran, I identified with a common theme that speaks directly to my current state of affairs. Loving another is not remotely the same as ownership, it is a partnership that allows for both parties to breathe, grow and be uniquely themselves.  It is being one half of a whole and at the same time separate and apart. In a healthy love there should be no loss of self, not degradation of the other, just a gentle and persistent lifting up. When one falters, the other steps up and carries the weight of life’s many challenges until balance is regained. That being said, a loving partnership cannot and should not be one sided. It takes both people choosing to show up authentically every day, willing participants in a transformative experience for both heart and soul. One person alone cannot carry the work of the relationship; this is neither healthy nor prudent.


Love is also accepting a partner, child or family member for everything they are not, without stipulation.  It is easy to love others for their strengths, but quite another to show up each day and see the shadow side of a loved one.  Each of us has this side that we hide from the world.  It takes a strong and trusting relationship to pull the shadow out of the darkness and explore ways to support one another in that discovery.  


Finally, as Gibran so eloquently writes “Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” I wish nothing more than to have my soul connect deeply with another.  It is within the expansive and flowing nature of water that love is best demonstrated, moving and morphing against life’s many continental conditions. Love finds a way to erode the walls that we erect and seep into our souls, breathing new life and hope. What a beautiful thing to behold.


Old Souls

Old Souls

Old soulIf you believe that our souls have many opportunities to experience this human life and learn a multitude of lessons, then you may also believe the idea of an old soul.  I have no idea how many journeys my soul has been on, but I am sure that I have meet others in this life that are further along the path than myself.  These are the souls that have a sense of calmness and comfort about them. People that seem to display serenity in the eye of storm along with a kind of patience reserved for the likes of Buddha .


“Innately, the Old Soul carries a sense of world-wariness as he stands on the outside, looking in. As an observer, the Old Soul like the Steppenwolf, feels an all-pervading sense of alienation. He is the ultimate Outsider who is both in the world, but not quite of the world at the same time.”

Aletheia Luna


Older souls are often teachers or mentors to those attempting to understand the world by providing valuable insight into life’s many quandaries. Old souls will not often exhibit interest in the human need to succeed. Money, power and status mean very little in comparison to matters of the heart. It takes a measure of wisdom to recognize this and let go of societal expectations in this regard. Old souls also make excellent counselors.  They are humble, loving and accepting of people as they are. As a very private person, I have only known a few people in my life that have made me feel “safe” thereby allowing me to share my authentic self.  I consider these people wonderful teachers and old souls.  They were all unbelievably patient, excellent listeners and gentle teachers.  People such as these still make me smile when I think of them and their loving hearts. What a thing to behold.


It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

Gautama Buddha


Regardless of how much my soul has experienced thus far, I still have much to learn. I have never had any desire to “succeed” in the way most do.  I change direction frequently and move fluidly as my intuition directs me.  In the workplace I am more fascinated by the interpersonal relationships than the actual work. People fascinate me and watching, listening and learning from them is an excellent teacher. I have a strong work ethic and am a bit of a perfectionist, but in the end it all means little to me in the grander scheme of things.

Forever is composed of nows. ~ Emily Dickinson


I have always been this way.  As a young adult I had absolutely no desire to experience the party life,  it was never something I felt the need to do. Slightly out of step with my peers, I consider it a blessing that I had my children at a young age. It gave my life a sense of purpose and created fertile ground for multiple opportunities to grow. Unconditionally loving another is one of the greatest challenges to undertake, and raising children requires this skill over and over again. For this reason and many more, being a mother has been my favorite role in life thus far.  Nothing has even come close to it.


“The Old Soul is more inclined to be a lifelong learner, constantly feeding his thirst for insight through his own persistent efforts. His learning has not been forced into him through education or learned out of obligation, but has been absorbed out of curiosity and personal choice.”

Aletheia Luna


How many times do we have to return to this world before we get it right?  I do not have the answer for this and given the present state of the world we still have much to learn.  Instead, I choose to continue learning as many things as I can while here. Any opportunity for growth is a path one should always consider, even when fearful. If we are not constantly learning and growing, what are we doing? I can only hope to be an old soul to another at some point, sharing the gift of guidance in a gentle yet loving way.  I strive for this end rather than riches and praise.  It is a life well lived and well loved.



Seeing Self in Another with Love

Seeing Self in Another with Love


As one that is constantly thinking deeply about life, I too can get lost in the process and miss the simplicity of it all. All roads inevitably lead back to the same point, and regardless of which one you travel it will hopefully end in a place of love and connection. Loving another and sharing ourselves with those around us is truly living fully and with heart.


“The business and method of mysticism is love.”

Evelyn Underhill


One of the things that I have come to understand is fully loving another is to first believe they are enough just as they are.  Easier said than done. It is impossible to give completely to another without loving self and all parts that create a unique individual. By the same token, love requires one to recognize that the other is enough just as they are, flaws and all. It is a beautiful thing to love not in spite of flaws but because of them.  

The only time I have felt this type of love fully is with my children. I have loved them unconditionally from the moment they were born.  It is wonderful and terrifying to feel deep love. I see them as they are, not as I wish they could be, and still choose to love them completely.  It is a total surrender to the possibility of vulnerability, hurt and pain. The truth being that we as humans will inevitably hurt each other. This hurt is never more raw than when it is administered by someone that has been afforded complete trust and support. For me, trust is not given lightly, and the fact that my children broke down my walls simply by being born was like skydiving without a parachute.


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu


Conversely, in my marriage I found a person that did not see themselves as enough.  Without the ability to meet me halfway it was not a healthy union. It has been an invaluable lesson for me moving forward.  I can only meet a partner in the middle by believing that I am worthy of love.  If I totally accept myself, as I am and not how I wish to be, I am able to open my heart completely.  If my partner is not willing or able to travel to this point the relationship will fail.  One cannot do the work for another. It is a painful process to watch unfold. As one that likes to help people in anyway I can, I have to resist this with every bit of willpower I have.  I only have two volumes where love is concerned, zero and one hundred.  If I decide to commit myself to a person, it can be excruciating to go through a separation of souls during the breakdown of the relationship. As odd as it sounds, this may not be a show of poor judgment.  Wouldn’t we all be a bit more true to ourselves in choosing love over indifference?  What if we all decided to put away our checklist and idea of who is worthy and took the chance to open our hearts completely without hesitation? I for one have made the decision to live this way as much as possible. Will I get hurt? Yes, I will. I know I am strong, and I have the wounds to show it. Hurt is a byproduct of risk and I am now willing to take risks that I would not have a decade ago.


“I will soothe you and heal you,

I will bring you roses.

I too have been covered with thorns.”



Taking a leap of faith does not mean letting another treat me as less than enough.  If I approve of myself, I will never again sit frozen in a relationship that is not based on love.  I will know that I must move on and do so quickly. It is really that simple.  Looking deeply into another’s heart is always a mystery and a fascinating one. People are so complex and “seeing someone” in a spiritual sense is a type of connection that is unparalleled. I have no interest in casual relationships; I am truly a person of depth. This can be very intimidating to those who do not wish to share their true selves but rather continue along in this world wearing a mask. I do not wish to know the mask; it is of no importance to me. I wish to know the true person in their entirety.  This is also where the risk lies.  By peering intently into someone’s true self, I can become mesmerized in the discovery.  I find it so intriguing viewing how others navigate this world and if not careful will step too far into the pools of the other thereby losing myself. I make an effort to be a voyeur now, observing but not attaching when meeting new people. Again, they must meet me halfway if they wish to engage in deeper connection.  It cannot only be me.


Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Mother Teresa


I am thankful for my children for having opened up my heart in a way that would not have been possible any other way. They stretched my ability to be vulnerable and continue to do so.  Each time I choose love over anger, It is a learning moment and training for the soul. I find myself having an internal dialogue in those moments cheering me on, urging me to try and see the issue at hand from their perspective. Is that not the hallmark of a healthy relationship? Similarly, partners should encourage each other to be better, while at the same time completely accepting one another as enough.  It really is that simple.


Intimacy and Energy

Intimacy and Energy


Have you ever sat next to someone and felt his or her vibration?  Or maybe someone walks into your office and you feel a sudden change in your environment?  If the answer is yes, you are one that can feel others energy. We are all as biological beings, just a conglomeration of molecules vibrating and racing about. This is never more apparent than when we exchange energy with another, either purposefully or unintended. I liken an energy exchange to an unspoken contract.  One is extending their innermost self to another for better or worse.


Real intimacy is a sacred experience.  It never exposes its secret trust

and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture.

Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.

John O’Donohue


As one that is especially sensitive to this, I often find myself with the urge to reach out and hug someone that is hurting in some way.  I feel it and very deeply. When sitting next to my children or family, I will usually place my hand on their leg, arm or back thereby connecting energetically.  It is a quick way for me to clue into how they are and what they may be feeling in that moment. I also am careful at work not to jump into someone’s office without an invitation. I will usually start conversations from the doorway testing my colleague’s energy to see if the timing for the conversation is correct.  If I sense any hesitation I will defer and return another time. I only wish that others would be sensitive to my needs in return. Daily, I have colleagues come in unannounced and proceed to tell me their woes.  I try to be the good INFJ counselor but often feel tired after these interactions. The difficulty can be when I do not fully let go of this energy and carry bits of it home.


Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with

someone–and finding that that’s okay with them.

Alain de Botton


The first time I understood the power of placement, energy and intimacy was during the more difficult years of my marriage. When my ex-husband would start yelling and pacing, I would tell my children to move away from him to the farthest point of the room.  Just sitting on the couch that was a good twenty feet away from him would relieve some of the tension that we all felt when he got in a mood and started to blame everyone for his troubles. Even with this practice, I absorbed more than my fair share of his dark and discontent spirit. His touch would cause an immediate reaction of withdrawal on my part.  Even if I was not able to vocalize my feelings out of fear, my body language was speaking for me. I shut down and kept my internal dialogue to myself, putting up walls of protection and protecting myself from any unsolicited intimacy with him. I carried this with me for years and believe this burden activated my autoimmune illness. My body reacted in the only way it knew how, by protecting itself.  It took years after our divorce and much self-work to finally feel free from this energy.


You see, as spiritual beings, we all crave intimacy but really have no idea how to achieve this with another.  So many things in our world are superficial and carry little meaning in the grander scheme of things. We spend so much time and energy chasing money, professional success, and material things with very little time talking about human needs.  It is as if this is a taboo subject not worthy of discussion.  No wonder so many today are unhappy and jaded about their lives and futures.  It is a big and lonely world if the only things that are meaningful are material, which have nothing to offer in the way of intimacy or love.


We can not comprehend the utter intimacy from which we arise and in which we live, but we can give expression to it in words and in silence, through gestures and stillness.

Tom Stella


Young adults today are faced with a constant onslaught of energy and information. True intimacy is not found in a text message, a Facebook post or an Instagram photo. True intimacy is taking the time to know and honor the true self of another hidden behind the facade used to navigate the world. Intimacy can be in a touch of the hands, a passing smile, a nod that says “I see you” or a moment of empathy during a difficult time.  Intimacy can also be standing close enough to look another in the eyes directly and really see them.  I am not talking about just looking at the physical self, but rather reaching deeper and peering at their soul. In addition, when standing close enough to another, one can feel energy even when not physically touching.  That is connection and it is important to be careful who is in direct proximity on a regular basis. For all these reasons and many more, intimacy is so much more than the physical expression of love.  It is an exchange of self on the deepest level and an opportunity to be vulnerable.


It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.

Jane Austen


Growing up, I was instructed to be careful whom I gave my heart too. This struck me as silly when I was younger, but I now understand the importance of carefully choosing whom I sign the contract of energy exchange with. In new relationships it is prudent to have a vetting process, allowing someone space to take down walls and expose whom they truly are. This is contrary to our social constructs of today.  We live in an immediate satisfaction society in which time is of the essence and many rush relationships only later to feel the ill effects. It is only when two choose to be vulnerable that their souls can connect in a meaningful way.