WHAT IS LOVE ?
Only 4 letters for such a big word. A big word that means so many different things depending on the people you talk to, the moment in our own life, the state of our mind and our heart at that precise time. We all seek love, in many possible ways. Some people want to be loved by as many people as possible, some can seek the love of that one special person for years or almost an entire life, but at the end of the day I feel most of us struggle loving ourselves. We want to be loved by others but what about that love we should give to our own being ? Why is it so hard to understand and apply to us ? Why is it that we expect something from others that we find so difficult to give ourselves ? How do we even start loving ourselves ? Shouldn’t it be the most natural thing to do like a mother loving her child ? Why is it so hard to love our inner child ?
We need to start giving ourselves that kindness, softness, care and attention we wait from others. Listen to ourselves, to our needs, our fears. I often say relationship’s best friend is communication. So many issues can get solved if you just talk about them ! With a free and open heart. So why not start to talk to ourselves ? Listen to our desires and weaknesses and give it some attention. Love us the way we are instead of trying so hard to become a better person. I’m not saying working on being a better person is bad, I think everyone should try their best, but let’s stop this fight with our own being and just be. Be aware, be king, be present. It’s ok if I’m not the best yoga teacher in the World. I wish I was an expert on anatomy and could tell you every single bone and muscle extending, compressing and stretching in Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose for my non-yogi friends ;), but I don’t and that’s ok. That’s why I have all these amazing yogi geeky anatomy friends around me (you know who you are), so I can ask them and they will be so excited to tell me !
It’s also ok if I am not always calm and patient when a situation is frustrating and annoying to me, I can get pissed off and that’s ok. I am a yoga teacher so sometimes people expect us to be always zen but I am not Buddha, I am a human being trying to go through the waves of life as smoothly as possible like everyone else here. Some days are easier then others and obviously keeping a regular meditation practice helps taking things more easily.
So on this Valentine’s day, my intention is to focus yet again on the love I give MYSELF. Not because I am a miserable selfish person wanting to give only myself some attention today but because I feel it is essential yet very easy to let slip it away from our daily awareness.
I have to be honest though, I love loving. I love the feeling it gives me, the warm heart each time I see the smile of my man. I could cross the World to see that smile every day, well… I actually did ahahah. Sometimes I wonder what is the boundary between the actual love we feel for that one special person (on a romantic level) and the longuing for the good feeling and sensation it gives us.
Another thing that fascinates me is the different approach of love depending on the country and culture. I will always remember when I was a teenager and being an exchange in an American family, the mom would kiss her kids and tell them « I love you »when leaving to go to get some groceries at the local store. Surreal for some, totally natural for others. Eventhough I come from the « city of love », we don’t say to our parents and family members or friends « I love you », (hardly) ever. It is not in our habits, at least not in my circle of people. We only started with my best girlfriend back home to tell each other « I love you » a few years ago and it feels good to say and to hear it.
At the end of my grandmother’s life, I started to say « I love you » when I left her each time I would go visit. I knew her time on this Earth was counted and felt the urge to make sure she knew how much I loved her in case I wouldn’t see her again. And so I did every time for the past 2 years of her life and I’m so glad I. It made us both smile, opened our hearts and get closer.
Then living in India now with my beautiful friend and flatmate from America, I have also learnt in a very natural way to say and hear/read/ write « I love you » to or from her on an almost daily basis and that again feels really good. But then, when is it too much to say and looses its deep sense ?
As I was learning Hindi with my teacher here, I found out that in India, there is not even an actual verb to love. It is built as « to do the love ». Sounds like such hard work !! I love you is the longuest and complicated sentence : « Mai tum se pyar karta hoon ». So long you wouldn’t say it that frequently I guess! From what I have seen over the years here is that it is not in the custom to say I love you. My man (that’s the best way I could name him, after trying a few other versions) even says that there is no need to say when you can both feel it, that saying it too much almost spoils it and makes it sound like you take it for granted. So you do appreciate those rare times when you hear these 3 soft words I tell you ! And that is beautiful too, it makes it extra special and being in touch with the deep feeling, sensation and acts that show you the love rather then putting it into words.
Now, whatever rules your love world, just go for that, but let’s try to love ourselves first and see how love will come back to us in many magical ways.
I wish you all a happy Valentine’s day, spending it alone with that special person you are or sharing it with a loved one(s), make sure it’s full of these four letters. L-O-V-E.