In my case: Oaxaca, Mexico
"Good thing you are real."
How did s/he react?
Love loved on. And on. And on.
How did I feel?
Love is real. Studying philosophy I forget that sometimes. At school I try to wrap my head around questions whose mere existence surprises me. Busy wondering which concepts of reality are reasonable I have no space in my head to let my heart speak. Everything is occupied by logic.
Love is real. Living in a big city I ignore that sometimes. Riding the subway several people’s breaths stroke my neck. They remain unnoticed. With my eyes glued to my phone’s messenger, or racing over a handful of pages in a last minute exam prep, or all closed while the music from my earphones takes me away, I escape from the cage a crowded train turns into while silently counting down the stops till I am home.
Love is real. Watching the news I doubt that sometimes. When the screen bursts with images of kids dying, trying to flee from the war in their homes, I have no words for what I am seeing. Except for, where is the love?
Love is real. Navigating through my early twenties I struggle with that sometimes. So much to do right, so many things to take care of, so many traps to walk in and therefore to protect myself from. No time for love: Don’t let them get to you, they tell me, you’re a grown up now. Stand tall. Be strong. March on. You’re on your own.
Love is real. Being human I lose it sometimes. Disappointment, grief, abandonment. There are countless roots for heartbreak. I am sure you, too, have hit rock bottom before. Do you remember the way you switched to endurance mode? How you were? No warmth, no miracles, no love-is-all-around. You just were. For the time being that was all you were capable of doing. Letting the clock tick, hoping that one day you were going to dance to its sound again.
And yet: Love is real. Despite of it all. Despite everything that gives you weltschmerz, every dreadful deed, every drama, every trauma.
And if you lose it it finds you again with time.
Five years ago I came across a video on Youtube. I saw it one time only -- afterwards it remained lost in the online realm*-- but I never forgot one abstract. It was a guy, I recall him to be in his late twenties, who said,
“If there is real love I know. I feel it. And I don’t care about what other people say, what we look like, or how much time we have together. One hour, one year, a lifetime; It doesn’t matter. I dive into it while it is there and once we have to part I let the person go.”
Last month I thought of the video again, for the first time in many months. The memory popped up in my mind whilst sitting next to my newly made friend Rog** in his car. With the Oaxacan countryside turning into one green blur to my right and the sun getting ready to set over the pacific to my left I realized that what we shared, to me, was love. I had only just met him, we had barely spent a week together at this point, but I knew it was there. Like that, no advance notification. Love. "That’s the feeling.", I thought, “Right.”, smiled and leaned back.
Sounds like a big thing to say? Yes. It is. And at the same time: Not really. How could “It is love” be a big deal, ever? Sure, if you tell your new partner you love them it comes with a long tail of potential outcomes; Pressured, relieved, irritated, or euphoric ones. There might be a decent package of drama waiting for you once you have dropped the bomb that “I love you!” can be. From that perspective love is a biggie. But this word, love, has countless definitions, and if you dig a few feet deeper you will find yourself overwhelmed with distinctions. The quality couples share after decades together versus parental love versus the state of falling in love, bursting with adrenaline. Platonic love. Mere sexual attraction. Infantile love. The love teachers feel for their students and vice versa. Universal love -- And thousands of others.
To me the most essential meaning of the word is:
Love is what we’re made of. It is what it all comes down to.
Love is where I feel a home.
Love embraces everything.
Love transcends words, like life, oneness or mediation it is one of those magical things you cannot capture, preserve or force. In other words:
No more, no less.
As the guy in the video stated you feel when love breaks through the surface. You just do. It does not come with a bursting sound, a pink sky, your first 5000 $ paycheck nor once you have made it below 100 pounds.
It comes with a sense of overall goodness. If there is love, or the kind of love I am referring to here, I find myself being nothing but myself. I feel free to be. It is like the other person and I wave a net of mutual acceptance as we share each other’s presence. Into this net we fall and, letting ourselves go, we feel the net grow. The more we allow ourselves to relax and be who we are the more widespread the sense of love becomes - and vice versa. A virtuous cycle.
If I was asked to break this sense of love down to three words I would say: “Everything is okay.”
On the one hand that means the connection between the two lovers makes them feel like everything is fine. They are at ease. On the other hand they give themselves permission to be everything they are: Because everything is okay which, too, means that every part of who they are and ever could be is welcome. The space they share comes with unconditional embracing of whatever character traits, feelings, needs and impulses they hold inside. Even if those needs contradict each other at times.
Love feels warm.
Love comes with the accidental that says “Yes” to who you really are.
Like that, love unravels you.
Love’s manifestation is an invitation, always, never compulsion.
Love embraces your fears and says “It’s okay to be afraid.”
Love takes your hand, smiles at you and states “I am glad you are here.” with its eyes.
Love holds you tight.
Love speaks to your best self.
Love makes you see the beauty.
Love is weightless.
Love happens. You can’t plan it, all you can do is learn to receive.
And: Love lets go when it is time.
I believe it lives in everyone of us. Somewhere. Sometimes we immerse in it with our partners, our family, our teachers and students, our animals or ourselves. Even a stranger can be someone to spark this quality with: For a few moments, maybe a layover in an airport, or even just for a single glance which holds it all.
At other times we don’t. There may be moments in our lives when believing in the idea or holding onto a memory of love is all we have. Living by a thought instead of a feeling requires faith. Strength. Discipline. It is hard. It takes guts. And then one day the feeling of love, of effortless connectivity, is reinforced again. Life flows in. Warmth melts the inner ice. Solace takes over. By an encounter, a piece of music or art, a trip to nature; whatever it is, some little flash of beauty that enters you and says, “Hey, there, you’re not alone. You are full of life and loved more than you could possibly imagine.”
Next to Rog** in the car is where love found me again after a bit of absence. As I looked at the natural expression in his face I realized I was in the right place. Letting out a sigh I made every here and now my home. This moment, the next moment, and all the ones to come. Enjoyed that with him I didn’t have to say anything and at the same time could say everything I wanted to. Todo bien. Haz lo que quieres. Eres libre. A thought flashed through my mind. Simple, clear and true:
Love is real.
*Does my description ring a bell? Do you know the video? Please email me if you have got the link! Thank you!
**Real name withheld