On Valentine’s day I sat around a table with six fantastic women. The question came up, “What is love to you?”
Which quickly morphed into, “What is true love to you?”
Us all recognizing the vast differences between the two. We took a moment to think about it. To really think about it.
A comment arouse that love is a “marathon”. Another, while it is possible to love something or someone that may not feel the exact same, “true love” has to be mutual. Words came up as “Attraction”. “Support”. “Effort”. “Respect.” “Affection”. “Admiration”. “Caring”. “Connection”. “Rare”.
All rang true to me as spoken. But the loudest being “mutual”.
A woman softly admitted, “I had true love”… followed with… “It didn’t last.”
Which raised the next question… “Does true love last? Or does it change? … Is it for a reason or a season?”
Does it take on a new form? A new meaning? A different connection? Or does it vanish? Only lasting a fleeting moment. Leaving you permanently effected.
We sat around that table sharing our love and human experiences. What we have witnessed. What we have felt. Each relating, experiencing, one level of what another was describing. Some variation.
We talked about the beginning of relationships. The lust. The infatuation. We talked about self love, which we all agreed was the most important. That inner voice telling you when to stay or when it is time to leave. When things have changed in a way that is not “mutual”.
Sometimes making the love temporary. Proving true love is not always permanent.
I have been thinking a lot about that since. What feels good. What my body tells me. What my heart wants. What love is to me. Seeing the complexity of all those elements. Wrapped in many relationships. With the other. With oneself.
Noticing it all constantly evolves in order to continue. Growing either apart or deeper with each conflict. With every resolution. Deepening with every hurdle. Or collapsing on unsturdy foundation. Through each unexpected moment. Some infuriating. Some passionate. Some scary. Some engulfing. But all in all, a “marathon”. In which we need both stamina and the ability to listen. To the other. To oneself.
Acknowledging sometimes it requires a sprint. While other times we need to stop running. Maybe walk a mile or two. Slow down. Nourish ourselves. Drink some water. Rest. Having enough love for ourselves to keep the pace we need to. To keep moving forward. Through. Or past.
Listening when to stay or when to go. Honoring that voice.
Evolving just as the feelings do. As life does. As we do. Acknowledging the seasons and reasons for each. Maybe only if deepening the self love and understanding within ourselves. Accepting there is no wrong way to love. Only compatibility with those who love in a similar way.
I am learning as I go. Defining what love means to me as I morph and evolve. But I have figured out as least what love isn’t. I have experienced how I do not want to feel. I have, or am, learning to listen to that voice. I also have been blessed. I have experienced what it feels to be genuinely loved. I see how fortunate I am. I realize how rare it is. The mutual spark. The same interest. A matching effort. While having an appreciation for what continues. What morphs. What has stamina to keep running, what also knows when to walk. What listens when I grow tired. What will hold my hand across the finish line. Who doesn’t matter how long it takes. But what moves forward along my side.
I looked around that table at these different, amazing, fascinating woman with an infinite respect. A deep admiration. Listening intently to all their emotions, wisdom, experience. Surrounded and held with care, support, affection. A connection that is both beautiful and rare. One that is mutual. As I sat there, the thought crossed, “This… This is love.”
Beating. Breathing. Bad ass feminine connection. Warrior princesses. Existing at this very table. Always here. Always able to hold my hand. Sharing our experiences, our thoughts, our passions, our frustrations, our laughs. But containing and holding it all for each other. This my season. My reason. Answering that question… “This is love.” And feeling that love permanently etched on my heart.