Linda: Conscious love requires us to come out from behind the security of our manufactured image, and bring a high level of authenticity into our life. This requires us to be fearless yet tender, committed yet open, engaged yet not attached, powerful yet yielding, and strong yet vulnerable. To fully love, we must cultivate the ability to hold the tension of the opposites because love is inclusive, not exclusive, and it can be fierce in its demands. It invites us into the space beyond the duality of separation or enmeshment and challenges us to surrender the defenses that prevent us from deeply connecting with others.
To become a more loving person, it is necessary to find out what is really true about love from our own experience, not from what has been handed to us or from the beliefs that we may have picked up along the way. Here are a few examples of ways that we separate rather than include. See if you can relate to any of them.
I Can Be While Being
Fully committed to you Free to be me
Generous to you Self-caring
A risk-taker Cautious and calculating
Cooperative with your plan True to my beliefs
Frightened Committed to change
Admiring of your gifts Aware of weakness
Transparent Respectful of my privacy
Responsible and cautious Spontaneous
Angry at you Deeply loving of you
Flexible Not stretching too far
Reject some of your behaviors Loving who you are
Aware of trouble coming Hope for the best outcome
Aware of my weaknesses Owning strengths
In disagreement with your ideas Respecting your truths
In the mystery of not knowing Holding a vision
Please do not be limited to this list. There may be others that occur to you. By stretching to become a bigger person, we can become inclusive of the seemingly opposite beliefs and attitudes. This process of becoming inclusive is evolving into a more loving human being. And if loving another person is, as Rilke says, the final test and “that for which all other work is but preparation,” we see what our work is.
We cannot be a capable lover until we have established an accepting relationship with ALL parts of ourselves, including those aspects of our personalities and those of others that we deem unlovable. Practicing holding the tension of the opposites is a direct path to becoming a more fully loving person. Investing time and energy in a commitment to developing the capacity to become more fully loving will bring forth a greater return in terms of our quality of life than anything else we could do.