Guest post by Kristen Luther.
**I asked you want love meant to you. How it hurt you, healed you, taught you. Do you believe in it? Have your thoughts about it changed? The essay I publish wins a whole lotta love loot from my store. Thank you for the submissions.
I’m happy to announce Kristen Luther as the author of the winning essay. Kristen is a jewelry designer, a yoga teacher and writes her own blog www.yogapathwithkristen.jimdo.com – go check it out!
Growing up, I used to think love was this ongoing, wildly romantic date that ultimately culminated in marriage and kids….the whole bit…..and that was it. It was an immature view of love in the very least. I mistook infatuation for love many times in my search for Mr. Right until I met my husband and recognized the friend in him, which for me, was the most important component in a marriage. Once married,however, I was disillusioned.
“Is this all there is?”
Why didn’t it feel like the love I had imagined? The vision of being romanced on a daily basis and whisked off at a moment’s notice to exotic places by my doting husband were replaced by the realities of work and the stress it can bring into any marriage. There were financial and work obligations. I had lived with my parents until a month before I got married. I was young…a mere 25 years old with no idea yet who I was. A dangerous way to enter a marriage! Still….it forced me to grow and begin to see love for what it is…a process and one that evolved over time. Love would take many shapes and come to mean many things….none of which I ever expected. It would challenge me to near breaking point and it would show me profound joy.
As love matured and grew….it bubbled over and made children. Two of them. They have tested my patience and my resilience as a lover. Learning to love regardless of defiance and the occasional disrespect. Wielding some tough love instead of what comes easy, but still love just the same. Helping them to understand responsibility, respect, compassion, so they can enter the world as well adjusted, conscious adults when the time comes.
As I entered my 30’s, I began my soul search in order to learn how to better love myself. Up until that point, loving myself meant retail therapy and over indulging in food and drink on a daily basis and blaming others for anything that ever went wrong. It was a vacuous existence and one that left me feeling empty and like a shell of a person.
When I found yoga, that all changed! I found my voice and my true power. I began to see the connectivity of all things and developed a profound sense of compassion for the world around me. This encouraged me to be more conscious of my self, my thoughts and my actions. In doing so, love for myself transformed into learning to listen within and indulge in creative self expressions that spoke to my soul and showing the world who I really am….and for once, not apologizing for it.
I learned to see that the love I cultivated within myself is the most important love to have, because real love must start there. As a young adult, I was caught up in finding “my other half” or “Mr. Right” and then discovered, through seeking, that love means nothing if I don’t love myself FIRST! This love ultimately evolved my marriage from a relationship that was simply going through the motions to one that sought deep answers to how we managed ourselves as individuals and how that impacted not only our lives, but that of each other and our children. It was no longer a superficial existence. It has become a continual, forward moving, work in progress; not a destination that we expect to arrive at.
Love for me, most of all, has come to mean compassion and respect. Learning to look deep into another person, to see them and understand them. Love has come to encompass the meaning for Namaste….the light within me honors the light within you. As we honor and recognize the light within each other, there is no separation. We are one.
Do I still believe in love? Hell yes! Humans are innately loving beings. The only thing that holds anyone back from love is fear.