by Elizabeth Venart
When I reflect on the topic of falling in love, my heart opens to experiences of being love. Yes, I said that intentionally. To me, being love is transcendent and transformative, moments of exquisite presence that give meaning to life. When I am being love, I am filled with a feeling of radiant peace and deep appreciation for the present moment and the beauty and connection within it.
I remember the day I fell in love with Rumi’s poetry. At a break while attending a spiritual retreat, I wandered over to a table of poetry books and picked one up at random. The words entranced and washed over me. Music started again and the program resumed, but Rumi and I sat together for hours more, in the deep, riding waves of emotion, surrendering to the invitation for Union and the profound acknowledgement of the agony and ecstasy of Divine Connection, human suffering, longing, and Love.
Last year, I traveled to Iceland in January. I fell in love with the sunsets and sunrises visible during Iceland’s winter. The day is short and the pink sky that welcomes and closes each day lingers close to the horizon. I experienced such joy at the seeing of it – cotton candy pink draping the volcanic mountains. We also saw Northern Lights on two evenings during our stay. The dance of shimmering green across the star-filled sky mesmerized and awed me.
Finally, I cannot possibly consider the topic of love without marveling at my good fortune in finding love with my husband. On our wedding day, we chose a collection of favorite readings as an invocation for our new life together as a married couple. They were perfect then and have grown even sweeter since, as our love has deepened through the hard-won affection of miles walked, laughter and tears shared, and storms weathered. Actively choosing to stand beside one another and be love together – moment after moment, day after day, and year after passing year – deepens and enriches my life. Reflecting today on our wedding ceremony readings, I am reminded that being love requires deep and mindful presence – with ourselves and each other – and the ability see through eyes of love, act with love, and bring forward all facets of ourselves with an open heart, curiosity, and compassion.
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground for real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her. . . . True love needs understanding. With understanding, the one we love will certainly flower.
- Thich Nhat Hanh in Peace is every step
the quiet thoughts
of two people a long time in love
like birds nesting in each other’s warmth
you will know them by their laughter
but to each other
they speak mostly through their solitude
if they find themselves apart
they may dream of sitting undisturbed
in each other’s presence
of wrapping themselves warmly
in each other’s ease.
- Hugh Prather in Notes on Love and Courage
“What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
“Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”
- Margery Williams in The Velveteen Rabbit. Read More
Elizabeth Venart, LPC, is the Founder of The Resiliency Center. She is a Certified EMDR Therapist and Approved Consultant who specializes in providing counseling and mentorship to other therapists and working to empower Highly Sensitive Persons to heal the wounds of the past so that they can embrace their gifts more fully and experience greater joy. She also hosts a monthly Spiritual Poetry Evening at the center. Learn more .