Even after 35 years, I feel out of depth writing about love. As I have grown, I have come to realise that the more I understand this emotion, the more empowered I feel to experience it. And today, on Valentine's day, I choose to explain the love that we preach and practice at Graffiti Collaborative. I thank my co-founder, Shinoy Thomas, for teaching me so much about love.
Let's start with the obvious, more valentiney love - the partner kind of love. I have begun to question the concept of falling in and out of love. Do we really ever stop loving someone? Or can we really, confidentally point at that moment when we first felt love for a person? How do we explain what we feel when we see a stranger at the airport or when we bump into an ex after years? Is it really our heart that is hurt, or is it just the ego? Have we never 'disallowed' ourselves from falling in love, but yet just feel drawn to that person anyway? Why does this happen?
The truth I have come to realise is that we are born with love. It is that skipped heartbeat before our mind takes over to rationalise. It is the raw, pure emotion that that doesn't go away even after years, no matter how much we try to beat it out of ourselves. It is that single most powerful feeling that takes over our lives, in ways we can't fathom.
And that scares us. The fear of losing our carefully practised illusion of control. Love is crazy. And funnily enough, it has a mind of its own. Once we begin to accept it as the only truth, we will start coming to terms with our own selves.
Then why do we try to fight it? Why have we conditioned ourselves to bring it to a logical conclusion everytime? Where is the need for it to be 'right' or 'wrong'? Besides, what can be so wrong about a feeling? Why are we not grateful about feeling it instead of being scared of losing it?
And then I came to this realisation, that somehow, we feel the need to associate that feeling with ownership - just like we need to associate god with religion. One is a feeling, the other is a desire. The legitimate human need for companionship is often confused with love. Every time we feel love, there is this expectation and calculation that begins to happen. There is a need to bring it to a logical conclusion or to be able express it only in the limited ways that we have been conditioned to. Suddenly, feeling the love isn't enough. We need to own it, and with it, the object of our affection. Ever since I have learnt to disassociate the two - the feeling itself and the desire to own it, I have come to really feel the magic of love.
Today, I feel connected to the universe in a way that I haven't before. I can fall in love with every moving leaf and every walking, and even crawling being, because I have begun to love with no expectations. I don't expect to be loved back, I don't expect them to stay, I don't expect the moment to last forever. But I accept the feeling, in that moment, and know it to be true. And believe it or not, I have received a lot more love now than ever before. It is not bound to a single person, or thing or relationship. And do not confuse this with polyamory - for that is only a definition of another type of relationship.
I speak of universal love.
It comes from nowhere, and yet everywhere. When I open my heart to the world, I give and receive in equal measure. There is never any lack of love. Even in my loneliest times, I know I have love. I might not have someone to share it with at that moment, but I know I have love by my side. I do have a desire for companionship, but that is no longer my pre-condition to love.
We need to love, unconditionally and irrevocably. At the end of our time, nothing else would have mattered except for the love that fills our heart. I don't believe we will look back at our life and be filled with anger or regret for things that happened, and those that didn't. We will only feel grateful and smile that we experienced love. We will realise that what really hurt was the unfulfilled expectation of holding things back. It was never love that really hurt us.
I just don't want to wait till the end of my life to have that realisation. I want to feel it in every single moment that I can, while I live. The more I let go in love, the more fearless it makes me, for I have nothing to lose.