Fall in love before, not after, meeting your mate.
In April of this year, I fell in love.
Pay attention to your next thought.
"Who is he? Where did we meet? How's it going?"
We have an extraordinarily backwards (and very dysfunctional) way of looking at love.
We think it's something we direct at someone or something. We think it's something we earn or deserve. We think it's something that we only get to experience based on someone else's decision to either receive our love or give us theirs.
It's sort of like winning the lottery. We even tend to congratulate one another once we "find" it.
But what if it didn't work that way?
What if we were to fall in love before — and not after — meeting someone?
Stay with me for a second. Because I've been living this exercise for the past several months, and I want to tell you what I've experienced.
Well, to start, I better be honest: it involves heartbreak.
Listen, real talk, it's a ruthless world out there sometimes, and some of the biggest slaps I've gotten could've easily driven me to hatred, resentment, and more importantly, feeling like a big fat martyr to love. But because I fell in love first, they resulted instead in me seeing some of the deepest truths of both my lineage beliefs (what got passed down to me) and my shadow (what I can't see about myself). Allowing my heart to break has made it possible for me to love even deeper.
I call one of these particular experiences "the best worst thing that ever happened to me." Because in addition to real talk I also love paradox and alchemy.
I'm convinced that my capacity to alchemize this heartbreaking experience is 100% related to the commitment I made to be in love in April. I don't fuck around with devotional practices and this particular devotional practice was of the highest order for me, so I took that commitment very seriously. Which means that when the worst thing that could've ever happened to me did, I had no choice but to make it the best thing that ever happened to me in order to stay in integrity with my prior commitment.
Let me say that again: Because I am devoted to love, I had no choice but to make the worst thing that ever happened to me the best thing that ever happened to me.
But let's not get all tied up with drama and face-slapping.
Here's what else I have experienced.
Deep, soul-shattering, ground-breaking love.
With the checkout clerk at my local grocery store.
With every single stranger I have made eye contact with since April.
With my neighbor's newborn baby.
With dozens of wonderful friends.
And with a couple actual romantic suitors, neither of which lasted terribly long, both of whom I loved, and still love, deeply, even though we are no longer in contact.
"How is that even possible?!" you might be asking yourself. "You hardly know any of those people!"
I’ll tell you a secret: It. Doesn't. Matter.
I met a new person a week ago and I'm also already quite clear I love him. I actually knew before we even spoke.
Not because of anything he's done. Not because of his looks or extraordinary talents. Not because of how much money he has in his bank account or how many languages he speaks.
Simply because he is worthy of my love. Because he is a human.
And so I love him. Periodtheend.
Because I’m devoted to love.
It's that simple.
But here’s the biggest thing.
Because in all of these cases I started by falling in love, what happened is that I had no choice but to look for all the evidence I could find in the world of its existence. And as it turns out, love really is all around.
“Why does this matter?’ you might ask.
Because what you appreciate, appreciates.
So let’s rewind to the two romantic suitors who didn’t last for very long. One might consider both of those failures, right?
In both of those cases, the duration of our relationship was exactly right-sized. I was not in a big hurry to hook either of them in in order to feel loved, and so we explored one another, took our time discovering what intimacy felt like between us, and then we concluded after a period of time that actually, we weren’t really a right fit for one another. It was shockingly non-dramatic both times.
Of course I still cried when we parted ways. Not because of the loss of love, but because of the gratitude of everything I gained from loving them.
All of the experiences in between, from eye contact to physical touch, were remarkable-blow-me-open-to-god experiences.
No, I’m not exaggerating. Yes, even though ultimately we were not a right fit for one another.
When love is the floor – not the ceiling – I get to welcome in everything that is ecstatic that comes after love that *is* related to actual human connection.
So not only do I get to constantly feel like I’m in love as a part of my own devotional practice, but I also get to discover new depths almost constantly.