Mindfulness: In Love AF
So I fell in love a few years back. I fell in love with a person that is probably from a different planet than me. Polar opposites. I love the spirit, universe, magic, horoscopes, unicorns, rocks, crystals, jesus, buddha, sage and love on top of love. He loves facts, math and science. I love nature and spaciousness, he loves condos (like seriously dude loves condos). I love prayer and meditation, he thinks religion and devotion is ludicrous. I love Drake, he hates Drake. I hate flip flops, he loves flip flops. I love cooking, he hates cooking. Like we have nothing in common. Totally insane situation. No reason why our paths would even cross if it weren’t for the strange circumstance and timing of this life.
Luckily for me, he’s kind, and relatively grounded in reality. He spaces things out and reasons with me like a grown up has to when one person wants everything that the other person can’t give them. He says to me, “Lana I’m gone. I’m not staying.” “Lana this isn’t going forward.” “Lana I have a job in another country.” “Lana I don’t feel like you feel.”
Lana hears none of it because, like a true person in love, I think he’s crazy and of course he loves me too because I’mmmmmmmm amazing. (mic drop)
I was wrong of course. He really didn’t love me like that. I just really wanted him to.
It made me realize that the most painful thing about love is not being able to be with the person you love – to love someone and be far away from them. Or to love someone and have them not love you back. It’s the hardest thing. Or to love someone, and they love someone else. It made me think of Beyonce in lemonade too …. “to love without betrayal”. What is that about?
So I spent a year and a half desperately trying to fall out of love with him. I kept on sitting with this grand idea I heard in spiritual and new age texts. The idea of love without attachment to the outcome. In Buddhism, my teacher would say “ If you are cold let the cold kill you. If you are hot, let the hot kill you.” I thought if I’m in love why would love kill. Damn you love, you are supposed to feel nicer than this.
I tried everything to fall out of love with him because I thought it would make me feel better to not love him anymore. I dated a cute boy….nothing…I stopped talking to him…still loved him…I concentrated on my work…still loved him… I travelled…still loved him….I started projects, fixed my apartment, got plants, dated, wrote poetry, made videos, talked to people who knew things about love. I went to therapy, I talked to mentors, I cried, I lost weight, I stopped drinking, and dated…and FUCK still I loved him. What the fuck I thought. Nothing works. Fuck this guy whyyyyyyyy can’t I stop loving him?
So I tried things on my meditation cushion and in my life and actually some of them helped my heart. I’m sharing this story with you because it is possible to feel better. We just need to learn to trust, accept, love, respect and be okay with ourselves first.
Thing Number One
I have to love myself so much more. My love for myself had to increase to manage the insane love expectation I wanted from him. The more love I needed from him, the more love and self-care I knew I needed to give to myself. The more desperate for love you are outside of yourself, the more you should love and accept yourself inside.
I kept on telling myself “I am love. I am the love I need. I have to be the love I want to receive. I have to be the thing that I want to receive. I have to be able to give love to myself. He can’t do it for me .” Again and again I would have to remind myself. This made me feel warmer on the inside. It helped to say this out loud.
I also did a lot of yoga. Like more than average during this time.
So I wanted to share with you a text that changed my life when I think about this particular person. Most people would say well mourn him, love him, and let him go. Accept that he doesn’t love you and go find someone new. Go on Tinder they would say. I thought of these things too but truly nothing worked. Ideas didn’t work. Just moment to moment letting go helped. I had to do this practice of letting him go every time I wanted to grasp. Every pic I would see of him I would breath deeply and ask the universe for the courage to release him. “Please help me release the part of me that is grasping this situation. I trust that what is really mine is coming my way.” I would take a deep breath in and out. Sometimes I would have to do this repeatedly. It helped me connect to myself and the trust I had, instead of the end game of having his love.
This is a biggie. To feel trust is hard. I have to trust that the person that really loves me will want to be there with me. Because that person is you! That person has to be you first.
Thing Number Two
TRUST your love is coming. If you are good with yourself it will come. We have to be aligned with the love we have for ourselves for that to really happen. When I control everything it’s not enjoyable or fun for anyone. I have to trust too.
When I think about this person I remember how he reminded me of how to love again. I feel grateful for that lesson now. I can’t really explain this. It’s a felt thing. To let myself love him without trying to make it a thing was a huge deal for me. My friend P called me out on being a control freak on our first or second date. I thought he was a control freak calling me a control freak but in retrospect he was right because he could see it from a mile away. His control freak could see the control freak in me. I had no idea. I thought I was so easy going. I tried to remember that control freak comment every time I tried to control this person I felt I loved.
“I can’t control anything. Love doesn’t control like that. It doesn’t work like that.” I would say that to myself and I would imagine I am opening my hand instead of closing it.
So I created these little rituals to keep myself sane but the most interesting moment happened not that long ago. This past December I moved into a new home. During the move I find this massive thousand page text written by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. I’m not kidding. This thing is huge. It talks about all these different ways to practice yoga and meditation. Somewhere mid text I find a paragraph that gives me great comfort. The words are saying what I’m already knowing about my love for this person.
“Egoless love is love for the sake of love, without any expectation of love in return. This form of love is bhakti and is felt even when it is not returned. This type of love may exist for some inexplicable reason; or it may exist because of some natural resonance or compatibility; or perhaps the love exists because of the realization of the deeper nature of the other person. In a higher sense, there cannot be love for the other person because of the understanding that everyone and everything is really one’s own self. Others do not exist. This is non-directional love; love that goes out and returns to the bhakta. Ego-centered love will chain one to the finite, whereas bhakti, intense non-expectational love, leads to the infinite. One limits, whereas the other leads to the unlimited. Bhakti or egoless love does not depend on beauty, wealth or reciprocation of love. Bhakti should be felt even when one is rejected. This is a test of sincerity of devotion.”
At this point I already gave up. I decided to say fuck it and just let myself love him. Partially because nothing else worked, partially because I truly gave up the idea of us, and partially because I just wanted to think about him in a different way. I actually gave up trying to change the situation I was in. This is how I did it. I let myself feel the love I have for him. I don’t try to pretend it’s not there anymore. But I don’t cling to the story of ‘us’ either.
I have that paragraph tattooed in my heart I swear.
Egoless love increases with time, whereas ego based love decreases. So I knew the feeling is there to stay a while, but my grasping subsided.
When I read this paragraph I knew it would be ok just to let myself feel the love for him. While the lesson of this love still feels sensitive in my heart how could I not be grateful to him. I sit quietly sometimes and say thank you to him. I never knew this kind of insane devotion (bhakti) until I met him. To feel so much love for another. I’m not talking about lust or desire. Just pure love for the sake of love. To have felt this was like being born again. I wasn’t in control of anything. It happened to me. He happened to me, then he had to go. To be honest, I’m not even sure we are even supposed to be with a person we love so much. It seems like insanity to me.
I don’t have a happy ending for this story. Dude is probably in Bali with some sweet girl, sipping margaritas or whatnot, enjoying his new life. But I know I love better because of him and truly I wouldn’t change this. For some strange messed up reason, when you LOVE AF, it will kill you, and you can come out of it different, better and more human.
Lana Lontos is long time yoga and meditation teacher, Gestalt psychotherapy student, and entrepreneur. She is the creator and host of the Big Tree Mind wellness podcast and Vimeo series. She is passionate about mindfulness practice, creativity and exploring how we connect to ourselves and our work.
Lana is actively involved in youth outreach and mentorships and has dedicated a decade to studying trauma, anxiety and addictions. She believes wholeheartedly that awareness, yoga and meditation are tools which support the nervous system and contribute to clarity, focus and awakening.
For more information on upcoming mindfulness and habit change workshops, international yoga and meditation retreats, or to book a private consultation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check out BigTreeMind.com today.