To love unconditionally. What is it to love with no strings attached?  To really love without expectations. I know I love my puppy what I believe to be unconditionally, but is that only because I actually have a huge amount of control over her? Does it have anything to do with the fact that she will never grow past the intellect of a two year old (saw that on Soulpancake), can't speak, and she thinks I’m rad?

I wonder this because I see it with parents and kids. The love for the baby seems complete and unconditional, but somewhere along the way that often disappears. I see all these new parents talking about the miracle that their baby is. Posting about how their baby is the most precious, but as they grow into youth and teens that seems to give way to demands, frustrations, and criticism. Where does that sweetness go? I don't often see parents speak to their teens like they love them unconditionally. All I see are conditions.

I have been struggling with this idea for years. Can we love our partners, our kids, and our friends, unconditionally?

Probably not, how can we create lives with someone and not have expectations around them?

But I want that. I want to give so fully and freely and love unconditionally. I am bound to get hurt. To trust and have it fall apart. To give and not have my needs met. To be called naive, and to be disillusioned.

But maybe there is this other way. Maybe even with all the possibilities of being hurt the reward of love like that is worth it. I risked a lot to make my relationship with Rene what it was, and I could not be more grateful for that. As honest as our relationship was I now wonder, could I have been better?

Once we start creating a life with someone there becomes risk, and we create contracts. Ways of being with that person. Expectations of each other. Usually unsaid, but with good communication we can be clear about them. That is where Rene and I landed. We got better at opening up the lines of dialog and getting honest. O so hard for both of us. It seems to me that the closer to my heart what I want to share is, the harder it is for me to share it, but the more important that it be shared.

But now, the lesson I have learnt, and my offering to you; just fucking love them.

Love them. You chose them (partner and kids), so now love them. Getting closer we rely on each other and can start to create demands on how we give our love.

Love them for who they are, not what they can do for you. Rene and I navigated this well. Still we could have been better, we thought we had time to practice.

This goes for your partner, your babies, your coworkers. It seems risky to put yourself out there like that. Only because we have it all messed up. We struggle for power, we don't want to be vulnerable, or take the ‘risk’. Drop that, let people sort their shit out and love them through it. We don't have time for anything else. Love them as they are. Who are we to say how others ought to be. Who are we to say who our kids or partners ought to be? What if we just saw and loved people for who they are? Those around us are always showing us who they are. Often we refuse to see what they are showing us, and only see what we want to see. The problem is in the gap. What we want them to be and what they are. So when they show you who they are, see it. See the real them, and not the them you want to see. The gap disappears and you can just be with them.

I have received so much love, but often I had to go first. I had to share honestly, I had to open to door for others to get real with me.

I will be my own longitudinal experiment. If I am honest and love without demands what will my life look like? Is this really even possible?

It will take constant commitment from me. I have already wanted to retreat into hiding with certain people or situations, but I am dedicated to this.

I loved Rene so much and yet 'life' would get in the way. That's so stupid. Life didn't get in the way, I did, we did. Our fears and expectations did.  Life was the gift we shared and any separation between us was our fear. The sad thing is we had nothing to fear. The scariest thing that could have ever happened, happened. We never feared that possibility, it was far too scary. So we worried about the ridiculous. About financials when we had enough. We worried about how we were spending our time, what a waste of time. We bickered over chores, so trivial. Or had the same fight over and over, never really getting truthful about what was at the heart of it.

I get it now. This is it. I hold this teaching so close to my heart. I know that I will want to revert back to the 'norm'; closed off, fearful, playing games. Instead I invite you to join me in choosing love over fear.

What’s funny is I sort of hate the ‘it's all love thing’. I'd hear it a lot in the yoga community and thought it was overly simple and fluffy. But now, I really mean it and it is anything but easy. To be that courageous to love freely, is actually a monstrous endeavor. To give that fully in a society that doesn't play like that, takes something. I do not say it lightly. The biggest thing I gave to Rene was all my love. My ONLY regret? That I didn't give it more fully and freely.

Yes taking this on I may get hurt from time-to-time, but it will be nothing compared to all the love I will have surrounding me.

Someone has to go first.

Like a child of the people. To love and be loved. Not just by my nuclear family but by all those that cross my path.

Some will say it’s not possible, I'll keep you posted on how it works out.

~with love