The Essence of Love

“Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other. “

Rainer Maria Rilke

This time of year love is everywhere, and we are deluged with articles examining all aspects of this four letter word. I am often bemused by how much we use this word, and yet how unclear we are as to what it means to us. Lao -Tzu once asked his disciples “what is the fragrance of a rose?” and of course they could not define it.  The same is, I think, true for love.  We may know what love feels like, but it is oh so hard to define.  One of my favorite definitions is in the quote above.  Another comes from author and researcher Dr. Brene Brown who says, “Love is not something we give or get; it is something we nurture and grow.” The ancient Greeks had three words for love:  Agape or deep and abiding love, Eros or passionate love and Philia or affectionate love.  I have heard love defined as a choice or a commitment, and described as a wave.

For me love is about a deep sense of connection that transcends our limitations.  It is about connection of the heart, of the mind, of the body and of the soul.  It is knowing each other for good and for bad, and being gentle and accepting of each others’  imperfections, caring for each others’ pain, holding each others’ dreams with care, challenging each other to grow, and simply gazing at each other with a wonder that says, “you are an amazing gift in my life and I cherish all of you.”  And we say this with all of our hearts, and then we hold on tight and ride the waves.

So those are this year’s musings on love – Wishing you a beautiful, love-full Valentines Day

I would be most delighted to hear your thoughts on the meaning of love.

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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