Freedom vs. Love

“The difference between Love & True Love is the difference between a very large number & infinity.” -JBP

Infinity…could you imagine loving another all the way to infinity? If so, you’re off to good start. Because you can only experience the magic of True Love if you have the audacity to believe in it.

I’m an idealist when it comes to romance, but I’m not talking about happily-ever-after fairy tales here. I’m talking about True Love as a crucible for your own personal development, a path to self-actualization. I’m talking about epic evolutionary love -the kind that history, literature & poetry remembers.

A True Love relationship is a gymnasium in which we work & build our emotional muscles. It’s a dojo for practicing the ‘kata’ of feeling-it-all. In relationship we often dismiss our partner’s complaints & defend our behaviors. It can often seem like they are criticizing our fundamental way of being.

But what if most complaints were merely a fumbled version of: “Honey, I love you. I see you big, I believe in your greatness and I know you can & will do better.” What if it was OUR job to find the commitment (to something sacred) that lurks behind each complaint.

If you look deeply at what your partner gets upset about, you’ll see that even though some of it is their crazy, underneath there’s always some pattern they’ve identified in you, that’s keeping you back, trapped. Their reflection is offering you a chance at liberation.

Whether your partner complains you arrived late, left dishes in the sink or acted insensitively, they are usually highlighting unconscious parts of you, that carry shame, and so live in your blind spot.

In True Love relationships our partner becomes a sacred mirror that reflects -in equal measure- our brilliance and our shadow. We may not always like what we see in a mirror. But we still need them to see.

Your partner is hired by your heart to emancipate you from smallness, to free you from unconsciousness, to wake you up where you’ve stopped growing. And if they’re good, they’ll risk your disapproval to do it.

A good mate stands fiercely for your magnificence. And will defend it, especially against yourself.

As my husband Eben says, “It doesn’t take a lot to be in love, it takes everything.”

Your True Love partner holds a vision for you that transcends any you could ever hold for yourself. They see us bigger than anyone else can, and that’s what inspires us into becoming even more extraordinary.

Michelangelo ‘saw’ his famous sculpture -David- hidden inside a block of marble. He claims to have simply carved off everything that wasn’t David. So too, your partner helps you shed your fear-driven defenses, strategies, compulsions and unconscious habits until all that is left is the masterpiece of who you really are -undefended, unguarded, triumphant and free.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is usually interpreted as “being able to do whatever we want”.
Or it speaks about rights and values and how we should be allowed to live by them.
It can involve safety, individual expression & knowing our basic needs can be fulfilled.

But perhaps freedom is actually about our individual access to greatness. Our ability to pursue the dreams, goals & ideals that lead to our highest destiny.

We often associate freedom with not having constraints imposed from the outside. Yet without any constraints we’re saddled with infinite possibility, which can be overwhelming & paralyzing.

No artist wants a canvas as wide as the sky. Constraints breeds art & innovation.

Your True Love partner is the optimal constraint for your most unique and exquisite self to be revealed.

We need parameters to learn about who we are. We need boundaries to push against in order to develop an autonomous self. If a child is given absolute freedom -they don’t feel safe or loved. Children deeply want boundaries and a strong container in which they can be held safely. A parent’s job is to help co-create that container.

As adults in relationship, our partners’ needs & future-visions of what’s possible are what shapes the container that guides our mutual growth.

Many see a romantic relationship as the end of freedom. Committing to being with one person forever can feel like a life-sentence. Unless…being with them has you fall more in love with yourself. Because that’s the point: we don’t fall in love with another person, we fall in love with who we get to be, around them.

A lot of us think we are free, but we’re not. We’re enslaved by our own emotions -fear, shame, hate, envy, despair. It’s much harder to feel the sensations of an intense feeling than it is to disassociate into the “story about the feeling” (the explanation & the reasons that justify it).

Every unfelt feeling breeds a moment of disconnection from reality, a disassociation, a neuroses, a compulsion, an addiction, a sickness or a disease. Feelings that are suppressed and unacknowledged turn into our shadow & end up causing pain to those we care about.

A human being is a human feeling.

I feel therefore I am.

In any moment we’re either running TOWARDS a feeling, or running AWAY from, no matter what we’re doing.

As for Love, it’s not “a” feeling…it’s ALL of them.

Love contains inside it the full range of experience -from joy and ecstasy to jealousy, shame and envy. Through the prism of our awareness we can take the “white light” of True Love and break it out into the full spectrum of human emotion, like a rainbow. Where every color is sacred, whether you prefer one or not.

Nothing brings up our pain more than romance. True Love will test all our limits, push all our boundaries and take us to the edge of sanity.

But if it’s real, if it’s true…you won’t be able to leave. True Love is the only force in the universe strong enough to keep you in the game when every conscious part of you is screaming to run. It’s a trap, an exquisite trap.

But one that affords a strange kind of freedom. When you stay committed (through the darkest moments) to one person’s love, you trade in width for depth. We can walk through a library skimming casually through many interesting books, or we can take down our favorite novel and read it from cover to cover. Which one do you think is more fulfilling?

When you fall in love & choose THAT love as your highest priority, and start shifting your identity from “I” to “Us”, your partner becomes the greatest champion for your dreams. They are your trampoline and you are theirs.

It doesn’t matter how much you achieve in terms of wealth, impact and success; if you don’t experience True Love before you die, you’ll be missing out on the most fulfilling experience available to human beings. Your heart will always be yearning to be met, to be seen, to be known.

Once you know that the person you most adore, most appreciate, and most admire, loves you to the bone, no matter what, until you die…then you can Do Anything & Be Anything.

And that to me, is Real Freedom.