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Love is in the Air…

Love is in the Air…

… Literally.

Love is indefinable. Not in the sense that it is necessarily difficult to understand what love means to us individually, but in the sense that it is unique to everyone – and that it is boundless. How we feel love, how we give love and how we understand it ,can have a myriad of variations. If we are open to it, there is also a dimension to love that is infinite. It might be described as connection; although in a sense that word is too limited by its implication of stretching across the seabeing a linear link; this connection has no limitations in its form, it is not confined by parallel lines. It is in the light, it spreads everywhere, it is throughout the universe. And therefore it is beyond life. This is love as a soul connection.

Whether you are skin to skin or separated by oceans, the connection is there. Always. It travels through space and time, it is eternal, it is in the air.

Whatever happens in this life, or in the next, or out there in the light, soul connections never break. They are forever.

A&E, Love always…

Sant Jordi’s Day: A Celebration of Love and Life

Sant Jordi’s Day: A Celebration of Love and Life

Yesterday was Sant Jordi’s Day here in Catalunya in Spain – it’s the equivalent of our Saint Valentine’s Day in the UK, but this is an altogether different kind of celebration, one which I wish we could echo. I was lucky enough to experience my first with Anna, my partner in life and love, in the coastal town of Vilanova I La Geltru

There are many differences that make this day such a special experience, one which is far freer of the commercialism and cynicism that seems now far more obvious to me about St Valentines.

For one, here, as in so many of their traditions, it is much more of a community event. Many towns here have a Rambla (and Vilanova has one of the longest in Spain) where it is customary to wonder the street, meet friends and family, have a coffee and enjoy the sunshine and the atmosphere. It’s a fabulous vibe on most days, but on Sant Jordi’s its’ even more special. The street is lined with stalls selling roses – and books. Here, the tradition is to buy not just a rose, but also a book for your loved ones You wonder down the avenue together in the company of thousands, all celebrating each other, love and life.

The original tradition springs from the legend of Sant Jordi  – and the story is similar to our own legend of Saint George, the dragon slayer. But in the case of Sant Jordi, after he has saved his Princess and slayed the dragon, a rose grows from the blood of the dragon’s heart. So on the anniversary of this day it has been the custom for a man to buy a rose for their Princess and for their Princess in return to buy a book for them.

But it has now become more of a celebration of love for everyone, not just romantic love, but of love generally. You see everyone carrying roses, men, women, children – and pets!! This is as much about expressing familial love or friendship as the love you feel for your partner. In the UK, Valentines Day has become way too much of a pressure, particularly in heterosexual relationships, to spend a fortune making grand gestures to prove the power of your love. Here, it is far more about the thought. The tradition is to buy just one rose, but to choose it carefully for its meaning. It will probably cost you no more than 3 euros.

For the flower, your choice might be about the meaning of colour, red, white, yellow, even blue!! Or you might make your selection based on the charity or foundation that the sellers are supporting; humanitarian, animals, politics, religion, education and many other causes that you and your loved ones might like to support.

And then there is the book. I absolutely love this as a way of sharing not just your love for each other, but your life. Every book, whether a fictional story or a non fiction work, offers something valuable. Whether it be a lesson, history, information or simply entertainment. Wondering by the book stalls and seeing people thinking about the books they will buy is a joyful experience.

For the whole day wondering through the city, you see everyone with roses, no age, gender, persuasion, race, relationship status or even species excepted. It is a day of celebration of love and life, it is a day in which you see and feel so much expression of it that it is literally true to say that love is in the air. And the simplicity of it is extraordinary. To enjoy it; to feel it; all you have to do is walk down the street and just breathe.

Think Less, Feel More

Think Less, Feel More

The Medina, Marrakech, Morocco

“Relationships are laboratories of the spirit” – Marianne Williamson

Visiting Marrakech recently was an extraordinary sensory experience, for many reasons. It is a hypnotic place. Every one of your senses is consumed by the surroundings, the smells, sounds, sights, tastes, sensations of touch… but there is also a profound feeling that seeps into your soul that extends beyond the perceptual reality of human sensory limitation.

That feeling of being there - and the feelings that have permeated since, have been almost impossible to define. But perhaps that is the point. There are some feelings that are beyond definition. Or perhaps more accurately put, those feelings are not meant to be defined, they are meant just to be felt.

Medina Pharmacy, Marrakech, MoroccoJust as the natural pharmacies of the Medina offer a myriad of ingredients almost too bewildering to choose from and for which the possible combinations are beyond our ability to calculate, so the feelings that we experience from some moments in our life are a complex, intricate and delicately balanced mix of emotions that stretch beyond our capacity for understanding. It is that which makes them so intoxicating.

These feelings are a product of nature’s force, a recipe that is created by our spirit and kept secret from the analytical filter of our minds so that it can flow with purity to our hearts. Right now, it is an important lesson the world seems to struggle to learn. That we should think less, feel more and trust that nature offers us those experiences because it’s what we individually need – what humanity needs - more than anything.

It is not without irony that in a sweet moment of childhood memory, it was the words of Winnie The Pooh, written by A A Milne, that expressed this for me today with such profound simplicity:

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”  

Winnie the Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”

Mine to hold

Mine to hold

Mine to hold

There’s a note you play, that takes me away 

like a whisper, a touch it feels like such 

sweet melody that connects you and me 

close my eyes, feel you near through that sound that I hear 

inside, in my blood, like a flood 

of light to my heart, where do you end and I start? 

 

And I wonder if there’s a place for me 

In your music or your poetry 

Does our rhythm dance within your soul? 

or are you playing in a different key 

looking for a different me 

another heart to make you whole 

are your words not mine to hold 

mine to hold 

 

it’s an echo, that sound, you lost and I found 

a song from your past, written and cast 

like a stone in the sea for your love, not for me 

for the soul that’s apart, ripped from your heart 

still there but yet gone, its for her that you long 

to hold to your skin, touch that place deep within 

 

And I wonder if there’s a place for me 

In your music or your poetry 

Does our rhythm dance within your soul? 

Or do you feel it differently 

Are you looking for a different me 

another heart to make you whole 

your words aren’t mine to hold 

mine to hold 

 

will it ever be mine, that light that you shine 

on the scars across your heart, will we start 

to heal, to find love, to feel 

that note you play, that takes me away 

that whisper, that touch that feels like such 

sweet melody that connects you and me 

 

And I wonder if there’s a place for me 

In your music or your poetry 

Does our rhythm dance within your soul? 

Can you feel it differently 

Or are you looking for a different me 

Another heart to make you whole 

Can your words be mine to hold 

mine to hold 

 

This poem is copyright of Elaine Sturgess, please do not reproduce either in part or full without permission of the author.

Losing our senses: the devolution of touch

Losing our senses: the devolution of touch

Anna Garcia Cuartero - exquisite touch

Our five senses are obviously the miraculous ways in which we experience the wonder of our world. They offer us the awe inspiring ability to create a sensual understanding of what is happening around us and to us – they feed our mind, body, heart and spirit.

My own awareness of the world around me has been heightened in the last few years and I totally delight in enjoying its wonders with every ounce of the senses I can apply to my experiences. But developing a better appreciation has led me to believe that we might be in danger of losing one of our senses – touch. And I mean that seriously. The expansion of non physical communication really does have the potential to affect our human evolution.

And I think we’re losing it not just in its physical form but in its definition as the ability to touch in a wider sense, as an emotional connection.

With online and mobile communication ever dominating our lives, the need for the physical presence of other people is rapidly diminishing. We don’t need meetings when we have google hangouts and skype. Social lives can be largely fulfilled with texting, Whatsapp and social media. And who needs a date when you can exchange words, pictures and videos online? It’s extraordinary how many relationships start and end now with a fast and furious exchange of sexts. I find it a huge irony that is is the expansion of touch based technology that is largely leading to the erosion of our human experience of physical connection.

Camille - the exquisite art of touch
Camille - the exquisite art of touch

And of course there’s the knock on effect in the context of touching each other emotionally. Relationships are becoming more a function of practical necessity, more about exchange of information and the sharing of resources than of emotion, more disposable, more easily swapped in for the next option because people perceive they might find a better, newer model on the market. Like the latest phone or the latest car. Why bother to take the time to attach to what you have when you might want the next upgrade? Even procreation is becoming less reliant on physical interaction.

Touch is the most critical of the five senses in connecting us, in establishing our collective humanity. The closest to our spirit. And perhaps it’s the diminishing of that physical and emotional connection that’s one of the factors in the growing violence and tragedy we are seeing. If we do not touch each other, we do not feel for each other. We are removed emotionally, we lack compassion for others because they do not touch us, nor we them.

Touch is an essential part of existence. It’s also a huge pleasure in life. In a physical sense the experience of texture, the flow of feeling that is generated from contact, is joyful, sensuous, it feeds our souls. Form the perspective of connection, it is vital. It is a fundamental expression of love.

If we’re going to evolve, we had better start to understand that we need to touch, be touched, be in touch with each other. To connect. At the risk of being over cheesy in what I think is a serious issue, maybe we could all be a bit more Diana Ross and reach out and touch every day, it really could make the world a better place.

For interesting reading on the nature of relationships and love, take a look at Liquid Love by Zigmunt Bauman, frightening and enlightening at the same time.

Love Is Not a Piece of Cake

Love Is Not a Piece of Cake

Love Is Not A Piece of Cake
Don't give a piece of your heart... give all of it
Don't take a piece of my heart... take all of it

There have been a lot of relationship changes in my life in the last few years. Some of which have caused me a huge amount of sadness – and the circumstances of those changes and experience of loss have made me think about the nature of love and why it can cause us more pain than perhaps it should.

Our perception of love is defined as much by how we feel it as how it is expressed by another. One of the challenges is that so many people see love like a cake. Both their own love and what they receive. It is finite and we slice it up and share it out. When the slices have been given out, then we compare how big our slice is to others – and when it’s gone, there’s no more cake. So if someone new comes along and needs some love, then we all perceive that we have to have a smaller slice of cake. And we’re not very good at sharing. So then we feel hard done by. Or we try to compete for a larger slice. It’s this perception that leads to so much resentment and jealousy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can view it differently. Because although there are many things in our lives that are finite – time, resources – love is not. It is infinite. We can give love endlessly and boundlessly if we choose to – and we can also choose to receive it endlessly and boundlessly. If we detached love from the measured vehicles of its expression, we would all feel it so much more – another of life’s inevitable ironies.

And somehow in this world dominated by control and materialism, we also seem to have lost touch with the fact that love is a feeling undefined by anything other than its pure expression. If we attach something else to it – like time, gifts, then we are adding a value that creates an expectation. That expectation can then lead to unnecessary disappointment – we feel loved more or less only by the level to which we receive those attachments.

If I spend less time with you this week than I did last week, does it mean I loves you less? If I give you a less valuable gift this Christmas than I did last, does it mean my love has diminished in equal value? If I write a greater number of words in your Birthday Card does it mean I love you more? And if another human being comes into my life and I love them, does it mean I have less to give to you? Well unless I tell you so, the answer is no. Because my love for you is whole, regardless.

The point is not that we can’t enjoy those things as declarations of love, just that we need to stop measuring and comparing them – and if we feel a change and it hurts us, then we communicate with each other about the feeling that leaves us with.

And the wholeness is essential because it is not defined or constricted by the love a person gives to anyone else. It is not a competition. It is solely a connection between two people and even if they share connections elsewhere, or they individually have connections elsewhere, that doesn’t have to mean there is less energy in the relationship directly between them.  And if you regard it as always whole, then you will not feel short changed. At any point in time, we can only give what we can. If we make the assumption that someone who loves us is always giving at their ultimate level, then we will feel loved by them both constantly and completely.

We all define love and feel love in different ways. Taking responsibility for understanding how we feel love and for how another person feels love, transforms our ability to love and be loved.

I was lucky enough to be in a long term romantic relationship where all of that was innate – it’s taken me a long time to work out consciously why it was so extraordinary and to understand the elements that made it work. Perhaps ultimately, we were lucky to have shared values and were both people whose thoughts were primarily driven by our feelings, rather than the other way round. We wanted to feel for each other, so we did. But it was only the pain of the relationships that have fractured that offered enlightenment on that.

Now I know how incredibly fortunate I am and that it’s not always that easy… love is not a piece of cake, is it? But when we taste it unconditionally and without boundaries, it is infinitely more delicious…

 

P.S If you’d like to find out more about how you feel love – and how some one you love might, take a look at the 5 Love Languages on this link…

Dancing in the light

Dancing in the light

Sunset over Sansepolcro Italy

With loss we stand in darkness, feel its enveloping pain
Folded in its silence anguish courses through our veins
With arms wrapped tight around our isolated soul
We ache for consolation from the one who made us whole
If we could feel it for a moment, that breath against our skin
If only one more touch, then we promise to begin
To fill that empty void that eats us from within

Is she there in that blackness, can she see me through the dark
Can she hear my desolation as it rips into my heart
If I stay in here forever will I feel her by my side
Will she let me know she’s with me, will she always be my guide
The questions we can’t answer are the ones that make us see
That only faith, trust and love are what will set us free
Our blindness is our vision that we can only let it be

When the dawn of understanding rises up into the sky
And the warmth of the sun melts the ice of asking why
Our journey carries on, still connected by our souls
We are one, we are together, we are individually whole
Emerging from the darkness, from that never ending night
I see her now more clearly and I know the time is right
To let go, for she is happy, she is dancing in the light

Just a Little More Time…

Just a Little More Time…

Letting go is hard to do… so often we remain in the comfort of feelings from the past because it feels safer than facing the fear we have about the unknown path of our future. Unlocking our hearts, removing the barriers that protect us from the pain we have experienced in the past is a leap of faith. It is also the road to freedom:

 

Just a little more time

With a broken heart

For its shattered rhythm

To beat apart

 

Just a little more time

For the wounds to heal

For the scars to form

And start to feel

 

Just a little more time

With the walls in place

To protect from pain

And its cold embrace

 

Just a little more time

Until the light comes in

From the darkest night

Let the day begin

 

Just a little more time

Is fear’s best friend

The future’s promise

That the night won’t end

 

Just a little more time

Is the past’s desire

To fuel its flames

In the present’s fire

 

There is only one time

And in it we are whole

Our scars are the marks

Of our heart and soul

Tender reminders

That we live to love

And now is the time

To rise above

To let go of the past

Let the future remain

An unknown force

Of its own domain

 

The time is now

The moment is this

It’s the air’s caress

It’s the sunlight’s kiss

So take just a little more time

To enjoy right now.

 

This poem is copyright of Elaine Sturgess, please do not reproduce either in part or full without permission of the author.

Connection: Soul Relationships

Connection: Soul Relationships

It is the silent moments of perfect connection in life that can have the most profound impact.

The realisation and recognition of a wonderful soul connection sometimes only happens long after it
becomes a sweet – or bittersweet – memory. And for some, sadly, it never happens at all

One of the realisations for me in my recent journey in life, is that soul connections are not always in lasting relationships. Sometimes they are fleeting or short term, sometimes they involve romantic love and sometimes they do not, sometimes they are with other people and sometimes they are not, because all life forms have a soul. The thing they all have in common is that they have the potential to be life changing.

It seems that one of the reasons so many people do not experience soul connection and the magnificence of it, is because they are not open, aware or accepting of its possibility. And perhaps that’s because they don’t have a connection to the most important soul of all – their own.

In the human perspective, many of us see love as the greatest experience we can have in life and that it is in a romantic relationship that we will find our “soul mate” – and for many soul is equivalent to sole, the belief that we can only ever find one. We tend to define that experience by the impact it has on our five senses, the emotion it generates in our hearts and the physical sensations that it so potently inspires in our bodies.

I believe a soul connection is different. It is something you can experience as much in the silence, in moments where you are entwined in the presence of another and feel so connected to their being that the two of you feel like one. It is the feeling that you have known them forever. It is pure bliss, wSoul connections in arthen the world goes away entirely and your mind is finally empty of its chatter. There is no sense of time, because you are entirely in that moment, there is no future and no past, just the intense joy of “being”. There is no fear, no anxiety, no stress because you are not affected by your ego. It is full of happiness, peace and love, love, love…

Sometimes these soul connections occur in a relationship that is not otherwise sustainable or fulfilling. Sometimes we experience those connections in a relationship that is otherwise full of turmoil and chaos, pain and suffering. But that may be the very reason why we are in that soul connection, to learn and grow, to experience, to wake up to ourselves and others, to make changes in our lives. And though the intensity of the joy in some of the time we are together is so compelling, the circumstances that surround it sometimes mean we have let go, because it is the only way we can really appreciate the value it has had and understand the lessons we should learn as a result. Such is the irony of life.

I have done a great deal of searching in recent years, for answers about life, about pain and grief about the nature of humanity and relationships – and about myself. And in the process have read and absorbed information from some truly amazing and wise people. It’s all had an impact on where I am now and has changed dramatically my perceptions and understanding (including the fact that we all have our own unique understanding and truths and this article is a reflection of only mine!). I encountered two sources of information recently that  have influenced my belief about connection, the first is a book called Seat of The Soul by Gary Zukav, which is utterly brilliant in its premise – understanding the need to align our personality, our senses, who we typically define ourselves as being, with our soul – it is fascinating and enlightening beyond measure. I not so much wanted to read it, but completely absorb it.

The second is a quote that Elizabeth Gilbert makes in her book Eat, Pray, Love. It says this about soul mates:

“People think your soul mate is your perfect fit. And that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention, so you change your life.”

Perhaps it is my own recent relationship experience and the need to understand it that made reading that definition a lightbulb moment. What I know is that I have been lucky enough to experience more than one soul connection– though I did not necessarily have full awareness of it as being that at the time. And those relationships were in many other respects, entirely different. What I do know is that both gave me times of pure joy – and (though both as a result of intense pain) the opportunity to grow and learn and change myself and my experience of life.

I believe that soul connections never end – though we may no longer be in the physical presence of the other being, we remain eternally connected. That has been a source of great comfort.

So I will be forever grateful to know – and to have known – this experience.