On, around and in the wake of Valentine's Day, I have been contemplating love in one new way.
I feel untouched by the Hallmark variety of Valentine's this year. Instead my heart was warmed by the sincere wishes of my colleagues ("Happy Valentine's" was the greeting of the day) and the radical encouragement and proclamation of self-love that my friends offered throughout my Facebook newsfeed. My partner brought me our favorite Ethiopian food for dinner that night and then we spent the three day weekend having a great time making art and hanging out.
On Sunday at Bhakti Dojo, our weekly music celebration, we went around in a circle and spoke about our own experiences of love. Between the 20 of us, we covered a lot of the aspects of the word: it's unconditional quality; the essential aspect of loving ourselves and what that looks like (a day at the Russian and Turkish Spa, for example); how loving people is related to connecting to the Divine.
Recently, I had a moment of loving my partner with fresh intensity, undimmed by the familiarity of our daily contact and unfiltered by my mental activities. My heart felt like it was growing bigger than my body, ready to burst with the fullness of my emotion. It unleashed the memory of my whole life's longing, and the joy and freedom when that longing became full on, unstoppable love - unafraid of holding back because this wonderful person was loving me and receiving my love.
My whole being ached. "I have loved you forever. I have been looking for you for so long."
In that moment, my body was made of cells bursting with love, fierce and flowing and strong. Every channel in me was open, my heart surrendered and enormous. This is what it feels like to be human, to be Jesse - a tremendous feeling of the eternal and the familiar - a little scary and mostly wonderful.
And then I realized, this feeling I'm having it's not about my partner, not about any one person. Rather, this person - this wonderful, beautiful human being I love - is opening up the cracks in the layers of the universe so that I can connect to something transcendent, something divine, the ultimate source and destination, the energy and light from and for which I flow.
We are all servants of love, and love is just the name of that thing we do when we open each other's hearts.
From here on out, let's dub Valentine's the heartcracker holiday. Let's practice everyday of the year.