Where there is love, there is life
10 years ago I met a young man who ended up becoming my first boyfriend and ironically my longest relationship to date. We'll call this man Joel. I couldn't understand or appreciate the depth of this relationship at the time, but Joel and I had an intense connection and spent a thrilling time in our 4 years together. The first 2 years of our relationship, we were surrounded by endless adventures to the backdrop of the stunning Santa Barbara beaches. With Joel I felt safe and loved and had a place for the first time to explore and experience my sexuality and discover myself.
|Carlo Petrini and Ferran Adria (photo courtesy of Yoni Nimrod)|
Joel was the person who introduced me to the joys of travel, the pleasures of food and wine, and the beauty of good music. He is very much responsible for the person I am today and the passions I hold so dear.
The last two years of our relationship things took a different turn, we both had to grow up, which meant that things became more serious and less fun. When Joel began exploring his career options, in my immaturity I perceived it as abandonment. I became unhappy, distant and I began to pull away.
We both tried to keep a connection, but in my heart I had given up. I was scared to face the truth and I couldn't give him an open or honest break. I left him hanging. I gave him false hopes. I told him I needed to go to Israel spend some time on my own, that I'd come back and we'd pick things up where we'd left off.
6 months later, with no concern for his feelings I abruptly told him I'd met someone else, that I'd fallen in love and it was over between us. At the time I justified my actions by making myself believe that he was the one to abandon me first.
I never wholly felt good about what had happened. Beneath the surface it had always felt unresolved, but I ignored these feelings until recently.
This last month, five years after my relationship with Joel, I found out that a man that had recently dated, that I deeply cared for, and that I had wrongly believed I would end up with, was dating a girl that he had met when we were together. We weren't technically together, I knew for a fact that he didn't owe me anything but I felt devastated, I felt betrayed. When I confronted him he said the quintessential sentence,"I didn't mean to hurt you."
Those words rang familiar, it was the very words I uttered to Joel when I left him. And it was true, I didn't mean to hurt him and this guy, I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt me, so why the hell does it hurt so much?
A few days later I heard conversation between two friends in a disagreement. The one friend said to other, " I never meant to hurt you." And the other responded by saying, "Yes, but you never meant to love me either." Bingo! That's the source of the pain: Deep down inside it's the understanding that the relationship began without an intention to love that makes us hurt. When we enter an relationship with anything but love we are bound to hurt ourselves and others. And the more we continue the pattern of developing our life with a lack of love, the deeper we cut our inner wounds, we create a bigger hole that we will inevitably have to climb ourselves out of.
When I met Joel I had many intentions- I intended to feel validated, I intended to get his attention, I intended to have fun, but I never went into the relationship with an intention to love.
In the midst of sorting out these thoughts, Ferran Adria, the chef of elBulli in Spain and arguably one of the most renowned chefs of the last two decades, came to speak at our school. He validated my new understanding by sharing his experience in his years at elBulli. When he first started to experiment with food and question the norms of fine dining, people thought he was crazy, he had many critics. For several years the restaurant wasn't even making enough money to pay his staff their full salary. He was tested for years and years. How did he prevail? He explained: "Do the thing you love. " Go into everything in life with love because it is the love that will keep you grounded and it is the love that will get you through any challenge."
How we enter our life, our situations, and our interactions is pure reflection of how we treat ourselves- we can give love to life because we give love to ourselves. With love we have the ability to be honest and empathetic.
When I asked myself, why did this happen in the moment in my life when I was ready to meet someone with love? I realized that it is because I wasn't doing it with awareness. It was only through this situation that I could finally relate to Joel's pain years before.
This time I could be conscious before I entered any kind of relationship or any situation. This time I can ask myself, "am I entering this with the intention to love?" If the answer is no or if there is any doubt in my mind, I've learned to step aside and create a space for that person or that situation to receive the love it deserves.... because surely if I'm not willing to give love, there is someone else who is.
|A passionate speaker (photo courtesy of Yoni Nimrod)|