For years I chased love. I longed for it. I pursued it. When I thought I had it, I clung to it. When my relationships changed or failed to fulfill the ideas I created about them, I felt profound suffering and disappointment.
However as I began to look inward to fulfill my needs, a process that often emerges spontaneously in states of mindfulness and stillness, I began to reconsider my definition of love. I saw that what I once perceived as love perhaps more closely resembled attachment. While in the past I looked to my family, my friends, and my boyfriends to comfort me with their affection and attention, I began practicing this on myself.
It started with simply telling myself I would be ok. When my legs shook in a yoga pose or I felt sadness and anger in a deep hip opener, I told myself “I am here for you. We can do this.” When I rolled to my side after Savasana, I cradled myself and placed my hand on my heart. “I love you,” I said.
During my yoga teacher training program at the Pavones Yoga Center, I was invited to work with a form of meditation called metta. The intention of a metta meditation is to cultivate a sense of loving kindness within ourselves and ultimately a greater sense of compassion towards everything. Working with metta I became aware of dark, vulnerable parts of myself that did not feel worthy of love. By continually directing words of loving kindness to these places I felt myself begin to open. I noticed that the more open I became, the more I became love.
When I connect with my own deep place of love, beyond the veil of insecurity, pain, and fear, I connect with the real love that lives in everything. In that place, I witness that the truest, purest, most authentic place of love that lives within me is the same love that emanates from the greenest trees, the sweetest mangos, the most majestic wildcat, the tiniest ants, the most bitter greens, and the thorniest bushes. It is the same love that lives within every single life form. Practicing yoga shows me that when I am love, love is all around me.