When Love Called, I Answered
by Kerri Kannan
It was a typical cold, rainy November day in Ireland and I found warmth on a tour bus riding back to Dublin after a long day hiking with a friend. I traveled alone to Ireland for the holiday because it was something I have felt I had to do for a long time. Ireland was not what called me, but love.
Back in March 2003, I was unhappily married and feeling like I needed to break free but I had no idea what I wanted to break free from. I knew I wanted to experience unconditional love and thought it had to do with other people and trying to see their point of view. I thought since I was “spiritual” I should be able to work out the differences with my husband and thought if I couldn’t work them out, I was a “spiritual failure.” I felt guilty about wanting to leave my husband and I asked him to go to counseling with me so we could work through the problems we were having. He suggested that since I was the one who thought there was a problem, I should go by myself. After almost a year of counseling, I realized that I just didn’t want to be married anymore.
There came a point in when I knew I wanted a divorce and didn’t have anyone to talk to about it other than my therapist. Eventually, I met “John” on the internet who seemed to be there just to help me work through my process. John had no investment in helping me to find myself, didn’t want to fix me, and had no attachment to how I showed up; he was just an open witness to my process. At first, I questioned why he was so attentive because he seemed to not want or need anything from me. To me, this was a completely foreign concept because I had lived my entire life up to that point with an unspoken system of trade. Generally, I would perceive a sense of lack which manifested as a wanting or needing of something in a relationship. Someone would show up who offered what I thought was lacking and I would then compromise and trade parts of myself to get what I thought they had to offer me in exchange for parts of myself I devalued. Lack seemed to be the driving force behind my desire for relationships. Looking in retrospect at the subconscious reason I got married, I can see that I wanted someone to take care of me financially and it seems he wanted someone to take care of him emotionally.
My friend John was different; he asked nothing of me and simply offered himself as a sounding board to help me get through my challenges. He accepted my explorations without question, while constantly asking me if my ideas were really my ideas or if they were borrowed from elsewhere. This method of inquiry allowed me to thoughtfully process my real motivations for my choices in an environment of complete acceptance. This acceptance gave me freedom to discover and live my truth without needing to feel accountable to anyone or anything but myself.
About a year after I met my John, my relationship issues came to a head and I went through the hardest period of my life. I had been pushing my husband for a divorce but I wanted to go through mediation and he was not willing to let go of the relationship yet. I pushed and pushed and eventually met a man through one of my online spiritual circles who seemed to be my knight in shining armor. This person would be the final push for my husband to agree to divorce. This man wrote me thousands of love letters within a very short period of time (this should have been my first clue that something was not right) and we seemingly had the same life goals. I thought he would walk with me lock and step and we would fulfill our dreams together. I also thought he loved me unconditionally because he told me he did. This man totally rocked my world and very quickly, I formed an attachment to him that was so strong that I thought I needed him to be me.
Shortly after we met in person he completely excommunicated from me and formed a relationship with another woman who was in the same spiritual circle. Since I was so deeply attached to the idea of us creating a life together, I was not prepared for the complete and sudden excommunication. I found myself feeling ripped open, betrayed, vulnerable and in need of closure. While he would not talk to me, the other woman who he formed a relationship with would battle me every day and tell me how I betrayed him and how I already had my closure. For about eight months, every day, this woman and I would fight in what seemed like a holy war without knowing why either of us felt so compelled to stay and fight. We were both seriously passionate and fiercely dedicated our spiritual growth and our dedication to working through our issues is what kept us in these battles of slashing away at our illusions with the help of our spiritual group supporting us through the process. There was one point where I was asked to leave the group for a period because the pain was too much and I was too close to the situation to see the pain I was inflicting on myself.
Eventually, there came a point where I realized that I had to embrace everything I felt, including the seething hatred I seemed to be feeling. I had to stop glossing over my rage with fluffy words of appreciation to this woman every time I felt I had a breakthrough. I could sense the growth that was occurring but was denying my own anger and in that denial, I could not get past the rage. One day, I realized that I needed to embrace my “inner bitch” and accept that I did not feel love for this woman nor did I appreciate that she was in my life. I had been holding my anger inside and reached a point where I had to acknowledge it express it and let it all out, regardless of how I thought I looked to those witnessing this entanglement. After I embraced the anger, I realized that she and I were very similar in nature. We were both passionate about our spiritual growth, we were both headstrong, we were both expressive and open about our process and we both attracted the same man. I realized that what I saw in her was me and I was raging at my own sense of separated self all along. As soon as I realized I was fighting myself and I realized she literally was me, I dropped my weaponry and stopped fighting her. I started to accept everything she said and even when she was still in combat mode, I refused to meet her attack. I became completely non-resistant to everything she said about me and eventually, the acceptance and non-resistance to her rage healed our relationship. Ironically, after the relationship healed between the woman and me, the work of the man who was stuck in the middle was done and he moved on to someone else. The woman and I also became the closest of friends because we could embrace ourselves fully and completely. It no longer mattered who he was with, we were both healed of our self-denial and came out of the battle complete and whole, our relationship illusions had been slashed away and we had the unconditional acceptance of our support networks through the entire process.
There is a common myth that love without conditions has to do with how you treat other people. While this is true to a point, it really has more to do with one’s own self-acceptance. As long as we try to conform to who we think we should be, as perceived through the lenses of borrowed spectacles, we deny our true nature. If we condemn ourselves for thinking or feeling a certain way we refuse to accept our true feelings. As long as we conform to perceived rules or expectations, or think we must act a certain way in order to be loved and accepted, we keep ourselves in denial of who we really are. We always see in others what we perceive in ourselves so if we see something worth judging in another, we can guarantee we are judging ourselves too. We can’t even know what motivates someone else’s actions; we can only view another person’s actions according to our own filters and ideas of how we perceive things. When we are afraid or unwilling to embrace our natural tendencies and judge them as inappropriate or wrong, we keep alive the idea that we are separate from God and each other. When we enter an experience from a place of self-acceptance, we can accept anything, even things we don’t like. When we do this for ourselves and accept what we feel in each and every moment, we open ourselves to the flow of life and we find that our essence is love and by allowing ourselves to be natural and accepting of who we really are, we become the fulfillment we seek.
For any change to occur in our lives, we must first be willing to look at that which we find unacceptable and embrace it as the way things are. Resistance to anything keeps situations in place through our refusal to look at what is really there. Like a stopper in a bathtub, once we release the resistance, our lives start to flow easily and naturally, allowing the next moment to come and go with ease. Love allows us to embrace each and every moment and to remain in a state of detachment to how things show up. We start to recognize that we are the very movement of consciousness, ever changing and flowing into the next moment. Unconditional love is the allowance and acceptance of all there is, including what we perceive to be both good and bad, without attachment to how we think things should be. When we have unconditional acceptance of ourselves, we have great freedom because it doesn’t matter how other people respond to us, we can express ourselves naturally and the opinions or validation of others do not dictate our expression. We are free to be as we are without limits or boundaries and we can love freely without fear of rejection.
John was there through my entire relationship drama and every night just listened to me work through my struggles as I put the pieces of my life back together. Eventually, his acceptance started to take effect and I started accepting myself exactly as I was. I started to trust my instincts, even when they went completely against what conventional wisdom would tell me to do. I started to realize that my pain was being held in place by my resistance to allowing myself to do what comes naturally. I started to become much more direct and compassionate and allowed myself to speak my truth without fear of judgment or condemnation. I started to step boldly into the unknown, trusting that I will always do what is mine to do in each moment. I started believing in myself and that I am not only one with all, but that my essence is Consciousness itself and this body is a perceptual point of view in a body of one. I realized that in each and every moment, I am the choice I make. I realized all of this and more because I had a presence in my life that taught me what it was to love unconditionally. I realized that it was impossible for me to truly love anyone as long as I thought I had to trade parts of myself to fill a perceived void. I realized when I did feel love for someone, my expressing and acknowledging it was my gift to myself. I realized what I was wanting to break free from all along was my own self-imposed confinements.
Through all of my drama, I always had John standing by my side who unconditionally accepted me and his acceptance allowed me to embrace myself in each moment. He never told me that my pain was unreal, he just asked me to embrace all that I was by standing in a place of detached acceptance. Through his compassion, love and complete acceptance, I learned to accept and love myself.
Love called me to Ireland. I had no idea why I had to travel there but I knew I had to go. John never sought to influence my decision to go or to not go. His stillness, patience and non-attachment to my decisions called me to push through my fear boundaries once again which forced me to trust my feelings each and every moment I was with him. His total acceptance allowed me to trust my feelings and express affection to him as I felt moved in each moment. I thought I had to visit because perhaps we would become lovers. That did not happen, but I came home with something much greater. It feels like we entered a new dimension of love at a much deeper level than I have ever had with any lover. His lack of investment in my decisions pushed me to share myself and my affection because it was what felt right to me, with no outside influence. He did not seek to validate or prompt my expression and the choice to express my love was completely my choice. Giving my love without attachment to how he would respond freed me once again to be completely steadfastly true to myself.
Upon returning home, a greater sense of stillness, patience, contentment and commitment to the Self permeated my being. A deeper sense of completeness and love for life itself seemed present. Unconditional love is a by-product of our own Self-love. When we learn to love and accept ourselves in each and every moment, unconditional love becomes an extension of the love of our very being. When we know we are the love we seek and feel free to express that, we realize that the freedom to love and be love’s expression is the fulfillment we have sought all along.
Kerri Kannan is a Self-Love mentor, internet radio personality, inspirational speaker and author of Uncovering the Divine Within - a Journey of Self-Love. To register for one of her many Free transformational programs, schedule a consultation, purchase a book, enroll in a class or to inquire about having her speak at your next function, please visit her website at, http://www.kerrikannan.com
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