Lately I have been catching up on episodes of Nashville that I missed. It’s one of only a few TV programmes I watch, mainly I enjoy the interactions and insights from the characters, their triumphs and frailties, and I love that the characters are pursuing their passions.
People doing something they love is always a draw card for me. But what inspired this particular musing was the focus on the various relationships, as the characters – like those of us in real life – try to figure out the magic ingredients to happiness.
One line that really struck a chord was Rayna sharing with Scarlett that she thinks relationships are just moments, if you are lucky those moments will keep happening over the years. Then there was Avery’s wise observation to Will that never in the history of relationships did living with someone make things easier.
In truth, these moments we have are not so much moments of connection with others, they are moments where we open within and that in turn opens us up to the connection we have with everything else. That is where we find true love.
I was fascinated that these characters, like most people I know in the real world, really put themselves through the mill when it comes to relationships. There is this pressure to make someone else happy, and vice versa. Yet when the characters are pursuing their passion, their songs, they know that they can always find that connection and love within themselves.
The relationships are secondary, no matter the ups and downs, their passion remains their core anchor; and that is how it should be, yet something I rarely see acknowledged in the real world. We have such high expectations of what relationships mean, and place far too much value on what others think of us and what we think of them.
Growing up I used to read all the teen magazines and romantic novels, and I had figured that people in lasting relationships either had good sex or were good friends, and – if they were lucky – both. Now I see that there are just moments of connection as each life runs its own course.
Over the years I have seen many people who stay in relationships (and have done it myself) based on distant memories of special elusive moments together. Holding onto the hope of rekindling these or staying out of a sense of fear or misguided obligation.
I had a tendency to focus on the potential within people, then feel let down, rather than simply continuing to focus on the best in who they were being. The uplifter in me, who initially saw their loving soul and their beauty, generally disappeared after a period of time and became the critic instead.
Always looking at it from a vantage point that I was somehow a half that needed a whole was entirely unhelpful. It was only when I discovered my own wholeness and stopped looking to others to fill my cup that I created the possibility for the love within to reveal itself more easily and more often.
Just as people say “when you are in love you’ll know”. The same is true here, when you have experienced the love within you, you know, you get it. You feel the sense of connection and oneness not just with yourself or a specific person, but with everything.
Call it what you like, from feeling elated, to feeling God, spirit or life-force, it doesn’t matter what you call it. What matters is the truth of the feeling and the power within you to connect with it; if only you can get out of your own way.
I know what it feels to fear someone leaving you, I know what it feels like to have your heart broken, and I also know it was all an illusion. Right now, this moment, and the love you have within you - for you - is what truly matters.
Putting your happiness first may seem selfish but it’s what creates more connection with others, more moments, amplifying the love within them to them. Let’s face it, who are you going to sooth when you are feeling horrible? Who are you going to inspire when you feel fear or worry or anger? Who can you make happy when you are miserable?
The best you can do for anyone is to discover the capacity you have within you to love yourself, and to honour that. Do you really want to hang your happiness on another? When you make it your priority to get in that place, you will create so many more meaningful moments than you can imagine. A life fulfilled and a life experiencing true love.
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