For most of my life, it seemed obvious that the goal was to find those handful of special people who “got me”, love and interact only with them, and to hell with anyone else. As a child, I had one best friend at a time, and a few other second-bests to call on if my bestie wasn’t available. One by one, those best friends and second-bests drifted away, and the urge to find a special someone who appreciated and knew me inside and out—and would never leave—carried into my adulthood.
After a couple of tumultuous longterm relationships, including a marriage, I decided the other extreme was true: I didn’t want to be in a relationship at all or invest any energy or care into others. If we drifted, cool. If we kept hanging out, cool. It felt freeing after a life of thinking I needed someone else to be complete, though that also missed the real mark.
Then I met my current partner, who I have been with for 7 beautiful years now. The second or so time we hung out, I remember telling him I didn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone; just wanted to meet people and have fun. But something about him was unlike anyone I had met. He really looked me in the eye, he dressed comfortably and confidently, he was relaxed and open in a way I’d never experienced someone be. Things organically progressed, and a year or so into our relationship, he started sharing videos from Balanced View with me.
Through Balanced View, I was introduced to so many people who had the same radiant, authentic relaxation my partner had. It was magnetizing, even with initial fears of the unknown. After joining a number of clarity calls and participating in trainings, I connected with people I knew from those offerings over Facebook and email, experiencing that same open relaxation in them even though we were just exchanging digital letters and images on a screen. I could honestly say I loved people I had never met in the flesh.
Eventually my partner and I started attending in-person Balanced View gatherings in California and Sweden. Being with so many relaxed, open-hearted beings in one place was an incredible—sometimes overwhelming in the beginning—experience. I found and still find myself falling in love again and again with so many amazing friends and mentors who show me what is possible; what it is to be truly themselves without any bullshit or fronts. A falling in love that is very ordinary where I am not afraid of it fading or ceasing, or that it has to look a certain way. Seeing that true love subsumes all the ideas I held about it; that it’s already the case between us—as us—as human beings. Not elusive, or something that only a special few can hold with me like my intimate partner, family members, or friends I see regularly face-to-face. Wow!
More and more, I find myself feeling love for and connecting with people I don’t conventionally know at all. Fast food clerks that take my order, someone who I help pick up groceries they dropped on the street, a tourist asking me for directions in my home city.. Sometimes I’m struck at the heart to speak with others and recognize our inherent connection, whatever we’re talking about or however many or few words we exchange.
If who I’m talking to isn’t outwardly pleasant or open, uncontrived compassion is more and more obvious. Through the incredible encouragement and support from Balanced View over the years to not run away from my own afflictive thoughts and emotions, it isn’t a mystery to me anymore how someone could act out from the data they experience. I did for the majority of my life, unaware of another option. If someone is rude or awkward, I’m no longer fooled into thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with them or me, and can more spontaneously see what is helpful and what isn’t in any given situation.
There is something astounding and powerful about speaking openly to another human being with no strings attached on either side. Not needing each other to change in order to feel okay, and everyone taking full responsibility for their own thoughts, emotions, and actions without dumping them absentmindedly onto others. I get this in spades through my interactions with participants in the Balanced View community, and evermore naturally with anyone in life.
I’m eternally grateful for this opening to love as it actually is. Thank you all, love you all.