Last week in my yoga classes I asked the participants what they understood by ‘Fierce Love’. Words that were shared included, unconditional love, non-judgement, acceptance, unwavering presence, empowering, letting go, allowing, kindness …. and so on. In general there was a feeling of connecting to their core values here.
However, as we discussed more what it meant to embody Fierce Love in everyday life (including for instance, loving a person who seems the most difficult to love, loving even where you are being hurt, and loving yourself even when you feel unloveable), it emerged that most people had no clearly defined and conscious intention or aspiration to love, or learn to love, in this way.
Maybe it was a vague idea mixed up in the whole process of personal development. Maybe it was linked to loving their children, family and significant other. But to love fiercely and unconditionally all people and life, no matter what was coming back, was certainly not a consciously chosen intention for their yoga practice or as their ultimate purpose in life.
I have to admit, call me naïve if you like, but I was stunned!
I wondered, am I a poor teacher? Have I not been able to appropriately share and transmit the values of yoga and spiritual practice?
Very courageously, one woman then shared that she did not think that she knew how or had the capacity to love in that way. Yes, I understand this feeling.
Another commented that receiving such love would mean a big responsibility to let in that love and to give back. And yes, again, I understand this feeling.
Many referred to the difficulty of holding this unconditional love for themselves. I get that too.
Fierce Love touches our core human wounds
I started to realise that, of course, when we talk about fierce love, and what it really means to embody that, we are touching on such deep core human wounds. Wounds like rejection, abandonment, injustice, humiliation and betrayal. The wound of core unworthiness, that “I do not deserve such love”. Wounds that exist within all of us through human conditioning and that cause us to shy away from what is in fact our deepest longing – to be loved and to love unconditionally.
As a result, and because the challenge of learning love is so epic – indeed I believe it is our greatest challenge in this lifetime – we actually lose sight of our longing. We hide it even from ourselves. Perhaps it’s the fear of failing. Perhaps it’s the shame of not knowing how to love in that way, while deep down we ultimately know that we are love and long for love. Fear of uncovering our vulnerability.
How normal and understandable it all is, too, when most of us have never really experienced pure unconditional love. How could we emulate it if we have never received it? Perhaps divine or universal love is the closest we can get to it but the human love, though perhaps not intentionally, is mostly marred with messy attachments, judgements and conditions. We have learnt to fear loving too much in case we get hurt.
My Personal Commitment
In that moment, I realised, even deeper in my heart, how important this work is. I re-committed to making this my life purpose, to learn to love fiercely and to find ways to help all of us explore together what it means, what it takes and what it feels like to truly embody fierce love in life.
Ok this is not easy, and I will be the first to stand up and say that this is hugely challenging for me to live out every day. Yet, deep down I know that it is my truth, and all of our ultimate truths, and that we all have the capacity to love fiercely and unconditionally. This is what we are. We have just forgotten.
The Fierce Love Retreat is one such contribution to this commitment, along with all of the Heart Circles I run where we come together to remember and practice.
It’s not about whether we succeed or not.
It’s not about being successful and achieving some ultimate goal of perfection. It matters more that we have the desire and the will to hold the intention, to try and to persevere.
First of all then, we must aspire to it – we must aspire to remember and reveal the love that we are made of – and choose this as the purpose of our Sadhana – our daily spiritual practice – in whatever form that takes.
I will go as far as to say, that if this is not the purpose of your practice, then it is not yoga!