What Does it Mean to Love

I’ve had a huge, important realization in the past two weeks. One that’s taking quite a bit of courage to put out there … Yet, I feel the need to ask my fellow humans, or at least the three or four of you who read this, for assistance.

What does healthy love, in a relationship with a partner, look like for you?

Do you have an example from your life you’d be willing to share? Whether it’s a few words, a story, a poem, whatever you’ve got that defines a healthy, unconditional love. Let me add that I believe that Love is Love. Period. So, if you have something to share from your partnership that helps to define healthy, unconditional love; please share.

When I say unconditional, that in no way means, staying in a situation with another who is abusive. That is absolutely not unconditional love, going either way. That is an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship.

The reason I ask …

I recently had a situation arise with someone I love dearly. I suddenly and clearly realized that, of all the behaviors and values I have modeled throughout the past 18 years, there has been one key area missing. I’ve been divorced since 2007, and have not had a relationship with another since then. I am quite clear on what an unhealthy relationship is and can share from experience regarding that.

Prior to my divorce, I had 20 years of experience with unhealthy relationships, so, I’ve got that area covered. Although I received care and affection in my childhood, I grew up in a terribly dysfunctional family, which carried over into partners. That’s why I decided no more for me until I learned to love myself and to love my children unconditionally. 

The one I am asking this for, is on the verge of exploring relationships, that aren’t familial or friends … And, I find myself struggling to help that one understand what true love is … (as opposed to what one sees in movies and reads in many books). In this age of role playing games, with avatars and made up worlds, I am experiencing first hand how one can be lead down a path that is anything but true love, when they’ve nothing to compare it with.

I can also share what I’ve read about true, unconditional love, and what I’ve witnessed amongst other couples. Yet, I do not have first hand experience of what it means to have a partner who unconditionally loves you, and whom you unconditionally love. Therefore, I turn to all of you, those amongst you who have and do experience this … What does that look and feel like?

(“Love is Magical” Renga Poem written by me and my two kids)

The time is now, the time is ripe for me to help this one whom I love to know about this. Both of us are avid readers, so I have given this one three books that I have read that do a very good job of giving real life examples, defining a true and unconditional love. Those books are, “all about love” by bell hooks (which, synchronistically, I happened to be reading when this realization smashed into my consciousness), “The Path to Love” by Deepak Chopra, and “Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson.

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.” … from “all about love” by bell hooks

I am in tune with this way of defining it, and have experienced dimensions of this, care and affection, being two of those.

All those years ago, I suppose I had hoped that I would have experienced a true and unconditional love with a partner. Yet, that was not to be the path I traveled. I reckon I was not ready to love and to be loved. I had been laser focused on healing and learning how to unconditionally love myself and my children. The beginning of 2020 marked a tipping point for the healing journey. Now begins the journey of heart opening. Hallelujah!

I invite you to share this with those you know who would be willing to share their thoughts. In this case, I do not feel there could be too much information. If you would like to reply privately, you can email to Camilla Downs @ gmail.com. Thank you for taking the time to share. A couple of photos of me and my loves, Thomas and Lillian.

PS: I do not welcome responses that are homophobic, patriarchic, or that support sexist-defined gender roles. 

See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.