What do we mean by LOVE?

Love is life fully lived, in all its aspects. When we use the word "love", we mean mature, adult love. As Wilfried Nelles described it so clearly in his book: "Men, Women and Love". In it he names "4 stages of love", and the 4th stage describes the love we mean:

"The love of the heart is not a relationship, it is a state, an attitude. Love is nothing other than an open heart, one without any condition. Love arises from loving. The experience of being loved follows loving like a shadow. All that matters is the question, "Do I love enough?"" (Nelles)

The question of whether I am loved enough dissolves when I refocus my attention. I then realise that I am sustained by love and loved by life. When I internalise this attitude, I am in a state of universal love because I radiate love.

Being "in love" naturally also involves accepting and loving oneself as one is. This is especially true in our hurt places or traumas, where we reject love out of hurt and thus hurt others and ourselves. That's where it takes our own love first. After that, it also involves loving others as they are. This is the natural consequence of entering into one's heart.

So loving oneself also means loving one's sexuality, loving one's masculinity or femininity. "But then we can no longer determine our sexuality, how and with whom it has to be, we must rather let it have its autonomy."  But must is no longer the right word here - we will do it gladly, even if it may cause us discomfort. We will learn to trust it by entrusting ourselves to it and to love (Nelles).

"Love is our basic, actual and usually buried nature. When I discover myself, I discover love. When we go deeper with the feelings, we are led directly to love. Core feelings are actually no longer feelings; they are rather qualities of love. Love is joy, love is vastness, love is nothing.
When we encounter love, we quickly realise that we never really know it, that we merely open ourselves to it, but can never possess it. It is not ours, rather we belong to it. We share in it, we can be absorbed in it, but we are at its mercy or, more positively, suspended in it; it is the force that guides the whole, not us. Sometimes it is there and then it is gone again, especially when we want to hold it in, fence it in; and we notice again and again that we can do nothing to make it come back. We can open ourselves for her, be ready for her, but that she comes is in her power, not ours. She invites us, not we her."  (Samuel Widmer)

Love has a unique quality:

"it grows the more you love. Loving itself is the flow, loving itself is the nourishment. Only loving fills us and makes us full, not being loved. Love is nothing personal. It is a force that exists beyond us, a universal force, something very much our own, by which the individual can be seized. It exists whether we perceive it or not. It is not doable, not strivable, not controllable - it is simple. It does not arise out of nothing. It has always been there, in us and around us. It is only reawakened." (Nelles)

But following one's heart can also hurt. When the heart expands, it hurts. For it always involves saying goodbye to the familiar, above all also saying goodbye to the longing of the little child stored up in the hurt. When our heart breaks, perhaps it is only the too-tight protective armour around it that breaks. That is also a pain, but a growing pain.

Wherever there is love, it is love for the earth.
Adult love belongs to life, not to a partnership. But because we long for it so much, we look for it in a partnership. Only, we don't find it there. We have to find it first and foremost in ourselves.

Faithfulness in this sense means: "I want to know who you really are!" and includes the decision: "I'm not leaving any more". At the same time, I must be able and allowed to follow what I really love.