alas, it’s time to approach the dreaded subject of…love. I’ve been on a quest to understand it, describe it, obtain it, tame it, shape it, wrap it up and place it under the tree to excitedly tear open one holiday morning. I’ve wondered if there is something beyond love, something less fickle and more steady. Love can be given or taken away depending on our emotional state, it is, in fact (in my very humble opinion) a choice. Whatever is beyond holds a magnetic power that perhaps cannot be explained; it is what keeps us holding on once the bells and whistles are gone, once the goosebumps and feelies and butterflies have faded in to the background and what has remained is an unshakeable commitment that requires no words. Where does this surety come from? (shrugs shoulders and takes another swig of coffee) All I know is that the grand universe is mysterious and there will probably never be descriptions sufficient enough to describe how it works or how things that were once “apart” (I use quotations because there really is no separation, is there?) can be brought back together in the oddest of ways.

Because humans often base decisions on a feeling, such as love, we can often misconstrue the “ending” of that love as just that-an end. Here’s what I propose-rather than viewing it as an end, how about we view it as a transformation in to something different? I’ll give a real-life example because I am, as we speak, sitting in the metaphorical fire of the divorce process from a person that I’ve spent the last 13 years of my life with. We even spawned. 3 times. It was pretty serious. I do not hate him, in fact, my feelings for him have morphed in to something more authentic and respectful; rather than being based on the ups and downs of “in love, not in love”, now it is much healthier. We can focus on our friendship and the strength of our parenting rather than being concerned about how to please the other. Because that was just a lost battle, thus the separation. Of course I can only speak from my own perspective, perhaps he has made a voodoo doll in my image and that’s why I’m getting adult acne. Either way, I feel strongly that we (the collective we of society in North America) have entered a new era where choosing to leave a partner is no longer viewed as something negative but rather a mature decision to reshape that relationship; from there something more wholesome and suitable can “be” according to the changes that each person has experienced over the course of said relationship.

These experiences are instrumental in our own growth processes as people; that’s not to say that there won’t be tears, and raw, unfiltered feelings of “Oh my god I’m not even going to make it through”-but we DO make it through, the difference being what we choose to learn and take from it and how it can better (not bitter) us, moving forward.

Does love exist? Of course it does, and it feels euphoric when it is present. Do I believe it is the be all and end all of everything? YES, if it is given unconditionally. I believe that the awareness of Unity is what holds us and guides us through the valleys and shadows. But what do I know? I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a coffee, asking it to just get her through the day.

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Justina Grado

This is my method of public speaking without the embarrassment of getting up on stage and realizing that I’m not wearing pants.

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