Love is the Teacher. Am I Willing to be the Student?


most vulnerable…


I’ve been hovering over the keyboard today, burrowing down into some deep writing time and I’ve been sitting with the question of what feels most vulnerable in me right now.

I couldn’t find the words so I went out for a run. As I finished up, I found the tears beginning to flow, once again. These past few weeks have been full of intense energetic days: the full moon eclipse, Solstice, and Christmas. I’ve felt an unnamed vulnerability over these days, a shifting and unsettling as previously buried experiences come up to be seen again.

I came home and tried to warm my body by making chicken soup, and then following that with a long hot shower…a very long hot shower.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I am feeling. Something in me is longing to be nourished, to be deeply fed. I can feel the longing all the way down along my body.

As I stood in the shower letting the hot water run down my back and inhaling the steam into my cold-air-induced tight lungs, I flashed upon the poem that continually calls me back to read it, over and over again. It feels as though there are gems in the words just waiting to be discovered and savored, as I invite the words to work their magic on my soul. The poem, “If You Want to Change the World, Love a Woman“, speaks not to my mind but to the deeper recesses of my woman’s body. The poem calls to me, over and over. It’s as if I read it, but I don’t yet have access to something…

I long for this…

Somewhere in this body, I, too, long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of.

And then, very serendipitously, I came across this quote from one of my favorite books, A Woman’s Worth, by Marianne Williamson:

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.

And in reading these words again, my body quivers with longing and my heart craves to know this sincerity from a man longing to love me.

I’ve written before about longing to be touched with the tenderest of touch, and I’ve heard from others who instruct me that if I want to be loved in this way I must first love this way.

I know this to be true and…

I then come across this quote, as if Life is dropping me tasty bread crumbs along this path of discover:

“Are you willing to trust love rather than your mind’s protection from hurt? If you are willing, then you will taste the possibility of living a life of love and conscious innocence. This is possible for everyone. Love is the teacher. If you are willing to surrender to love rather than trying to control it, love teaches you who you are.” ~ Gangaji ~

And the pieces fall into place.

I can touch with the tenderest conscious touch. Yet, I know I protect myself from hurt. I long to experience what Marianne speaks of, yet I can’t say I trust enough that there is a deep sincerity in the heart and touch of my lover…and the fear of trusting love keeps me from knowing love.

To be moved in this way, to live a life of love and conscious innocence, I must let love teach me… really teach me… and this scares me.

How does loving a woman change the world?

Perhaps our hearts are protected, afraid to surrender to love, afraid of the shame and humiliation we have suffered over the past milienia. Women aren’t the only ones to have suffered, yet I know, personally, that painful experiences to my female body, have caused me to not trust, when what I long for is to open to the most exquisite touch I could imagine.

A woman’t body is vulnerable. We take a man into ourselves. When we’ve been abused it is hard to trust again.

Yet, perhaps it is a woman’s openness, a woman’s trust, a woman’s receptivity that might heal much of what is broken in our world.

When a woman trusts, when she is fully open and receptive, when her vulnerability shines from within her, what does she create that she does not have access to when she is afraid to trust?

Lest you think I believe this can only happen with a woman and a man, I do not. I have a sense that it is a woman’s openness, a loving and responsive openness to Love that could move mountains, regardless of which gender the woman longs for.

For me, it is a man, so I write from this place.

Can I trust…

that love itself is the teacher?

Am I willing to be the student?

What I now know is that Love must be at the center of my heart…not my partner, but Love. Love, God, Conscousness…whatever name we give it, must be my beloved. When my partner is my beloved, I place my power in their hands, and vice versa. It’s taken me a long, long time to know this.

And when Love is my beloved, and Love is the beloved of my partner, perhaps then we can enter into the vulnerable, soul-feeding place of deep love – where we are both taught by Love.


And, you?

Do you long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of? In a way that would change the world?

Do you long to experience what Marianne writes of? Something that would bring world peace?

What do you know of this longing? I’d love to know…


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28 Replies to “Love is the Teacher. Am I Willing to be the Student?”

  1. Julie, I love the vulnerability and the love with which you write. I bow to you. Thanks for pointing the way. And yes, I’d love to be loved that way too. And I too, am working on trusting me enough to withstand whatever pain or joy that comes as a result of opening to love.

    1. Thank you, Judith. And, I bow to you. You’ve been a great teacher to me in so many ways. May we both know this love, within ourselves and from one who loves us deeply, and may we grow to give this love to those whom we love.

  2. there is such strength in vulnerability – a soft, soulful strength that, crazy as it sounds, i long to know again. oh how i long to trust and surrender and love with such tenderness, with such intensity, with such unapologetic honesty that the hard, crusty layers i’ve slathered over my heart in the name of safety and protection break away, the shards recycling themselves into stepping stones to something too wonderful to describe in words.

  3. I once heard a speaker say her biggest lesson was that you will be most attracted to the person who loves you the way you love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, or lack confidence in ways, you will attract people who feed that – people who feed your need, whatever it is, to be whole with what you believe of you.

    I can’t say if it’s true for everyone, but it’s been true for me. And I imagined, in that moment, what it would be like to be loved the way I long to be loved, and realized that I didn’t love myself that way. I began a long journey of discovering and growing the things I love about me, changing the talk I subjected myself to daily. Many years later, I can honestly say I’m pretty in love with myself. It’s not that I don’t see my imperfections, or wish to be better, or feel humbled and afraid. It’s that I love precious little me in all her strange surprisingness.

    As I’ve fallen more in love with me, I’ve been more willing to show myself, shyly offering my uniqueness for scrutiny by my lover. He is more able to see me and love me as I love myself – to touch me with his eyes in the way that melts my soul. Because I trust him enough, he knows me well enough for me to trust his love. And I know him well enough to love his achey humanness, his being. It’s a virtuous circle because his love for me makes me love him more.

    I see monogamy as an entering-into of knowing and being known by one other human, intimately, over and through a lifetime of partnership in the only game that matters. A process of becoming known (actively) and learning to know, with love and a joy of mutual discovery. It started with the joy of discovering myself in love with me.

    A few thoughts for a late night…thanks Julie.

  4. Dear Julie,
    What beautiful words, and how they resound and resonate with me, as I am sure they do with many women (and men?).

    Love is truly the teacher … but how hard it is to be vulnerable and open when this vulnerability has been abused. But I do still want to believe that even when my love has been abused, it is teaching me about the different qualities of loving. It is teaching me to be loving wisely the next time around. The challenge is to keep the cynicism at bay.

    I have also begun to realize that as much as I yearn to be loved the way you beautifully describe I yearn to love back the same way too. I miss the person I am, when I am in love and when I am loving. That person is a gentle, strong, funny, forgiving, giving, light, ‘I love the rain as much as blue skies’ kind of person! I miss me, when I am not in love.

    Thank you for your magical and touching thoughts. … with much love and blessings

    1. Mihirini,
      Yes, yes… your response is so beautiful. To yearn to love back that way, too.
      I, too, miss being in love and loving. Learning to love completely, really love, means trusting love…real love. Right now I’m learning to trust.
      I love that you stopped by and shared your thoughts.
      Thank you,

  5. oh Julie, it’s as if you read my mind! i’ve been so restless lately, struggling to find nourishment on a spiritual plane. i work so hard to help other women see the beauty in themselves, and right now i’m having a hard time seeing it in myself. it happens sometimes, and i know it will eventually pass as long as i keep breathing and feeling and witnessing with compassion. your words are such a sweet reminder to stay on this path that is ultimately so fulfilling.

    1. Stacey,
      Seeing that beauty…is sometimes a challenge, isn’t it?!
      Really holding myself with love and compassion is sometimes challenging, and yet, it is where I am drawn naturally. How important it is for us to be here for each other.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings,

  6. Oh, I get this. I’m with you, and Jen and Stacey. This deep yearning, some need of the soul that I can’t quite define or even touch in any way. Focusing on being right here, right now, and noticing this sense of excitement, of something around the corner and an emptiness I’ve only recently been so acutely aware of…

    Thanks for this beautiful gathering of words, Julie.

  7. Julie, this is beautiful. I resonate so much with your words and this is exactly where I am at…. I have been really longing for a divine partnership with a man, someone who can really allow themselves to be vulnerable and be available on every level. I realised some years ago that I really needed to love myself and embody of all those qualities I was seeking in someone else…. I now feel really ready to open myself up fully to this as a possibility and it’s one of my dreams for 2012…you have just echoed so much of how I’ve been feeling. Thanks for having the courage to express that so beautifully.

    1. Thank you, Michelle.
      What a beautiful reminder of how important it is for us to be ourselves what it is we long for.
      May 2012 bring you love.

  8. Julie, this is lovely and moving. I felt my heart beat just a little bit faster as I read and experienced this post. For it isn’t just words. You reached out and touched me and I am sure not the only one. Thank you for your generosity of heart.

  9. This provokes and prompts so much within me, Julie. I can feel your heartbeat and your desire. I can feel my own…

    Thank you – for your courage, your wisdom, your beauty.

  10. Thank you for this beautiful, heartfelt post, that allows me to recognize myself. I long, yes – I do…and I protect myself and you’ve made me see that – again – in a fresh new way. I want to learn to love the Beloved in the way that you are speaking of and I will renew my focus on that.

  11. Julie,
    What a beautiful thing you have captured here. While I always feel open to love, my current relationship has taught me that I knew less of love than I previously thought. He reminds me again and again how to soften my heart, when I didn’t even know it had hardened protectively. And what response do I sense after writing those words? A hardened heart, scared of that vulnerability. A desire to hit ‘backspace’ and keep this to myself, as if left unspoken relieves vulnerability.

    We have been in a long distance relationship just shy of 6 months now. Talk about vulnerability. This is a conversation I needed to hear, to see existing in others.

    My heart forgets his love. Why? Why is this? Why do I long for him in such a painful way when I haven’t heard his voice? I immediately feel unsafe, vulnerable, longing, frozen in the sea with outstretched arms… until I hear his voice again… and my heart is softened through that interaction alone.

    And while I share this with him repeatedly, I still feel my words have been inadequate. My love has been evolving, with an ebb and flow of comfort with this new found understanding. I have moments when I am at peace with ‘love’ being at the center of my heart, but other times when I can’t shake the fear of losing his love that teaches me so much until I am comforted by some thing again.

    Your words capture so much of this. Thank you.

  12. This is so, so beautiful, Julie. I had to read through it three times, to let your words soak through to my soul. The love, the tenderness…the vulnerability that you speak of is a universal desire, I think, for both men and women. Men may not speak of it openly, but who doesn’t wish for a love that will change the world, or bring world peace?

    I love the concept of love being the teacher, with us as the students, but in the most gentle way possible. Love gently leading us, guiding us, back to ourselves. How wonderful and beautiful!

    And when you say this:

    “What I now know is that Love must be at the center of my heart…not my partner, but Love. Love, God, Conscousness…whatever name we give it, must be my beloved.”

    I am reminded of my own relationship with the Goddess, with the Divine Feminine, and my practice of Sakhya Bhakti, or imagining the Divine as a friend or lover. It is this relationship that allows me to be a tender, gentle lover, for I see the reflection of the Goddess in every woman I touch.

  13. Oh Julie….. these last few weeks I’ve been oscillating between inertia and, what’s felt like, fire fueled power surges in my body, they’re partially caused by some circumstances playing out in my life right now, but, I’m aware that at the core of it lies DESIRE…

    I lay in a hot, meditative, bath, as is often my practice, one night, in an altered state of consciousness allowing thoughts and feelings to flow, slide over and under one another in this bath of desire to see what might emerge from it…. was it desire for a particular person, I thought this a possibility as there are one or two in my life I’d rather like to kiss right now! but no, it’s not ”that” sort of desire…

    Allowing my body twist and turn in the water, maybe it’s desire for myself…. and so I allowed my hands move over my hot wet flesh… no, it was not desire for my own body nor its’ potential for pleasure.

    And then clarity came, it was not desire ”for” anything, it was simply experiencing desire itself, that which courses through the body and is felt simply as life, vibrancy, vitality, life force, kundalini, shakti, call it what you will…. I’ve felt consumed by it, inhabited by it, made of it at times these last weeks. Of course I’ve felt it before, but, not to this level of intensity.

    It’s a tangent from your piece here, but, it feels resonant for me, thank you for sharing your beautiful self with the world in all that ways you do so, dear Julie xxxxx

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