Everything that is not unconditional love is exhausting. Conditions and rules do not make up our happiness, but maybe these thoughts can steer you in the right direction when it feels like you are off track.
Photos by Brit Gill from the Soulful Entrepreneur retreat
It should be so simple: Anything that is not unconditional love is exhausting. When I attach conditions to my happiness, success, or love, I begin to suffocate the very feelings I am trying to nurture. You know what I am referring to – it’s easy to identify when we see other people suspending the experience of their happiness until they have achieved the perfect car, house, and partner. But conditional living is far more insidious than I ever expected.
Sometimes it feels like my world is all about control – how much can I control the actions, reactions, and interactions in my life. From my relationship to my body (Thin enough yet? Flexible enough yet? Probably not) to my work relationships (never tired, sad, or unprepared no matter how badly my life is falling apart outside the office) it often feels like I am a tight-rope walker in a circus, balancing beautiful porcelain plates on my arms and head. Then the wobbles set in.
It shows most in my relationships with loved ones. When a best friend is having a bad day, and completely ruins what should be an easy night out. When a parent expresses disappointment or judgment of the choices I have made about my life. When a date forgets to call, does not text back soon enough, or walks away. The knot of anxiety and self-doubt tightens in my chest. I protect, I close, I resist. I control. I get conditional. I resolve to only share the good times with friends, to adapt my opinions to suit family, to engage in complex (and unspoken) rules when dating. And somehow my darling brain has convinced me that these are the conditions my happiness requires.
My happiness disagrees.
I thrive when I release the conditions I so often think of as necessary. When I run for the joy of it, do yoga for the comfort of it, adorn for my own satisfaction. When I work willingly, lost in the detail, in the joy of producing my best work. When I release an imposed agenda on friends and family. When I am a generous lover, vulnerable in my humanity, humble in my acceptance of relentless change.
Anything that is not unconditional love is exhausting. I will forget this. And then I will remember again. I will control, apply conditions. And then I will release. All that matters is that I practice remembering. Perfectly imperfect.
A Yoga practice for Unconditional Love:
Crescent Lunge (left/right)
Low Lunge (left/right)
Twisted crescent lunge (left/right)
Twisted Down Dog (right hand to left shin + vice versa)
Twisted Low Lunge (optional quad stretch) (left/right)