Many people look at us and say, “You guys are so lucky to have found each other. You don’t know how hard it is to find someone these days.”
We have now been together for fifteen years. We have gone through the trials of every relationship, including parenthood. What people don’t know, perhaps, is the story of how we met.
Ours was never a romantic love…not in the beginning anyways.
We met when each of us was on a personal journey of self-exploration, self-knowing and above all, self-love. We were determined to stay away from romantic entanglements because we knew how distracting they were and how far they can pull you away from your own inner quest.
Mony: I had just come out of a divorce that had left me shell-shocked. No woman wants to be told that the man she loved was now leaving her for another. My self-esteem, and dignity were felled in one swoop. I can look back it at now as the greatest gift of my life because it forced me to look at myself, at my beliefs, expectations, childhood…all of it. And my journey became one of healing and transformation, and of learning to love the person who walks this earth simply as Mony.
Alberto: I too had come out of a marriage and a few relationships that had left me wounded, but wiser about what love really means to me. Above all else, I knew that a relationship had to give me the freedom to continue my own personal quests. I didn’t think, at that moment, that I could make that journey successfully with another person, and I was determined not to take that risk so readily any more.
When we met as pilgrims, and began walking from Rome to Jerusalem, we were companions on this path of inner exploration. No one believed we weren’t romantically involved, which is why we always learned how to say the word ‘only friends’ in the language of every country we walked through. There was no attraction then, since our focus was very much on what the journey was revealing to us about ourselves; what every encounter was teaching us; what every argument between us was bringing to the surface to be healed. We looked at EVERY THING that happened on that journey as an initiation: a shedding of the old, and an emergence into that part of ourselves that was grounded in love, compassion, wisdom.
We walked in this way for six months, until we arrived in Greece. By then, we had experienced so much, lived through so many intense moments. We had already been rejected more than once when asking for shelter. We had already separated and walked apart for forty days. We had already broken down and rebuilt ourselves a hundred times over. We were each standing more confidently in who we were as individuals and what we believed about ourselves and our world – even when we still disagreed on some things.
The romantic shift happened unexpectedly, when the masks we were wearing finally fell; and they fell, because we had each been insistently peeling back our personal layers of fears, judgments and shame. When you commit to shedding those layers that no longer serve you, EVERY aspect is brought forth.
Which now meant that we were also ready to examine our understanding of what it means to be in relationship.
How do you remain loyal to who you are and your beliefs when you are with someone?
How do you walk your own path, while still sharing it with the one you love?
How do you continue sharing the path, while remaining anchored in your own journey?
How do you continue the journey of self-love, when your disagreements threaten the fabric of your relationship?
How do you continue believing in love, despite the hurt we inevitably caused each other?
These are the questions that our relationship allows us to explore, to this very day.
This is the opportunity for personal growth that Love offers us.
This is the infinite gift of relationship.
It’s been said before, but remains a great truth: we found Love when we stopped looking for it “out there”, and began seeking it and honouring it in ourselves.
Love of self, anchors our relationship.
Love for the other, gives it wings.
With infinite light and blessings,
Mony and Alberto
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