love fiercely because this all ends.

I don’t know many things in life but this i know for sure:

any path that brings you closer to love is ALWAYS worth traveling.

It’s interesting how much more meaningful life becomes when you realize you can never get the same moment twice. Time is fleeting, and before you know it, you’ve come to the end of the semester. My last couple weeks in Maastricht were filled with just a rollercoaster of emotions. In the last eight months, I had grown accustomed to a life I had created for myself in a new country. Out of everything I had experienced in Maastricht, however, the hardest part about leaving was knowing that I would have to say goodbye to all the people I had come to know and love.

Goodbyes are never easy, and the older I get, I find the harder they become. The connections and relationships I create in the places that I move to really define my experience for me. I have found that since I’ve never really had a “permanent physical home” to call my own, I tend to find “home” in the people I meet. Sometimes, home has a heartbeat indeed, which makes leaving even harder.

And so this begs the question, is there any point in cultivating such deep, loving relationships if you know you’re going to have say goodbye anyway?

Well I say,

Connect anyway.

Love anyway.

The people we meet along this journey, be it through friendship and/or relationship, all have something to teach us; which is why it’s so important to remain open to connection and ultimately, love. Each person touches our lives in one way or the other, and ours theirs. They all become a part of our story, and they all become a part of who we are. It is never the full story, and it is never, none of the story; but simply a chapter, as one might say. Some are meant to be in our lives for a day, a week, a month, a year, two years and if we’re lucky then a lifetime. But everyone serves a purpose, and most of the time – it can be a beautifully shared space: a space of growth, self-development, and above all, a space to cultivate more love, for self and for others.

People will come and go throughout our lifetime, and so, some people might not be able to go “all the way with us”; some might only be able to hold our hands long enough for us to learn what it is we need from them, and that’s okay too. In the end, maybe life is simply about the collection of these beautiful moments with beautiful people that fills us up with love instead. And so regardless, accepting every person and experience just as it is, just as it was – allows us to always honour these people and experiences that have been invited into our lives.

So yes, goodbyes are difficult indeed, but any path that brings us closer to love is ALWAYS worth traveling. Our very essence IS LOVE, and any experience that brings us closer to the core of who we are, is ALWAYS worth exploring. Sure, there’s potential for pain. But that’s both the beauty and paradox of pain and love.

In the words of Mark Groves, “How much we hurt is a direct reflection of how much we love. Our pain becomes proof that we loved hard”. Now isn’t that such a beautiful perception? – To know that we have the ability to love this much?

So just let it be, trust that the universe knows what it’s doing, and allow love to take its course.

“Love who you love while you have them. That’s all you can do. Let them go when you must. If you know how to love, you’ll never run out.”

If we allow everything to mean something beautiful for us, then even the most painful experiences and goodbyes can teach us compassion, kindness, and patience. Every experience is a gift, and with that being said, every connection is a gift.

Gifts through connection are manifold, but over the past eight months, the most significant gift I’ve been able to receive is this experience of unconditional love: both in giving and receiving.

Unconditional love: to love without condition (omg, so cliché I know! LMAO!)

But for real, the universe has been so kind to me and has definitely sent me just the right people at just the right time. By keeping my heart open, I’ve given myself permission to just feel and connect with every emotion that has come my way; and thus I have been able to experience love in so many different forms, both for myself, and for others.

Relationships and friendships serve as the best mirrors. The people closest to us act as our mirrors and sometimes our shit comes up. But that’s okay. If relationships wound us, then relationships are also required to help heal us; and the people who decide to stick around are the ones worth keeping.

As such,

I have found that love is healing, if you let it.

“Love encourages us to reveal our truest selves and asks us to lean into vulnerability with a little less resistance each time. Love challenges us while strengthening us. It leads us to places we need to uncover. It leads us to our most confronting moments and forces us to peel back layers we’ve been kept in place for so long.

Love gives us the courage to be — in the stillness AND in the chaos. Love is the most beautiful place to meet our peace and healing” – Vienna Pharaon

but love is also freedom. 

Love is inviting others to be every bit of their imperfect selves, just as we are imperfect ourselves.

Love accepts that we don’t have it all figured out.

Love is the safe space to make mistakes.

Love honours ourselves.

Love honours others.

Love is setting boundaries while speaking our truth, and honouring our voices.

Love is feeling safe, seen, heard, and understood.

Love is authenticity.

Love is learning.

Love is growth.

Love says, “I see your pain, I see your wounds. And here I am, brave enough to enter your storm, and ride your waves with you, if you let me”.

Love says, “Tell me about your past, so I can learn how to love you better”.

Love says, “Tell me every ‘terrible’ thing you’ve done, and let me love you, still”.

Love is brave.

Love is kindness.

and ultimately, love is also a choice.

Something I’ve definitely learned through mentorship and experience, is that great love is simply not given to us. Great love is created. To cultivate deep, loving, and intimate connections, we need to make a choice –  to consciously choose to keep our hearts open, even in the face of fear and uncertainty. Vulnerability is the only way through, but that’s a whole other blog post for another time. At the end of the day, we want to be surrounded by the people who choose us – friendship and/or relationship, so it’s important to choose people who also choose us.

And so with that being said, I’m actually quite proud of myself for making some pretty solid choices over the past couple of months. I’ve cultivated some pretty amazing, loving relationships while in Maastricht; connections that I know will last me a lifetime. Sure, I’ve also made a few choices that weren’t in alignment with myself, but at the end of the day, I’m still human.

And so to the people that have created safe spaces for me – both physically and emotionally, I say thank you.

You have all brought me closer to love, and for that, I will always be deeply grateful.

 

Leaving places is easy, it’s saying goodbye to people that make it difficult. but how lucky am i to have something so beautiful that makes saying goodbye so hard. the gratitude is very real.

and so, everything I’ve learned about connection, love, relationships and friendship have only been because I’ve kept my heart open and said yes to the experiences and people the universe has sent my way.

So love hard.

& love fiercely.

cause this will end one day. and life is too short to be anything but love.

From my heart to yours,

Loubelle

-The Phoenix

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