The Greatest Love Affair

On Sunday, I read these words in an interview with Angelina Jolie, where she shared the following:

"I always wanted a Great Love affair, something that feels big and full, really honest and enough. No moment should feel slight, false, or a little off. For me, it had to be everything."

I stopped for a moment and exhaled deeply, noticing I was holding my breath in an unintended "kumbhaka." Wow. This statement conjured up so many ideas and images. To love like that means - we have to live in the present moment very intensely.

I think we all feel like Angelina Jolie if we are honest with ourselves. And I believe when we live from the heart, intensely, when we practice, devotedly, and when are firmly anchored in the present moment - we connect deeply with these words. But what we can't do - is succumb to the belief that another person will truly provide that feeling and that experience for us...

I think of my yoga teacher, Suzie Hurley, the founder of Willow Street Yoga Center in Maryland, who shared with me this delicious insight, as she was getting ready to take off for her usual weekend getaway to the Eastern shore after teaching late at night. This is a woman who is very happily married and lives life to the full! She loves people - her husband, family, friends - but LOVES her time to herself just as deeply. She will spend hours in her kayak reading, or practicing outside. Her life has been rich and full and is populated with many. And yet she wrote to me last week:

"It's totally indecent how much I love my own company at times!"

Indecent? I think not! Wiser words were not shared! She knows that the true treasure of one's life lies hidden within...

I like to remind my students every now and then, that the poet Rumi, acknowledged that we are all microcosms of the macrocosm. Rumi declared very authoritatively:

"The whole universe is inside of you!
Ask ALL from yourself!"

Ironically, I have been pondering such things on my own of late, as I inadvertently sought for what I "needed" - outside of myself. And then, today, I received Gena Livings' wonderful newsletter, where she wisely observed the following:

"When you enter into a relationship, the first relationship must be with your Self. You must first learn to honor and cherish, strengthen and love your Self. You must first see your Self as worthy before you can see your beloved as worthy. You must first see your Self as blessed before you can see your beloved as blessed.

In truth, relationships are an OPPORTUNITY for growth, for full self expression, for lifting your lives to their HIGHEST potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about you, and for ultimate reunion with the DIVINE through the communion of your two souls.

The purpose of your relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might SHARE your completeness. Be well in your relationships!"

I was struck by the next to the last sentence:

"The purpose of your relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might SHARE your completeness."

Then I found myself thinking, how liberating this is! After all, the ONLY person we are in relationship with our whole lives - is ourselves - and our God - however we envision the Divine to be in our lives. Everyone else comes and goes. We are part of a family for a short while, perhaps entering others, we have friends, but most of them do not last our whole entire lifetimes. We may even have many lovers who also come ago...In the end - we have only ourselves. So yes, enjoy yourself and your own company...

I think of a dear friend who shared with me her own rendition and interpretation of a loved prayer by St. Teresa of Avila, which I have further re-imagined as a daily mantra for myself:

"Let nothing disturb me.
Let nothing frighten me.
Everything passes away except God.
God alone is sufficient."

Yes - God alone is sufficient. But, I am also reminded of a commentary Dr. Douglas Brooks did of a sutra, (a verse) in the Bhagavad Gita:

"We are sufficient unto our own joy."

Yes - we are sufficient unto our own joy. We are enough. We are MORE than enough - for we are Infinite. We are a spark of the Divine, embodied as a unique expression of the Divine's Love.

And thus I say, the Greatest Love Affair is with yourself. And the Greatest Romance, as Yogananda wisely observed, is with the Divine...These two endure for eternity.

(For Gena's website, visit:


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