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The fifth step in opening the heart space is learning to discern between want and love.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. On one hand, some of us have learned the important financial consumer lessons of separating needs from wants…the requirements for life vs. the desires in life. But this isn’t an easy lesson to learn, nor are these two categories mutually exclusive. What is a need for one person is a want for another. Regular evaluation and connection within is necessary to keep this lesson in constant action.

The same is true for discerning between want and love. Most of history and society touts love and epic romance as the heightening tension between a man and a woman which ultimately dissolves when they come together in some way…a passionate kiss, a memorable night, a grand gesture of some kind. This is not love…it’s want. At its basest level, it’s lust and perversion. And yet, this is what we are taught that love is…the distracted, obsessive wanting of another at the expense of everything else.

What comes along with this wanting is attachment…because want, at its very core, carries the energy of imposition or control or domination. I want it my way when I want it and how I want it. I want this so much that I will do everything I can to make this thing happen…cajoling, charming, insincerity, lying, manipulating, passive aggression, brutality, war. Or, I want this person so much that I will do everything I can to make this person want me back. Many people experience this to the extreme that if he/she doesn’t want me back, I don’t want to live. Or worse yet, I don’t want them to live if they want someone else. With wanting and attachment, there is never a consideration for the other person or his/her wants or needs or hopes or dreams or life…only yours. This is not love. Not even if the mutual wanting results in you both being happy.

True love is freedom…free because one is first complete within before engaging with other…on any level. The natural result of this is that the other person is then free to be who he/she is because there is no attachment or need stemming from you to him/her. True love is not reliant on another person, a circumstance, a place, or a thing…only self. True love is being so filled up with joy and wonder at the beauty of your soul and the life you live that it spills out onto those around you…attracting them to you like bears to honey.

From this place, there is no need or desire to attach to another or control or dominate another. There is simply space for everyone to co-exist in his/her own joy and wonderment with life…as partners…as co-creators. From this space of true love, you can truly see the other person for who he/she is…flaws and all…without judgement…with only love and appreciation. There is no desire to change the person…rather, there is simply an understanding that either we are compatible or we are not. Either way, true love is still there giving room for all to exist together.

These next three days are the waning days of the moon’s cycle, and the last new moon of the astrological cycle…in astrological terms, it’s similar to New Year’s Eve. The energy of this weekend will really support you in any introspective work you chose to do and any intentions you set for moving forward in new and higher ways after Mercury Retrograde. So, I invite you this weekend to set the intention to notice areas where you have confused want with love…to listen to the stories you tell about love and being loved and loving others. In particular, I invite you to examine the belief around the responsibility that another has to love you…or that you have a responsibility to love another. In truth, the only responsibility we have is to love ourselves. Loving another is an icing-on-the-cake experience as a result of inner overflow, but it’s never a responsibility. I also invite you to really examine your beliefs around love, what you think it is, what you think it should be, and what you think you know it to be, and select those beliefs which you wish to carry with you into the future.

Wishing you a supportive, safe, and courageous weekend, and sending you gratitude for all that you do in the world…seen and unseen. For as you shift, you shift the Universe.

And so it is.