We went to a wedding this weekend. Julien’s hand in mine, warm and soft and strong, introducing me to family members I’ve not yet met. I made a video of it — my first ever attempt at capturing moments of my life in moving form — and I’m enamoured with it.
After the ceremony Julien turned to me and asked me if it made me want to get married. I said no. But I still want to have a party! I told him. Watching two people make a vow to be there for one another for as long as possible was beautiful. It led me to thinking about love.
One of the gifts that I have been given in this life is the unlimited ability to love and be loved. Love has always come easily to me. I have loved hard and often and many times felt the anguished heart-ache that happens when two united souls go separate ways. There’s a part of me that loves the heart-ache as much as the falling in love. The depth and fierceness of those emotions are one of the few things that make me feel entirely human.
On the same day of the wedding the planets moved again just slightly and we stepped into Mercury Retrograde: Mercury is the thinking planet. It’s rational and objective. Every 12 weeks, when Mercury goes more than 27.5 degrees away from the sun, the sun says, “Where are you going?” and yanks him back. Mercury rules communication, negotiation, perception, and judgment. It wants us to go back to the past. It brings skeletons of old lovers back into the yard.
Last week I received a friend request from an Italian man who works for the UN. I had a short and entirely unconsummated love affair with him when I was in India 8 years ago that lasted a full 3.5 days. I used to have a lot of those. As I travelled I sparked little moments of love leaving a trail of ignited hearts like breadcrumbs on the path behind me. I never made an effort to stay in touch with those momentary connections. I haven’t responded to his request yet.
A few days ago I opened my email to find a note from the man who I dated at university 17 years ago. It was short. It’s essence was clear: he never stopped loving me and hasn’t found love since. He is not the only man who has told me that. The 2-year relationship was not one that I remember fondly — we were both awkward and unclear on who we were — however it was the catalyst for my biggest spiritual and life choices and changes. I am eternally grateful for that.
I replied to him:
I feel so sad to read that you haven’t been able to open up your heart and love freely for such a long time. Love, in my perception, is one of the most valuable, important things in our entire human lives and to be without it is like to be without water, parched and slowly dying. I hope you can find it in you to completely let go and release the past and open up for many new loves to surface in your life.
One thing that I notice with people who aren’t having the romantic connections in their lives that they desire is that they have a hard time both giving and receiving out of fear of getting hurt. Often the fear is much worse than the actual experience of it. It blocks them up and shrouds them in walls so strong and high that they are imperceptible. Being willing to let go and acknowledging that the pain of heart-ache is simply the other side of the coin when it comes to life and love — when we stop trying to control and micro-manage our lives — and instead embrace both sides of the coin, we can drop those walls and let love in.
Not that I am trying to give you advice… I am sure you have your own journey to follow wherever it may take you. My point is: don’t waste another minute pining over the past, release whatever is holding you back and go out and enjoy love. Love is infinite, there is more than enough of it and it is everywhere.
On Sunday I received an email from the last man I fell in love with before Julien. He taught me the meaning of soul mate: someone who brings about the lessons that your soul most needs to evolve. After a catastrophic night that involved cocaine, a gun and a bicycle in Amsterdam, I left and blocked him from my life to save myself from a sea of regret. That was 5 years ago now. When I see pictures of him my heart still overflows with affection even though we are not meant to be together. He wrote to tell me that I will always be his one true love. In my way, I will always love him, too. I told him so.
There is a reason for these unexpected love letters. Mercury is in retrograde: It wants us to see if there is something that needs to be followed up or closed in a former relationship. It is an opportunity to look back and heal the past.
On my birthday last week I came the recognition that I was coming to the end of a 9 year cycle. So much has changed in recent years. I have changed. With those changes the energetic ties to the past are dissolving and the paths are being cleared for an entirely new reality. In some way I have worked hard towards this, throwing everything I have at releasing that past. In some ways it has always been happening, fluidly, easily.
Love in Mercury Retrograde is good at that. It brings to the surface unresolved bindings to heart and souls and ideas that may no longer serve us in our present lives. Or that need to be rekindled because the story they hold for us have not yet fully played out.