how amazing the feeling of being cherished just as strongly by those I love, those who see me & want me near, who ask for my presence, whose eyes and smiles shine around me.

life full of love

Six months ago, I wanted to get out of Colorado as fast as I could. I’d made some mistakes that had pushed me away (at least in my mind) from the friends I had here in Boulder, and the experiences of last summer left me wanting to return to a familiar place to regroup and refresh.


Love and kisses, Zaphod

But life — as it often does — had its own twists and turns for me, and I’m still here at the foot of the Rockies, and today I’m more me, more fully myself, and at peace with life. I’m the sort of person who wears my heart on my sleeve, and I have plenty of moods to share with the world, but underneath it all, I’m fundamentally joyful. And I think people can see that.

For much of the fall, I vowed to stay away from romantic relationships. I tend to do this, with varying success and duration, whenever one of my romances ends. But after this last whirlwind spring & summer romance, I needed to stand still long enough for the room to stop spinning, for my dizzy spirit to stand straight again.

When it comes to women, I tend to be attracted to the same things in my friends that I do in a lover. I have a few really close male friends – who’ve been my confidantes and counselors over the course of many years (and many courtships!) – but I befriend women much more easily.

So I challenged myself to spend time with women I really like, whom I cherish for their candor, creativity, intelligence, wisdom – and yes, beauty – without falling for them. But something unusual happened.

I fell in love. Multiple times over. And yet — only one of them inspired me to end my brief journey into monasticism, and only one of them caught my heart into that romantic knot that binds two people more tightly than others.

Still, I fell in love. With each of them. I adore the friends with whom I’ve had a chance to deepen or kindle a friendship over the past several months. Though I’d known several of them for much longer, we really began to know each other only in the past few months. It’s hard to describe the feeling of loving people so completely, with spark and spice and joy, and no less than in a romantic setting, but still — as if standing beside my lover, not below or behind — here are my friends.

And how amazing the feeling of being cherished just as strongly by those I love, those who see me (as I have been and as I have evolved these past few years, finding the spark that is uniquely mine) and want me near, who ask for my presence, whose eyes and smiles shine around me.

My circle is filled with writers, poets, photographers, designers, artists of all types; students, singers and policy makers; yogis and crafty sorts… some right here within a few feet of me in Boulder, some scattered around the world. And they never stop reminding me, though I’ve finally taken it deep into my heart after years of life trying to teach me: this is a life full of love.

As my lover wrote last year (when we were both the single sort…), “love is abundant, just change your lens if you’re still blind.

And that brings me to my love, my Valentine, the one who caught my eye and my heart more than the rest. I couldn’t help but fall for her, even as we both tried so very hard to remain single, to remain ascetic in all matters love. We backed into each other.

But when someone comes along who understands you, who sees you even through the layers of crap that life sometimes cakes over your true face — who is willing to stand up to your shit firmly yet kindly, and is willing to accept the same from you — not only willing but eager to be challenged, eager to be pushed, eager for growth together… well, how can you turn away from that?

How can you turn away from someone who can not only keep up with you in every way but sometimes even beat you at your own game? How can you look away from someone who is many of the things you’d like to be, and who looks at you the same way?

I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. We fight sometimes, like gladiators clashing for everything they are. But she fights the way I do, and there’s more comfort in that than there is frustration (because, let’s be honest, I can get astoundingly intense and overwhelming to some people, and I’m getting a taste of what it’s like to fight with me now!), because she can take me. And after it all, through it all, love me.

Above all, it’s just easy to love her. As if it comes completely natural to me. And all the crazy fears and worries that got in the way with other, past relationships, well, they just don’t even seem to apply here. It’s as if we got on a path together, a path blazed through this life just for us. And I’m happy to see where it leads us.

. . .

Last year, for Valentine’s Day, I wrote a poem. And it still applies today to each of you whom I cherish and love so much, and especially to my Valentine, so I’ll point you over that-a-way now.

I wish, for you

I love you. And I hope your life is as full of love as mine is. Just look for it, feel it, and love with all your heart. Thank you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love & Kisses, Mila

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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