The answer comes from my own heart: I am happiest when I let myself love and embrace you without reservation.

What if we were lovers?

Part of the the Heart & the Law collection

What if we were lovers?


Why does loving you inspire me and elevate me with incredible joy? Why do I struggle with loving you, why does it sometimes bring out the worst qualities in me? What is it about falling in love with you that evokes such extremes? What does it mean to fall in love with you?

When I’m petting a friend’s cat, she’ll sometimes roll onto her back, exposing her stomach to me: a sign of trust and affection. When you fall in love with me, or I with you, we do the same; we open ourselves, all the things we love about ourselves and all the things inside that scare us, to each other. We expose our vulnerability to each other, we expose our raw, unguarded, tender selves to each other.

This is true intimacy, the same intimacy that steals your breath upon watching an amazing sunrise, the same intimacy that races your heart and floods your being with electric bliss when a delicious dessert dances on your tongue.

Some things in this world pry us wide open, pierce our shells of self-protection, and connect us directly to the intensity of being alive. When we let our guard down, stop trying to control the future by trying to predict it, stop resisting now because our experiences are not what we expect… when we allow ourselves to fully love, without reservation or limit, we are rewarded with great happiness, joy, warmth that fills us entirely. Being in love is being in life, being alive!

We experience our greatest moments of joy not when feeling loved by someone else, but when we feel unfiltered, unfettered love for another. Feeling loved warms us and satiates a basic need; but when we really feel love, we experience ourselves free, wide open, raw and ablaze. We open ourselves wide to each other.

But you and I are human, and can’t handle so much intensity for very long. Our worlds are filled with distractions and duties, alarm clocks and time constraints. We have obligations and interests to each other, to ourselves, to other people. We cannot only orbit each other’s brilliant light; we cannot ignore the bonds we have with so many other people, so many other things.

So many influences, so many demands on our energy, our time, and sometimes we need to withdraw into ourselves, to rest, to restore. And so even lovers draw back, even lovers close themselves off from each other once in a while. There is no tragedy in this: tides ebb and flow, the sun rises and sets, and seasons lead us on through time. We move through connection and solitude as we react to our own needs and to the world around us.

The two of us dance together, waxing and waning in response to each other, to our moods, to what happens around us, and when we both fully embrace the strength of the love we feel for each other, we gracefully move through it all.

But what happens when I begin to expect you to act and react in certain ways? What happens when I try to predict or control what will happen for us in the future?

I start to close myself off with fear, doubt, worry, and instead of looking within, I expect you to fix what’s wrong. You react defensively, close yourself off, and suddenly we are two people, alone and afraid, our armor raised against each other, and the beautiful openness that we often share is forgotten as we clash.

When we resist each other, when we resist the truth of who we each are now, we’re closed, protected, alone, yet chained together in our struggle to defend ourselves against each other – this is the opposite of love. Where joy, lightness and warmth once frolicked within us, now sadness, heaviness and cold burden us. In loving, we are opening and accepting; when we close ourselves with resistence, we no longer love.

Being in love leaves us more unguarded, more vulnerable than any other force in our world. So we react with according intensity. When we fear, we often amplify it, project it upon our loved one and either let it simmer inside us or we lash out in defense.

Your love challenges me to remain mindful, to remain aware of these tendencies, my unconscious reactions. I’ve written so often about being accepting of yourself, loving yourself, and being willing to forgive yourself for the things you’ve done wrong. I’ve written so often on how to live as an individual, how to deal with what’s inside, but how do I apply this to someone else, to the person I love most in the world?

The answer comes from my own heart: I am happiest when I let myself love and embrace you without reservation. When I feel myself reacting to your actions with doubt or fear, I shouldn’t resist or push away those feelings, because to do so gives them strength.

Neither should I leap quickly to express these feelings without first understanding what it is about me that responds to you this way. So many of the things we believe we need or want when we are trapped in a frightened, defensive reaction are simply invented for fear’s want of a proof that it will never truly accept.

How can I tell you I neither want nor need so much of what I’ve asked of you, and that all that I truly want is the opportunity to love you?

When you pull away, my fear wants proof that you love me, because that is precisely what is hard for you to give. When you have little time to spare, my worry wants more time, because that is your most precious treasure. But when I step back, let myself feel these things and then breathe and sit with my thoughts rather than expect you to fix what I think is wrong, rather than expect you to fix _something_… I can find calm again, and behind that feel my unobscured love for you, feel myself reopening to you. Then I can feel these mythical needs and desires blowing away into the void that created them.


Once again, I embrace you fully, my maelstrom passed. Each time I practice this, relaxing, feeling, accepting – each time I dig deeper inside myself to understand why something troubles me – it becomes easier to return to my love for you. & in a space of acceptance, openness, freedom… I know what I really want from you, I can ask for what I really want from you without needing it from you for my happiness.

And when I know myself, when I’m not shackled by my own fear, then if I still can’t accept who you are, what you do, or what you offer… then we are not suited for each other. But if I look at you lovingly and with total acceptance of who you are now, of who you will be, acceptance of our present and our future; and if you also look at me with your own love and acceptance, that is being in love.

Imagine us as lovers, mindful of our weak points, willing to look within ourselves for the source of our fears rather than blaming others, taking full responsibility for our emotional responses just as we should for our actions, and returning back to a space of calm, of openness, of tremendous love … before ever taking up any struggle against each other.

Imagine the freedom and lightness of such a bond, feel the warm embrace of all-accepting love, feel yourself open and your own love pour out of you, buoyed with joy!

Let us forgive our past mistakes, explore who we are now, open ourselves to an unknown future, and … while looking to our own selves for happiness find even greater bliss by sharing … embrace the raw intensity of being alive, of being in love.

What if we – you & me – were lovers?

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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  1. hey — just clicked into this from a twitter image link post on the DCamera site (fire coverage). anyway — great piece here. i (heart) it.


  2. Upon googling a quote of Henry Miller’s, I came across your website. I came across this essay and when I first read it I was really moved. This is more like a poem than an essay in my opinion – it is beautifully written. I am leaving this comment here as I would really like to ask you some questions with regard to this piece. I do hope that you take the time to get in touch.