A client recently described to me the difference between falling in love and rising in love, a concept she had seen on a cleverly worded social media post. It rang as true in my heart as in hers, that falling in love is gravity, it is easy, it is effortless. It suggests a point of landing.
Rising in love is effortful, yes, and intentional. It suggests mutual support.
This thought had been knocking around in my head for a few weeks when I took a walk with a dear friend on Friday. He said, “You buried the lead. The real hero was Theresa.”
He was referring to a recent blog post, When Enough is Truly Enough, and a story about a scone and a straightforward question from Theresa that was overtly about the double chocolate treat and covertly about what rising in love together looked like in that moment.
What made her the hero of that story – what makes her the hero so often in the years since we met – is that she asks questions like, “Is this one of those times that I’m supposed to discourage you from a splurge or encourage you to enjoy a treat?”
That is, rather than assuming what is right for me in that moment or that her opinion or approach suit my needs (with her incredible sweet tooth, the answer is pretty much always, “Eat the scone!”) she brought curiosity.
Rather than allowing me to hijack her into my emotional spiral, she once sat, back hunched and eyes sad, and said in the most nurturing of tones, “I love you, and I’m not going to engage in this with you.”
Rather than imagining a zero-sum in our relationship, she finds ways to both support my explorations of self and life while also acknowledging when my choices are uncomfortable for her, such as when workshops or conferences in the pre-pandemic world would send me away from our home.
The most amazing part of this to me is that Theresa doesn’t spend her days engrossed in the philosophies and tools of personal development or healthy relationships like I do. She doesn’t constantly have some self-help or world-change book in process on the breakfast table like I do. She doesn’t have daily conversations about gremlins and presence and 100% personal responsibility like I do.
Instead, she has an instinct for what Rumi described as “friendship is made of being awake.”
She has taught me through modeling exactly that idea of rising in love – and that it’s not one of climbing the same mountain toward enlightenment. It’s being curious about what obstacles the other is facing and what it means to be a support during that time, whether building a foot bridge, packing some snacks, or standing aside while holding utter certainty that she will find her way across because she is creative and resourceful, even when she doesn’t feel her own creativity or resourcefulness.
While this could certainly pass as a love letter to Theresa poorly disguised as a blog post for the world, the ideas are universal. Yes, we tend to focus the bulk of our intentional energy on our romantic partner(s), if we have such in our life. Yet we are all interconnected, which makes thoughtful presence in support of another’s rising up is always available… and inevitably mutually beneficial.
Try it: Bring curiosity and presence to anyone in your life, whether someone in your close circle or someone you’re meeting for the first and only time, and see if you don’t feel uplifted by supporting, in some small way, their rise.
It is as though helping another find the wind currents for their lift inspires the wind to create more.
An outside, informed perspective can make a world of difference when we’re learning to rise in love; if you’re curious how coaching with me can super-charge your efforts, click on. If you’re looking for some community also on the rise, The Bigger Badder Crew is your home away from home.