Possession: When and how to possess in service to love

It’s said if you love someone, let them go. If they come back, you know the love is true. If they don’t, they were never yours anyway. Is that really always so?

I’ve been exploring this personally in the unraveling of a most precious partnership over the last couple of months, a dance between holding onto what is true and letting go of what is not.  My desire to possess is something I’ve been forced to face, and until very recently I’ve mostly done so through the lens of a fair amount of shame, blame and self-recrimination, because, of course I should know better. Of course I should know that possession has no place in true love.

Or does it?

When we meet a beloved and live through the exquisite, life affirming experience of falling in love, bonding in deep intimacy and playing in the realms ecstatic and erotic exchange, attachment happens. It is the natural state of things. A biological necessity for the expansion and evolution of our species and our well being, practically speaking, and the stuff that love songs, poetry and rom-coms are made of to inspire and delight us, somewhat less practically speaking.

So it was with my former partner and I. We floated on the river of chemical reactions, oxytocin flooding our systems and a strong desire to be as close to one another as possible as often as we could manage took over. Our lovemaking was so heavenly that an urge to possess this vibrant, juicy aliveness began to grow in me without my even realizing it. I wanted to claim the source of this potency, and I unconsciously assumed that since I was experiencing something unprecedented with him, he must be the source. I began to grasp, began trying to possess, all things I imagined myself to be sufficiently vigilant of so as to not fall prey, and yet there I was.

But what if possession itself wasn’t, and isn’t, actually the trouble? What if the trouble was, and is, confusion as to the source of all that goodness?

In the wake of navigating a conscious uncoupling while still staying in relationship to one another, a deep heart and perspective expanding realization dawned on me. Sharing with my former beloved after having had a profound journey into Truth, it clicked: Just as attachment is natural and even necessary, so is possession. The difference is, for attachment to be healthy, it must be a clean and balanced bonding occurring between self and other, while possession, to be healthy, must happen within self alone.

And just like that, a whole new layer of understanding awakened in me. Self possession is entirely natural and most certainly necessary, in order for love of another to be pure and true. It is only from standing firmly in my sense of self, clear on my needs, desires and boundaries, clear on my motivations and intentions, clear on my own vibrant, juicy aliveness, that I can open fully to love that is real. Only from a self possessed place can my attachment be healthy.

So possession does indeed have its place in love. But looking to possess another is the same as looking to source love from outside our selves. It is always only going to leave us hungry and unfulfilled. Standing fully possessed of our own heart and our own self is the pathway to satiation since it is from that place that we can drink from the nectar of true love, one that we need not worry about letting go of just to find out if it will come back. Self love is already ours, always was and always will be. Fill your cup and drink deeply from this well.

As I’ve begun to do this, I find meeting not just my former partner but all my intimate connections is taking on a new level of love. There’s a quality of truthfulness and ease to my relating that is inextricably linked to the way I am embodying my own self, staking a claim for my love, possessing this one I call me and this heart that beats as mine. The impulse to grasp beyond myself is lessening because my hands are full with the abundance of my own essence, and while this too is a practice like any other and takes its due time, it is immediately rewarding to see and feel even small progress.

May we all stand in full possession of our own sweet hearts and our own overflowing source of Love, and share with each other from there!