Given all the cachet given to Valentine’s Day, and how many traditions there are around what it means, how it should be celebrated, etc., I find that it can actually reduce the true experience of love to commercially determined parameters that don’t even come close to actually capturing what the love we have really has to offer. As many common ways as there are to honor our Valentine/Partner, I am always searching for how to express and feel my love – be it for Sarah, my children, my friends – to new depths.
One way that you can always find to do that, in one form or another, is to remember and make alive that love in its purest form – no matter who or what it’s attached to – is, in my opinion, an expression of the energy of the Divine (whatever that means to you…God, Budhha, the Universe, or even Ralph). There is an Irish distinction about love that you can experiment with that may fill the bill of taking your love to an even deeper, more visceral experience…which is always the est medicine for what ails you in this roller coaster ride we call being human.
In 1997, former Catholic priest, John O’Donahue, wrote a bestselling book called Anam Cara: A Book Of Celtic Wisdom, with Anam Cara being a Celtic term for “Soul Friend.” In the book, O’Donahue writes:
“The Anam Cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an Anam Cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.”
Another anonymous writer has written this about Anam Cara:
“Your anam cara always beholds your light and beauty, and accepts you for who you truly are. In Celtic spirituality, the anam cara friendship awakens the fullness and mystery of your life. You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy, and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: ~HOME!”
Now, if you read those two quotes, do you get a sense of what love is at a level that’s got more profundity and depth than a Hallmark card? Doesn’t it offer a different perspective on what any relationship can truly behold besides just “getting your needs met?”
I really believe that, if you were to focus much more on seeing and connecting with the anam cara’s in your life, and truly mined the depth that the very definition of anam cara illuminates, there would be a phenomenal difference in your life and on the planet. This isn’t to minimize the value of conflict and differing opinions, needs, and wants…but, most of the time, you’re working those conflicts and differences out from the Ego’s agenda.
What could shift, and/or be richer, if you were to sort things out through the energyof being one’s anam cara? What if your relationship was treated less as a thing that you “work on,” and more as a Soul vehicle that’s to be ongoingly nurtured and maintained for peak expressions, over and over again? Your ego’s never going to be satisfied…it always wants more and better. Your Spirit, however, has different criteria for satisfaction, and has much longer lasting feelings with infinite breadth to go with them. With an anam cara, that connection is always more than enough…yet, can always grow, without ever feeling insufficient. How many other things in life do you experience that way?
So, let’s see how you can play with this whole notion.
For me, I have several anam cara’s, but my life partner, Sarah, is the one I’d have to say is at the top of the list, which may or may not be true for you. But, if it is, let’s start there. She literally fulfills on every aspect of the quotes above. I don’t believe a true anam cara needs to fulfill every single facet of the attributes, but if someone mostly fills the bill, that’s likely to be close enough for government work.
So, I invite you to first make a list of each of the qualities/conditions that are laid out in the two quotes above about what an anam cara is and represents. Then, be sure you’re seeing how YOU may be your own anam cara (just as a fringe benefit). Then, make a list of all the people in your life who are that kind of soul friend for you, and jot down what that connection has brought you, and continues to, as an illumination of your own Soul’s flavor. Lastly, look at how you’d want to honor and acknowledge that anam cara. If you can’t think of anyone, then it’s indicative that you’ve got work to do to become your own soul friend. If your partner isn’t on the list, it will reveal the edge of growth and learning available to you to explore. But, if you’ve got anam cara’s that you intuitively feel would be hugely served to be honored as such, I have a ceremony that you can do that’s extremely moving and powerful. If you’d like to get a copy of that (it’s too lengthy to place here), then simply drop me a line asking for it here.
To wrap up, the anam cara’s in our lives transcend and go beyond our love partners. To me, it ideally begins with yourself…so, start there. But, if you’re in a relationship with a Partner, or a friend, that’s struggling…see if they may fit the description of what anam cara is all about, and it may just give you a bigger game to play to connect more deeply than the normal “Who’s right and who’s wrong” paradigm that plagues most relationships.