“Unconditional love…I’ll be there when you fall
The one condition of love…Is there are none at all” — Stevie Nicks, “Unconditional Love” from Street Angel (1994)

Stevie Nicks has been the poet of my heart since 1975. This haunting song, designed to honor true romantic love, captures the precise moment when the singer finds herself under the rare spell of falling in love at the very same time someone is falling for her. That synchronous situation arises when masks fall away and all reason, laws, restraints and conditions dissolve in translucency; what remains is pure, serendipitous love.

This month’s Edge prompt asks us to consider just how we arrive at and remain within the safe harbor of selfless love. The secret is not to pursue unconditional love as some end to be gained or possessed. It is possible to begin thinking of the concept of unconditional love in a non-materialistic, non-ownership way. That is why I titled my article as I have. “Unconditionally loving” means emanating love and light from heart and soul — even when it is not returned, even when there’s “nothing in it” for us, even when we feel as though we need more love than we’re “getting” from another.

Unconditionally loving means loving as the Great Spirit loves us, for it is a radiant, positive energy without attachments, without strings. It’s okay to mingle in a little romance; it’s what makes us human — that which gives rise to great poetry, great paintings, and great lyrics like Stevie’s. Just try not to make that the object. Don’t objectify anything or anyone. To do so takes something alive and vital and makes it a dead, imprisoned thing.

I am reminded of what Cedric Red Feather taught me about Native American social culture. Traditionally, the people were strong as a nation, because they were held together by love. No signed paper could hold that love; people were together for as long as they wanted to be. A Native American “divorce” went like this: the man would come home and find his possessions in front of the lodge door, and he would know it was time to leave.

We often enter relationships with expectations. As Cedric wisely instructs, “With expectation comes disappointment. It is not good to expect things from others.” We seek assurances that the other will remain present, an ever-abiding lighthouse, a vital port in the midst of choppy, stormy seas. If we change perspective and turn Stevie’s magic line toward the self, “I’ll be there when you fall” takes on a profound philosophic meaning and offers a solution to any anxieties associated with loving. We are free to trust because, regardless of what happens, the Higher Self is always there to care for us. We are multidimensional beings. Just beyond the veil, the best part of us is lighting a path, waiting for us to match its luminosity.

The true test of growth comes in how we treat another who has rebuffed, ignored or failed to return our dearest affections. That, alas, is the measure of our stolidity as questing spiritual beings. There is absolutely no reason on Earth for anger or meanness toward another, just because that person is unwilling or unable to be on the same loving page with us. The truth, simply stated by Cedric, is this: “You cannot take away another’s free will, nor force another person to love you.”

The culture in which we grew up painted a false picture. All the literature, all the movies, all the popular media portrayed love as a hunt, a pursuit, a conquest. It attempted to legislate, to regulate, to make rules compelling people to stay together. These ideas are all part of an old energy, falling away in irrelevance in the face of the great shift that is occurring.

Love cannot truly be promised or legislated. It arises when we tap into the radiant energy of our Divine selves — the more expansive aspect of our souls. It is in that connection and from that place that we become capable of unconditionally loving one another. All fears fall away at that point; for what we will then have accessed is infinite in its capacity.

Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.

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