Sep 28, 2013

Love For Granted

Pearl Cat Ears: Anagon Collection | Knit Sweater Top: Forever 21 | Fuzzy Cream Hot Pants: The Posh Wardrobe | Lace Lace-Up Boots: Trunk Show

 “Walk with me, hand in hand through the neon and styrofoam. Walk the razor blades and the broken hearts. Walk the fortune and the fortune hunted. Walk the chop suey bars and the tract of stars.
I know I am a fool, hoping dirt and glory are both a kind of luminous paint; the humiliations and exaltations that light us up. I see like a bug, everything too large, the pressure of infinity hammering at my head. But how else to live, vertical that I am, pressed down and pressing up simultaneously? I cannot assume you will understand me. It is just as likely that as I invent what I want to say, you will invent what you want to hear. Some story we must have. Stray words on crumpled paper. A weak signal into the outer space of each other.
The probability of separate worlds meeting is very small. The lure of it is immense. We send starships. We fall in love.”

 - Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries
Why is it that "I love you" is the most unoriginal thing we can say to each other... yet the one thing we always long to hear?

Helen Hayes once said, "The story of a love is not important- what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the glimpse we are permitted of eternity." All too often, we confuse "falling in love" with loving. We like the "buzz," the intensity of the adrenaline rush of falling in love. It is exciting and relieves us from the pressure of our overextended lives for a while. Even the excitement of fitting it into our busy schedules is titillating. And- like most love stories go- eventually- it wears us out. We have become so inured to intensity that we need something new to give us our high.

Many of us who do too much, have to be so much or have to deal with so much believe that there are tricks to loving. If we can just look sexy or good enough, we can make others love us. Or if we just take care of others and make ourselves indispensable, they will love us. We do not learn to love by loving, we try to control love by manipulation. Unfortunately, these methods do not teach us much  about loving.

Beware of instant intimacy. Beware of buzzing intensity. Both may be fun, and they are most likely not love. They are a by-product of the way we are living our lives- fast paced, rushed, intensely. Love is slower, deeper, and easier. Love takes us into and beyond ourselves, not just into our self-centeredness. Love is available to all of us. Yet we may have to take some time to learn about love, because we haven't had many models around us who know how it's done. 

  “On more than one occasion I have been ready to abandon my whole life for love. To alter everything that makes sense to me and to move into a different world where the only known will be the beloved. Such a sacrifice must be the result of love... or is it that the life itself was already worn out? I had finished with that life, perhaps, and could not admit it, being stubborn or afraid, or perhaps did not known it, habit being a great binder. I think it is often so that those most in need of change choose to fall in love and then throw up their hands and blame it all on fate. But it is not fate, at least, not if fate is something outside of us; it is a choice made in secret after nights of longing.
... I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover's dreams... To be a muse may be enough. The pain is when the dreams change, as they do, as they must. Suddenly the enchanted city fades and you are left alone again in the windy desert. As for your beloved, she didn't understand you.
The truth is, you never understood yourself.” 
  - Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry

Loving is a risk. It is letting go of expectations and just allowing. Some of us doubt our capacity to love because we have been raised in dysfunctional families and relationships and never really have had much experience of clear loving. Loving always had to have strings attached or demands that we had to meet. We have practiced loving as we learned it during our formative years- when begin to socialize. It is as we love ourselves that we are only a short step to the loving of others. Fortunately, we are capable of new learning. And it starts right inside of us. When we experience loving ourselves, we begin to learn by loving. We are all capable of love, whether we know it or not. To "glimpse that eternity" we may have to take the time to let go of old illusions and learn new ways of being. I have always believed that loving was a choice you made everyday. I still believe that now. Ultimately, when you ask me what I think love is... it's that you look at me and want me... and I don't turn away.

xx, JL

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