Friday, December 28, 2012

Eleven Questions About Love

How much of what We do is out of fear of that which we can't control?

How much of how we live our lives is out of fear that we will have to drop the fantasy that we can avoid pain/loss/grief/rejection in the future?

How much do we hold back when we love others because we are afraid we will love more, better, longer, more ardently and deeper than the other person will love us?

How much of what we do is one of the millions of things we use to distract ourselves from our fears or create an illusion that someone or something can protect us from being abandoned?

The very notions of things like "wedded bliss" or Heaven are stories we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about the reality of failed marriages, death, disappointment and pain: "I can endure my unhappiness because I will be happy when ..." This tricks our brain into thinking someone or something else will make us happy so that we can not face our fears.

Promising another human being that living authentically will for sure mean I will always only want to be partners with them is the price I pay so that I can believe that I am less vulnerable to rejection, loneliness and heartbreak.

We are simply TERROR STRICKEN by the idea that someone we love might wake up tomorrow and follow their heart someplace we can't go. We are SO AFRAID we will do that one thing or fail to do that one thing that causes someone we love to stop loving us. We CAN NOT ABIDE giving ourselves to or sharing ourselves with one more person who then decides we aren't enough or we are too much. No. No. NO.

"I won't survive that one more fucking time," we hear our hearts say brokenly. "I will break into a million pieces this time. This will be time that I finally shatter. There will be too many tiny shards of me to piece back together."

Even I have days in which I want to arrange to keep myself loved for life. In my pain, loneliness and fear I momentarily consider lying down on the altar ... ANY altar ... to end or even ease the pain. Someone's arms around me feels necessary in those moments. To rest in someone's love seems like oxygen. We NEED it, we tell ourselves as we sign a marriage contract or put away certain parts of ourselves so that the other person will want us.

But then I thought this thought last night and it was like a kick in my gut:
What if there is a person who, after we faced our fears and decided to take the risk of being shattered, is someone with whom we would love and enjoy (and be loved and enjoyed by) so well that we would mutually keep picking each morning to spend that coming day with one another, for our whole lives, without a binding contract? What if we DON'T lean into the fear, but instead agree to make one another PROMISE to love us? What if that means I never find out that this other person and I would pick one another every day for a lifetime, without a promise or contract? Without fear.

What if falling in love feels so good because each time the "other" picks to see us again, take us out, hold our hand, make love to us, want to know us, and anything else that we crave and enjoy, it is a MIRACLE?

What if the rush of a new romance is because every day we woke up and thought, "He or she might stop liking me today," but then they DIDN'T?

What if it is BECAUSE of the fear, the facing of risk and the vulnerability to pain and heartbreak that we feel so moved by the other picking us again today?

What if deep down inside we all long to be picked FREELY every day but we are too afraid to face the flip side of that freedom because it means we might be rejected and abandoned?


Anonymous said...

Sometime I hope you write about the kick in the gut and the impact it had/is having on you. Like, did the kick expel some of the fear living inside you? Cause you to breathe in a self-awareness that compels you to move toward a deepening vulnerability with those you choose to love? Breathe out what causes you to shun closeness? NOT getting to read about this movement in you because you've decided to open up would seem to go against your true nature. Surely you realize that some people are a trickle of water, some are a cool drink on a hot day, some are a moving, refreshing stream, some are a placid, calm lake, and some are an ocean. You are the deepest of oceans.

Jake Kampe said...

1. 100% It's who we are.
2. 100% Again, it' who we are.
3. 90%
4. 10-20%
5. ?
6. 50%
7. Depends on where we are in life.
8. There's nothing wrong with feeling this way.
9. We all want this. 10% follow it.
10. What if?
11. Yes, what if?
12. This is more than 11. But, 90%
13. We all do.

Anonymous said...

Gregg Levoy in "Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life" writes, "It makes perfect sense that we should be called to go beyond our limits, because the One who calls us is beyond all limits." I would amend that sentence, in light of your questions, to read, "It makes perfect sense that we should be called to go beyond our normal understanding of love as belonging to destructive dependent relationships, because the One who calls us to love and be loved is soooooooo fucking beyond that."

I read your questions in the interpretive glow of what Rainer Maria Rilke described as the meeting of solitudes who know the extravagance of walking unembraced. That awareness of otherness can't be faked. I think the awareness is both part of being an authentic human being AND a prerequisite of true love. I also think that none of us, in our attempts to love and be loved, are ever completed. We are all beginners, trying to both remember and live out who we are in the love of Love, in the arms of God.

As you get at again and again with your questions, there is the continual stretching opportunity to not hold back from fear of hurt or loss. Said another way, there is always the chance to love and be loved without feeding or protecting selfishness.

Anonymous said...

"You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)

And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.

PS You have to be brave."

That is Jenette Winterston's answer to the question, "How do we fall in love?" May we all have springs in our legs, all the time.

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