On Love, In Love

I have written much on the theme of love these past few months, which I think has been leading to this. I do believe I should like to begin with an image of my view of love as the centre of the lovely deliciousness that is life, the cherry, if you will.         cherry-chocolate

My business consultant said to me, many years ago: “You really love your employees.” Given the context of our conversation, it took me a minute or two to respond to him, but the short answer was – yes, and perhaps this was when my inner journey to expand my thoughts and beliefs on love began. Recently my blogger friend Teenage Introvert also wrote a post which contained the line: “Now the struggle is not about ‘trying to love’, it’s more like ‘allowing Love to pour out’, something I cannot explain.”  Between these two points of time lies an immense ocean of immersing myself in the ethos of love.

For all its endless portrayals of happy-ever-after love, western culture decidedly does not celebrate love so much as objectify it…this kind of love, that looks this way, is acceptable; others: suspect. The range of templates for love is narrow…and then there are those of us who believe that love pours out of us, and that this is a natural and desired state of being. The idea does defy explanation, and my attempts to illuminate it will necessarily fall short, but I shall take up the challenge.

As infants, our love begins with parents, and physical reality – being warm, cuddled, soothed, fed, engaged – and expands outwards, slowly but surely, to siblings, home, playmates, teachers, and on. We recognize that not all infants are born into loving circumstances, and this is problematic for learning love; but most of us experience enough, if not ideal love. Does love stop expanding outward for some people, or is it merely the expression of love in the wider world that is curtailed? Perhaps a bit of both.

I find it easy enough to imagine a world where work and work places are so much more satisfying and creative because love imbues co-workers for one another, and for the recipients of their goods and/or services…yes, I hear the sneers and snickers back there. I can easily imagine a world where hospitals and clinics are true healing places because love informs the practice and practitioners of medicine. I can easily imagine a world where friends and acquaintances are not a closed set of like-minded people, but an ever-expanding group of many, because love is the principle of listening and respect for difference. I can easily imagine a world that is more civil, because love acknowledges that people make mistakes, or lack courtesy, but have not lost all value as human beings. I do so hope, my imaginary friend, that you will not construe this as some new age cult of positivism: Be Happy!!!!! , said with too many exclamation marks, and often no acknowledgement that people must grieve, sometimes. Or that it is some version of “turn the other cheek”, for we must stand up to wrongs strongly and ensure our voices are heard. Or that we must accept some boorish behaviour, for the sake of social niceties. I think, I believe that we are born to put love at the centre of our lives, not the periphery, and that this love will pour out of us if we let it. That it is, in fact, the most powerful force in the universe, by whichever name you should wish to call it…

If our love be clouded, or contained, if it does not reach to the stars and beyond, if our love does not shine as surely as the glory of the night skies; why, some integral, essential piece of our human nature is muted. There are other truths about human nature, of course, but it seems to me that this piece, the ability to live in love is the piece most lacking in the puzzle of our current lives. It is not the form and outline of our loves that define us: it is that love pours out of us. To be in love is to be, to really be, at the heart of the deliciousness of life. Romantic notions of love say that some special ‘other’ completes us, makes us whole…I say that the love that completes us and makes us whole is already there, waiting to be let out.

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Month Of Elder

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The day is damply overcast, but lovely freshets of wind blowing, for all that. I cannot stay inside: I need that wind blowing in my hair and that pale, lucent light and that vision of autumn leaves. The leaves skitter through the air with dips and swirls and aimless gusts, and this is a visual representation of my thoughts. My thoughts that refuse to stay focused, to buckle down to work; that are unruly and chaotic and wild and yearning… Oh, there is really nothing wrong here, my imaginary friend, but change is in the air in so many ways, and change can be unsettling, at first.

This change moves through me like the tide, ebbing and flowing. It is both rising and receding tide, for the fruits of autumn are harvested and stored, the chaff and husks winnowed away. ‘Tis nature’s time of preparing for winter, of paring away the old, and my inner season matches the outer. What to keep, and what to throw away, are very much on my mind.

What to throw out: the dry husks of habits wearing grooves in my life. The chaff of meaningless small town convention. The twigs of small irritants rubbing away at tender skin, and the dying tendrils of vines tethering my limbs and spirit. These I shall pile in a heap, with the anticipation of a glorious bonfire. The hiss and crack of flame and smudge of smoke shall stand promise to make this pruning a regular occurrence.

What to keep: row upon row of preserving jars full of love and light and laughter of friends, to be served up regularly in the coming cold, dark months. Jewels of dried tomatoes to give flavour of summer to winter’s stews, along with jewels of pictures painted and drawn to flavour shorter days. Music, ordered and stored in an overflowing pantry: melodies of hot summer morns, harmonies of blissful hours at the swimming hole, grace notes of nights of endless stars. Cool forests, wide expanse of beach and ocean, mountain trails of wild adventure for daily sustenance of body and soul. And, love, oh yes, love, to wrap me in a tender embrace of the beauty and mystery of life.

The winnowing is almost done, and my harvest very nearly stowed, as the month of Elder brings us to the time of the thinning of the veil between the worlds. We honour those who have left us, and take special care of those who are still here…The time of stepping onto the path that leads to the road ahead draws nearer for me, my yearnings yet somewhat inchoate, though no regret for what the flames consume and banish.

I am on my way. Blessed month of Elder to you.

My Love Said

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My love said it’s not the way you look at me with love in your eyes, or the way your voice makes my heart melt; it’s the way you put up with me when I am sad and depressed that makes me want you even more; it’s not the way you scold me when I have done wrong or the way you ignore me when I have a bad day, it’s the way you tolerate me when I am lonely that matters.

When I feel sad, or lonely, or have a bad day, you stand in my presence as surely as at other, happier times. Your love and regard for me shine on your face, though perhaps you are kinder and gentler during those trying times. You do not run away from my hurt, or my scolding, and that is an immense courage, my love.

My love said it’s not the way your hair flows in the breeze or the way you walk, it’s the way you smile at me when I fall.

When you fall, I reach out my hand, and my heart, and my soul. Because you have fallen for me, and you are my hero, my love.

My love said it’s not the way you feed me at the dinner table, or get me a beer when I’m watching sport, it’s the way you scorn any that would intrude upon your kindness that makes me yearn for you more.

Yes, you understand that kindness is central to my sense of being, and to offer it up is my gift. And you also see that always I want to offer kindness, even when repaid with lesser, baser coin. Oh, you see what others have missed because you pay attention, my love.

My love said it’s not the way you say “I love you” that gladdens my heart; it’s the way you say “How can I not love you for loving me so much.”

Love ought to be as natural as breathing, though often it becomes complicated with other things; things such as pride, and lack of confidence, and petty misunderstandings. When we let love be, it will shine, my love.

My love said you can tell the world I wrote these things for you.

I have told the world, my love.

Moo Is Blue

 

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It’s true, I was a little blue when I painted this. But the act of creating something, no matter how small or trivial, (was) is a wonderful tonic. And I confess I love the feel of using the water colour pens almost as much as the flow of my ballpoint pen across paper.

Moo, shortened from lovesick moo, was bestowed on me by a friend some years back, and it seems to have stuck as a name. Apparently, some people are horrified at calling me moo – but me, I just  love the silliness of it. So there you have it: today’s offering, a bit of blue silliness.

I hope, my imaginary friend, that my silliness might inspire yours – or something like that. There have been a couple of days lately when I have found it hard to laugh, but a small dose of silly can always make me smile. Though lest you misunderstand, this is no prescription to ‘think positive’ or some such faux wisdom. It is merely my reflection that when we embrace the blue – because what choice is there, save to bury it away? – some other colours emerge, sooner or later. My palette is never muted, in any case…and that, my friend, is the point.