Love Letter

In this throwaway world, I’ve spent a good many years of early life trying relationships on like costumes. If the fit wasn’t right, I was disinclined to pursue its trajectory into and through troubled waters. Too afraid of how I would react to conflict, it was less painful to simply pull back or out. And at times this did serve; there is one friend in particular I do not regret having let go, and subsequently a marriage partner who absolutely refused to compromise. In my experience, successful relationships seem to require the willingness to continually make adjustments and fail to thrive unless companions possesses a depth of caring that prompts them to roll with changes until the union’s eventual end.

In David Richo’s The Five Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them, here are the unavoidable consequences of our human existence: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time. This can really be a wake-up call for those of us seeking permanence. Personally I have discovered, often to my consternation, that permanence is in truth illusory. If we ponder relationships, for example, we must accept that all end, whether through separation, divorce or at the hand of the ultimate Terminator, death.

Meanwhile along life’s rocky road, I discovered a big boulder in the middle. I could not move or shift it easily aside. Seeing as I seemed to have no other choice, I began to befriend it. This behemoth became first my ally, then partner, then husband. This rock was immovable – no matter how I fluttered about; how my mind reeled with misgivings regarding our difference in age and background, through all the twists and turns, the pushing and pulling. Here was a person who would stand by me, no matter what. Here I could not help but uncover my own deep vulnerability, ultimately leading to a profound humility and greater self-regard. At the same time I began to carry a depth of tenderness in my heart that had not previously been cultivated. Unlike my thinnish skinned inner empath who would sense what others were feeling while occasionally resenting the inability to metaphorically turn away, I began comprehending human frailties and weakness from the inside out. Flowering into love from the dirt and ash of harsh experience was something I began to understand from the top-down. My body strengthened; frame supporting flesh and sinew; blood and bone without complaint.

Does love truly heal? Sometimes it’s easier to view one’s own better qualities through another’s eyes. This is the sacredness and beauty of authentic connection: a friend or partner who loves us as we love our own offspring – unconditionally. And that kind of unreserved companionship is a gift beyond compare.

9 comments on “Love Letter”

  1. It was a long haul growing up, realizing my way into acceptance of those five things we cannot change. Sometimes when I’m stewing, I can still want one of them to be otherwise.

    What a great experience for you to be loved into loving oneself.

    • Oh gosh, Amy – so you know the feeling! Sheesh. I think I grew up in a fantasy world of my mother’s making! And I don’t blame her, but it was years before I understood the ‘facts of life,’ such as they were and are. And I’m definitely at peace with them now. But all those years of feeling betrayed by life; asking the gods WHY!!! Good grief.

      And it has been a great experience, though, as with so much of life, not free of pain and struggle. At least I have a partner who is willing to work through things, which is worth its weight in gold – and allows us both to RELAX.

      Peace. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Your writing indicates you are a special person. This story is so touching, and speaks to the five things missing from relationships that I believe create the setting for separation and divorce.

    I am re-posting to my wordpress.

  3. Love sometime scares me a lot! I see some close painful examples in my life!
    I also can’t deny love’s invisible attraction, more powerful than life! A possessiveness in relation automatically added that related to both confidence and fear! Lovely post!

    • Vikram, thanks for weighing in. There are powerful forces at work to promote that attraction you feel! That’s what endocrine systems are for: hormones! If it were NOT that powerful, human life on earth would rapidly decline and eventually likely extinguish itself. So I have to believe that it’s a good thing.

      That being said, with all those hormones floating around and pulling people together like magnets, sober rationality is often absent. We choose partners not ideally suited to us – but boy, is it fun while the magic lasts! Then when reality sets in (bills, kids, health issues, addictions, you name it), the union is not strong enough to hold together. Friction ensues. Breakups. Devastated families. Broken dreams.

      At almost sixty years of age, I don’t know what the answer is. And the culture we are raised in has its own standards that intefere as well. So it’s easy to say, “Have your fun and get it all out of your system! Then choose a solid, reasonable mate.” That may be the best advice to a hot blooded American kid, but still from where I sit, it’s a) disrespectful to the women that man will be ‘using’ and b)a soulless pursuit for the man himself.

      And so here we are, one more time – making those agonizing choices in life. I’m not sure humans are ever going to be free of them, as long as there is life on earth. If there is one thing that makes sense to me out of it all, it’s being as clear-headed as possible when making choices. And not just in the moment, but overall. Finding a balance between fun and good times and life altering decision-making.

      But good luck with it all – you seem such a vital, creative man with so much to share! My hope is that you discover your equal out there, and not only find stimulating company in this person, but that spark that carries the relationship through the tough times.

  4. Hi Bela,

    A great post, as always.

    Of course, Change is the only constant and this can sometimes lead to us doubting the unknown.You say you do not know what the answer is. But delving more into what you have written, I do sense you alluding to the aspect of trust.

    Trust gets created when we remain conscious that we are magnificent beings, replete with our unique abilities, experiences and values. Trust happens when we know that there is plenty of wealth, happiness, fun, and fulfillment to go around A belief which allows us to be confident of or gratitude for people, situations, circumstances is what fosters trust.

    But whenever we forget this, when we overlook the many things we have in our lives for which we should rightly be confident of and grateful for, we start feeling the need to protect ourselves from what we perceive to be a dangerous world. I see it as something arising out of our survival instinct. And this becomes the originating place for all our doubts. As we get conditioned to focus on what’s wrong with us and our lives, fear being controlled, hurt, or taken advantage We see ourselves in competition for the world’s resources and the love and attention of others rather than realizing that there is more than enough of all that is good to go around.
    So the way I see it, whenever two or more individuals carry this negative perception that they are required to compete to satisfy their physical, social, mental, and emotional needs, doubts of our ability to do so creeps in. And it is this doubt which leads to conflicts. So our doubts can really result in broken relationships, strained communication, emotional pain, struggle, and suffering.

    So what is the way forward?

    We need to break the vicious cycle of endless competition and continual striving for domination. We need to realize that everyone else suffers from the same self-doubt and fear of being dominated and cheated out of getting their fair share of love, fun, money, possessions, and security, We need to realize that cooperation and communication is more effective.

    We can intentionally choose to trust that others are doing the best they know how to do based upon how they see the world. When we decide to champion others by looking for the best in them and interact with them in such as manner that they are clear that we hold them as intrinsically good and worthy of our love and respect, we provide for them a new and exciting opportunity for them to show up for us in this manner.

    Our decision to hold others as great – because they really are when we strip away their anger, fears, and insecurities – allows them the freedom to rise to our expectations. This is what builds trust.

    God Bless.

    Shakti

  5. Shakti, as always you offer thoughtful reflection which is very gratefully received. And you are right, in my opinion, in summarizing:

    ” … when we overlook the many things we have in our lives for which we should rightly be confident of and grateful for, we start feeling the need to protect ourselves from what we perceive to be a dangerous world. I see it as something arising out of our survival instinct. And this becomes the originating place for all our doubts. As we get conditioned to focus on what’s wrong with us and our lives, fear being controlled, hurt, or taken advantage of, we see ourselves in competition for the world’s resources and the love and attention of others rather than realizing that there is more than enough of all that is good to go around.”

    This is simple yet profound, for it points to the underlying fear that propels people into knee-jerk reactions which cannot necessarily be “taken back” once released upon another. Wounds are layered upon wounds, causing an eventual breakdown in relationship, whether marital or familial or between friends or countries! And I agree, this is likely an outcropping of the human survival instinct – I’ll attack you before you attack me, and so on. Pretty primal stuff, but powerful.

    The positive side of this is that it seems we are collectively awakening to some of the realities you speak of so eloquently in this description:

    “When we decide to champion others by looking for the best in them and interact with them in such as manner that they are clear that we hold them as intrinsically good and worthy of our love and respect, we provide for them a new and exciting opportunity for them to show up for us in this manner.”

    I really credit our global sense of unity for the sharing of cultural perspectives which have allowed this kind of wisdom to take root and flower.

    I remain hopeful.


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