Love — A Primer
I came across the passage below on my FB timeline. I had seen parts of it way-back-when. In fact, I had a few sentences of it on a poster in my room when I was a teenager.
Ah — the seventies. Good times.
But I digress.
Back then Love was just an abstract notion. And frankly — I was still mired in Prince Charming lore that had been force-fed to all girls in that era. My Prince would come and slay all the dragons in My Life. Happily-Ever-After only required I wait by the well for The Glass Slipper delivery.
Part of me recognized, even at that tender age, this was bullshit. Hence the poster.
The words did not speak of Love as my savior. All wrapped up in shining armor on his trusty steed.
No. The poem spoke of Love as a living thing. A something which flowed between two souls. A something which allowed each Human to retain their being. A something which did not overshadow my growth or absorb me.
This is not the way Romantic Love is ever described.
Humans seek mates, lovers, life partners. They are attracted to each other and they marry or move in together. Soon the bloom is off the rose and the issues begin. One or the other — or both — try to change their partners. For their own good — of course. Never noticing the truth.
If you bend your partner into who you think they ‘should be’ — they will no longer ‘be’ the person you were attracted to. Relationship doomed.
Humans need space. We might be pack animals, but even the most extroverted among us need our downtime. Moments when we don’t have to be ‘on’. Even for those we hold most dear.
It’s not rejection. Although sometimes it might feel that way to your partner. And then a cascade of grasping and clinging begins. Relationship doomed.
No other Human can make you happy. Happiness is a moment in time — like Christmas morning, or when you open a birthday gift. Contentment is what we should be shooting for and it’s a lifelong journey. And you walk that path on your own. Only YOU can find contentment. No one can bring it to Your Life.
Christopher Barzak said it best, “Never put your happiness in someone else’s hands. They’ll drop it. They’ll drop it every time.” Relationship doomed.
This passage is some of the best relationship advice I’ve ever heard. I even knew it way back in 1974 — when I had no clue what Love looked like. I wasn’t ready for this kind of Love for decades of My Life. I had lessons to learn. Lots and Lots of lessons.
Life is like that. Only when we look back do we understand all those parts we thought were Mr. Wrong or terrible heartaches — were just lessons. They were getting us ready for when Real Love came knocking.
The Universe has impeccable timing.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” — Khalil Gibran