Tag Archive for: yearning
Unscheduled time on retreat. We were mulling the statement: “Love is a choice, not a feeling.” We all weighed in. I shared my current thoughts: the limbic system functions to help us find the partner; attention, thought and choice help us stay with the partner.
Love is a verb. It is an ongoing action step.
In an interview with Carolyn Alterio, poet Li-Young Lee said that as a parent he felt he needed to act “as much as possible out of a condition of being totally present.”
This conviction embodies love as an action step. There are those who say that Love asks us to hold ourselves to the highest standard.
- Am I with you in body, mind and spirit?
- Do I understand that your experience matters as much as mine in this moment?
- Am I treating you with respect?
- Do I care what you say [even if I have heard this 10000 times before]?
- Can I count to 10 [24 times] before responding when pausing is prudent?
- Can I attend to the moment and appreciate the fact that I am with you? That I am doing something for and with you?
- Can I receive? [a compliment, a hug, help, soup, love, a push, constructive criticism]
Choosing to love puts me at risk for joy and loss, easy times and work, intimacy and more intimacy. There is the danger: intimacy and more intimacy.
- Can I let you into my space, my boundaries?
- Can I risk the consequences of loving you?
- Can I risk the consequences of being loved By you?
As you mull Love as an action step, know that perfection is not an option. None of us are capable of being present, of loving fully, during every single interaction. Life doesn’t work that way. We aren’t made that way. We can, however, strive.
After all, it’s the loving thing to do.
In the most recent post “To Fall in Love,” I wrote about a pathway to falling in love. It includes asking and answering 36 questions with a partner, sitting face to face, then finding a quiet spot and looking into each others eyes for 4 minutes.
Key ingredients: A willing partner, willingness to Listen, willingness to Share, a quiet environment, sitting face to face, authenticity.
When you try this, are you going to fall in love? It is easy to fall in love. Harder to Stay in love. Falling in love, within this context, is actually the decision to open oneself to receive another person. Opening oneself to show one’s authentic self to another person. The questions are designed to offer deepening authenticity; designed to offer opportunities to receive a level of truthful communication from another. These things create the platform on which love and connection can thrive.
We humans crave attainment of a state and hope to live there as if we have scaled a vertical cliff and reached the mesa at the top. Stasis, however, is not a viable option. To stay in love requires effort. It requires us to continue to risk with our partner. To continue to be willing to be seen clearly, to risk being disappointed, to risk living in intimacy. This can be a terrifying state of affairs…at the very least, exhausting.
My willingness to continue to ask questions, your willingness to live with my answers when I give them has everything to do with connection and attunement, those experiences that deepen love. We humans often move in and out of states of awareness with each other and in our day to day worlds.
Loving on Life’s Terms is avoiding tuning out, finding that balance between connection with an Other while living life as it needs to be lived today.
In “Attraction versus Résumé,” I mentioned that Nature has primed us for procreation. We respond accordingly. Nature hasn’t figured out, yet, that we humans have set expectations that we will live with each other, often monogamously for a lifetime. Nature expects us, has pre-programmed us, to have lifelong connection whether we live together or not.
Hooking up, friends with benefits, one night stands, athletic sex, anonymous sex, fun sex. Nature didn’t get the memo that we humans have figured out how to move sex into the recreational, non-consequential realm. The advent of the Pill in the mid 1960s freed women and couples from the probability of unplanned pregnancies. Contraception options abound and therefore sex as recreation is abundant.
Nature made sure sex would feel good and, most report, it does! Except for that unattached lost feeling folks have after the sex is over. Sam Smith [“Stay With Me”] sings plaintively about what it means to lose the connection with another person after sharing bodies.
We are made to connect with each other. Sharing bodies: touching, tasting, teasing skin to skin. All of it serves to join us.
When you connect sexually with someone, you create a history with that person. Each kiss, touch, embrace builds that history. Whether you tell yourself, intellectually, that it doesn’t matter or not your body knows it does. The body remembers. The heart yearns.
If this were an advertisement for beer I would carefully follow ethical code and tell you to remember to drink responsibly. Since this is a blog about Loving on Life’s Terms, I will tell you to remember to have recreational sex responsibly. When you enjoy another’s body, you create history with them. This creates connection. Connection, in Nature’s world, is what sex is about.