Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Encounters with Love


So surreal looking, isn't it? It's a banner hanging at the perimeter of the fountain in the National Gallery sculpture garden.

When Dan Gurney assures me that loving IS cool, I suspect he's imagining a different scenario than mine. Maybe he thinks of the Dalai Lama allowing multiversal, divine love to pour through him, increasing his gracefulness and poise, even in the worst of circumstances. Yeah. That is definitely cool.

What I was imagining is the kind of love that reduces me to a blubbering, quivering, freaky mess. Once upon a time, coming face to face with something incredibly beautiful, like Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, for instance, or standing before a painting like one of Picasso's early (pre-cubism) portraits, brought into my heart a feeling of love so pure, it made me weak in the knees. Yeah, I admit it, I used to literally fall down when I encountered beauty like that. Love is so powerful. Whoa. I fell down at weddings, while hiking, at concerts and art exhibits, and of course often in the presence of a beloved. Yeah. Now c'mon, that is NOT cool! Ha!



During my priestesship within Reclaiming I trained myself not to buckle under the impact of profound beauty, profound and heartfelt love. I practiced letting that sort of experience make me stand taller. I learned, little by little, to take a deep breath (rather than gasping), put my shoulders back, lift my chin, suck in my gut and stand tall when the power of love knocked the breath out of me. Thinking now about how I talked myself out of being so damn vulnerable to powerful love is interesting. My learned behavior is no cooler than my previous reaction, except it's less embarrassing to stand tall than to crumple under the influence of great love.

In a sense, that learned behavior is one way in which I hold big love at an arm's length. By tilting against the tenderizing aspect of love, I became in a certain sense more functional (i.e. I can now attend the births of babies without rolling around on the floor, thank god!) but it took me one big step backwards in terms of letting love flow through me, unhampered.

I'm not really looking to crumple under the influence again. That was too much of too much - very intense (true to my nature) but not sustainable. But I would like to be able to become softer when I encounter powerful love again, rather than bigger and badder-assed - tougher - as I have for at least twenty years.

In love as in all other things, I seek the Tao of Goldilocks. It's interesting to contemplate - how to be who I am, passionate and intense, without letting those qualities get out of hand or shut me down completely. It's a great challenge - but - I'm up for it. I am. Oh yeah.


The cone flowers look so earnest, don't they?

17 comments:

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I weep at beauty all the time. Right now I'm looking out my window at the sun coming up and the orange flowers on my Mexican Bird of Paradise are glowing in the morning rays and it makes me teary. I imagine falling over would indeed become problematic at times. I like being able to feel the love inside me when I witness beauty but now I think I might be glad I don't have as keen as eye or as deep an understanding of it all as you. I would be hurting myself all the time :)

ellen abbott said...

I felt immense love and happiness at the rain yesterday.

I guess life here is learning to balance. All things in moderation. It's when we go to extremes that bad things happen.

SG said...

That is often a challenge - being passionate and intense without letting these qualities shut us down. There are times I feel overwhelmed with emotions, good, bad, ugly - all sorts. Sometimes these emotions make me act rashly. In retrospect I often think that things would not have gone out of hand had I not felt so intensely. But then, another part of me tells me that had I not been intense, I would not have been myself.
As Ellen says, balancing is the key, I guess.

Reya Mellicker said...

Don't believe for one second I understand it, Jeanette. I love birds of paradise. They are truly wrenchingly beautiful.

Reya Mellicker said...

SG - yes - how can I be authentic, yet balanced? It's a very interesting question.

Kerry said...

I love it that art and nature and life strikes you so passionately; maybe there are times when you can take the filter off and just buckle under the immensity of it all. Maybe once in awhile this would be fabulous?

Meri said...

What a self-reflective and interesting post. And it made me wonder where Scorpio is in your chart. Silly, I know. . .

Reya Mellicker said...

Meri that is not silly. Pluto is in my first house (In Leo) directly opposing my conjunct Sun/Moon in Aquarius in the 7th house. Ka-pow!!!

Scorpio is down at the bottom of my chart. There are no planets there, but Pluto in the first, conjunct my ascendant, opposing my sun/moon, is PLENTY to make me passionate. I also have Venus/Mars conjunct in Aries in my 9th house. I'm one big ole explosion waiting to happen.

Kerry I love the idea of buckling every now and then. But how do I do that? How do I decide when it's OK? Is it a conscious decision? Interesting to think about.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Are the cone flowers straining toward love or light? Maybe they are one in the same.

I "love" ellen's comment... I'd like to feel that kind of love.

Reya Mellicker said...

yeah, rain after a drought could bring me to my knees, definitely!

The cone flowers look so earnest. Jake used to make that same "face." I wonder if that makes any sense.

Tom said...

so melodramatic. wow. that reminds me of the fainting goats (no, you do not remind me of a goat). Sure, i've felt emotions powerfully, but haven't been knocked for a loop for many a year now...sort of envious, you know?

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't get knocked for a loop any longer, Tom. I trained myself not to - but I used to. I was a swooner. Oh yeah!

steven said...

love is such an experience. it's all experiences really. how far the fingers of those experience reach inside and play the strings of us is something to do with our openness and availability. the music that plays those fingers is all from the same source - dan's envisioning of the "dalai lama allowing multiversal, divine love to pour through him" - the love i feel in the music of robert fripp holding a note that says absolutely everything there could possibly be said about the point of suffering, the moment of holding my newborn children, the indescribable gratitude i feel for whatever extraordinary set of circumstances allowed me despite everything . . . and you'd have to know all of my life to know that everything means everything - to be a teacher and to bring so much of the love that is available to me into the lives of deeply damaged kids and give them hope, the same quality of love that i feel from every living and non-living thing that collectively i know as this world. i figure it all points to itself. everything is love. how we get past the surface of that experiencing is unique to each of us. i have been overwhelmed with love for people, music, art, plants, animals, oh my goodness the list has no end and oscillates between the skin of this place and its darkest and lightest places. that's how it is. one part of our work here is to recognize love, another is to learn to love, another is to be love. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Amen!

Dan Gurney said...

Like steven said. Love. Like John Lennon said, "All you need is love, love is all you need." Still, in English the word love can mean SO many different ways of feeling that it's easy to confuse each other when we talk about Love.

Reya Mellicker said...

Confusion is one of the most fascinating effects of love. It discombobulates, it unhinges old patterns, it is a chaos of healing.

I'm really into it these days!

Mr Lonely said...

thanks for sharing this wonderful post... =D
Regards,
Mr Lonely from www.lonelyreload.com ~ XD