Monday, June 6, 2011

WAIT



Revelations of late have been profound and banal ... isn't it always the way new versions of old stories unveil themselves? Some things that have come to me are just kind of silly. For instance, I've realized fashion is a way of mirroring. It's the way we identify ourselves as high ranking members of the pack. Fashion is instinctual behavior. Fashion is no different than the way in which dogs pick up on each other's traits - usually the most annoying traits, should say. When I moved into the house on Tennessee Avenue, Jake had never howled - never. But as soon as he heard the other dogs in the house howling, he picked up the habit, no doubt thinking (in his canine way) that the fashion in the house demanded a lot of mournful howling when sirens could be heard. He howled to his dying day.

Maybe I'm the last person to figure it out. But - does it matter? Well ... it helps keep me from being as judgmental as I might be when I see all the middle school girls wearing their hair in french braids, all the 20-something hotties in short shorts and ankle boots, for instance. Even I bought one of those silly little fedoras - though truth be told, those hats are no longer in style among the truly cool people. I run rather late in the world of fashion since I was born without that gene.



Most of what's actually interesting about recent revelations has to do with love. I've been healing fears, opinions and judgments about love at a very deep level; it's kind of miraculous. After thinking about the comments on yesterday's post (thank you!) I've come to the conclusion that losing oneself in love has more to do with poor self-esteem than passion. I honestly didn't know that before now. Rather than withdrawing or keeping people at an arm's length, perhaps I could bolster my self-esteem, keep my center of gravity, and love boldly. Yes? I say yes. (Thanks, too, to Jo who has been pointing me in this direction for awhile now.)

I've been buggered by love gone bad so many times. Not just romantic love - in friendship too I've been betrayed, dumped, shat upon. Oh man, my heart has been broken so many times. I am a resilient person, though - fortunately or not fortunately - so I tend to always come back for more.

One of my clients who regularly attends AL-ANON meetings has shared with me some of the tools they use. One of their aphorisms is about how expectations set one up for resentment. That's interesting when thinking of love. When I love, I want to be loved back at equal strength. It seems important. It seems fair. When that doesn't happen, I am resentful, hurt ... awwww I'm so pathetic at times like that. Just recently, really only during the past few days, it has come to me to just let love flow, go where it wants, catch myself in the act of expectation and let go again and again. This is definitely a strenuous practice, but I feel, at last, up to the task. I've let go of other stupid, destructive habits, why not release this bad habit of love? Well? Why not?

There's more, but this is enough for today. Another tool the AL-ANON people use is an acronym: WAIT, which stands for "Why Am I Talking?" What a good question! I've said plenty; stopping now.

21 comments:

California Girl said...

Re: your Al-Anon reference, my MIL calls it "love with an open hand". Seems appropriate but oh so hard to do.

Reya Mellicker said...

Love with an open hand? That's beautiful!

Ptolemy said...

I doubt there would be any benefit to telling my 8 year old that WAIT = "why am I talking" but it's worth trying out once! ;-) That's his stock answer for any request made of him! WAIT!

ellen abbott said...

Oh, I totally get that, wanting to be loved equally. when you have a best friend you want to be her best friend too and then you find out you aren't, maybe not even a preferred friend. that hurts when that happens. I like the idea of loving without expectations and try to cultivate that.

SG said...

Unrequited love hurts. Several years ago, I was told that when you love, you should not love with the expectation of getting the same amount of love back, because then it will be more like trading, or barter. That was a good advice to lend my ear to, not so easy when it came to practise. I have struggled, and still struggle with expectations in love (any kind - romantic, friendship, family), but I have realized that it is a good aim to aspire to.. Love without expecting to be loved in return.

Nancy said...

As usual I find so much when I stop by here.

Jo said...

Reya, you are without a doubt one of the most resilient people I know. Have you ever considered where you might be if you weren't? What a blessing to be able to give love, take a hit now and then, readjust, and love again!

Bolster your self-esteem, keep your center of gravity, AND love boldly? YES, YES, YES!

You are most welcome for any insight you've received from me, but it pales in comparison to the thousands you've given me. ♥

Dan Gurney said...

English needs more words for "love." I feel grateful to mystics from the Indian subcontinent for helping me think about "love" as four immeasurable divine states of heart/mind: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. When I talk about love, those four are what I'm thinking about. People round here feel these states of mind, hopefully, with regard to their children and pets. Jake.

Sexual attraction seems quite unrelated to this sort of love. Lust is more connected to greed and is caused by hormonal imbalance. One of agings many graces, hormone attenuation.

Calling sexual desire "love" is like calling a wolf in dressed wool a "sheep." Our language makes it hard to see that.

Elizabeth said...

I need everyone to love me passionately and madly all the time and get very fed up when they don't!
So very hard when you like someone A LOT and they really can't be bothered with you at all.
Horribly hurtful and makes me cry tears of wild frustration and plan lots of revenge because ......because......I'm very silly indeed.
However, much better to being open to being hurt than all shut off and uber-miserable and out of contact.
So, when are you coming to NY?

Meri said...

Isn't it amazing what a challenging spiritual path relationship can be? A never-ending flow of issues. . . and opportunities.

Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth I adore you utterly and completely. I'm hoping to come up to NYC in July.

Dan - wow. A lot to think about in your comment. I think of lust as a very embodied form of love. No it is not refined and is very connected to instinct, but it brings people together, helps them stick together when the going gets rough. It inspires people to recreate the marriage of earth and sky. I am pro-lust, definitely and though it isn't as insistent as it once was, it continues to run through me. I am grateful to feel that beautiful hunger and thirst even now at my advanced age.

I've though about having a bunch of words for love, but I like just having one word. It's a mystery that to me can not be pidgeon-holed according to relationship.

Yes, Meri, it is!

And Jo: honey, you da bomb!! You wake up me over and over again. I am so grateful you're my friend!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ptolemy - great to "see" you!

Kerry said...

Oh Jake, that howling probably made you feel as though you were a member of a glorious choir. This never goes out of fashion in the canine world!

The al-anon tools that are being passed on to you are truly bits of wisdom. wow.

steven said...

reya, i wish for nothing more than to experience the unconditional. my first awareness of this has been through my children, then through some of the features of my work, then through the natural world. see, i hope to get the whole thing right this lifetime. so many false starts. so many times i misunderstood myself and others, so many times i deliberately mistook lust for love. my need to be loved as love itself. it's nearly always been an entirely conditional experience. i've let go of so much and perhaps that's the path to follow. there you are. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

So Steven, you agree with Dan that lust is not even some part of love?

steven said...

nope! it's a different quality of love. affection is love. so's care. there're so many forms and means of love. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

I think so, too.

Whitney Lee said...

I'm now concerned what my attire says of me...

I have to say, if you've been burned by love that many times, kudos to you for continuing to put yourself out there instead of shutting yourself off.

I continually remind myself that when I have expectations I am setting myself up for disappointment. I try (often unsuccessfully) to view my love as a gift with no strings attached. I feel what I feel and if the person feels differently it's okay; it doesn't lessen my emotion. It's easiest for me to do this with my children. I think the shock of heartache and unmet expectations is worse with friends than with lovers. We are prepared for lovers/romantic love to burn us, but friends are the ones who are always supposed to be there. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the hurt is worse, just the surprise of it.

As for dogs, Cody didn't bark for two years until my sister's dog came around-now we can't get him to stop. Posturing, huh?

Reya Mellicker said...

Whitney, yes, the hideous end of various friendships has been far more difficult to deal with.

My question about dogs and fashion is - why don't they pick up on each other's GOOD traits? They never do! Just the annoying traits. Bless their hearts!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Interesting thing about "love", I think the best place to begin to love is to love ones own self. When you love yourself you don't look for validation from another person... at least not too much validation. I think we all want to be liked, i.e. validated.

As far as being loved back with "equal strength" that may be a difficult thing to verify. How do we know when it's equal? It may be all a person can give which may be more or less than what we are giving them.

You have raised some interesting things about love to ponder, but you always do bring us to think.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Cheryl. When the love flows back and forth in balance, I just KNOW it. I feel it. Haven't felt it very many times, indeed ... but it has happened. With my first true love, Miles, it was full on for both of us. Ahhhhh...

Loving oneself. Yeah. I do ... but self esteem is a bit different I think, has to do with pride in balance, I think.