Monthly Archives: July 2011

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

The '80s epitome of love

– Contributed by Wee C

Not long ago I used some sort of fancy Facebook app that summarized all my activities on “the FB” into one nifty little presentation. Thank goodness for marketers and their ingenious ideas, eh? What I liked about it, though, was that it told me the word that appeared most frequently on my profile. To no one’s surprise, I’m sure, LOVE was my word. I’m pretty sure that I was born in the wrong era because I’ve long believed that love is, indeed, what makes the world go round. I’m a pretty big fan, to say the least. And not just of the “in love” kind of love, but equally, the “I love you, man” kind of love.

So, needless to say, love is a top-of-mind topic with me. It’s something I think about often, wondering what it looks like, how it evolves, why it changes, how to give it with abundance, and how to gracefully receive it. But recently, for a whole variety of reasons (and don’t any of you get all presumptuous, I just happen to have the privilege of renewed perspective and good literature fueling my busy mind), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the “in love” kind of love.

As a child of the ’80s, I was born and raised on soap operas and romantic comedies. So early on I came to be brainwashed believe that being in love was a place of bliss and fulfillment. C’mon, how could you not want what Luke and Laura or Felicia and Frisco had?! The trouble is that for a long time I saw being in love as a destination; a place you work to get towards or what you’re rewarded with after a sufficient period of good behaviour has passed. Surely this is where the tragic notion of brownie points became solidified?

For a long time, I was anxious to get there. To that place called being in love. I now see just how narrow, and frankly stifling, this point-of-view is. And it’s one I bet a whole lot of us share. Heck, the term “falling in love” itself suggests that love, at least in the romantic sense, is a goal, a destination, or worse, an end-state. And once you’re officially “in love”, it’s like the journey has stopped and you can just settled in. You’ve arrived. Let the dirty socks and nagging abound.

But for someone who loves love as much as I do, I’ve come to realize that’s just not good enough. In fact, I kinda think it sucks. It’s certainly not how I want to look at it in my life any longer. I want my definition of love to be far less limiting, much more about a journey than a destination, and much less likely to incite resentment and feelings of confinement.

So, I’ve re-framed the romantic version of love in my mind. Simply, for me love is a shared journey of discovery; a common search. It’s a journey where you get the privilege of creating meaning together. This places love on a continuum and suggests it continues to grow and evolve for as long as you wish to be on the journey together. It’s not a destination at all. And that paints a pretty beautiful picture in my mind.

It’s also a place where you are supported in your growth and where you get to support and mentor someone else in theirs. It’s where exploration is comfortable and never judged. It’s where you get to try and fail, or try and succeed. The wonderful thing about this is that human beings never stop learning or evolving, and therefore, neither should love.

And just because I make it sound all peaceful and balanced, don’t for a second think that I’m trying to take the mad rush out of being in love. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m trying to sustain the rush for a lifetime.

In my mind, thinking of being in love as a place you work towards, an achievement you wish to accomplish, or something you’ve earned, diminishes it. But perhaps more importantly, it creates all kinds of unnecessary and fabricated pressures. We get anxious to just get there already. We want to check it off our list so we can move onto the next thing – the house, the car, the baby. We get impatient with our significant other and wonder what the hell is taking them so long.

Who knows if I’m right. But right now I like the way this sounds. Thinking about love this way excites me. It makes my heart pretty darned happy. And it makes me wonder what the heck Laura ever saw in Luke anyway.

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Have A Little Faith

– Contributed by Wee C

So, I know. It’s been awhile. I haven’t exactly been attentive to our little corner of the Internet, have I? If our blog were a piece of property, the weeds would have overtaken the house by now and the neighbourhood children would be wondering if the witches had moved in. Um, excuse me, there will be no snarky comments from the peanut gallery. I can hear you from here.

But, the thing is, I’m kinda happy these days. Rephrase: I’m really flippin’ (insert more profane language here if you’re not my parents or children under the age of 12) happy. Which has made me realize that I don’t have all that much to talk or fret or moan about. For the first time in a long time, I’m pretty damned settled. That means you’re stuck with the “I love my life” blog post.

So what got me here? Simple answer: faith. I’m still working on faith “in what”, but definitely faith in something bigger than myself – in the world, in God, the energy of life.

Don’t be fooled. I didn’t get here overnight. When life slams you flat on your ass, you don’t bounce back up like a basketball (although that’d be a neat party trick). It’s a hard, uphill slog and you’ve gotta choose faith every single day. Some days, you’re choosing it a thousand times a day, slaying each and every one of your wandering, misbehaving thoughts with a big fat faith laser sword (you know, one with sparkles and such). Think of Mario going to save the Princess. Sometimes you had to try and beat that level a lot of times before the monster was toast. But the reward at the end was worth it, yes? Kisses from the Princess, c’mon.

I’m already predicting what you’re saying. Really? Isn’t that a little naive? Life doesn’t really work that way. Put the crazy in a padded room. But I’m telling you, changing my internal commentary and relying on faith has worked. Every.Single.Time.

Want in? Start by changing the language you use in your mind. Somehow we’ve learned to categorize everything by good and bad, positive and negative, right and wrong. What happens if we took that lens away? What if it just “is”. Think about it in context: you lost your job. Your first reaction is “that’s bad”. But how can you possibly know that? How many times in life do we label something as good or bad and it turns out to be the exact opposite? Perhaps more importantly, how many times do we label something as good or bad and then fight to hold onto what we thought it was, even when life is showing us that we’re dead wrong? Because, let’s be honest, as human beings, we’re not all that good at being proven wrong. We tend not to embrace that with enthusiasm.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that we can’t have emotional responses to what life throws at us. Good heavens, if I took emotion out of my life, I might as well bite the bullet now…emotion is the currency I operate in. So, yes, allow yourself to respond. Be human. Be joyful when the situation calls for it. And be sad when you need to be. Just don’t get stuck there. When the time is right, pull back, remove the labels and don’t let the ultimate dichotomy of good and bad suck you in.

The trick is that you can’t stop there and sit idle, because you will get sucked back into the vortex. You have to actively believe that things will work out as they should. Actively means not fretting when you want to fret. It means freeing your mind from the what ifs and paralyzing commentary like “I should have done it this way” or “If only I had turned left instead of right”. It means listening and watching for signs that point you in the direction you’re supposed to be going, even if it’s not where you think you should be going. And, yes, it means having blind, evidence-lacking faith that life will lead you down exactly the right path.

I know that it’s a mind bend and not everyone will get there. Believe me, I know. As Pollyanna as I make it sound, I routinely struggle to follow my own advice. The less-enlightened version of myself is always fighting the wiser version. The more I let the wiser one win, though, the better life seems to get. And if I look at some of the incredible things and people that life has brought me in the past couple of months, it’s hard to argue with having a little faith…in faith.

PS – I happened across my high-school yearbook the other day and found the following quote in my grad write-up. Seems I’ve been carrying this belief around with me for quite some time.

“Faith. Faith in a spirit possessing greater strength, wisdom, power and love than you do. Faith in the ultimate goodness of life. Faith in yourself. Faith that as you seek, you will find.”