Thursday, July 29, 2010
Forms of Love, by Kim Addonizio
I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing, you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, except for this one guy.
I love you when you're not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard and you're running from the cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the syringe takes when you're shooting heroin, after you pull back the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even though we've never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know I could really, really love you.
"Forms of Love" by Kim Addonizio, from Lucifer at the Starlite.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"[...] the fear of loss, drives so much of our behavior. [...] the fact that we're so terrified of the worst case scenario ensures we have little bargaining power.
That's a shame, because as soon as you consider (I mean really consider) the possibility of walking away it changes everything. It changes your your confidence, your creativity, your strength...essentially your ability to be effective in the relationship.
That doesn't mean you should walk away...it just means that just your ability to ask (and answer) the question, "What would happen if I did walk away, leave, or didn't care about the outcome? puts you in a powerful position."
When it comes to this love business, being 'committed but not attached' is a healthy space to hold in order to hold your own and avoid deferring your power to the significant other with whom you're orbiting.
Clinging to a desired outcome in some imaginary future or acting out of fear of losing what you have doesn't support all that can be in the moment-at-large-and-present. It deters and restricts the expansive spontaneity of what is in front of you now. Being unattached to outcome informs a much stronger and much more clear future of possibility.
"... In love relationships, in business matters, in partnering of everykind, you are put on notice not to collapse yourself into that union. For true partnership is achieved only by separate and whole beings who retain their separateness even as they unite. Remember to let the winds of Heaven dance between you."
Or, was it a cosmic tease waving too-good-to-be-true in her face? Perhaps. And yet, she rolled with it because it was what she asked for. When the surprise of opportunities flew from her windowsill as fast as they had landed, as if the alignment of the stars had called them back, she wondered if that was supposed to be a cosmic joke. If it was, her smiler was temporarily out of order.
It was a week after a little heart upset, six months after a similar rendition, and almost two years after another variation on the theme of "I want you, but I can't give you what you want, now."
The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be New Jersey on all counts. She sat with this for a long time and rolled it around through her emotional spaces, exploring what it felt like from the inside. She found some confusion, some frustration and a side of "WTF?"
To say that she was angry would have been fair, as those intense feelings lived in recesses that she carried with her and fueled an inner fury mildly unnoticeable from her cool demeanor.
Hers was the way of going inside and surveying the other related currents of those emotions - like the flow of uncertainty, learning to let go, keeping the heart open and clear through emotional flutters. Always one to take the high road and see what could be gleaned for personal growths sake, she readjusted her focus and felt good again about where she was and what was up.
She slept on that bigger perspective and awoke to a friday unfolding before her. It began with a poem all too uncannily apropo:
You are there.
You have always been
when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
when you were
you were at rest.
Even then it was
you were there.
Not in our nature
to know what is
journey and what
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
To live is to be
at the end.
"You Are There" by Erica Jong, from Love Comes First.
That little ditty rhymed with one of the lessons she was chewing on as of late, and was chased down by a true cinderella engagement story as recounted by an exuberant relative including the romantical details that had culminated into the sealed fate of her sexual economy to her now one-and-only. It sounded so planned, and so perfect. So dream-come-true-ish. (She was impressed that some guys were capable of recreating all the magical pieces of the western myth of romantic love with such precision to detail.)
And, while she was genuinely happy for them, a voice in her head kept asking "does this bring up anything for you?" with such resolute clarity that she wanted to bat it down with a flyswatter; because when she looked, there was nothing much to be found other than more questions but no real response from her own emotional terrain with traces of charted paths around these very engaging places. And maybe - maybe those questions were layers that protected the vulnerable spots - that edged the lodged hurt the way the itchyness of pink skin surrounds a wound trying to heal. Questions that never gave the center of that hurt full expression. But, unbeknownst to her, this inquiry was picking at the scab of a deep wound.
She went on with her day, and decided to have yoga for lunch.
No sooner had she packed up her cuteness and sat on the mat in the downtown studio did she encounter another emerging theme from the past week: anger. (Specifically, what to do with the residual feelings of bitterness and resentment that get lodged all up in our tissues and are characteristically sticky - in the sense that they tend to hang on for a while.) Class, today, would be about meeting those vulnerable-hurts in their intensity and losening the grip she may have on them.
"...Run your breath along the texture of your heart," the instructor said. "See what's there."
Oh, she felt it all - every ridge and edge. And they moved from down dog to plank to cobra to lunge to bound warrior to pidgeon, and back again (and again), flowing through the spaces and the places of the physical and the emotional, and the subtle bodies inbetween; trembling and aching from the cycle of the vinyasa until they reached shavasana and the meditation continued even as the body became still, integrating, a little death.
The instructor brought the class back into the realm of the living and glowing with this little ditty: "Let nothing deter you from pouring out your heart." Those words etched a way into the reddest parts of her that felt the most tender, welled up her insides and dripped onto her mat as the nectar of sweet release.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
The matters of the heart are delicate and tender in that space more so than ever, but not everyone is ready to receive that most beautiful gift of the open heart - and therein lies the (potentially galling) rub.
Namely, if an indecisive aspect of a recent pairing is uncertain over the aforementioned pairing with an other more-certain-about-things aspect, then the relationship is bound by uncertainty as the limiting reactant that holds the space between them with question. Until both move ahead together onto certain grounds, they will be at 2 different places in reference to that notion of togetherness.
(Likewise, if the exuberance about an other that is expressed isn't authentic joy, it's simply an attachment to those amazing feelings of in-loved-ness and fear that those emotions might fly away as fast as they landed. It's worth being honest about that in the chemical haze of lovely beginnings.)
On the other hand, to be met with an open heart in its fullness of expression and to be seen for all that you are by another open heart of the same magnitude is clearly where its at. Anything less might not feel quite right - and being able to articulate that vibe (at any point along the way) is a monumental clarion call. Those intuitions are key signals asking for a voice.
Being OK with unknowns is a good practice. Fears, baggage and insecurities fly up in the space of no details or plans, or lots of 'ifs' with no definites in sight. And, sorting through all of that is a worthwhile exercise so that one can learn the beauty of the momentous present unattached to any illustrious future outcome. (Remember: Life is not about answers, but rather uncertainty and handling that with grace.)
And, somewhere in the enmeshment and boundaries, is the lesson of letting go fully. Because enveloped in love's meaning is a clause about freedom from attachments and restrictions - and that kind of love includes being able to let go fully of the being we love with that very same open heart that embraced their wholeness at the start. (Love is a verb. It moves.)
She needed to throw something. She was no good at throwing rocks to channel that powerful energy out of her beingness -- since she threw like a girl and that left her more frustrated. Regardless, today was a day for watching things break - she needed something gutsy.
With her calm urgency, she dialed her friend known for practicing such emotional clearing ceremonies: "Do you want to go throw eggs* later?"
"Uh-oh," her friend replied, not asking further questions. "Yes, let's meet at the studio at 8ish."
"Great," she said. "The eggs are on me."
She showed up with 3 dozen eggs to a studio fit for the tossing. They took turns launching those stifled, delicate creative masses one by one at the giant white wall sheeted in plastic. Each egg flying towards the wall carried with it something from deep within, either freshly lodged or from long ago, and they watched it shatter. And one by one, as their hearts lightened, the performance art piece that remained was stained with streaks of pussy yolk; bits of broken shells littered the space and stuck to the crystalline remains of some bad eggs.
After 36 scramblers, she was back to sunny-side up.
*(Yes, real eggs, but not the ones from Whole Foods.)
That morning in the aftermath was one of pacing and the breaking down of illusions that crashed into a very visceral reality and the convulsive influx of tears. She found herself in the shower trying to wash it all right out of her hair, still shell shocked about the big 'if' that held no certain terms. Not necessarily all 'when' and 'whenever' - but there was an 'if,' and she was quite hung up on that - wondering, frankly 'where did that come from? and why does that one hurt so much? and what am I not seeing?'