Okay: so you and I are in a relationship and I call you one Friday to tell you I’ll be hanging out the boys – a boys night out. What I conveniently left out is there will be naked women rubbing up on me where me and the boys will be hanging out.
Did I lie? And if so, why do you consider it a lie?
The answer is quite simple…
I’m at the women’s prison all day today. For those who won’t be around, have a safe holiday weekend.
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-=[ Creating a Recipe for Love ]=-
To loved and be loved, to be seen and understood, these are the treasures we seek.
We live in a world inundated with images and words of love. It saturates our senses, our reason, the very core of our being. Without being able to verbalize its definition, we intuitively grasp the meaning of love, seeking its essence throughout our lives.
We live in a culture that places an extraordinary emphasis on love, treating it as a scarce commodity and embedding it into the fabric of our psychology, our work, and our spiritual beliefs. We are expected to love. We marry (and sometimes kill) for love. We divorce for the lack of love. Without it, we somehow feel incomplete.
Ironically, we’re also a society that is starved for love. The problem is not in our capacity to love, but in our need to be loved, a need hardwired into us since before birth, expressed through the dependence of our childhood, fueled by the uncertainty of adolescence, and frustrated by the increasing demands of adult life.
Is it no wonder that few people find the quality of love they need?
People have an overly simplistic view of love. They seem to think that love is only a matter of acting lovable and “falling” in love with the “right” person. But love is an unnatural act; it is an art, a process of learning that demands patience, discipline, and dedication. And yet, despite all the evidence indicating otherwise, people continue to treat love casually. We still adhere to myth of love as an accident (falling in love), or a preordained and perhaps divine act of fate (soul mates).
Sorry, folks, but I’ll hazard being the wet blanket today and just say that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and love isn’t a feeling. Love is an act of will.
But what exactly is the nature of this beast called love? Is it real, or a cruel neuropsychological joke? More importantly, what must we do to really love another person, to effectively communicate our need to be loved, and to resolve the conflicts that will arise? These questions, pondered by some of the greatest minds in history, seem unexplored today.
Today, we experience a freedom to love never known before in history. Love, marriage, and intimacy – all have been revisioned to embrace awareness, freedom, and independence. But this freedom has come with a price. It has come about at the cost of upsetting our sense of personal identity and of what it means to be in a relationship.
In the 1970s and 1980s we became a society of seekers, exploring and promoting a wide range of lifestyles from which to choose. I believe this was a great thing. We can no longer adhere to outdated notions and strict definitions of what it means to be a man or woman. Yet, today our definitions of intimacy have become so complex that it is almost impossible to grasp, causing us to be thrust in a world of confusion and competing subjective realities.
Where to start?
Every woman knows the fairy tale: find the right man, give him what he wants and needs, and he’ll love you forever. However, what to do when the myth you’ve been asked to believe fails to deliver? When you sense you’ve been settling for less than you know in your heart is possible? On the other hand, it is time for us men to go beyond the macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart. But the sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine, is equally played out. Only when heart and spine are integrated can we men then move into the fullest expression of love, an openness into the infinite possibilities of this present moment. And this takes a new kind of courage.
This shift in consciousness is actually a good thing. Perhaps we all can begin by striving to be more emotionally expressive and responsive, more positive in our attitudes, to develop a willingness to explore relationships more openly, comfortably experimenting with the full spectrum of love: platonic, romantic, traditional, pragmatic, long distance, genderless, futuristic, etc. We live at a point in time where an interesting redefinition of intimacy has already begun and maybe we need to become willing to be more honest with ourselves and listen and learn.