A friend of mine is a philosopher, both emotionally, intrinsically and academically. She recently messaged from overseas with the news that her and a former friend are in love.We all lived together way back, so it was pretty big and unexpected news and in her usual, eloquent style she coupled this news with a quote. The quote made me stop and think about our perceptions and reactions to life and love. It started with this delightful part:
“Eventually, we’ll find that creature we know exists: the ‘right person’; we’ll understand each other very well, we’ll like doing everything together, and we’ll experience deep mutual devotion and loyalty. They will, at last, be on our side.’
Then it soon moved onto something else. Having recently started journaling in what started off as a mindfulness book, the quote below provided an excuse to scribble ad hoc quotes down…
‘We go around with mental pictures, lodged in our brains, of how things are supposed to go. We may hardly even notice we’ve got such phantasms. But expectations have an enormous impact on how we respond to what happens to us. They are always framing the way we interpret events in our lives…We aren’t dreaming. We’re just remembering. The idea of a good relationship isn’t coming from what we’ve seen in adulthood. It’s coming from a much stronger, more powerful source. The idea of happy coupledom taps into a fundamental picture of comfort, deep security, and wordless communication and of our needs being effortlessly understood and met. It’s coming from early childhood.’
This is from:
When we are children we love freely, with the expectation that we will be loved back. It could mean that we know who we are as a child, what love truly is and/or that a level of blind trust is actually needed for people to make love work. It is also likely to mean that our ideas of love are founded in childhood. Therefore, whatever it is that we see and feel, we interpret as meaning love. So physical contact, communication and many other ways we display love as adults were partially conditioned in us as children. In one sense, two people are required to ignore anything and everything that has happened to them before in order to truly be authentic and make something wondrously intimate happen, whilst basing that entire thing on what they were brought into the world with to believe as being standard.
Love operates on a higher plane to almost everything else. Our heart cells are the first thing to grow as fetuses and they emanate an undeniable amount of energy. Society can, at times, skew notions of genuine intimacy and opportunity, as it has decided to prescribe everything and lots of people can go around wondering if they are doing the right thing to please that person, or attract another one, with articles telling people how to ‘keep their man’ and ‘please their woman’. Self-improvement is really important, yet, authenticity is crucial too, as is communication. The idea of being authentic and ourselves can at times, can go out of the window in many respects and it’s the only way we learn anything, even when we royally mess things up, those lessons occur for a reason. Whenever we attempt to fit a standard bill or match another person’s expectations, we can rob ourselves of those important experiences from which we truly learn and grown.
In many ways love can be simplistic, yet, equally it is terrifying as it involves grave vulnerability and makes us increasingly aware of our frailties. This friend of mine is grounded, yet, she is hesitant and excited, whilst her tail is in a spin of analysis as she is about to put herself out on a perceived limb, and vulnerability is a difficult thing to manage. It can’t be packaged, slimmed down, trimmed or put in your handbag like most modern day commodities. Instead it has to be fashioned openly, honestly and in its full, grizzly glory without the aid of anyone or anything but the person who is sharing their past experiences, openness and ability to connect.
Therefore, gunning from an early childhood perspective sounds magical (depending on where that comes from) in theory, yet, the human brain and body work very differently to that at times. So, as always and as is the fate of human nature, idealism contends with natural law and all the jargon and bits and bobs we’ve thrown on top and that glorious thing we’ve almost lost sight of – instinct. Natural born instinct is imperative, the main thing that drives love is true desire. Joyce describes love as rather lucidly in his silver-tongued style…
The idea that this friend, who persistently challenges my ideas by expanding them has suggested, is that when it comes to love the rules of nature and learning to protect oneself are entirely turned on their head and reversed. Instead, we need to explore, openly, honestly and fearlessly and feel safe doing so. Do we relive our childhood patterns concerning emotional connections throughout our lives? Yes, in all likeliness, I think we do. Being the kid in dungarees that wore a cap and climbed fences and trees, always spoke to strangers, befriended the shy kid at school, and no doubt, scared them silly by doing so, I didn’t really get the love thing too quickly (AKA late bloomer). Former me believed that love meant feeling safe, how wrong I was, and I didn’t long for that.
As a teenager I fancied bad boys because they were free willed and nice guys because they were sensitive, yet, their subtle silent signs of affection went straight over my head. I can’t say things have changed a great deal, asides from relationships becoming increasingly fulfilling as I figure out the things I believe to be most significant in terms of values, experiences and an ability to share more honestly as the years go by. Much like returning to a childhood perspective, older generations become increasingly liberated the more childlike they become, as they drop their guards and return to a natural sense of being.
I was once told that there are four levels of compatibility, the buddhist wheel below suggests that there are six. The one’s I have become attuned with are physical, emotional, spiritual and communication levels make the last. Most people find someone with two levels of connection, three years later they are bored or frustrated and poof, it’s over. If we find three levels of connection we’re lucky, four is the recherché bonanza or six if you wish to follow the wheel below.
I think these two could have it all, they are both wild, free and view the world from a similar angle and can now see the countless ways that they complement one another.
So, what do we desire as children and how did we approach love before
adulthood? As children we persistently seek to challenge love, both in how we receive, perceive and display it. Regardless of when and how we find it, it encourages a tremendous amount of growth and fun.