willingly and joyfully

i am agitated.

for the last few months and especially the last few weeks, i feel like i have been in a good place. i am starting to think outside the box…or i should say, my box. i think, in the last year, i have grown so much as a person, and i can’t help but be proud of myself. but with that, my outlook on so many things has changed. i have thrown so many preconceived notions about myself out the window…what i want in life, who i want, how i want my life to be. i am learning what it is to be self-sufficient. i am no longer sure that i want to get married. i am no longer sure that i want children. i am no longer sure i know what i want. and i believe i am coming to peace with this. or am i?

i had a conversation tonight with a friend that was jarring. nothing that was said in this conversation came as any surprise, but what did surprise me was how i felt about it. this person is lovely, and we have been seeing a lot of each other lately. and every time i see this person i smile, each time having learned new ways in which he is special. he is a free spirit. and i like that. i like that his mind moves in a dozen different circles…that he is eager to evolve and move onto the next adventure. knowing this about him, i resolved to enjoy him while i was lucky enough to have him in my life. i saw nothing beyond today…this moment. i sought no definition. i needed no boundaries.

somehow tonight, we got on the subject of relationships and inadvertently touched on questions of loyalty and honesty. i stated that loyalty was important to me…probably the most important aside from honesty. not that i can humor myself as being completely pristine in either area…though i strive to be. in any case, his reply was that he wasn’t sure he agreed with the idea of ‘monogamous’ as a definition. mind you, we were not speaking about ourselves, but in a theoretical sense. i asked him to explain. he stated that if it came down to the difference between being in a defined monogamous relationship and meeting someone new and having to end the relationship in order to pursue the new possibility…or being in a relationship in which you had the freedom to explore the new possibility without the confines of traditional definitions…he preferred the latter. to this, i questioned whether this was possible due to potential jealousies…to which he replied that his theory was his notion of an ideal world. i suggested that the primary reason people seek definition is due to a fear of that which can be lost. it’s not that we need to define ourselves…it’s that we take definition as a measure towards protecting whatever it is we enjoy or have come to need. a free relationship is fine and good until that which you love drifts into another realm, leaving you behind. leaving one’s options open is wonderful until you are no longer the option the other desires. perhaps a self-actualized person could handle this….but to those of us average folks, the danger is daunting. so we rely on conventions.

with my new outlook on life, i agreed with this. while i am not sure i feel the same way, i see the value in this freedom. how much more does it mean to have all the options in the world and to choose one person? of course, this means infinitely more. or does it? is it always tenuous? on the assumption that one is not tied to one relationship, where does the exploration end? is it an active exploration? or is it the openness to pursue a possibility should something incredible fall into one’s lap? is there ever a time when someone can rest easy knowing the hand of a loved one will always be within arm’s reach? i see potential problems in this new model. not to suggest that those problems don’t always exist…

it makes me think of marriage. what does that mean anymore? if we are speaking in ideals, a marriage should be a deal between two people to stick together through thick and thin. even in an ideal world, relationships are not perfect…you are not always in love with your lover…you don’t even like your lover all the time. is this when a new possibility swoops in? perhaps…but i believe, in marriage, the answer should be ‘no.’ an agreement has been made to endure each other. i used to think that extending the right to marry to homosexuals was only fair…among other reasons, in order to allow them this one convention that helps enable two people to commit. i am not suggesting it is necessary…i am merely suggesting that, in marriage, it is far more difficult to split when the going gets tough. i see value in this aside from the other accepted benefits of marriage. however, this ‘agreement’ is being thrown around all too easily these days. what difference does it make to get married when, within a year, you could just as easily be married to someone new. in this present system, why not throw out the convention altogether? but where does one draw the line?

back to our conversation…my friend stated an instance in which his heart was broken and that the most vexing aspect of the situation was the thought that he had allowed one person to have such an affect on him. (in this case, i imagine it was a negative one.) and as he said this, i could empathize. i know what he meant…to let one person shake you from your roots. i let one person do this to me. he was by no means the only person i have ever cared about, but he was the first person to tear me down to my core. he was the first person, aside from my family, that i allowed myself to need. and i recalled something this man’s mother said to me…that she would never allow herself to need someone else ever again. she said this and was in one of the more successful relationships i have ever witnessed. in retrospect, i have often thought of what she said…as part of my new world view.

so as we are talking tonight, my friend continues to describe his family member’s devastation at her divorce…his own devastation after getting his heart broken…the subsequent boundary between his heart and those he has since dated. and his words are upsetting, though not due to my own lost love…or even the new one. it is due to my lost desire to need someone. the fear that i have closed myself off from my need. the fear that i will never allow someone to move me like that ever again. and it terrifies me.

i push these things to the back of my head, but a line from steve martin’s ‘shopgirl’ lingers in my mind. ‘so i can either hurt now or later.’ and suddenly, my free spirit, my new outlook seems distant. ‘i can either hurt now or later.’ but then, isn’t that always the case? isn’t it always a possibility that you can hurt later?

i come home to my own bed and lay awake. another line from the movie resonates: “as ray porter watches mirabelle walk away he feels a loss. how is it possible, he thinks, to miss a woman whom he kept at a distance so that when she was gone he would not miss her. only then does he realize that wanting part of her and not all of her had hurt them both and how he cannot justify his actions except that… well… it was life.” so true. we can hurt now or later.

and so, i sit here releasing my thoughts…hoping that i will be able to sleep when i am done. and then, my thoughts are with gibran. i know i have quoted him before…and i will again. these are words i hope to live by:

“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”

i cannot resist letting someone move me…shake me. it is only natural for another person to be able to affect each of us in such profound ways…it is a question of natural law…it is a question of gravity. may i savor every moment of my collision with another…and may i bleed willingly and joyfully.

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~ by ladamesansregrets on March 21, 2007.

One Response to “willingly and joyfully”

  1. this is very moving in itself. thank you,

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