Tuesday, 13 August 2013

ESSAY: Love in some strange quarters

Isn’t it funny how people are constantly talking about being in love, feeling love, making love and living love; when in actual fact we very often don’t even know what love is.

Many who proclaim it have never felt it, at least not as I believe it really is.
So what is love?

Love is acceptance of the person as they really are, not as we would wish them to be. We see the person and think: “once that little flaw is gone, he/she will be just perfect”; or we project an illusion of what we wish to see onto our loved one, we use them as a convenient coat -hanger for our fantasies, then screech in outraged betrayal when we see that is NOT what they really are…  We pick some one for strength and turn away in horror if they show frailties or vulnerability. We use people as place-holders for ambition, o vanity, or to express dominion, and call it love.

Love is challenge. Love - the real thing - pushes you to grow beyond your previous boundaries. Love wants the best for the beloved. Love is a strong hand on your back, pushing you forward, but offering support should you falter.

Love is support: when you love, you want what is best for the beloved; even if it’s not what you want, even if it means an upset in your plans, even if the best for your lover is not you.

Love is intimacy: knowing your love, and equally, letting yourself be known. Love is sharing your innermost being to the very core. Good and bad, strengths and frailties, warts and all. Love is trust, knowing that the very acceptance you are giving is mirrored in another soul.

Love is a very scary thing indeed.
The real thing, I mean. It takes you into places you really did NOT want to go, show parts of yourself you’re not comfortable with yourself. Love makes you choose to live. REALLY live. Not just go through motions, routines we call life, near imitations. Love forces you to wakefulness.

It hurts. Not just when it goes wrong, when it goes right, it hurts too. Until we accept, until we trust, until we open ourselves utterly, at every level.

Please don’t confuse obsession with love, obsession is rape in comparison to love. Obsession is ownership, possession, an expression of transformed desperate greed.

Love, passionate and fierce as it may be, is not forced on another, ever. It is a slow unfolding of the self. A thing of tenderness and quiet nurturing as it is of fiery desire.  Love is wanting your beloved’s joy, his/her individual growth into their maximum potential; and your own too.

Above all, being the beloved’s mirror.”Look, my love, how beautiful you are, how strong, how free.” 
Love is not a bind, but a shared freedom, giving each other wings, sharing new horizons, drawing new maps, new journeys. Love alters, day to day; nuances of spirit or flesh, as we change and grow.

What does not change is this: the acceptance, the challenge, the support. These are what define love. If you have these you have passion and respect.

If you have these, you can love forever.

Manuela Cardiga

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