Some musings on love…

These days there is something gentle in the air.

It is a gentleness which seems to grow with each passing year, blossoming slowly, as if each day contained something of the essence of spring.  The quality of the experience is like the tender rubbing of a rose petal passing softly between thumb and forefinger.  Neither quietude nor bustling with energy, but somewhere in between.  It feels profound, deep, yet eerily familiar.  As it infused being, it seems to live almost beyond the reach of ordinary senses.  Yet there it is.  Gentle, multilayered, and almost beyond the reach of ordinary senses such is its subtleness.

Wanting a point of comparison, I once asked a friend how he experienced love.  In a melodic stream, reminiscent of the best British accents, he described how love for him initiated in the heart and chest region.  For him it expanded outwards to encompass others.  He spoke eloquently of connection, kindness, and compassion.  If I did not know better, I would have thought him a Buddhist monk.  When he completed his recital of the love he experienced, I was drawn to agree with him as completely as I could.  What he experienced was most certainly love.

There are times that I experience love quite differently.  Like my friend, I too feel it in my body, but it is not localized in the heart region rather it seems to be everywhere at once.  It is akin to a warm glow percolating through my being.

I am in the throes of recalling a slither of an experience I once had with someone I loved dearly.  Its not so much the memory which captivates me but rather that it can act as a catalyst to bring love to the surface in such an intense manner.   She may well be a ghostly muse who echoes from things of the past, but it sparks the warmth of love all the same.

Her left hand delicately twirling the strands of her long brown hair.  I see this as if it were happening in the here and in the now rather than an image streaming from the past.  There is no consciousness in her movements, yet they are intricate, graceful, and gentle.  I remember what this motion represents – she is tired.  It has been an enjoyable day, but it has been long.

Most of the day was wrapped in warm sunlight.  The warmth seducing us further into connection.  We were shopping for some food delicacies.  Along the way we stopped to have some Greek food for lunch. The irony of having Greek food in the region of Melbourne known as little Italy was not lost on me.  But it fitted given that she is Greek, and I am Italian.

Sometimes things are special because they do not last.  She and I were destined to wither in the dying convulsions of a relationship gone astray.  Like sand slipping through fingers the relationship vanished into nothing but a memory.

This slither of remembrance teaches that love can reach wonderful heights.  But it comes with its own warning.  When it comes to these types of experience, we tend to want them to remain eternally the same.  The energy of love seems more conducive to homeostasis that it is to producing change.  It is as if that once we are atop the mountain we do not want to move.  Once there is even the slightest of movements we begin to panic and immediately are plagued by foreboding thoughts of ‘wrongness’.  We fear change, but we should fear staying the same even more.

Love is a curious thing.  I do not think we all experience love in the same way or manner.  Indeed, every time I have been in love it has varied from one person to another.  Each person was loved differently than the next.  In my experience this same phenomenon extends beyond romantic love.  How I love my nephew is different to how I love my niece.  The same contention holds true for a friend’s daughters.  I love them both dearly, but I love each of them in a different way.

I do not think there is such a thing as one love fits all – a kind of definition of love which everyone neatly fits into.  It is contentious to my way of thinking to espouse that that there are categories or types of loves which can be neatly explained away.  That speaks more of the need to objectify love than anything else.

To me, love is more like a huge beautiful old soulful tree.  We experience the branches, the leaves, the roots, and the trunk at various points in our life.  Each of these is love.  But each of these gives us a different experience of love.  My decades of experience have taught me that I can love one woman differently to the next.  Although I have been in love with different women at different times, the love I have felt has not been the same.  Yet we love to categorize and place romantic love under one small umbrella.

Love continually expresses itself in surprising ways.  I am slicing a potato and as I pay attention to the knife edging its way through the vegetable, time seems to slow down.  I notice a tear trickling down my cheek.  My attention is drawn towards how the tear feels against the skin.  Softly, gently it traces my skin.  Inside, I feel spacious and unfathomably connected.  I am neither happy nor ecstatic, but I am in a state of deep joy and contentment.  Who can say that this too is not love – another branch from the same tree?

Sometimes I experience love in my dreams, sometimes when watching others excel at their endeavours.  An act of kindness often brings with it the same warm glow I experienced in the memory of her.  We can love an object, a higher power, brothers, sisters, parents, learning, partners, hobbies, exercise, food, there does not seem to be an end to how many ways we can love.  A myriad of branches and leaves seem to be at our beck and call.

If love has a center, then surely it is connectedness. I fail to see how we can love and not be connected in some way, shape or form.  It is connection which seems to be the trunk of love.  From this center of connection, love finds a way to spring to life.