This was originally posted on February 19, 2012 and I felt I would have a renaissance redux by reposting. I’m bringing up love again, with the hope of finding the words to share the love story I’m working on. The one I began about 3 years ago, the one I’ve been living since, the one titled Anachel. I still don’t know if it’ll be fiction based on truths or a memoir as accurate as one can get for memory morphs and changes over time. My expression has been playing hide-and-seek, I receive flashes of knowing how to say what I know I want to say, however, it is still out of reach. I don’t want to write what I think but what I feel. Those are hard words to grasp for more than a moment, to translate, as a feeling is not a thought nor a word. It’s felt. Part of empathic resonance is feeling, through the limbic system we can feel another. A universal language, one that is part of implicit memory, fully functioning from the womb up until the late ages in life, whereas the knowledge-thinking-we obtain in life is that of explicit memory; we grow into it and peak mid life then decline in this mental faculty. Empathic resonance is something all mammals share, however, what separates us from the pack is that we have a developed neocortex and often get signals crossed; we overlay what we think, onto what we feel.

 

 

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even  touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller


What is love? I once had a philosopher friend ask me to define love. Oh boy, I thought, how does one define love? First, I’ll add, there is difficulty describing a feeling because it’s a feeling and does not come from the same part of the brain as thinking or words. But I took a shot anyway, I said “a deep lasting feeling of affection/connection that transcends space and time, between a mother, daughter, father, sister, brother, lover, partner, or friend”. He was actually pretty surprised with my answer. I felt a bit dismayed that the feeling of love was reduced to the above words. So inadequate and yet, how would you define love?

 

 

The Greek have 4 words for love:

 

1. Eros is passionate love, being “in love” with someone an attraction, desire, longing love.

2. Agape is unconditional love, regardless of circumstance, a deeper truer love.

3. Philia being love between friends.

4. Storge more of affection, between parents and offspring.

 

All have different meanings but still love in different forms; to match our myriad of relationships.  We have one word, love. And yet its meaning is difficult to define.

 

I started reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin on the flight back from Phoenix in December. My daughter and I flew back East for the holidays and during the last leg of the trip home she was passed out on my lap, so I pulled this little book out to see what it was all about. I will be writing about happiness soon, but before that I’d like to talk about love. In the book the author outlines her project in finding her happy. She asked herself “Am I Happy?” much like how I ask “What is Love?”

 

She’s educated as a lawyer but quit her day-time profession to write full-time. In this detailed account of her journey, she utilized skills one would use to tackle a court case to help her find her happy. In short, she wrote an outline, monthly to do lists, graphs and constructed her own 12 commandments (“There Is Only Love” is her twelfth one too). The month of February was devoted to love. So, I decided to do the same.

 

January was organization and I, well, I wrote a “To Do” list for inspiration.  Cleaning is cathartic, but my life is busy enough without me going into the depths of my closets and garage chanting the mantra “out with the old, in with the new.” [Update: as of May 26th 2012, said closets are cleaned and organized as well as some of the baggage I’ve been carrying in my head and heart, the garage still awaits…]

 

I was ready to delve into love. Hey, as a newly single lady, yes, I wanted to know more about love. Along with reading the chapter in “The Happiness Project”, I also bought “Love Poems From God” by Daniel Ladinsky  and “The Mastery of Love” by Miguel Ruiz. I have already read “The General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis M.D., Fari Amini M.D., and Richard Lannon M.D.; which I’ll bring up numerous times on this blog as that book was more like cracking open wonderful treasure box for which I’m still unearthing gems. Here’s a little taste from “The General Theory of Love”:

 

 

“What is love, and why are some people unable to find it? What is loneliness, and why does it hurt? What are relationships, and how and why do they work the way they do?

 

Answering these questions, laying bare the heart’s deepest secrets, is this book’s aim. Since the dawn of our species, human beings in every time and place have contended with an unruly emotional core that behaves in unpredicted and confusing ways. Science has been unable to help them. The Western world’s first physician, Hippocrates, proposed in 450 B.C. that emotions emanate from the brain. He was right-but for the next twenty-five hundred years, medicine could offer nothing further about the details of emotional life. Matters of the heart were matters only for the arts-literature, song, poetry, painting, sculpture, dance. Until now.

 

The past decade has seen an explosion of scientific discoveries about the brain, the leading edge of a revolution that promises to change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, our children, and our society. Science can at last turn its penetrating gaze on humanity’s oldest questions. Its revelations stand poised to shatter more than a few modern assumptions about the inner workings of love.

 

In this book, we demonstrate that where intellect and emotion clash, the heart often has the greater wisdom. In a pleasing turnabout, science-Reason’s right hand-is proving this so. The brain’s ancient emotional architecture is not a bothersome animal encumbrance. Instead, it is nothing less than the key to our lives. We live immersed in unseen forces and silent messages that shape our destinies. As individuals and as a culture, our chance for happiness depends on our ability to decipher a hidden world that revolves-invisibly, improbably, inexorably-around love.”

 

To me, after what I’ve read, what I feel and have experienced, love is a tarnished temple. The distortion is that one “thinks” that love is conditional, that one can dole it out in parcels or loads, withhold it tightly to ones chest, fall into it or fall out of it. Love is the very being and breath of life itself, it connects us all. Loving or feeling loved starts with practicing self-love and then becomes reflected in ones relationship with others.  I’ll come back to love later but let that settle as it’s a key to happiness, and happiness, I’m afraid, is not something we foster here in the U.S. {the self reports of “yes I’m happy with my life” peaked in 1956 and have gone down steadily since, from “The Economics of Happiness” documentary} I’ve seen various documentaries about happiness as well as other journeys to finding such, I’ve lived my own unhappy version of life and I’ve come through after finding my path moving through the threshold to happily ever after. It is my hope to reflect back the light; that it can and is our destiny, our evolution, as human beings to find love, living out our dreams, expressing our self/our feelings, resulting in the expansion of happiness. A connection of love.

 

“There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.”

~ Brian Andreas

Be well,

Kristy

 

P.S. I once got into a lengthy discussion with many atheists. One’s belief in God is one’s belief and choice (to each his or her own, I believe in connections of many belief systems of faith), when I asked them why, most said “lack of proof”. I said okay, prove to me love exists, show it to me.

 

The Tarnished Temple

~by Kristy

Love is a tarnished temple
where the foolish reside
intoxicated by the distortion

that love can be given
that it can be witheld
that it can be bought
that it can be sold

that one can fall into it
or out of it
For to feel love
is to know we are love
yet are too afraid to understand
for in being love
we fear ourself
and why?

For it is Love
and this tarnished temple
needs some light shed
on why it cannot be so
it’s our perception shading such

Love has no temple
for it’s connecting you to me
and in not needing the temple
we’re free to be as we’re designed to be.