All photos and content © Tanya Anguita.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Rose or... A (not so) brief treatise on love...

Friday while in the midst of my ( the hell do you L.A. people do it) drive to Redlands for Justen & Beth's wedding, the song "The Rose" came on the radio. It was 4 in the afternoon, and there was Bette Midler singing her song from the early 80s. My first reaction was to kind of roll my eyes and go to change the station; instead I got caught up in memories.

I recalled loving that song so much that I HAD to learn it. I remembered the feeling of singing it as a teenager at Vespers at camp. I reminisced about singing it while walking the 3 miles to Carma's house in Wilseyville. I celebrated singing it as a form of catharsis in the stairwell in the dorms with my voice reverberating off those cement walls that first year at SFSU . And so I listened to it, really listened to it as a form of honoring those memories.

What surprised me, what I was completely blown away by, was how powerful the lyrics really are.

Written by Amanda McBroom, it is a brief treatise on love. It is a reminder in song that no matter what happens, there is always the seed of love within all of us waiting to blossom. It really got me thinking.

Given some of the dialogue I have been having of late, I was particularly struck by the 2nd verse.

This....right here:

It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live

I have had, and continue to have, pretty remarkable conversations with various people about love and the nature of love. Given its universality, it is a topic that comes up repeatedly, in many guises and in many different ways. What I'm hearing from these wonderful, infinitely lovable people, is that it seems that allowing oneself to love and be loved can be a pretty terrifying thing for a lot of folks. That allowing ourselves to trust and to love is not something that comes easily. That relaxing into love isn't something many people do comfortably.

I am finding that I know amazing people who shut out love! I am learning that there are people who avoid it, fear it, and run from it. Hearing from people who theorize about love, talk about it, speculate about it, fantasize about it, but do not know how to, or allow themselves to, experience it. Listening to people who want love, who need it, deserve it, and ultimately shun it. Watching people who refuse to embrace, accept, welcome, and live love.

To me? This...THIS is the great tragedy in life! Love exists and is out there for all of us. It is exists in so many ways and in so many forms. I find it heart-rending to think that anyone would choose not to welcome love into their life.

We all deserve love, People, but we have to be willing to let it in! All forms of love...we deserve to say yes to romantic love, true love, love from friends, familial love, and love of self. All of it. We are all worthy of and all deserve to love and be loved.

In my admittedly less than sage opinion, I think the choice not to allow love into one's life boils down to fear. There is the great monster-in-your-closet fear of getting hurt or getting hurt again. There is fear of letting go, fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of letting someone in, fear of being shut out, fear of losing someone, fear of finding someone who mirrors your heart, fear of intimacy, fear of having to face your fears. There is the disheartening fear of being let down. And the bravery-necessary-to-overcome fear of having to let go, give in, relax, and celebrate. There is the I-might-have-to-act-like an-adult fear of responsibility to yourself and to another. And of course, the often-twinned fears of failure and of success.

I think that fear of losing yourself and fear of finding yourself often vie for the same space in our brains. We don't always know what to do with self-discovery anymore than we know how to deal with loss of self.

What it all boils down to though is that with fear in place, we never fully realize that love helps us to define ourselves, to create ourselves and to become our truest most realized selves. (On a slightly off note, have you ever noticed that the only thing that separates Our from Your is a Why?...yeah...I think too much.)

Fear of love is self-defeating. Fear of opening up to someone else gets you nowhere but lonely. Loneliness has value, but in small measures, not as a way of life.

Love and fear never walk hand in hand. Love walks with grace. Fear stumbles.

Someone recently told me to be careful with my heart. Be careful with my heart? I've never understood what that means. How can one be careful with one's heart...with one's love? How can I possibly be careful with my heart while simultaneously being open to love? I don't want to be careful..I want to love...completely and absolutely and with all of me. How can I do that, truly do that, with caution as a watch word?

When I love, I choose to do so openly or not at all...I know the risks...I take them any way. I choose love over all else. I wear my heart on my face and in my eyes. Love is written on my body, and tattooed into my skin in invisible ink. I am love and I choose love.

Where I can be and am careful, is with other people's hearts. With other people's feelings. I believe that as good people and conscientious souls, we all have a responsibility to be careful with other people's hearts. Kindness, awareness, gentleness, communication, respect and caring are all important when interacting with other people's feelings. We are duty bound not to hurt others if we can help it. We are obligated to pay attention and we are only able to live with ourselves in a state of grace if we are not irresponsible with another's heart. Using someone else to bolster ourselves is never an acceptable past time. If we are aware of another person's feelings for us then we are never to take advantage of those feelings for our own gain. We have a responsibility to that person because they've entrusted us with the incredible gift of their feelings. Integrity does not allow the kind of behavior that fosters those feelings if they're not reciprocated.

To love openly is to is an exercise in trust in another, and in ourselves. It requires trust of the highest magnitude. It is tantamount to sitting with your beating heart in your hand and entrusting someone else to hold it for you. But my goodness...isn't the risk worth it?!

I believe, with all of me, that love is what you do because love is all there is. Love does not have conditions. Why bother to live and love any other way but openly and with complete trust?

I think William Arthur Ward says it best in this poem. He says:

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk to failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.

Thank you William Arthur Ward! Thank you!

I mean really, have you ever felt better or had less pain when someone hurt you because prior to said hurt you held some of you back? Does it ache less because you hid behind rationalized thoughts and locked yourself into a little fortress of sanctified fear? Are you less wounded because you can say "I told you I might get hurt"? I'm suspecting that the answer to all of those questions is probably "no", so why do we do it?

Love puts us through our paces that is for sure. It makes us look at who and how we are. It shows us our best and our worst Selves. It authorizes us to face our demons and walks us barefoot over the coals. It sets our soul on fire and inspires greatness.

Love shows us our flaws and our strengths in a way few things do. It inspires us to be better people and we don't always have the energy to improve. It can bring out the worst in us and not many want to willingly face that. It makes us aware of our behaviors and our patterns and it forces us to really look at them and at ourselves. It causes us to look at them and figure out whether they truly serve us. That is what makes it so beautiful and so necessary. Love helps us to grow.

If you live in fear of loss or heartbreak or rejection, then you often miss out on the love that is right in front of you. You don't take the risk necessary to embrace the love standing there before you. If you don't risk then you never really get to experience love in its complete form. If you don't risk, the person who loses is you.

Yes, loss of love, heartbreak, rejection, and things of that nature hurt like unholy hell. The pain therein is excruciating and yet, to my mind you still have to love with all of you. I still love with all of me. Love doesn't disappear because I've been wronged or hurt. I'm just thankful that I got to open my heart and love. Love doesn't dissipate so easily. Heartbreak doesn't break love. Love doesn't suddenly disappear. Heartbreak is painful, yes, and the person who is feeling it often has to step back in order to heal. We might have to make the choice to shift the way we love the object of our affection, but it doesn't make the love go away.

If I love or have loved you, I have always and will always wish you happiness. I wish you true contentment. I wish you health and joy and ....yes…I wish you love. I wish you the ability to accept it and the ability to give it in return. If I have loved you, I will always love you...the form that love takes may shift, but I will always love you.

Loving someone, in my experience, can not be conditioned on their loving me in return. I love them because I love them because I love them. This is not predicated on some offering of reciprocation. We all have hopes and wishes, but we cannot expect someone to care for us just because we do them. If we have expectations and that is what defines our love for someone, is that truly love?

Every time I love, I'm just thankful that I get the chance to love. I live in a state of gratitude that I get to feel and express and live that miracle of a feeling. I may hope for, but I do not expect anything in return.

This song says it so perfectly:
Lyrics here:

Sometimes love goes dormant for a sleeps…it goes to seed as it that it can blossom again...and become a new and beautiful rose. For that blossoming, for that quiet time, for that delicate balanced healing, I'm truly grateful. Love is a blessing always and in all ways. Never take that for granted and never forget. Love is a blessing always and in all ways.

© Tanya Anguita 5/5/10

The Rose

Song here:

Lyrics here:

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed

It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed
That with the sun's love, in the spring
Becomes the rose

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.