Joseph Campbell in his Power of Myth interview with Bill Moyers back in the ‘80s mentioned that the Greeks have three words for love instead of the one we use so frivolously: eros, philios, and agape. Eros, romantic and passionate love—I’ve had aplenty. Philios, friendship love—I’ve been blessed with as well. Agape, unconditional love—well, this is the Big One, isn’t it? It’s what’s left to our disposal when romance, companionship and affection abandon us, and when we unintentionally fail our friendships.

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Unconditional love, to love without conditions. More precisely defined by Harold Becker, author of Unconditional Love - An Unlimited Way of Being, unconditional love is, well, an “unlimited way of being”. In his book, he states that:

"We are without any limit to our thoughts and feelings…There are infinite imaginative possibilities when we allow the freedom to go beyond our perceived limits…Life, through unconditional love, is a wondrous adventure that excites the very core of our being and lights our path with delight."

Although it may be easy enough to comprehend and appreciate the value of such a virtue, mastering the graceful practice of unconditional love while being bombarded daily by our perceived tribulations, well now that’s artful living.

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I can appreciate that “love” is a powerful action verb not just a four letter word. We feel “moved” and “driven” by love. The joy experienced when surrendering to the act of loving, to the sharing in the oneness is like a succulent, sweet plum. The bitter pit at the center of all that juicy deliciousness is the worm infested fear that we may somehow loose ourselves in the process; that we might somehow fail.

Fear is another four letter word. But what is it really other than an emotional reaction to thoughts that we are threatened by? I for one know all too well the devastation my mind can wreck, sending serenity and sensibility to the winds blustered by all those “dark imaginings”. But, as I learned as a child, fears are just that—imaginings. They aren’t real unless I give them life, unless I allow them to rule the roost, crushing all my lovely eggs of inspiration. It really is true that we have nothing to fear but fear itself; that sucker’s a taloned beast unleashed.

The other day, I overheard someone say, “He tends to get in the way of himself.” We do that, don’t we? We are by far our own worse critics. We think, then over think things that would otherwise be simplistic. And, as if our brains weren’t writhing in agony already, we proceed to rethink that which is already over thought just for good measure. We muscle reason to death and while trying to control the outcome we have a tendency to suffocate life.

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I, myself, have been victim of enough fear to strangle the best of relationships. I can now, for the most part, control my own reactions, quell my own demons, soothe my own wounded “inner child” as John Bradshaw once championed. I know this; I’ve done it. Doesn’t mean I don’t slip; I do. But, I’ve done it and know that it can be done. That knowing doesn’t ease the agony of helplessness, however, when it’s someone else’s monster trying to seize the reins.

There’s a reason we are so inclined to torture ourselves (and consequently each other) like that. We buy into the whole “I think, therefore I am” cognitive nonsense when it’s our hearts that know what’s best for us. Truly. With 30,000 neurons surrounding it, our hearts create an electrical field ten times stronger than that which is emitted by our brains. You’d think that would mean something. Seems like a no-brainer, literally.

For me, it is. There just isn’t any better remedy to quelling the beast, to quieting the agita than to love—to get back in The Love because it’s the antidote to all ills. That, and the Blues. A good long hike will clear the head, but its Marva Wright’s Wang Dang Doodle that puts things into perspective for me, that sets things to right. Puts me back in the happy place, no matter what and puts a smile on my face. And smiles, as well as the good humor behind them, go an awfully long way with this lass in evaporating all worry, all fear, all confusion. Smiles go an awfully long way.

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Which reminds me that the Hawaiian greeting “Aloha” means—literally—to love is to be happy with. Now, if using that sentiment to say hello and goodbye isn’t a perfect example of agape in action, I don’t know what is.

Comments

richzombie Aug. 11, 2011 @ 7:24 a.m.

going to come back and read this one again and again and again...very helpful - thanks !

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Ruth Newell Aug. 11, 2011 @ 8:04 a.m.

Glad my words help, but really--what do I know? Next to nothing. All these sentences are just vapid words, overrated thoughts:) You are better off acknowledging what it is that’s coursing through your veins and following that right through your pulsing aorta. All I can do is offer you a bit of stardust to help you along and repeat Peter Pan’s directions: second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning. Well, that and these words sung at the top of my lungs:

"We gonna romp and tromp till midnight We gonna fuss and fight till daylight We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long … We gonna to break out all of the windows, we gonna kick down all the doors We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long"

Happy Thursday!

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richzombie Aug. 12, 2011 @ 10:07 a.m.

yeah you are right ...i am better off singing wang dang doodle that does work better for me . actually doing those things is what works best for me ... i do like to be enlightened though but that tends to be fleeting. i take others much more seriously than i take myself . now where was i ...wang dang doodle !

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Ruth Newell Aug. 12, 2011 @ 12:09 p.m.

We do what we can, m' man, we do what we can.

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Twister Aug. 11, 2011 @ 9:19 a.m.

Read "The Anatomy of Love," by Helen Fisher

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Max03 Aug. 17, 2011 @ 8:31 a.m.

I'm with Rich. Enjoyed the read and will reference back to it from time to time.

Thanks Roody!

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:12 a.m.

Thanks Max! Loss is an excellent teacher.

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nan shartel Aug. 17, 2011 @ 8:41 a.m.

it's all a growth learning experience eh

to make our way down the path to more insightful richly rewarding relationships

and this is one damn stammer good blog Roody

KUDOS!!!

er...um...how did i miss this one..hahahahaha

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richzombie Aug. 17, 2011 @ 8:47 a.m.

yes concur with nan ...this is one damn stammmer good blog!

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:21 a.m.

Yes, love and loss has offered me growth experiences. Not sure that I'm learning it all for the end of a successful romantic relationship though. I think perhaps for me, the learning is ends enough. The learning to love without needing or wanting love in return...on all fronts. To love with "no mind". T'is enough.

I'd like a bumper sticker please that reads "Damn Stammer Good!" :)

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:24 a.m.

HA! Sounds like it ought to also be a Blues Song, no?

You guys are too funny.

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nan shartel Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:34 a.m.

do u watch True Blood???


for u u Bad Thing u...have a great day Roody

i finally talked my HB into going to see The Help

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 11:58 a.m.

And Nan--I don't watch TV--haven't since 1980...but listened to your song tribute--thanks, thanks a LOT! Here I am trying to be all cool and zen-like, detached from womanly urges and you have to go toss me on my human ass with a song like THAT. lol I've been called a vixen in my day but I do believe I'm in good company!

GO--enjoy your movie with your HB!

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nan shartel Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:28 a.m.

maybe u should get in touch with Diana Georgianna she's having T Shirt made with "Radical Uterus Uprising" printed on the front

she might steer u to a vendor ;-D

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 12:07 p.m.

LOL Yes...will do. Expected her input here...seems right up her alley.

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richzombie Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:37 a.m.

here's that word stammer again ...and finally i got it right ! also your comment -the learning is ends enough - that helps a lot to understand my position in life ...very helpful. man, this is therapeutic !

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nan shartel Aug. 17, 2011 @ 10:51 a.m.

ditto to RZ and i raise him a happiness quotient of poetic meanderings here at the READER

WE RULE!!!!

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...;-D

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Ruth Newell Aug. 17, 2011 @ 11:47 a.m.

I know, right? It's taken on a life of its own--see what happens when you cook up your word stews? And poetry--writing--art is therapy--Nan said it wonderfully in one of her past comments.

By position in life I am assuming that you are referring to your own particular journey. All I'm saying really is that I've been supremely humbled and have come to accept a situation over which I have no control and that my personal wants or expectations(for a 'insightful richly rewarding relationship' or anything else for that matter) are irrelevant...but them thar are muddy waters best steered clear of. hahaha

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richzombie Aug. 17, 2011 @ 3:56 p.m.

really what fun ! a little bit of understanding goes a long way .

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