Matthew Lickona 12:30 p.m., June 28
- Community Blog
Love Me As If You Liked Me
There is an old adage that life has a way of taking you exactly where you need to go. Although I have questioned that probability numerous times throughout the years and done my fair share of heel dragging, in hind sight—as always—I can firmly acknowledge the aptness of that statement.
Change, it has been suggested, is the only constant, the only thing on which I can truly depend. Resistance, as the Trekkie mantra goes, is futile. Change is occurring all around me and there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it. I may as well embrace it willingly and avoid the inevitable rug burns from resistance. I may as well accept things the way they stand before me, what I have control over and what I don’t. As things stand now, I am but a single spec of stardust, as Carl Sagan suggested, mingling and colliding with all that floats in the universe. “Single” being the operative word, I am alone in the world.
This doesn’t mean that I am unconnected. Nor does it suggest that I am unloved, or more specifically, unlovable for I am both loved and quite lovable. Nor does my rolling solo indicate an inability to love. Rather, I have a great huge capacity for the gushy mushy stuff. Neither am I unhappy or lonely. I have my moments, but like all moments they too pass.
What it does mean is that I am without my children, now grown, and without the man I love. Despite missing their companionship, to which I had grown accustomed and perhaps dependent upon, I recognize that I have a life to live. I wake up every morning and there it is staring me in the face—how could I miss it? After dallying for a bit, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and got to it without crutches or excuses.
Instead of wallowing in the void left by their absence, I’m now filling it with once closeted aspirations. All my interests and desires are clamoring at the door in the mad rush to get over the threshold. My days are filled with choices and discoveries. I am finding that there is indeed power in choice and opportunity in choosing. I'm finding that above all and despite everything, I choose love for no other reason than it is the happiest of happy feelings. Hedonist that I now am, I’m all about the bliss.
Deep, I know. But, no need to panic; it’s my trip after all and I’m good with deep. Loving is more than enough for me. Besides, it’s the easy part. It’s the mechanics of co-existing that can be grueling.
It’s quite the paradox really, given that our inborn sense of survival roots our collective consciousness in tribal co-existence. As much as we naturally gravitate towards communing and connecting with others, we also, whether consciously or subconsciously, fear that doing so will somehow destroy our innate sense of distinction. We fear assimilation.
Even in love, where two separate entities are fortunate to have found comfort through the attraction of commonality, even in the almighty glory of oneness our sense of self loiters on the periphery. Beneath the cozy blanket of togetherness, we are still basically alone, drawn to commune but eternally separated by individualism. Our resilient and ever patient souls are incessantly trying to awaken us to ourselves, to the conscious presence of BEing.
Allowing ourselves to be, to thrive even in love, takes a good deal of courage. Allowing those we love to do the same takes even greater courage. Courage, though, doesn’t always come easily.
We are ferociously self protective beings. Not surprising then that, at times, our humanness hinders our godliness despite our best intentions and that we find ourselves separated in mind, body or soul from those we love. No huge shock then that we sometimes forget that we genuinely cherish and like one another.
As there is bliss to be gleaned from being with others, so also is there bliss in self realization. The beauty is in balance and the joy is in the journey. Seems to me that there’s nothing to be done other than to do as Erich Fromm once directed, let our souls take us where we long to be. So, with arms outstretched and face upheld, surrounded by glowing love, I offer myself to the winds of change. I close my eyes, feeling my spirit sore, and perhaps it will be as he said. Perhaps I shall begin to live as I’ve not done before.
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