Monday, June 16, 2008

An Artist of Love

If we are artists, if we are creators, then we can create our life with Love. That's my goal.

I am making it NO secret, I want to be really good at loving others. Whether it's the love of a dear friend, the love you give to a child, the love to a student, the love to someone you are serving, the love to someone who is serving you, the romantic love we all long for, and the love I have as a daughter and a sister and a hopeful, future mother...I want to be good at loving.

But does it ever get you down to see just how unloving we can be as humans? How many breakups have you been through, how many divorces have you seen, how many people being unkind to others, how many times have you been not so good at loving as you thought you should love. Why do relationships, any love relationships go sour? I am devoted to researching, reading, and discussing the subject on this blog this summer. I don't mean to point fingers at those of us who have broken up with a man or a woman for the fifteenth time, those of us who just went through our third divorce, those of us who don't have anyone to call a best friend right now. This is not about pointing fingers, this is about healing, and discovering how we are, and how we can make beautiful lasting connections. I have so much to say about this subject, and realize my entries might get too long to read, so I'll break them up into daily anecdotes and try to generate some good discussion. If loves in your life are working, please let us know your secrets, if you're worried you just might never get it right with someone, please commiserate with me here! And then, let's get excited for some summer lovin'!!

What I am discovering is that the opposite of love is fear. I will name these points for today, but in the upcoming days I will be going more into depth about what I am thinking on each of these subjects.

Some Facts About Love and Fear

~Love has no obligations. Fear is full of obligations.

~Love has no expectations. Fear is full of expectations.

~Love is based on respect. Fear doesn't respect anything, including itself.

~Love is ruthless (wait for the discussion on this one!); it doesn't feel sorry for anyone, but it does have compassion. Fear is full of pity; it feels sorry for everyone.

~Love is completely responsible. Fear avoids responsibility , but this doesn't mean that it's not responsible.

~Love is always kind. Fear is always unkind.

~Anger is nothing but fear with a mask. Sadness is fear with a mask. Jealousy is fear with a mask.

~Love is unconditional. Fear is full of conditions.


HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I don't think you're really the lovely blonde in the below picture.

No, I've decided the person "penning" this blog must be some sage old hermit somewhere, living in a cave, who gazes at the moon and ponders Deep Things.

How did you become so wise, my dear?

ophelia rising said...

You are so right about fear and anger being two sides of the same coing. And also about fear being the opposite of love. Fear, and indifference, I think.

And money doesn't buy it!

And it's the answer!

And it's all you need!

By the way, I just wanted to remark that I LOVE your photography. I'm really taken by the black and white of the man laughing. You tell such wonderful stories with your pictures.

Sugar said...

"Anger is nothing but fear with a mask. Sadness is fear with a mask. Jealousy is fear with a mask."

I learned this just a few years ago, that fear is the opposite of love. When that clicked in my head, a shift began taking place... now when I come from a place of fear, I know that I am not in a place of love, not in the place I promised myself to be.

I used to yell or criticize everyone around me (read: family) when I was just scared. It was what I learned as a child watching the adults in my life. If you loved someone, you showed it by yelling. If you didn't yell, you didn't love. (I always wonder why I ended up with those people. How I ended up semi-normal I'll just chalk up to being left to raise myself. That's another post for another day...)

I know now that my anger was based in fear... of what? Of everything, I suppose. Fear of being alone... of not being not being good... of being left behind... fear for the safety of my children... fear of my husband falling out of the sky... obviously, I didn't have a very secure childhood. I always had vivid scenes of destruction running through my head. Thanks to a lot of recovery and a lot of prayer, I've been able to leave that fearful living behind. (That's what I meant by "Living - In Theory... I wasn't actually LIVING!)

Although I've recognized that fear and anger are directly opposed to who I want to be, and although I've changed tremendously over the last several years, there's still a wake of chaos that I have to deal with. But now I approach it in love and accept all that is good.

Love is a strange thing.

My life verse...
Isaiah 51:3
The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Coincidentally, my birthday is 5/13... see the verse numbers? close enough for me!

And sorry for the ultra long post. I had a lot to say about this one.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
You bring up a lot of tough ones. I have learned that until I loved and accepted myself I could not possibly love someone else. I have in the past been "in love" with other women, but because I didn't like who I was it always became distorted, twisted, one sided, and ultimately always ended.
I remember seeing a movie back in the late 80's, Sweet Hearts Dance, with Don Johnson and Susan Sarandon among others. A bit schmaltzy maybe, but I always remember one line ol' Don Johnson said about being in love with his his now estranged wife. "When I was happy I was twice as happy, and when I was sad I was only half as sad". I always thought that it was what I wanted love to be like for me, but in order for that to be even a remote possibility, much less finding the woman to share it with, was the change I needed to start under taking in myself. And as you elequently write, a lot of that was letting go of fear and anger, and learn to love who I am, and who I am becoming. The journey continues. Kia ora D'Arcy.

Michelle said...

Let's be honest, love gives me a headache. Seriously. A big headache.

Stina said...

I agree with the above comment that the first thing you have to love before you are a good friend, mother, teacher, lover, daughter is YOURSELF! If you don't treat yourself with the most respect and compassion and kindness then you can not transfer that love to others as easily or as well.

I think women in particular are conditioned to fulfill roles without paying attention to what they themselves need.

So as someone who feels very fulfilled in love in many areas, I have to say that I do love myself first and that is the key to my loving others as well as I can.

D'Arcy said...

Happywifehappylife, I would love to be a sage old hermit somewhere. And I do gaze at the moon, just got in from doing so, it's beautiful tonight. And my mother always says I was born 35.

Ophelia Rising: indifference plays a huge part in relationships, I agree. I think caring is such an important quality to cultivate. Thanks about the photo comments, coming from a fellow photographer, that's quite a compliment. I'll be editing some family ones tomorrow and posting them.

Sugar: loving you is easy. You are such an amazing person that I feel so grateful to have in my life. I can't wait to have coffee with you so we can discuss all of your life lessons in more detail. I had a really bad temper from 15-17...I think it was because I was constantly hungry, but honestly, everything was yelling and looking down on others to lift myself up, I am so glad I realized that was not living. So now we both get to live!

I love your scripture. The number thing totally works, and I love when life works out that way.

Ruahines: I always appreciate a bit of schmaltz. And I appreciate your openness and honesty about your life and marriage and love with Tara. And I agree 100%, loving yourself first is the only way to really be able to love others unconditionally.

Michelle: you've had a hard year. Love does give headaches, often, doesn't it?!

Stina: It is so true! I have already learned a lot from the way you talk about Dave and are around him. I loved meeting you two for the first time, with both of you hand and hand, and your baby on the way.

jomama said...

man, love. fear. YOU'RE DEEP, D'Arcy! i think you're totally right about anger and all those emotions being a mask for fear. that's dead on.
don't you think that love is a kind of obligation, though? not as in "i'm only doing this because i'm obliged to," but as in, once i've made a choice to love a person, i have to keep working on that love, and keep choosing to love him/her. i guess maybe i'm misinterpreting your use of the word "obligation." i know that in my own life when a relationship feels like an obligation rather than a choice, and a choice that's happily made, it is not a good thing.

D'Arcy said...

Jo, I totally get what you are saying, that's why I want to go into each of these ideas more deeply...the decision to love is that, a decision, and I get what you mean about the obligation...but I kind of have this idea of explaining it.....stay tuned!!

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Why is it so hard to love? Is it because of times we loved and thought we were loved in return only to have that end? I once had someone tell me I was much less open and kind than I used to be. Let's just say that didn't help me feel MORE open and kind. I have such high hopes for my ability to love and yet feel I often fall short. Maybe I need to start with loving myself even with the shortfalls.

My dad just got engaged. He's been divorced 3 times, cheated on once, married to a women who stole my parents' engagement ring in the divorce (crazy!) and yet, he is trying it again. That's courage!

Gustav said...

Hey D'Arcy

You are really hitting full stride with your posts and the comments and dialogue in response to your posts rocks.

First of all, as ruahines and others state, one needs to be at home and comfortable with who they are in order to have the ability to love others.

Yet this is no guarantee for love. Love is fragile and elusive. One minute it is there and another minute it can be gone.

Ethan Hawke and Uma broke up after 5 years of marriage and they had two children.

Ethan said what is true for me - that it is the most difficult thing in the world to fall out of love and admit it.

It is devastating, yet it also takes a lot of courage to admit the relationship is over and to be brave enough to move on.

How many couples out there are living lives of quiet desperation, each living out a mediocre and uninspiring life?

Of course there are the lucky ones who have long lasting brilliant relationships.

In the end, life is so short and precious.

It is better to have truly been in love once, even if only for a few days than to have endured a thousand years of repetitive mediocrity,

Jenn said...

I'm not wise, so I'll make it short: Be humble, put aside stubborness, and compromise. Then, it is easy to love each other.

By the way...can you believe my mom?! Awesome, huh? She has had many questions and I had been thinking about when I had so many questions and you had so many answers! Do you remember any of the things I asked? Anyway, I look forward to your daily love posts. This one spoke truth.

Sugar said...

D'Arcy: I wasn't always "easy to love" to those near me. uuuggghhh... oh well... I've said sorry and we are all moving on.

Ruahines: I was looking for your words... so glad I found them. This is another truth I had to learn the hard way. Change yourself first...

Jen: I love how simply you stated it... be humble and compromise. Everything else just falls into place, don't you think?

Great topic, Big D!

Rowena said...

This is a good inquiry.

Love is so complicated. And yet it's so simple. It's easy and at the same time really hard. It lasts forever and yet needs to be maintained.

I think the most important thing about love is to love yourself. If you don't love yourself, then there's a hollow place inside that sucks the love away.

And I think you have to not be afraid of love... either having it or losing it. Very scary.

In order to love fully, you have to have faith, sometimes it's the faith that love won't end, but other wise, maybe it's the faith that YOU won't end if the love does.

Like I said, good inquiry. I need to think about this, too.

D'Arcy said...

Hey Ansley, I am going to post a bit of a story/parable today or tomorrow that I think addresses your issue. I am sorry that someone told you that. We take the negative comments to heart so much more, and I think most people are walking around very wounded inside and that these things effect the next step we take or decide not to take when loving.

Gustav, thank you for your words. This is also something I have thought about A LOT. I grew up in a home and a religion that basically said that people could NEVER get divorced, that no matter what you should work through it and make it last. Thus, i have seen many uphappy people in my life and I am fully convinced that this is why I haven't married yet. It's only been the last year or two where I have thought, you know, I am really ready to take the risk, but if it doesn't work, if he was showing me a side to himself that wasn't really who he is (one of my biggest fears in marriage) than I would definitely consider getting out. It takes a lot of love to show people who you really all, faults and everything, sometimes it so easy to pretend to be what the other person wants, but what kidn of life is that? More to come on that topic too!

Also, I think it is a form of love to admit to each other that you might be better off without one another. I have many ideas to post on these thoughts too, so stay tuned. I agree though, repetitive mediocrity is NOT living!

D'Arcy said...

Jenn, I will go back and check my journal about that time, I KNOW you are in there. I also want to put some time aside to write on the blog you invited me to! Thanks for that. This news about your mother is truly incredible!

Sugar! I can't believe you called me Big D, I love it! That and "cupcake" are my dad's nicknames for me. My brother, younger (but bigger) is little D. Awesome. Your life's journey...I feel like you have a lot to teach me, and I am only just starting to scratch the surface of it!

Rowena, your thoughts, your person, your words, they are all very true and very beautiful! I am glad we found each others blogs!

jomama said...

d'arcy, i think it's an interesting conversation, this "falling out of love"/divorce discussion. i've only been married six years (long time to some, but short to most,) and i don't think my husband would mind me telling that there have been many times that i've felt that i've fallen out of love with him, and many times that i felt i'd made a mistake. (same with him.) sometimes i think divorces ARE justified, just maybe not as often as we rationalize them out to be.

i think the reason why a lot of people are unhappy in their marriages is because they stop working at their marriage, they aren't actively loving their partner anymore, (and by that i mean that they aren't making their partner's needs a priority, not truly considering their spouse's feelings, etc.) these are things that are too easy to do. i know, i do them all the time.
it's the easiest thing to do to fall out of love with someone. it may not be because the other person is a bad person, or changed beyond recognition, sometimes it's because the romance and excitement fades (it's never the same as it is in the beginning), the children and work take all your time, and you stop thinking about each other as much. you stop working for it. one thing i noticed after i had each of my babies is that the love i felt for them was automatic and overwhelming. it's not like that with my husband. with my husband i have to work on loving him, and it's a lot harder to love him. but that's why i think it's so important.

jomama said...

also, sorry for babbling forever. and there was a lot more that i wanted to say and didn't!

Michelle said...

I was going to try and not get personal, but here goes nothing.

I agree with Jomama. I was married almost 4 years when my husband told me he didn't love me. While I understand that people can fall out of love, I don't think this was the situation for him. I don't think he honestly, truly tried to love me. He was never thoughtful, complementative, or even very kind to me. Of course it was hard to love me! I think service is a huge, underestimated part of love, a part of love that he never practiced.

Do I think our divorce was rationalized? Not one bit. If I honestly felt like he had given 100 percent to our marriage, and to me, I would have handled this divorce with a little more grace but because I think the decision was done with haste and not much thought, I don't think he or I can rationalize it.

So yes, I think "falling out of love" is possible but I also think love takes more work than is sometimes expected.

Sugar said...

AMEN, Michelle! Amen...

One caveat: no one can do it alone. It's as simple as 50/50. But jumping in just for kicks only harms the person who took it seriously.

Give me his name and address... I'll go break out a can of wupass!

Just kidding. Sort of.

Sugar said...

Cupcake... aaaawww... that's so sweeeet! On the "Big D"... I don't know what made me write that. I almost backspaced it. I was thinking, "Are we there yet as blogger friends?" I guess it's all good. ;)

Michelle said...

I totally agree that no one can go at love alone. Fortunately, I adored every freckle on that red head's body and am confident that I gave 100 percent (if not damn close)to our marriage and to him. This makes is a little easier knowing that I have no regrets when it comes to treating him the way I should have.