I spoke with one of my best friends yesterday about love. I don’t even recall how we arrived at the topic, but I do remember the discussion with the sort of kickstarting clarity that engages all your senses when you revisit the memory. You know… like the way I remember eating paella in a little dungeon of a place in Barcelona. But more than that, I recall the smell of that restaurant and the unconfined laughter bursting out from the kitchens and the way the tablecloths looked and the happiness that I felt. I was completely engaged. But I ramble.
My dear friend – we’ll call this one E – was of the opinion that love is like a pandora’s box. It can remain shut for an age and a half but once opened, well… Her type of love struck me for a couple of reasons: First, I had never assumed love to have such a catastrophic persona and second, I was weary to agree that her pandora’s box had not been open from the beginning. Before going any further, I should clarify that love can have catastrophic consequences. But the persona of the consequences cannot pretend to be those of the love itself. And love as an act is usually far too simple to be destructive in its purest form. I got E’s broader points though – the ones that preceded her bold description of love. She would rather not open up herself to love unless the other person was absolutely ready to jump in- head first- into the complete pandora that her love could be. And I understand that. Perfectly.
It takes a great deal more than courage to declare a love you are not sure will be returned. It takes a certain fearlessness, and a blind confidence in that fearlessness that some these days label, “sense of self” to step into the void and make such a proclamation. Especially as the chances of hearing an echo back from that void these days is so slim. To be sure, courage is not fearlessness. Although, the two are very nearly interchangeable, in my opinion. Fearlessness requires a certain absence of the “wisdom” in courage. But in such a way that is applaudable. I also do not entirely recommend fearlessness. It is to a great many still interchangeable with foolishness, and only to a precious few replaceable with faith.
This year, I decided to embark on a journey of fearlessness. I jumped willingly into that particular void I feel E was referencing and I shouted out with no certainty of response. There have been many quiet moments since when I have grown tired of questioning myself and this decision, but nary a moment of regret. Because, as I told E then, the love we have in us is not for us. This is going to be a difficult concept to expand on but I will try (forgive me in advance if I fall woefully short of doing it justice).
We are human, yes? And on this plane we consist of water- a lot of it. We have blood and bones and flesh and muscles, but mainly water. On an atomic level, we have the nuclei and mitochondria and all that other biology stuff that form cells. We can also argue that we are mostly hydrogen and oxygen if we really think about it. But on some other plane, I believe we are stuffed with love (I have expanded a bit more on this in my about section). We eat love and breathe it. But more importantly, we work/run right because of love. Like we have this centre of mass that propels us and it is love. And we can think of it, like I do, if we try and picture it like a pulsating box or sapphire orb at our core. That love, that orb is the love that is from us. It is us. This love is not for us. Rather, it is for us to give. We can give it to ourselves aka self-love, but in the same external manner in which we receive love from others. That love that we get from others is kept in a different place and manifested differently.
Simply, I think the love we hold in ourselves was always meant to be for others. And since love, to me, is a verb, you can’t do nothing with it like you can’t do nothing with a verb (those are called nouns, I believe). You can’t just sit on love. You have to do something with it; share it, display it, forge it, solidify it. And this was my point to E.
Love, or shouting into that void, is like giving someone a box of chocolates (mmm Lindt Lindor dark chocolate truffles). they might really like them (aka love you back) or they might not. If they like them, great! I will continue to buy you chocolates/ shower you with my love. But if they don’t like them, very much like the etiquette involved in actual gift receipt, please hold on to that information and never let it go. And at an opportune time, regift that darling box as you, I feel, have an obligation to use your love. In the end, it does not matter to me that you do not love me if the love is important enough to me and remains mine to give, which it will. So long as you do not hurt me (or to continue my lovely metaphor, throw that box of chocolates in my face).
It is funny that I say all this now – and said the same to E then- with a bit of hindsight. But I think it is also a credit to us nearly-fearless few who take that risk. I jumped into the void and there I still am. But I would rather be completely uncertain in the certainty of my own truth than hold on to the concept of an un-emptied pandora’s box.
And so to (rather comically) to rephrase one of my favourite sayings:
“Holding unto love (anger)
Is like eating chocolate (poison)
And expecting the other
Person to glow (die).”
– YD (Buddha)