Tim Robbins raises a great question – Who knows how to make love stay? – the pondering of such a question is like a love affair in itself. One ends up asking – Do I know how to make love stay? – but then ceases soon after realizing their vainglorious self-assessment and retreats to a fundamental question – How can anyone make love stay? – What have we done wrong so far? Is love something that comes and goes or is a constant, a North star to which everything we do is fixed? Is there remnants of our love left with past lovers or do we take it all with us? Or do we drop it all back into the universe and find new love?
Do I, a vulnerable, neurotic slab of matter with long hair and psychedelic tights, know what love is?
I know enough. Why bother pondering something if you are going to prematurely rob yourself of the possibility of knowing Love’s face. The magic though, that’s where Tim Robbins has a stroke of brilliance on his Remmington SL3.
He made me, in those few lines, realize that all these long 27 years (mostly spent in foetal position under a blanket of self-pity) had been expecting love to be the magic. Love was magic happening without having to do a thing. Love was an overwhelming force that was indiscriminate, all-encompassing and dominant – and if true, easy. The ease signified rightness, and the rightness would in turn signify Love. I had been wrong.
Wanting to make magic with someone was love. Wanting to celebrate two bodies – through the means that lovers naturally devise – and two minds through understanding, compassion, imagination and generosity – by using the sparks made by the friction to create a fire that burned down walls and painted graffiti over stop signs – that’s love put to work in the hands of two souls who want to give it a home. Who want to make it stay.
Love stays where it is wanted. Where it is nurtured. Where it is given space, food and water. Warmth.
Just like a cat. If a cat lives in a home where meal times are sporadic, water is sparse and he understands his true name to be ‘F*#*% off!’, it’s going to wander over to one of the neighbours, probably the one with an open door and the smell of baking. It’s going to let this strange human stroke its fur because it hadn’t been stroked enough. It’s going to like the way this stranger calls it ‘kitty-cat’ and gives it warm milk. After long enough, the cats moved out of the House of Chills and move in with this generous stranger who offered kindness and a new name that fit. After longer still, Kitty-cat stays. Maybe the old owners won’t even notice it’s gone. Until one day they’re in the middle of a divorce, fighting over cutlery and one asks the other ‘Who gets the cat bowl?’ and they both realize they no longer have a cat. The cat strayed. Because the bowl was never full.
so, there’s going to be a new flavour to these posts. I’m opening my heart to Mindfulness and some dharma philosophy – basically uncurling from the foetal position that I had assumed for …. Well, let’s just say many, many years … and am stretching out – slowly, gradually – physically through yoga poses and mentally through the thoughts and sensations that turning inward and questioning beliefs about myself naturally produces. Losing myself, and planning to come back her.
Today I spent most of the afternoon calling out for help. Help for a decision, a feeling that I am not too sure how to move forward with. I went to family, I called the therapist, I called my nurse … basically I wanted guidance. Reassurance. Some kind of knowledge that was superior to my own. And I failed to get anything to help. The therapist was overwhelmed with pre-semester stress back-log. My nurse couldn’t see me until next week. And my lovely, loving and kind family were only able to offer me their own minds – which unfortunately only serves to cloud my own. For a few moments I got off the phone and felt distant panic. I need someone to tell me what to do! – she thought. I’m going to stuff this all up and it will be all my fault! She worried. But then …
… I’ve come to see that this is exactly the opportunity for learning that I am trying to open up to. Yes, not being able to externalize my inner conflict and insecurity right now is uncomfortable and scary. My usual reaction is always to go to someone or something else and get them/it to make the decision for me or allow me to stuff the decision down somewhere deep into the depths of me where I can pretend to pretend its not there, and allow it to fester. But today I am not going to do that. I’m going to chose to stay with this discomfort. Choose to stay. I’m going to sit down, and breathe. I’m going to acknowledge the conflict I’m feeling, sit with it a while. Trust myself. Trust that there is going to be a decision made, there is going to be movement forward, even if I can’t see how right in this moment. This is an opportunity to get through this with only myself as a guide, and realize that being guided is pretty much an illusion. The decision is mine whether I let other people’s thoughts in or not. But if I can make it without trying to avoid responsibility or mask my part in the process, I can take ownership of myself and my actions and be free from the constricting echo’s of doubt and shame and guilt that come with thinking that I ‘can’t do this’. Learn to stay.
I doesn’t feel pleasant but it tastes of freedom. Just a hint, like the tail end of spice that was added with a pinch.
My choices are my own. My thoughts, feelings and actions are my own. I cannot escape the pain, I can only sit with it. Deal with it. Allow it in and allow it to pass. It will. Nothing is permanent. All is temporary.
I choose to stay.