Tag: love

There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Marriage/Relationship

There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Marriage/Relationship

Lovers
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I continue to be surprised by women over fifty who are still looking for that perfect someone. I admit that I might be doing the same under different circumstances, but I have been in a marriage for thirty-four years and I’ve learned that what is often said is true. There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship.  Perfection is a construct, one of the shadows many of us live under that draws us away from the truth. If we are dissatisfied with our relationship(s) it’s an indication that it’s time to take a deep, hard look at ourselves. Relationships push us harder than anything else in life to dig deep and dig often into who we really are and to own what we know to be true. It requires that we be honest with ourselves.  Honesty supersedes resentment. When resentment builds we are in a mindset that falsely believes that another is the cause of our unhappiness.  If it weren’t for you, then I’d be fine. Passing the buck leads to many divorces, I suspect.

It is as difficult to be joyous, peaceful, and comfortable with another human being as it is to be do so on one’s own. We cannot and will not be at peace with another until or unless we are at peace with ourselves. Therein lies the challenge of marriage. Marriage take honesty, self-esteem, courage, the willingness to be vulnerable and the ability to bear the shame of making a mistake. It takes telling the truth, owning our own feelings and beliefs even when they are not pretty; it requires taking a good look at who we are as individuals and what we create together. It’s staying committed to riding the waves and surviving the storms…together.  We are surprised when we find that many of the storms are taking place within the relationship, within the dynamics of two people just trying to love and understand one another. We come to the erroneous conclusion that something is fundamentally wrong with the relationship when this happens.  It is quite likely that there is something wrong with our relationship with ourselves.

There are dynamics in every relationship, both good and bad. We like the same movies, we hate that the other leaves his/her shoes in the middle of the living room for us to trip over. We love his courage, strength and commitment to his work; we hate that he doesn’t have the self-confidence to own all that he is. It bugs us more if we are not owning all that we are. It irritates us more if we also leave our shoes lying around.

We may see our spouses flaws more readily than we see their strengths when we are feeling out of sorts. When life is good, so are they. I have always encouraged my friends to seek love – endlessly if they have to – because I believe in love. I am committed to love in all avenues of my life. But, love is not always what we think it is when we’re in the midst of our longing. I used to fall in love regularly, with people, ideas, fads, movies. Love came easily to me. Enthusiasm for something thrilling swept me away. I dove head first into new endeavors for the love of it – for the way a new idea made me feel. I needed to feel good to help alleviate the pain.  This feeling of being caught up in, enamored by, infatuated with is a wonderful feeling, but it is a bit of a psychosis.  It has all of the same characteristics. In other words, we are not seeing reality in those moments. We are not seeing the whole picture. I believe we should savor these moments, though I experience them less often than I did in my younger days, perhaps because my pain is not quite as deep, but we must not depend on them. We must mourn their loss when the ride is over and move onto a deeper, richer connection.

When looking for a long-term relationship it will always be the friendship that two people have, the genuine knowing of one another that carries them through. Not the sparks, the great sex, or the feelings of love. Feelings of love are elusive, as all feelings are. They are not a reliable source of commitment, nor will they always be present to guide us through the rough patches. When we look in another’s eyes and see our self, our soul reflected back to us, then we have everything we need to carry us forward. It is not a look of infatuation, of adoration, or a glassy-eyed connection. It is an honesty that makes us feel vulnerable, scared even, but true. Most of us never dare to really look at another and experience them looking deeply at us. In long-term relationships, really looking at one another falls by the wayside as habits of connection take its place. This is a mistake. We must look often and look long. This is how we stay connected to the heart of the relationship itself. It is how we stay connected to our vulnerability. That is where the truth lies in every relationship.

Mothers Letting Go

Mothers Letting Go

Mother's Day

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.”  Erich Fromm

Many of us are in the phase of “letting go” of our role as mothers. The hardest part is often where allowing our children to be independent and make their own decisions conflicts with our need to protect, guide and love; when our children cut the strings and pull away. We feel the loss acutely, and yet, that is our job. We must set them free to make their own mistakes just as we have made our own.

We must never forget, however, that they will always need the love and acceptance of a mother’s love. When we set the example of unconditional love they will grow a mother within themselves that carries them far beyond the length of our years and our presence in their lives. Holding them loosely in our hearts through the years of growing independence gives them a safe haven in a storm when they need it while allowing them to grow into the adults we long for them to become.

When our children no longer needs us, we must grieve and let them go. Still, we must never forget that our role as mother never ends. We need never stop sharing our mother love. We only need turn our attention elsewhere. Children needing love spill out of every crack and crevice throughout the world. If we look carefully, we will see the unloved child in the cashier at the grocery store, the grumpy mailman that always messes up our mail, the young woman whose husband abuses her, the little boy acting up in church, and in face after face of those we encounter briefly or every day. The wounded children of the world need the love of a mother to grow strong and whole. If your heart is full of mother’s love and your children no longer seem to need it, let it spill over on the world around you.

Download your copy of my book, Finding Hope today, as my gift to you. (Offer expires at midnight tonight. 5-10-15.  I think you’ll find a little extra strength, guidance and hope between the pages that may just take you through the hard moments of “letting go” to a new place of acceptance and outward of expression of mother’s love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Meditation Prayer on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation Prayer on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation Prayer on Love
by Thich Nhat Hanh

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be free from injury.  May I live in safety.
May I be free from disturbance, fear, anxiety and worry.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.

Let Go and Let Love

Let Go and Let Love

 

Simple words. Not always a simple matter. Letting go. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do. We seem to have been born to want to change things, to improve them, make them better. We are driven to fix the broken within ourselves and within others. We can conceive of perfection and so we think it’s possible to achieve it. We can imagine something better and it compels us forward. We love and long to make others love us similarly. Letting go. Is it possible when we are so driven? Should we let go? If we let go would we no longer care? Would we fall into some careless abyss?

I think not. To let go most often means, beneath everything else, to let go of fear. To trust life. To trust this moment. To trust the outcome. Letting go means letting go of our need to control, our need to make something happen, including love, and let life take care of itself, let love take care of itself. There is no room for love to work when we are a constant, demanding presence in the equation. Love needs space to live and breathe and work it’s magic. It will not be controlled or demanded upon. Let go and let love. Let go of your expectations, your demands, your needs, your fears and make room for love in your life. It’s there. Waiting.

The Fear of Love

The Fear of Love

We have all been wounded.  Many of us bear the deep scars of a less than perfect childhood. Perhaps our parents didn’t, or couldn’t love us the way we needed to be loved, alas, the way all children deserve to be loved. Or, maybe another person or experience left a mark on our psyche or heart so painful that we put in place cleverly devised layers of protection to keep us safe from future harm.

Self-protection has its benefits, but it also has its dangers. The longer we live and the more we have loved and lost, the more likely we are to be weighed down by our own cleverness. We may even feel smug about our ability to “carry on” in spite of life’s eventualities, or to turn the other cheek with increasing ease. We may, in fact, simply be numb.

If you look into the face of an innocent child who was loved into awakening, you will see the wide-eyed innocence of easy trust, acceptance and love…a love that flows freely without boundaries or limitations or expectations.  That once was us.

We may never be able to go back to the point of perfect innocence, but if we dare, we can choose to stare down our fears, choose to open our hearts and choose to love again.  We can decide to no longer let the past control our willingness to open our hearts today. We have surely reached the point in our lives where we can trust our ability to survive hurt and loss. We have done it many times before. We may know the pain that open, trusting, unsuspecting love can bring, but we also know its deep abiding  joy and life-giving power as well.

We owe it to ourselves and to those who come into our lives today to keep taking the risk to love and be loved. It is the only real way to know the fullness of life. After all, as the song says, “it is the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance”.

 “The Rose”

Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you its only seed.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dyin’
that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose.