What is Love?
What is Love?
Quick exercise: what song comes up for you?
For me, I immediately hear Haddaway in my head.
“What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me.
While in another alternate mindset, it could have gone to Moulin Rouge’s Elephant Love Medley and that over dramatized scene with Ewan McGregor baring his soul to Nicole Kidman on a rooftop in Paris.
Love is a many splendored thing,
Love lifts us up where we belong,
All you need is love!
What an interesting thing to notice that my prior influences or at least musical tastes point me almost automatically in the direction of the cynic over the ethereal.
I’m currently reading “All About Love” by bell hooks and wanting to dive deep into this concept of modern day love and intimacy. Why?
Because it deeply perplexes me.
“Youth culture today is cynical about love. And that cynicism has come from their pervasive feeling that love cannot be found. Expressing this concern in “When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough”, Harold Kushner writes: “I am afraid that we may be raising a generation of young people who will grow up afraid to love, afraid to give themselves completely to another person, because they will have seen how much it hurts to take the risk of loving and have it not work out. I am afraid that they will grow up looking for intimacy without risk, for pleasure without significant emotional investment. They will be so fearful of the pain of disappointment that they will forego the possibilities of love and joy.”
Hello young people out there! Be honest. IS THIS YOUR LIFE?
Are you afraid to show who you truly are and give yourself completely to another person?
Are you finding yourself constantly seeking connection online and offline and still feeling emotionally and physically unsatisfied and unfulfilled?
What does the internal dialogue between your brain and heart sound like?
Have you explored your own patterns and conditioning with your intimate relationships?
Do you know what love is?
“So many of us long for love but lack the courage to take risks. Even though we are obsessed with the idea of love, the truth is that most of us live relatively decent, somewhat satisfying lives even if we often feel that love is lacking. The truth is, far too many people in our culture do not know what love is. And this not knowing feels like a terrible secret, a lack that we have to cover up….bell hooks
UGH. You slay me, hooks.
To open our hearts more fully to love’s power and grace we must dare to acknowledge how little we know of love in both theory and practice. We must face the confusion and disappointment that much of what we were taught about the nature of love in the media makes utterly no sense in the real world.
We think we know love in theory from what we see in the movies and read in the books. We know nothing. It’s an everyday practice to get up every morning and choose to love. To love yourself, to love one another, to open our receptivity to love and to express our love back in a language the other person can hear and receive. All while believing that we are whole, perfect, and complete and not fall into bitter whirlpools of self-deprecation, shame, blame, and hate.
Which brings up the pervasive cynic in our youth culture.
According to hooks, “Cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.”
Side note: Betrayal is such a beautiful word…
Let’s rewind here.
How does this even happen?
Well…let’s see…no school about love exists. This is unfortunate. Everyone assumes that we will know how to love instinctively. We assume it is within our family dynamic where we learn these things and are then are expected to experience love in romantic relationships thereafter. But what if we grew up in a not so “loving” environment? What happens if we didn’t grow up around intimacy and affection? What happens if we don’t know what we don’t know?
We then spend a lifetime of therapy uncovering lessons learned from unhealthy relationships, undoing the damage caused by cruelty, neglect, and all manner of lovelessness experienced in our past where we simply did not know what to do.
I’m now thinking about my cousin who called off his engagement, after finding out his fiance went back to her ex. He’s a hardcore gamer now who’s forever sworn off relationship and marriage. I don’t want to place judgement here. It’s his life choices. I personally feel loss and pain, and layers of resentment. And, I secretly question how I would personally react if it were me in his position. First, it would require me to even surrender to love so deeply for me to be hurt so badly. Would I dare choose to love again?
Interestingly and ironically enough, only love itself can heal the wounds of the past. And yet how can you serve love to yourself and another without actually understanding the foundational principles for what it is?
And most importantly what does it take…?
Hence my fascination over this topic-
What is real modern day intimacy today?
What is love and how can we find it, embrace it, see it, hear it, taste it, feel it, surrender to it, and trust it?
So here I am contemplating the practice of love in everyday life, thinking about how we love and what is needed for this world to become a culture where true intimacy and connection can be felt everywhere, beyond just physicality (i’m talking limbic soul to soul, eye to eye connection), beyond the empty calories of sensational-less pornography, beyond limits and preferences. Truly in all-inclusive world where even the betrayed cynic can believe in uncovering the depths of something pure and true, to expand the capacity within the feeling body, to experience the nourishing sensations of feeling seen, met, and heard.
Here I am wanting to truly believe that “love lifts us up where we belong…”
Which brings up this term “hopeless romantic.” Why do we even say it’s hopeless to begin with…way to set ourselves up for success…
Personally, I did not grow up with intimacy. I am a runner that has never been in love before. For awhile, I was proud of my cynical non-attachment to people, places, and things. What’s coming up for me now in wanting to explore intimacy may just be a cry from my soul that says “it’s about time…”Somewhere, I feel deep within me is a powerful well of rich earthy spacious love that I have kept on lockdown and my mind tells my heart this “It’s too much. You are too intense. You’ll get hurt. You’ll hurt someone. You don’t know what you are doing. You fool. It’s not real.”
Oh those voices.
If only we knew knew what our real internal dialogue was saying…
Funny, how we are taught to believe that the mind, not the heart, weighs supreme to lead. Implying that if I were to speak fantastically about love with any sort of emotional intensity, then I would be perceived as irrational, “hopeless”, dopey and perhaps a bit naive and weak.
I imagine that most of us keep quiet about the raw beautiful thing that exists and bubbles inside. We find solace in our silence, comfort which shields us from uncertainty. If we keep silent, then we don’t have to be seen for who we really are and what we really think. That deep vulnerable truth of “I like you (too), but please my heart is like glass, treat it gently” gets hidden and the distorted mask of evasive cool takes its place.
So I’m left with this scary feeling of wanting to explore the meaning of love beyond the realm of fantasy- beyond what I can even imagine. I want to know love’s truth as I live it. And as I am healing/learning/teaching/sharing empowerment and embodiment practices, I’ve discovered my willingness to dive deeper within richer experiences of intimacy and connection. I’m noticing myself willing to express myself more authentically and vulnerably from the very start of an interaction. And also to ground all of my intimate encounters with a shared frame while filling in the statement “There was a moment when…” and “Right now I’m feeling…”
Which is what brings me to this. Intimacy.Is, a digital storytelling platform where I aim to compile modern snapshots of what intimacy is today with quotes, interviews, videos, real life stories. I want to encourage a world where we can share our collective intimate frames of our human relating from a raw and conscious point of view. To open up the dialogue where the mind and heart are speaking.
To the woes and the glows!
If you’d like to submit a response that captures your feelings about love and intimacy, please do so. It could look like a text message exchange, a personal memoir, a rant, a poem, an art piece. All of the feels are welcome here!
n the meantime, here are some things and questions to explore while diving into the bottomless pit of what we don’t know that we don’t know…
- We draw in people who only give us as much as we think we deserve (i.e., not much). Your power lies in your reception (your ability to receive).
What are some ways you can expand on your havingness level when it comes to love and intimacy?
- Our current gender roles play weird mind games on how we as women and men relate with each other and in the feminine and masculine/overt and covert ways we communicate. We come with different levels of openness and layer our feelings with abstraction depending on power dynamics.
How can we remove egos aside and communicate with each other about our needs and desires while openly and honestly expressing care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust?
- Our society is becoming increasingly desensitized, going for the plasticized fast food empty calories version of pornography/”going through the motions” physicality. Meanwhile, the erotic forces of sensory limbic connection on a more subtle and conscious level gives us more power of creation, joy, and nourishment.
What are some ways you can open your senses to your desires and explore the simplicity and depths of physical intimacy unbounded by the constraints our sexual conditioning of “I do you, you do me”?
Alright folks, that’s it for now.
I’m going to ponder about approval without expectation or gripping for now now… Stay tuned!
Thanks for seeing me,