SoCS: All or Nothing

socs-2016-badgeThis post is written as part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) writing prompt by Linda G. Hill.  For complete instructions please visit her page

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS May 20/17

Join the fun, and see what we all have to say, and add your own truth!

All or Nothing

There’s an old jazz song that gets sung at open mic night fairly often, called “All Of Me” by Billie Holliday. The chorus is:

“All of me
Why not take all of me
Can’t you see
I’m no good without you”

The singer laments, take my lips, take my arms, you took the part that was my heart, why not take all of me?

All, or nothing….Take all of me, or none of me. Which is how a relationship should be. You take the whole person. You can’t just take the parts that you like. A lover once told me there were many things he loved about me, but he hated my temper. Now, I can have a temper. It’s slow to rise, but when it does it’s like an explosion. The dust settles pretty quickly, though, and it’s over. I can’t hold a grudge. The point is though, that as a lover, I need all of me to be taken. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. All. Or take nothing, and let me go.

To be completely accepted by someone is rare. I can think of friendships I have with so many people whom I like, except for “blah blah blah”. However, I guess I accept those things, because we are still friends, even though some things make me crazy. Their good qualities always outweigh the ones that bug me. Friendship means a lot to me, so I take all of them.

In love….I also take all of my partner. Until I can’t. I’ll try and try. But I won’t, any longer, keep trying when the behavior I can’t accept begins to hurt me. All of them, or nothing. And they need to take all of me, or nothing. When you can work out the parts that bug you, between the two of you, it’s possible to find a way to take all of someone, even if you don’t quite find yourself on the same page.

All or nothing. It’s a boundary too. It says if you can’t take all of me, then you get none of me. And if I can’t take all of you, then I don’t want any of you. Compromising on that can only lead to heartache. At least in romantic, committed love. In a friendship, it’s easier. If my friend is behaving in ways I can barely tolerate, I can take a few days and stay away from them. The unacceptable behavior then fades, as I remember how important their friendship is to me. But love, romantic love, I believe has to be all or nothing, or it will never last.

Unconditional love is different than romantic love. It says, I love all people and want the best for everyone. Like the Buddhist Metta prayer, May all people be happy. May all people be free from suffering. Unconditional love. I can feel that even for people who have hurt me to the core. They say that if you believe in unconditional love, which for me is who I strive to be, that you don’t get to pick and choose who you love. If you do, it’s not unconditional. All, or nothing. Everyone, or no one.

Romantic love requires that all or nothing love in a very intimate, personal way. Unconditional love of everyone, requires it in a very broad way. One is reaching inside ourselves. One is extending as far out as possible. All or nothing. A thought-provoking writing prompt.

Rumination: What Is Love?

I’m up long before dawn this morning. I slept like a rock, for about 7 hours, and did nothing yesterday but sleep and write and read and watch TV, because I hadn’t been feeling well, and hadn’t slept well. So, I’m not surprised that I was wide awake at 4:15 this morning, and unable to get back to sleep.

I lay in bed for awhile, just thinking. Thinking about how much I think about, write about, obsess about love. Being in love. Loving unconditionally. How when I really love someone, I always love them, but how that love can change, and transform over time. How sometimes it has been toxic for me, driving me to my knees. And sometimes it has lifted me, higher than I’ve ever been.

But what is it? I can honestly say, I don’t know. I have loved when it hurt me, and loved when it lifted me and why both? I used to say it was a choice to love someone. When I was married, I said that. I was committed. I tried for so long to make that work. I hated breaking that commitment. But I did, and now? I don’t think that if love was a choice, that I was really in love with him. We were together at 18, until we were 56. At 18 I was in love, as much as an 18 year old could be. I think he was too. Over so many years, I know his control issues, and abuse, changed that, but I was committed, and so I kept telling myself we still loved each other, and kept trying to make it work. But did I love him? Well, maybe. Was I IN love with him. No. I was committed to him and our family. Until I realized that the commitment only went one way, and his commitment was only to controlling the rest of us. Thinking abusing us was the way to do that. I told him, after we split up, the only control you ever had over me was how much you loved me. And you didn’t.

With S, I was in love. Crazy, undeniably, continuously in love. And it kept me going back, wanting to see if this time he could love me. Just me. He could not. I finally gave up on it, I finally realized that whatever it was he wanted, in his free-thinking Aquarian way, it was not what I wanted for the rest of my life. The trust was broken, again and again and again, and I just had to stop kidding myself that I’d ever be able to trust. I’ve read that Aquarians are independent enough to think it’s fine if they are unfaithful, as long as they tell their partner about their indescretions. Which I believe is true for him. It’s who he is, I don’t hold it against him. He’s entitled to live how he wants to. It’s just not what I want for the rest of my years on this earth. I don’t share, can’t share, the man I love. I still miss him sometimes, his sense of humor, his quirkiness. And sometimes, his ability to help me to see things differently. But trust…..I can’t get past that, and never will.

D, the man I’ve been seeing for awhile now. I have not allowed myself to say I’m in love with him. We have not said it to each other, yet I feel that he loves me. I like him a lot. I only hope I can love him. I am wary, I think, not because of him, but because of the pain I experienced the last time I gave my heart fully to someone. D is so not like anyone else I’ve been with. He’s had his trials, his challenges, and still…he’s thoughtful and kind, considerate and loving. Yesterday, when I didn’t feel well, he apologized for not taking care of me well enough. I almost didn’t know how to react to that kind of thought from a man. It was not his fault, yet he took it on, because he wanted to think he could have helped me avoid it. He has done absolutely nothing but build my trust. We are compatible in many ways, and he seems willing to try to learn from me, and to teach me about himself. I think there are possibilities for the future. I feel safe with him, among many other things.

Looking at these 3 men….and trying to answer the question “What is love?” and “What makes me feel it?”…..I still have no answers. I looked to Rumi this morning, for answers to those questions. Rumi talks a lot about how love feels, but in my very cursory study of his work, not too often about what it is. I did find this quote:

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”

Which is deep enough to send me on a long meditation. LOL. This is a Rumi quote that describes, to me, what it feels like to be in love:

“I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”

I don’t know what love is, and may never know. I know when I feel it though. I know when it’s bud is growing and I know when it’s bud is dying. I hope I’ll know when it’s a love that can last, that can grow like the giant sequoia, and scrape the clouds. Only time will tell.

Love and light.

Secrets in the Stars

lovers

Touch me where the secrets lie
Hold me, and search for them.
They wait in the darkness,
For your light to find them.

Set them free
With the sparkle of your eyes
With the sweetness of your breath,
With the tenderness of your touch.

Secrets, unchained
Fill the spaces between us
Where do you end?
Where do I begin?

Our bodies connect
Relentlessly.
Each secret we release
Sends us closer to the stars.

By Deborah E. Dayen

Image from Google Images

Did I Ever? The Answers

Leonard Cohen asks:

Did I ever love you? Yes.
Did I ever need you? No.
Did I ever fight you? Yes
Did I ever want to? No.

Did I ever leave you? Yes
Was I ever able? No.
Or are we still leaning
Across the old table?  I’m not. It hurts my back. I can’t speak for you.

The lemon tree blossoms. Yes it does, here.
The almond tree withers. Maybe…..
And is it still raining
Back in November?  Not here, but in my old life, yes. Same thing goes on and on. Over and over. It’s lovely in here, back in November.
Those are my answers to Leonard Cohen’s questions, from one of my favorite of his songs, Did I Ever Love You. Good questions, trying to understand. What are your answers?  I’ve put this video up before, but in case you missed it….I’ll do it again. Enjoy.

 

The Wall

stone-retaining-wall-contractor

The love is so intense it consumes you
You breathe it, you bathe in it.
Sometimes it’s excruciating, you stay with it anyway.

Until, with out warning, something changes, in you.
One day, there’s one word, or one phrase
A wall appears between you.

You didn’t build it.
You didn’t even particularly want it there.
But it’s there.

You can’t take it down.
Something just stops you,
From taking out that first brick.

You know if you take out one brick
The entire weight of the wall
Will come down on you and crush you.

The weight of a wall built in secret
One row of bricks at a time, under your nose
You’ve been peering over it.

You didn’t even know.
Until it obscures your vision.
Suddenly you can’t see over it anymore

Or through it. Or around it.
You know what’s on the other side
And all you can do is walk away.

By Deborah E. Dayen