- Stanley Keleman
There is much to be said and argued on the subject of love. Zillions of books, songs and movies provide endless interpretations, many we can all relate to. For this alone, it can be plainly seen how love is a truth that lives in us all. Something we were created to embody as it is an essential part of our creation.
As a person who loves to love, I embrace this part of my creation and tend to show no hesitation in sharing my heart with anyone. Only problem is that not everyone is necessarily wanting to receive what I freely give. Where it would feel better to be able to just accept such refusal and carry on, I retreat... rejected, hurt and terribly confused. Who doesn't want love? It is not like I offered a plate of worms or a dead rabbit. I offered my loving, nonjudgmental, undemanding, fun-loving and accepting heart.
When I chat up this subject with friends, inevitably they all say that some people are scared of love. Scared?? What the heck is so scary about love? Jumping out of an airplane is scary. Losing your child at an airport I am certain is terrifying. Not knowing if a family member is going to live or die, that is truly frightening. But love... Love is what protects one during these times of fear. Or at least it should, in my opinion. I know that when I am scared, I am sure glad to be surrounded by people I love and who I know love me.
I am not judging, for I do realize that some peoples first experiences with love can hardly be seen as love. Love is action that becomes personified. The experiences of the past get projected onto future relationships, for that is what is known. In truth, we begin to learn about love from the moment we are born. Our Fourth Chakra, which is the Heart Chakra, develops between the ages of 4 and 7. If we are victims of child abuse, physical or emotional, this lesson of 'love' becomes our truth. As Anodea Judith explains so well in her book Eastern Body Western Mind, it is not that the travesties of love are from a complete absence of love, but rather an absence of healthy love.
I must admit, I feel justified at times in blaming my parents loveless marriage for my current single status, more specifically in how my how my mother chose to continue live in it. As my mother, she was my example to follow and what I saw was a woman who rarely smiled, was not terribly affectionate and seemed to resent raising children. Sub-conciously I think I made a note-to-self : "I don't want her life... ever". And alas, here I am at age 41, single and child free.
There has been much work done on my part to not 'be my mother'. I feel confident about myself and my choices, perhaps regretting a few, but forgiving myself all the same and moving forward. Joy is a state of being that I delight to dwell and when I slip from joy, I do whatever I can to recapture it. I want a life of love and fulfillment because I love how it makes me feel, not because it is a goal to attain. Although I may be a bit of a failure in my mothers eyes because I am not married with children (the irony of that which is rich), I know myself to be a success because I choose to not settle for anything less than what is right for me.
I have opened my mind and my heart to God and the universe to accept whatever is meant to be, which can be difficult in the on-line dating world. Not too long ago, I encountered what I thought might be the universe responding, only to be shut down a few months later. Sadly, what I perceived as a willing recipient of my loving, nonjudgmental, undemanding, fun-loving and accepting heart, was not willing to receive at all. Part of me understands that it has nothing to do with me and that we all have our stuff to deal with in our own way. Who wants to date a head case anyway, right? Still, I couldn't help but feel angry, lied to and confused. After a time, it turned to just profoundly sad and still baffled as to why this wonderful gift of love wasn't just received with gratitude.
We all handle rejection and loss of love differently, yet I think it is safe to say we all reflect a similar pattern of feelings and response to those feelings. Somatically speaking, unrequited love can infest our bodies with all sorts of toxic emotions.
Think of your most recent heartbreak, when a significant other broke up with you or shut you out, or when you ended a relationship (romantic or otherwise) that you desperately wanted to work but it was beyond repair. How did you feel? Probably empty, yet at the same time so heavy, as if you needed a crane to get you out of bed. It may have been difficult to breathe, smile, eat... all you want to do is escape and numb out this dark cloud of sadness. Maybe you disappear off the radar for a while, dive into books or TV shows, eat crap and drink too much. You stop working out, don't care what you look like and certainly don't care what other people think. When others try to extend love to you to encourage you and lift you up, you reject it... because giving and receiving love is what got you in this mess in the first place. Perhaps you are not so obvious on the outside, but the inside tells a different story.
So, to prove to yourself that you are not weak, emotional loser who can't handle a love set back, you put on a strong emotional armor and continue on with life. A smart and strategic move is to fill your calendar with very important appointments that are immovable and therefore disallow any silly extracurricular activities like a social life and dating. Life is very structured now: Get up, quickly shower and dress, go to work for ten hours at least, attend very important post work meetings/gym/lecture/dinner, get home at 10:00p, watch a DVR'd episode of your favorite escapist show while drinking half a bottle of wine, go to bed close to midnight, get up next morning, take Advil and repeat.
Now the weekend comes and the house is a mess, laundry needs to be done and you are running around doing all of the very important personal errands that you couldn't complete during your very busy week. By Saturday night you are exhausted and the thought of sitting at home with a bottle of wine and a movie seems much more appealing than going to a cocktail party where people will be asking how your love life is going.
Your friends may scoff and tell you that you need to get out more, but hey! You are a machine! You are in control! You don't mind being home alone on a Saturday night! Who needs people when you have your very own trusty self, a bottle of booze and the cast of "Rescue Me" to show you just how screwed up life could REALLY be?? No one can hurt you now because you have a very strong armor that will not let anyone in ever! So THERE...HA!!
Yet, in the moments of quiet, when you least expect it, the somatic reality speaks... our bodies ache with loneliness. There is a visceral sense of yearning that has no specific direction. Our minds cannot talk our bodies out of this feeling. A one night stand or a 'friend with benefits' cannot cure this skin hunger, for the somatic reality of love is much deeper than the surface of the skin and far more profound for the mind to understand.
As a side note, the above scenario does not describe my current state and I am not at home drinking my self into oblivion over the loss of a relationship I had hoped to explore. Although I find that loss to be a shame and really too bad, it hardly got deep enough to cripple me. Besides, who knows... perhaps one day my flirty soul will bleed that stone.
I want to return to the quote at the beginning by Stanley Keleman: "Love is a bodied truth, a somatic reality". The term "somatic" comes from the Greek meaning 'of the body'. By medical definition, a somatic illness is one of the body, not of the mind. I will say that a loss of love is indeed a somatic illness, but I will also say that it need not be a life long chronic one. It is an acute virus that needs to run its course. Once the virus of lost love is gone, we feel so much better and can receive again.
There are those who do not want to get well, however, and choose to let a virus turn into a chronic illness. They have determined that love is dangerous or believe that they are not worthy of receiving it. This chronic illness... this somatic illness... is a REAL chronic illness. Our cells respond to vibrations of thought and feeling. If you think I am full of crap, all one has to do is look at the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto to see that I speak the truth. We are fluid, water filled beings and the water crystals within us respond to our mindset and emotional response. The image at the beginning of this post is a water crystal responding to "Love and Gratitude" and it is a most beautiful image. This is indeed where the somatic reality speaks.
Take a look around you. Look at the people and view them with compassion. Note how they hold themselves... what does their body position tell you? Are they depressed and defeated? Upright and protecting? Light on their feet, free and accepting? What do they say about themselves and others? Is it constructive and encouraging or is it critical, self abusive and destructive? Now take a look at your self and ask the same questions.
This is not to be written off as poor posture or bad manners. This is powerful, deep stuff...
I will continue to explore somatic reality more from a manual therapy view point in future writings. For now, I want to end with this idea:
Breathe... allow yourself to be vulnerable...open your heart and be willing to grow and learn and accept love. It is a choice.
Love to love.