I am indebted to Colin Goodman who inspired this conversation.
We were talking about his recent break-up with his girlfriend of five
years. What he wasn't struck by, was that the break-up
happened in the first place, in fact he had been expecting it. What
came with the break-up was the typical sadness and dislocation that
we've all experienced at some time or another when a relationship ends,
especially when we're not a willing party to it ending (willing or not,
there's that old saying "It takes two to start a great relationship and
only one to end it."). What he was struck by was this: he
said "It feels like she took something from me. How is that possible?".
And it was in "How is that possible?" that I heard him
I asked him "Indeed! How is that possible? It's possible
only if we assign the source of our experience of love, to the other.
It's possible only if you assign the cause of your
experience of love, to her. But is that possible if you're clear you're
really the source of your own experience of love?" (it was a rhetorical
question: I was provoking, angling actually). After
of contemplation he said pensively "I loved her, I say. With
my love, I say. With my experience, I say.
If all that's true, it's not really possible for someone to take that
from me ... unless a) I'm not telling the truth and / or unless b)
I've allowed them to. Hmmm ..." with pursed lips.
Now that was a great insight, right on the money in fact.
He was being so brutally honest that I shivered. I suspected that he
was seeing something for the first time ever, something epic, something
pivotal. Ordinarily we assign the source of love and of loving, to the
other person. When I say
"I love you",
it's ordinarily because I'm
with something you do, or are like, or a way you be, or who you are.
Yet unexamined, that's also a way of love and loving which produces the
most sadness and dislocation when / if the other person leaves: when
all the good stuff is
with them. That's the bad news. The good news on the other
hand, is after a period of
it's easy to see that it's not a powerful place to love from (if you
will), one which can easily be re-assessed and corrected.
So: if assigning the source of love and loving to the other person,
isn't a powerful place to love from, then what is a
powerful place to love from, an extraordinary place to
love from? He already got it / knew it / had it ... yet hadn't examined
it in the light of his own experience: the source of our love and
loving, isn't the other person (pop songs, poetry, and romantic myths
notwithstanding). Rather, we are the source of our love
and loving. We're the source of our love and loving and the fullness
and joy which goeswith (as
may have said) our love and loving, regardless of another coming or
going, what they look like, or what qualities they bring. Assigning the
source of our love and loving to the other person, leaves us helpless
over the experience - and hence leaves us sad and powerless when it
ends. Experiencing ourselves as the source of our love and loving, is
to own our love so that it's always here, always with us, no matter who
comes, no matter who goes.
line in the popular movie: "You complete me ...". I don't
want to sound like I'm putting the kibosh on the joy of being in love.
But could it be (I mean could it?) that "You complete me
..." as a measure of love, loving, and being in love, is actually a
recipe for disaster? "What do you mean?" he asked, intrigued.
We spoke easily, relaxed, trustingly. If you complete me, and then you
leave me, am I still complete? If I say you complete me, am I saying I
wasn't complete before I met you? And if I wasn't complete before I met
you, and by coming into a relationship with you, you complete me, what
happens if, while we're in a relationship, I complete my own life for
myself: do we still have the same relationship we once had? The
questions are disconcerting ... yet only as long as I have it that you
are the cause of my experience of love. Something extraordinary becomes
possible for us when we share an experience of love in which we're each
the source of our own.