Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcoming the Wildness of Love: 25 Lessons from A Year-Long Adventure in Dating



1. It doesn't have to be tit-for-tat. Richness can come in uneven packages. Soften your grasp on equality. The universe takes care of karma, not you.

2. Sex can complicate the fuck out of a beautiful connection. You can actually request taking it off the table (for now, for a while, for good). You can love what works and leave the rest behind. This is easiest when you don't have the pressure of monogamy demanding that everything intimate come in one package from one person right away.

3. Tell the truth and tell it fast. Even if it lets him down or causes you to risk losing attention or affection. The quickest way to activate another's insanity is by keeping them in a guessing-game about where they stand with you. No one wants to be misled, used or strung along. Jot your notes. Rehearse on a friend. Spit it out. It's called respect.

4. Strategy is an important form of self-love. A year ago, such words would have never left my lips. But I can tell you now, strategy matters. A framework that you're playing inside of. The edge you're intentionally leaning over. Your life lines. The ways you intend on keeping yourself grounded. 

5. Assume the best of our species: that we are mature beings, capable of non-conventional relating; that we want to be connected in ways that work for everyone.

6. Leave room for surprise. When you brave conversations that assume the best in everyone and tell the whole truth, you give love a chance to sing a new tune. It could be anything. Stay open.

7. Let your longing and loneliness grow you from every angle. Your darkest days point to the chance for a new practice. Poke around. That's what the lonely is for.

8. If it's on, it's on. You can feel the flow. Simple.

9. Drink the muddy water at your own risk. Incessant doubt, worry and deliberation... if they don't subside within a few interactions, you may be hooked on false hope. No matter, though. Every experience has its silver lining. Just be prepared to listen for it.

10. The wisest people are total fools for love. When you feel it, go all in. It's okay if you end up being the only one standing there. It feels good to be so alive. And heartbreak is something we're able to survive. This much, we're all learning all the time.

11. The wisest people love themselves by not contributing to their own destruction. They admit when it's no longer love, or never was from the start. (Even when it disappoints them). They don't linger too long in the land of old hope. They mourn their losses, then trust possibility. Hard.

12. Approaching dating as an evolutionary calling is good for society, and your conscience. Will I practice being in this natural disaster of desire without pillaging the next town over? Will I be compassionate even when the norms suggest I don't owe it to anyone? Will I call someone out when what went down was truly harmful? Will I put in the effort, for the sake of everyone's transformation? 

13. Make this decision: to be on the evolutionary edge of sexual liberation and joy. Be ready for your play-partner to waltz right into your life. Call up the sex-toy lady. Host the salon. FAQ each other like the future of sex depends on it. Because it does. 

14. The 100% rule is a smart convention. They talk about it in Cosmo (according to my 13 year-old friend Madeleine who teaches me tons about dating). Basically, all connections add up to 100%. Ideal dating connections are anywhere from 40:60 to 50:50 ratios. Once things start heading toward 30:70, the scales are tipping a bit too far and someone ought to rebalance them if a healthy connection is desired. Lean in or step back. You know where you fall in the spread.

15. Let there be space. 

16. Solitude is essential. There's no replacement for laying in bed alone, happy to be at home in yourself. 

17. You invite the lessons, the heartbreaks, the heroes you need. Say thank you to each of them. Really.

18. No one can save you from yourself. I repeat: No one can save you from yourself.

19. Love is like the wind; you grasp, it blows. Here are two reminders

20. Consent trumps convention. You can have it how you want it. Age. Gender. Orientation. Race. The number of people at one time. Your unique expression of love is needed in the world, belongs.

21. We're in the tangle of sexual trauma together and we're all needed in order to unravel it; to explore the difficulties of sex and power in all their nuance and subtlety. The courage thing, the honest conversation thing, the evolutionary calling thing: they definitely apply here. As well as therapy, healing relationships, naps, lotion, baths. Sentences like, We can do this.

22. Sometimes, people need time to catch up. Sometimes, you're the one chasing the wisdom-bus. 

23. It's helpful to think of the ones we date as our best teachers, to lean into each other for answers. Because the truth is, it's one big experiment and there are no real rules of play. We're all we've got. If we want to evolve at loving, we've got to teach each other the very best lessons we know. We have to let ourselves be clueless, ask vulnerable wobbly questions.

24. Be forgiving. We all fuck it up.

25. Humans are wild. Sometimes we forget, but it's true. Deep down, we're not asking to be caged by lofty rules on love. But we still want some insurance that it's out there for us, like the world is a place where we can offer our hearts and be received, like we really do belong all the way. And experiencing love with another is one way we can feel ourselves fall into belonging. But it's not the only one. There's also meditation. They go together, solitude and connection. Discovering that nothing's disconnected. Feeling it in your very own breath. Walking it in your very own step. Finding a whole world of life in yourself--ten thousand ringing bells in each one of your curls; an infinite song you can't erase if you try. We are all together in an infinite spiral, learning to love our scary wild aloneness. It's okay. We're safe here. Together and alone. We're okay here. Here we are.


~~~~~~~~


What are your most treasured lessons from the wondrous adventure of looking for love? I'd love to know. We all would.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Life Cycle of... Becoming. Anything at all. (Or A Short Summary of Growing Up).


You didn't know what to call it then, but you can look back now and call it what it was: innocent idealism and a fuck ton of work.

You can't blame a young person. In fact, you should applaud her. She'll need the echo of trust after she wears herself thin, decides with her body that she's meant for something else, and then plunges, accidentally, into the terror of liminality, teetering between faith and doubt, not knowing how or when she'll land again, two feet on the sturdy ground of love.

Hovering is a particular kind of suffering; a forgetting that you belong.

It can last far too long.

And then there's what comes next: remembering, beyond your mind, that which you have no proof of actually knowing, but can feel in your bones. The pulse connects the clues like magnets. Magic. You are pulled back in.

Nameless and easy. Like breathing. Like dying. Like the rising sun again and again. Like that which doesn't depend on should but is born from a raging mystical desire. The energy of fire, burning all that's not truly alive.*

It strips you down until it fits. So well you can wear it like a calling.

You move into warrior-realism. You survive in your finest for the dignity of your tribe. Asking the buffalo to lay himself down, offer himself for your consumption, you exchange his energy for your creation. The simple and difficult and profound.

You risk wanting something honestly enough to embody it. You aim for the third eye of mystery. Pull the bow. Shoot.

You're not afraid to devour your destiny.


*Goethe: I praise what is truly alive, what longs to be burned to death!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

faith / renaissance / faith / renaissance



i would make a toast
if i knew what to say
other than, how?

but this is not the time for questions of western minds

screaming, kicking, crying her way out
needs no how?

give her a god damn wow

before her fight
to come back to life
she killed herself
without any certainty
that she'd be better off
this time around

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

like an animal


it's possible that all this heartbreak is a 
mistake, a simple    misunderstanding

do you hear me?
nothing broke here
except an idea

this is just the natural slaughter of a 
zebra in the field--
feeling, fiercely
roaming, openly
all her wild stripes in sight

this is facing, earnestly
the death that comes at night

this is surrender--
the piercing flight of a 
birds' fresh feather
in the blood-red mouth 
of animal fate

have no complaints
nothing loves without pain

Monday, March 11, 2013

a destiny between honey and pain


The days aren't discarded or collected, they are bees
that burned with sweetness or maddened
the sting: the struggle continues,
the journeys go and come between honey and pain.
No, the net of years doesn't unweave: there is no net.
They don't fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river.
Sleep doesn't divide life into halves,
or action, or silence, or honor:
life is like a stone, a single motion,
a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves,
an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metal
that climbs or descends burning in your bones.


~~~

We the mortals touch the metals,
the wind, the ocean shores, the stones,
knowing they will go on, inert or burning,
and I was discovering, naming all the these things:
it was my destiny to love and say goodbye.


~~~

- Pablo Neruda, Still Another Day

Friday, March 1, 2013

tell me about love



I'm writing a letter to a friend, 
answering her question: 
Tell me about love.

I'm telling her what 
Osho says about love. About its 
momentary quality--
that you can't put a 
contract on it. 

That it's more like a 
particular combination of 
paints 
that meld into a new color--
then eventually,
harden. 

At which point, it's time for a 
new moment. 
A new squeeze
from the tube. 

Sometimes you have lots of 
new moments 
with the same 
person for a really 
long time. 

Sometimes, 
you don't. 

But love doesn't care, 
either way. 

Love's not concerned with the 
who's or the 
how long's. 

It only cares that you melt.

And then the phone rings from 
South Dakota. 
And my heart sighs. And I 
smile deep--

A chance to become 
nothing, fading into each other, 
forgetting for a moment 
that we were ever made 
separate at all. 

Fifteen minutes of a 
rhythm so in-sync you'd 
think our hearts kept 
exactly the same pace. 

So I Google the question, 
"Do all human hearts keep 
exactly the same pace?" 

And I only get 
half-hearted answers 
that speak nothing of 
magic, nothing of 
togetherness, nothing of 
the implication 
that even as 
separate beings, 
distinguished matter, there's a 
song in us humans that 
is an us

It's how we were made. 
With metronomes of together 
in the center of our bodies--
An anthem that cries,
we are one

And I think, maybe, 
I could list a thousand ways 
that we're constantly 
trying to remember 
that song.