Love – A New Take!

One of the definitions of love that has always made sense to me is by M. Scot Peck. “Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.” In my great big love affair that lasted forty plus years, this was the driving force right from the word go, as all my readers know.

I am also quite cynical about the very haphazard use of the word and keep looking for weird uses and some such uses have also been written about by me in some of my earlier posts. Like, I love hot dogs, or I love to smoke etc.

So, when the topic of love handled by a Biological Anthropologist, Helen Fisher came to my notice, I sat up and listened. In a fascinating lecture with TED, she takes one on a journey of discovery. Some of the statements that she makes might just tickle your curiosity enough to want to listen to her are given below.

“Love is not an emotion, it is a mechanical drive in the brain.”

“Human beings have learnt to tolerate the other individual long enough to reproduce.”

“Women entering the job market is going back to ancient times. 80% of the food for the day was brought home by the women in the times long past..We are simply moving forward to the past.”

“There are significant gender differences in the brains of men and women. Women and men are like two feet, needing each other to move.”

“There are more male geniuses in the world, but there are also more male idiots in the world.”

“Lust, romantic love and attachment can go together and/or exist simultaneously with others. In other words, one can love more than one person at the same time.”

“We are not animals made to be happy but to reproduce but we can develop serious attachments.”

Her considerable worry about the increasing use of antidepressants is worth listening to by itself. She concludes that particular subject with, “a world without love is a deadly place”.

I hope that I have primed you enough. Let me not keep you waiting. You can listen to her at TED.

Love.

The Friday topic for the consortium of Ashok, Conrad and Grannymar besides yours truly, is Love, chosen by me.

This is also to extend a very hearty welcome to Magpie11 to the consortium whose post today is eagerly looked forward to by all the above four members.

As you proceed with reading this post you will come to know why I chose the topic. Happy reading.
i-heart-math-katie
Laurence Whistler, in a wonderful biography, ‘The Initials in the Heart’, wrote, when his wife died, that a friend, to comfort him in his misery, had told him that at some point he would “come through” it all. But Whistler didn’t find that idea remotely consoling. “What was unendurable,” he wrote, “was precisely the idea of ‘coming through’… If she faded altogether, I thought, that would be the real goodbye; whereas grieving, was only loving in another key.”

I believe that we cannot use any other word for ‘loving’ here! But in real life, we use ‘love’ in ways that convey different degrees of the intensity of that emotion.

Let me illustrate!

I love to blog/sms/surf the net/make phone calls.
I love my mobile phone. (The latest, not the one that was exchanged for the current one, though in its time, the previous one was loved too.)
I love my morning cup of tea.
I love Masala Dosa. (A very popular South Indian fast food)
I love Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt.
I love to go to sleep.
I love all stray dogs.
I love my evening outings with my friends to the neighbourhood park.
I love my Lexus.
I love to drive.
I love football.
I love my country (right or wrong!)

AND it also means Zero in tennis, badminton and some other games!

Get the drift?

Just carefully listen to ordinary chit chats, even if it is unobtrusive overhearing in a coffee shop, and you will realize that the word ‘love’ as a noun or a verb is used with reckless abandon. I suppose that reckless abandon and the word are inseparable.

The other common use nowadays is to end all telephone calls/conversations with “Love you” or “I love you too”. I suppose that it is acceptable between spouses, parents and children, siblings etc. I also suppose that these relationships really need that kind of reinforcement in these days of insecurity.

I personally find it extremely difficult to use the word love casually. I find that I am not alone in this peculiar reluctance. Not that I am incapable of that emotion, but to articulate is difficult.

There are other words that can do the job of describing the emotion with more accuracy. Fond of, like, appreciate, crave, attached, long for etc. Somehow I do not find these being in regular use nowadays. Is it a matter of simplifying the language to use one word to express different levels of intensity of an emotion, or is it just a general devaluation of the emotion itself? I find it difficult to answer that question and seek answers from my readers.

The Aquarian Gospel defines it as: “Love is the power of God that binds two souls and makes them one; there is no power on earth that can dissolve that bond.” Does this mean that the increasing incidences of divorces, breaking of family relationships etc would indicate absence of love to start with? Has materialism invaded emotional life as well? Has the time then come for us to accept that by and large, our relationships now, are based on convenience and not on Love?

Finally, a wonderful quote from an Icon.
“I am certainly not an authority on love because there are no authorities on love, just those who’ve had luck with it, and those who haven’t.” – Bill Cosby.

Love In The Air

loveintheairimages

I know for sure that this will be of interest to some hardy souls like Grannymar, Ashok and of course yours truly. It may be of interest to some others like Diane and Gail, but I cannot be very sure about that as they are very mysterious people.

There are yet others like Conrad who will act as Mavens and take the information contained here as spread it around. Or at least I hope so.

The idea intrigues me. As a retired Marketing man, I think that this is a brilliant promotion and will be keenly watching to see if it will succeed.

Let me not keep you in suspense! Just read this article.

It will be interesting to see what kind of comments this post will generate.

Love And Passion

“Eros, the God of Love, emerged to create the earth. Before, all was silent, bare, and motionless. Now all was life, joy, and motion.”
———-Early Greek Myth.

Several beautiful children were born to Aphrodite and Ares. Eros, their little son, was appointed God of Love. Although nursed with tender solicitude, this second-born child did not grow as the other children do, but remained a small, rosy, chubby child, with gauzy wings and roguish, dimpled face. Alarmed for his health, Aphrodite consulted Themis, who oracularly replied, “Love cannot grow without Passion.”
———-Later Greek Myth.

From the book “Love And Will” by Rollo May.

Since my bereavement, I have searched for the next passion that could fill the void that the absence of a wife of forty years creates in a man’s life, particularly when, other economic or social activity does not appeal to the sense of the aesthetic in me. The search has been a daunting one, as the problem is a combination of the physical absence and the essence of an intense relationship.

Don’t however get me wrong, I am not looking for passion of the amorous kind. That was not the point of the relationship anyway. I am talking about getting passionate about something in the sense of the following definition of the word –“a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: like ‘a passion for music’.” Unless I find that, how do I close that first love and passion? How do I find that next love?

The older and minor passions of reading and pursuits spiritual have been intensified, but there is nothing quite like the passion that a loving relationship generates. So, what do I do to get out of the often experienced “whymeitis”?

This musing is a futile exercise as it is like searching for the coin where the light shines, instead of where it fell!

I just realized that I do not have to search anymore, because, I already have it. I had simply not recognized it. Like a habit, it had simply taken over my life.

I am of course talking about blogging. Writing my own posts, reading other posts, commenting on them, responding to their responses, responding to the comments on my posts, finding new bloggers, changing the blog world relationships to personal ones through email, instant messaging, Skype and other PC to PC phone connections and so on.

It has been a fantastic journey and the more I get involved, the more I am enjoying the experience. The joys of the banter and discussions in Jean’s two blogs; Grannymar’s daily dose of humor and/or wisdom; the incredible range of topics in Conrad’s posts; travelogue and photographs of Mike; runnathons and butterflies of Looney, Ashok’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly, Lizwi’s South African perceptive; the amazing range of emotions that Delirious can evoke; and the list goes on and on. Moreover, there are some magnificent people, who do not post blogs, but who regularly comment and bring joy and wonder into the blog world – people like Bikehikebabe, Gail, Maynard, and Diane who takes my heart away with her Namaste.

What more can a man ask for? It is this, this wonderful world of bloggers and commentators, that have enabled me to survive for over a year as a blogger and in the process earn a PR of 4 from Google! I have been able to post 277 posts, elicit 3248 comments and generally enjoy myself thoroughly.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of you wonderful people who have stood by me and my blog and enabled me to discover my passion. Please accept this post as my tribute to all of you, those who have been mentioned here, and those who have not. If I write about every one of my blog friends, my post will run into two more pages, so, I seek the forgiveness of those who do not feature on this very brief list of regular readers of my posts.

thank_you_note

The title for this post should perhaps read as Life After The Death Of A Spouse. It would not however grab the attention that this one would, would it?

There Is Both Madness And Reason in ‘Love’.

“Always, there is a drop of madness in love, yet always, there is a drop of reason in madness.”
– F. Nietzsche

Since the recent loss of my wife, I have been trying to make sense about love, death, attachment etc at a personal experiential level. All the theory and philosophy that I have studied and am in the process of learning has been of no help whatsoever.

Death of a loved one is a traumatic experience. The aftermath of the initial busyness brings one down to earth with an inexpressible sense of emptiness and loss. No amount of platitudes like ‘time is a great healer’ etc, has any effect. One has to live through it. I am doing that and finding my own way of handling the new situtation.

In my search for some answers, I returned to one of my old time favourites, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig. I had read the book in the eighties. The first time, it went right over my head, but it was being talked about so much, that I read a couple of times more before it made some sense to me.

This is the third copy that I have bought and this time, I found what I was looking for in the Afterword. During the narration, the author goes on a cross USA motorcycle trip with his young son Chris. Some of the scenes describing the trip, conversations with Chris etc, are remarkable in themselves, but the afterword is something altogether different.

Chris, as a grown up young man of early twenties, gets killed by a couple of muggers. What Pirsig goes through with that loss is so beautifully described by him and the way he concludes the narration resonated with me sufficiently and strongly enough for me to come to grips with my own sense of loss and inability to let go.

Yes, there is both madness and reason in love.

Grannymar’s Story Of How She and Jack Got Together.

While commenting on my post “How People Get Together”, Grannymar had mentioned that she had posted a blog about it some time ago. She promised to look for it and subsequently sent it to me. When I read it, I knew that I had to reproduce it as a guest post and pleaded with her to permit me to. She, in her inimitable style wrote back –

” Ramana,

I think you kissed the Blarney Stone!

Today, 10th February would have been Jack’s birthday. I therefore will say yes to your request and let it be my tribute to him. We had twenty short but wonderful years of married life together. I have Elly as a constant reminder of that love. I am so fortunate

Lán grá
Bahut Pyaar Key Saath ( With lots of love in Hindustani!)

Marie”

Yes Marie, I did kiss the Blarney Stone. How else could I have met you?

I wish that we did not have time zones. As I write this post, it is already the 11th here in India and without much more ado, I reproduce below her wonderful story.

Do you like Hallowe’en?

Back in 1976 I was happily working away in Dublin for a computer company known to most of you by its initials. The days were busy but the toy boys were fun to work with. The summer holiday season came and went and I worked on. Since I managed to suffer sun-stroke at least three times in Ireland, the thoughts of heading to warmer climes for annual leave during high season were not my priority. In late September I began to think of taking a holiday, but a situation at work had all of us in our department under pressure so the holiday was put on the long finger.

While crunching through the autumn leaves along the Grand Canal during a late October Friday lunchtime, a sudden gust of cool air woke me from my day-dreaming. Immediately I longed for some warm sunshine on my back. ‘Warm Sunshine’! What was I thinking about, we were at the end of October and I had not taken my summer holidays! If I didn’t get my act together quickly, I would lose the holiday entitlement at the close of the year.

I quickened my step and headed back towards Baggot St. On the way I passed a Travel Agent. I went inside to make a few enquiries.

“Do you have anything going out tomorrow” I asked?

“For how many people” enquired the young sales lady?

“Just me” I replied cheerfully.

Fifteen minutes later I left the building holding my tickets for a two week holiday in Sunny Spain leaving the next day, Saturday 30th October. I had visited most of Mainland Europe over the years, but this was to be a first visit to Spain. Back then we did not have Credit Cards so my next stop was the bank to purchase some travellers Cheques and some pesetas. With the business done I skipped my way back to the office, mentally packing a case.

Oops!

Back at the office I had to announce my plans. Fortunately nobody else in the department was booked for leave and there were several people available to provide cover for me. Next I phoned my mother to tell her.

“Do you need clothes washed” she asked?

“I have no idea what I want, so wait until I get home and I‘ll sort it out.” I said.
The first step was to check that my Passport was in order (I knew it would be) and the evening passed selecting and sorting my clothes. The only thing missing was a swimsuit! Never mind I could always pick one up in Spain.

It was to be my first holiday alone so I packed three books and some writing materials to keep me amused. I also had a pack of cards so I could play patience. It would be a very quiet holiday with plenty of walking, resting and reading!

I arrived at my hotel in the early hours of 31st and decided to head straight to bed, catch a few hours sleep and set out to explore my surroundings after an early breakfast.

The sun was shining when I awoke around 7am and I quickly showered and dressed not wanting to waste any time indoors. I headed out and walked the length of the prom to a small harbour at the next village. I sat and watched the birds calling to each other. Being a Sunday morning there were very few people about. My return journey was along the beach and I enjoyed listening to the lapping of the water as I paddled at the water’s edge, arriving back in time for breakfast.

After breakfast armed with a sunhat and scarf for my shoulders, sun cream and a book I headed out once more taking the other direction this time. The outside world had come to life and there were plenty of people about walking in groups of twos and threes. Most of them were travelling in the direction that I had taken and I soon became aware of a church bell ringing. On impulse I followed the sound of the bell and joined the congregation in a very small church for the celebration of Mass. We were mainly holidaymakers and at a guess English speakers. The priest was assisted by a lady in her mid to late fifties. When the time came she passed a silver collection plate around the congregation.

Unlike a Mr Paisley collection, it was rather noisy mainly consisting of coinage. The Lady assistant carried the plate from the back of the congregation to the Chancel while the celebrant continued with the service. As she climbed the first step she tripped and the coins rolled loudly across the terrazzo floor before spinning for what seemed like an eternity. Alas the solemnity of the mass was lost in the almost suppressed titters around the church.

Suddenly feeling hungry I headed back to the hotel restaurant for lunch. After a short wait to be seated, I was guided to a table with three other young ladies. We introduced ourselves and I discovered that they were all from Belfast. Like me they arrived the previous night. Their journey had the added hassle of a delay before take-off. Our chatter covered the journey, our resort and expectations for the holiday ahead. Their holiday was for one week, while mine was for two.

The meal was simple, tasty and satisfying but we succumbed to, and lingered over dessert. Two gentlemen from a nearby table stopped on their way out from lunch. They were known to the girls as they had all travelled out to Spain on the same aircraft. One of the men stood behind my chair. I was introduced and immediately he said he had noticed me in the church. The men entertained the girls with the story of the collection plate.

At one point the man behind me called Jack wanted to tell me something so he placed his hands on my shoulders to tilt me in his direction. I do not remember the story he told but I do remember his laughter, the twinkle in his eyes and the touch of his hands. Later that night he danced with me and for the remainder of the week he sought me out when planning his activities for the day.

I discovered that Jack, like me, had reason to make changes with holiday plans. He wanted to have a week away earlier in October, but there were no places available. The only week free was leaving Belfast on 30th October.

As the week went on we spent more time discovering shared interests, our likes and dislikes of food and music, the type of work we each did and the stories of our lives so far. All too soon the first week was over and Jack returned to Co Antrim and a town I had never heard of before in my life. The second week seemed dull without him and I spent my days travelling about the countryside and reading.

For some reason on Hallowe’en morning when I first felt those hands on my shoulders I knew they belonged there and without looking I had found the final piece of my life’s jigsaw that I never realised was missing. We made contact with each other by phone when I returned and met again at Christmastime. From then we travelled up and down the road every couple of weeks. We became
Engaged in February and married in July.

For many years Jack dined out on the fact that we met at Hallowe’en. He told everyone that he thought I was wearing a mask, but by the time he discovered it didn’t come off, I had my hooks in him! This was all said as he winked at me and gave me a gentle squeeze.

I have often said to young folk who are on their own that you can’t go looking for love, and you certainly can’t buy it. Love bites, when you are least expecting it and even sometimes when you don’t want it. If you are lucky enough to find love, CHERISH it.