A man once told the Buddha,
"I want happiness."
The Buddha replied,
"First, remove I, that is ego.
Then, remove want, that is desire.
And all you are left with is
--unknown (NOT an actual Buddhist teaching), but still...wow
Google scares me sometimes.
Its auto-complete function routinely seems JUST this side of telepathy. No matter how outlandish my query, somebody has inevitably searched for it before, and Google will guess with uncanny speed and accuracy that yes, I am looking for Episcopalian axe murderers or watermelon-flavoured sex lube.
Until, of course, you ask Google to retrieve you something relevant to polyamory.
You have to get all but the last letter of 'metamour' into Google before it'll auto-complete, and when it does, one of the options is "metamouse" (??? ... I think I'll steal that if someone in my polycule is a tiptoer.)
Eva and Mark are celebrating their second anniversary today with a date a couple of hours away. I believe they're going to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory and I hope they have a wonderful day together. You'd have to pay me to go to that place, and not chump change, either. I don't hate butterflies, or anything, but...well, it's like a zoo for me. Oh, look, an animal. It's being all...animally. Oh, look, there's another one. Is it time to go home yet?
And butterflies are insects. Yes, they're pretty, and of course they're wonderful metaphors for transformation. But still...boring.
This, I'm given to believe, is one of my strangest and most annoying traits, this utter ennui when it comes to living creatures that refuse to interact with me. Eva, by contrast, LOVES most non-human lifeforms, and she can stare at many of them for hours. (Love! What exactly are you waiting for it to DO?)
And so Mark, whose love of nature much more closely matches Eva's, is taking her where I would dread to go. Yay for metamours. Eva and I have our own rituals in which Mark has little or no interest, and that's part of how this works.
But yeah, I either thought or said "go and love him" to Eva as she left this morning. And I had cause to say it to someone else recently as well, and it made me wonder. Surely somebody else says this.
Maybe there's an article with that title, or better yet, a song. I'm a sucker for songs I can relate to: most of pop is so mono-normative it sounds vaguely threatening to me. There's a reason many people still insist on thinking of "Every Breath You Take" by the Police as a love song: because that stalker's lament isn't very far from what we're taught love is supposed to be about. How many other songs state "you belong to me"? A hundred? A thousand? Because your lover is just another possession.
So, let's look.
Quoth the Google...
Six hundred and ninety four MILLION results, the overwhelming majority of them seeming to reference some variation of "if you love him, let him go..."
...which is sort of the same thing, and yet really, really not.
(Try "Go and Love Her" and the results are even worse. I'll get to them in a bit.)
Perfect love, as Alanis so perfectly reminds us, is perfectly unconditional. (I hereby claim this as my theme song for the foreseeable future.) This is the kind of love I aspire to. On my good days--and there are getting to be more and more of those--I achieve it. Which probably has something to do with the fact I feel more loved now than I ever have.
You don't have to go very far back in this blog to see me needing. I read those posts today and I cringe: why didn't I recognize all the love that was already in my world? There were times I paid lip service to gratitude, but even then I was trying to game the system. I knew, intellectually, that it wouldn't work, and still I persisted. Because I wanted to be loved. Who doesn't want to be loved?
And yes, of course I had (and have) the love of a remarkable woman...a woman whose love I will never discount or take for granted. I had always sensed in her the same open heart I have myself, and she had found it and seized on it, and finally other people were seeing and loving what I had seen and loved all along. I was happy for her. I AM happy for her. Supremely so.
And I wanted some of what she had. Until I noticed I had it already, and began to cherish it properly. Almost the instant I did that, new love came into my life, which in turn made me more confident in the love I both receive and have to give and....it's a feedback loop.A very happy-making feedback loop.
Anyway, so "go and love him" returns "if you love him, let him go". I've always heard that as
"If you love her, set her free/
If she returns 'twas meant to be"
Two possible interpretations there. One is fate: "this woman is my destiny". (ooo-oo-ooo, Shut Up And Dance with me...")
Fate and destiny: a very common trope in love songs, almost as common as lover-as-possession.
I don't believe in fate, exactly. I think there's something that nudges you towards people sometimes, if you're paying attention to it. I've felt it. Four times now I've felt it. All four times I paid attention to it (I couldn't not: every sense I had went redline when I first saw the woman.)
The first of those women was my first love...we're no longer even Facebook friends, thanks to her cloying and overbearing religion.
The second was a dear friend for many years, dear enough that she stood on my side at my wedding. She turned out to be an energy sink: no matter how much support you gave her. it could never be enough. As important as she was for so long...we're barely acquaintances at this point.
The third was Eva. Married 16 years, still going strong. happier than a clam at high tide.
The fourth happened very recently. Recently enough that I'm still jitterbugging away here.
I can tell you that all four women played, or play, extremely important roles in my life. But fate? That reminds me too much of the asinine (and yet extremely popular, to the tune of 75% of surveyed people) notion that there's only one soulmate for you out of, you know, 7.4 billion people.)
The second interpretation of "if you love her..." makes a lot more sense to me: you can't force someone to love you. Who does that? Many people, actually, who are insecure in themselves and in their relationships. They employ subtle and not-so-subtle measures of control. doing the exact opposite of setting their partners free: petty and not-so-petty jealousy, clinginess, and so on.
I was never prone to jealousy, but the clinginess I had in spades. I buried it very well: I don't think even Eva knew it was there...most of the time.
It's not there now. Now I can say "go and love him" and actually mean it. Because I know she's happy with him, and how could I possibly be upset by her happiness? Also because I know she loves me, and will return.
Wait a second. If she'll return, that means we're 'meant to be', with the implicit corollary that he and she AREN'T. I reject that. I reject that wholly and completely. I believe those two are 'meant to be' every bit as much as us two are. There is a whole web of 'meant-to-be's' in slow formation around us. It's the most beautiful tapestry I can conceive of...and as I conceive of it, it's becoming a reality.
Yes, love is freedom, at least as I practice it; the freedom to augment the love in your life, and that freedom granted without limit to your partner(s) as well. I could never demand all of someone to myself. It strikes me as unnatural, and a hell of a burden to place on any one person: you must be my EVERYTHING. My lover, my sole companion, my co-parent, my confidant(e)... it's just too much. I'm sure that works for some folks, and more power to them if so.
"Go and love him". Be with him, wholly, in your own time and space together. Be with me, wholly, in our own time and space together. That's the best of two (or more!) worlds...which makes life and love in this world extraordinary.
"Go and love her", incidentally, returns "Let Her Go" by Passenger.
Now, Michael David Rosenberg ("Passenger") writes some amazing music. This song. off the same album, is a masterpiece. But...
"only know your lover when you let her go...and you let her go..."?
I have no idea what to make of that line. None at all. He sounds wistful. Does that mean you're supposed to regret letting her go? In the context of the song, it sure sounds like it. But you didn't know her until you let her go? How does that even work? She's your lover, which means you love her, but you don't know her? How do you not know somebody you love?
Okay, yeah, I overthink song lyrics. And I wouldn't seize so strongly on this one but for the fact it's repeated about eighteen squillion times. It's right up there with "It's you I love, not the thought of you" (as they say in French, qu'est-ce que le fuck? I love you, but God, I hate thinking of you????)
Anyway...whoever is in your life...go and love them. Love and be loved, and the world will be a better place.