Letters into the human psyche

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I have a fascination with what I call “the human condition”, and this probably charted the course for my training as a lawyer then a psychotherapist. I have taken (guilty?) pleasure reading the emotions and thoughts of others, the whys of their action and words, as they examine their lives in one form or another. Some may call it voyeuristic and over-thinking, and there were moments of these; often it is a genuine curiosity about what makes us tick and tock.

I have written about “Letters of Note” (2013) a compilation by Shaun Usher of correspondence by history figures in different facets of life. I came across his second compilation, unsurprisingly titled “More Letters of Note” (2015) last year.

At the heart of the correspondence in both volumes is the meaning and purpose of life, and love; shared from one to another which demonstrated our shared humanity.

No matter the time in history, our station in life, our wealth, our sexual preference or gender, our racial or ethnic background, our religious beliefs – we love and we seek to find meaning for those transitory moments.

Here is a letter written from mid-19th century Georgia, USA.

And here, a letter from a famous turbulent relationship.

 

Ah, so what is love?

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

There is magic

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Looking out
into the grey mountain skies
remembering where I’ve been
wondering where the road will lead;
There is magic
in the shimmering rain that falls
in the light peering through
the future remains.

~ FlorenceT

 

I am not my mistakes,
But God knows, I’ve made a few. 
I started to question the angels,
And the answer they gave was you. 

I cannot promise there won’t be sadness,
I wish I could take it from you. 
But you’ll find the courage to face the madness,
And sing it because it’s true. 

I love my life
I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am free
I love my life, 
I am wonderful, I am magical, I am me,
I love my life.

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

On this day…

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Today we celebrate

  • the Women we have taken for granted,
  • the Women we have loved and lost,
  • the Women who have given us care, love and protection,
  • the Women who have chosen to go their own way,
  • the Women who have privileged our lives more than their own,
  • the Women who have shown us the way,
  • the Women who have sacrificed much so we can be here in this moment in our history.

Today we celebrate Being a Woman, and be reminded of the need to pay attention and be vigilant as we go into our future – to honour the women in our lives.

Let our wisdom guide us to appreciate the beauty of our uniqueness and difference, and our shared humanity.

Happy International Women’s Day!

 

Namaste

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Love relationships for Valentine’s Day

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On such a day, I am compelled to write. But of what?

I could write about

  • the commercialism of this day known as Valentine’s Day
  • love renewed because of the call of Valentine’s Day
  • affection expressed when compelled by Valentine’s Day
  • faith in another inspired by Valentine’s Day
  • romanticism, cynic or believer, occasioned by Valentine’s Day
  • the many creative products from the idea of love which inspires Valentine’s Day
  • going through the day unaffected by Valentine’s Day
  • those who are hurt or disappointed on this day and why
  • those who find meaning on this symbolic day.

Love exists in a myriad of relationships, not just those of a romantic nature which seems to be the focus of Valentine’s Day.

So for today, an exploration of love in relationships through meaningful quotes. Perhaps you will find one which resonates within.

Motherhood: All love begins and ends there. ~ Robert Browning

 

Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough.  ~ Robert Downey, Jr.

 

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy. ~ Sam Levenson

 

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.  ~Orson Welles

 

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

 

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

 

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another. ~ Thomas Merton

 

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. ~ Alan Watts

 

None of these is possible, unless we are in a love relationship with ourselves, as it is a necessary foundation upon which other relationships flourish.

Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers.
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.
~ Maria Quintana

 

Whether Valentine’s Day is significant to you or just another day, it means something.

May you have courage to romance yourself, love all that you are.


~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Love can bring out the best in you

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“You bring out the best in me”, many says when in love while many others quest for the ‘you’ that would bring out the best in them.

Ever wonder how you would bring out the best in me, and vice versa?

Psychotherapists speak of “the gaze”. The gaze of acceptance of your flaws, the gaze that speaks of your ‘perfection’ in another’s eyes. I know the value of non-judgment and acceptance, of seeing the best of my clients.

That is a necessary but insufficient condition. Do we not also see the potential? I certainly do, and my job is to facilitate a journey of self-awareness, that my clients may also see their potential, their resources, their abilities… and take personal action towards it. I am not attached to a particular manner of journey-ing for I cannot walk their paths for them; nor can I appoint the destination. But this does not prevent me from encouraging the process of self-awareness.

As with my clients, and perhaps more so I see potential in my loved ones. And is it my ‘job’ then to also facilitate their journey of self-awareness? Why would I not, in my love for them?

And as a recipient of their love and thus their gaze, should I revel at being seen, to their belief that I possess potentialities? Should I not welcome a loved one’s encouragement and teaching? Perhaps then we may be at our best and with each other?

So then why is it that often, the “encouragement and teaching” are perceived as criticisms and unnecessary feedback? Why do we lament that “s/he should accept me for who I am” … when we can be more than who we are? Don’t we want to be the best we can be for ourselves, and for our loved ones? Encouragement and teaching do not equate to non-acceptance or worse, rejection.

In the dance of love, each has the responsibility to teach and to learn to perfect our part in the dance.

Love is to be the safety within which we explore our Selfs together.

 

~ FlorenceT

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The politics of water

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“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?”

And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

This well-known Buddhist story told by Alan Watts at the 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College have always resonated with me, in many contexts.

I had said, “I don’t like politics”, “I don’t do politics”, “I am not political”… and while the first remains true, I have come to re-consider my place in my mind, in my world about the latter.

I AM in water, rife with politics and I am impacted by it, like it or not. Perhaps I am at the lower end of the spectrum for the level of participation, yet there is no avoiding it. In fact, for every post, every tweet of gender equality, human rights, I am being political. I am glad to name it. Another self-awakening of a 40-something woman. 🙂

This realisation comes from recent events, namely the lead up to the now Trump Presidency and the Women’s March around the world. It is easy to say, as I have heard from others, that ‘they’ are about America thus none of our (Australians) business or the marches are anti-Trump rather than about women’s rights or they are exercises in futility. Hey, I even attempted to embrace these notions to arrest the listlessness and unease.

Yet it does not bring me peace.

There is a shift in global consciousness, signalled by the uneasiness and anger that I (and many others judging by the response to the Women’s March) feel despite being so far away from the source of the triggering events. The notions of ‘them’ and ‘us’, of ‘not this but that’ no longer hold water, we the people are connected, more so now than ever, and we in all we say and do influence and impact on each other, we are humanity as one.

So my response and the lessons from the recent events are these, expressed through those who came before:

Life is a circle. The end of one journey is the beginning of the next. ~ Joseph M Marshall III

We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity. ~ Dalai Lama

Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see and learn.

Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.                           ~ Barbra Streisand, “Children Will Listen”

 

Oh, and I have no answer, and I suspect there is no ‘Answer’.  We have done things in fear no matter what it is called, what not try love? What have we to lose?

Life is for living; it is movement, constant and every-changing. Let it be a movement inspired by love.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Do not despair if the answers don’t come immediately. Some answers are only revealed with the passage of time.

Try to love the questions themselves. Do not look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

All along my denial of the political self, I now realise, is not about politics per se, but rather the politics of division, of hate, of exclusion… and even as I am reconciling to the fact “politics” is being played on me and vice –versa, this remains true – love and compassion, understanding and collaboration shall be my beacon. Though I may at times fail, these I strive to be.

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.

~ Joseph Campbell

I am in water.

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Heat Waves – #Haiku Challenge 132 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 132 with prompt words – Flame, Kiss

Heat Waves

Fire rages on
Heat waves plundering, assaults
Like a lover’s kiss.
~ FlorenceT

 

Enjoy –

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

She, a micro story

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She did not know what hit her. One moment she was in the dumps, disappointed with life and who she had become; the next she was awakened to life’s possibilities, her dreams no longer a distant past but a possible future.

 

If she knew the road ahead, she might have been less thrilled… then again perhaps not. She had made a right turn without realising, chosen a fork on the road without being asked to… but then she had been asleep, dead to herself so how would she have known. Which made it all the more miraculous, incredible in its simplicity and bounty.

 

She would never understand how it had come to pass but it did. Simple words, always words that meant so much. Her longing grew each day as they were all she had on this path… just that and even so, more than she had thought herself deserving or needing. Before, rarely a thought for herself but of the needs of others; and at times resenting yet persisting with the duties that made her who she was, without which she had believed rendered her nothing. She knows now she is more, those words arrive daily of the mundane, the unique, the humorous, of everything – to comfort, to support, to hold – filling her days with meaning and purpose.

 

She has walked this path longer than she thought she could, inspired by the goodness she felt, the strength she desired, the vulnerability she respected, the peace she yearned – this uplifting journey she hopes to remain. And on the low ebb days, those fears of rejection and abandonment still arise. She had lost her faith a little, tempered her trust of others; she might even have told herself she would be better alone. But she is healing on this path; and though confident she can be all that she wants on her own, she knows it’s manifold better and greater here on this road.

 

She is reminded of her needs and desires, those she had met for others, those she will now embrace for herself. For she craves attention too; care and kind gestures a balm. Now she loves again, she trusts; she has faith again. She will truly be free, she will have it all… perhaps. No matter, the journey is enough, more than she hoped. And all because of the enticing words that beckoned in the beginning, and the many many words that have followed across space and time… words, his.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Selfish loving – Ayn Rand

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Love & sex

“Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions.

Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves. No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem … Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.

― Ayn Rand,writer & philosopher (1905 – 1982)

 

Is sex a reflection of our convictions?

I believe one’s perception of what sex is or can be, is indeed a reflection of our deepest values and convictions.  One cannot approach sex in a manner which one does not believe in, at least not without it causing psychic injury.  Be authentic.

Is sex inevitably a selfish act?

Philosophically, yes.  if one doesn’t enjoy oneself then sex has not fulfilled (one of) its purpose.  Thus, the complete experience of sex necessitates one to do what one enjoys… which in essence is selfish. Even the proclamation of one’s enjoyment is in giving to the other leads to a self-fulfillment that is exquisitely selfish. 

And is love a response to our values?

A resounding yes, one can only love – express love and receive love – in the manner which accords with one’s values.  If one’s value is of hard work and effort, then more likely than not, her love is shown by doing and service – that is how love will be shown and received. And no, it does not mean one can’t change or be versatile as one becomes more self aware.  That’s my take anyway 🙂

So, do you agree?

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.