Test of love

Standard

Love is love is love, so it is said.

Love is a feeling I hope we experience throughout our life for people who come into and out of our life, people who are forever tied to us through their presence or our memory of them, and places that leave indelible impressions in our life.

Love is a feeling that ebbs and flows; this is inevitable as change occurs and love diminishes or reinvigorates.

Love is not just a noun; it is not just a “thing” that we have or do not have. Love cannot persists without conscious attention. How will we know love unless we know love by noticing what it inspires?

The feeling of love cannot sustain, not for long anyway, the practical reality of living with or being with a loved one. We are attracted to the supportive words, kind gestures and quiet presence that we know to be love. And we are not immune or blind to the socks left lying on the wet bathroom floor, the promises not kept, the lies told… and what then?

Therefore, love is also a verb. “To love” as well as “to have love”.

Whether a romantic relationship, or a parent-child relationship, or friendship, doing love is an imperative. Love is a precondition, and loving becomes the act to preserve love. It means doing for another at times by denying our self. I am not referring to the martyr parent or companion; this can be as simple as shortening time out with friends in order to collect your child, getting out of bed on the weekend after a long work week to make breakfast for your spouse, listening and supporting a friend even as she repeats the same mistake – the “little” but significant attention offered willingly and lovingly.

To cease doing love is when we take love for granted.

The test of love can thus be this – Are we consciously attending to our loved ones, to their physical, psychological and emotional needs? Are they to us?

This I know, loving inspires love.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

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

Advertisements

Trust kept knocking…

Standard

I set out to write about trust and ended up with a post on hope. That was a week ago.

These thoughts crossed my mind as I attempted to begin. Do you need trust to hope? Can hope be sustained without trust? And this line of enquiry got me to the hope post.

Hope is spiritual. It is an innate sense which has propelled human behaviour and societal changes. It is the “there must be something better”, the “we can improve on this” and ultimately “there is a tomorrow” to which humankind anticipates.

But it seems trust is not about to leave until I deal with it. So here it is.

 

Trust is the glue of life. … It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.   ~ Stephen Covey

Trust comes from the human experience of being with each other. Trust is relational. We are not born with an innate sense of trust. Trust is cultivated over a series of words and actions between people – parents and children, sibling to sibling, romantic partners, friends and colleagues… etc.

Because it is relational, trust is perhaps harder to access and maintain. We are working with someone else’ expression of trust, someone who carries with him or her a different worldview or lifestyle from ours. To understand this of each other and to create a trust relationship is tough indeed.

We often look to another’s words and actions as guidance to our sense of trust. The lawyer in me puts it this way. What has he done to prove I can trust him? What did she say which proved she cannot be trusted? And how much of this “feeling” can I trust of myself?

The reality is we will never know for certain. What holds a relationship of trust is the set of “norms and rules” that you and I have created around this relationship. It is the authenticity of us with each other that builds trust. Consider your relationships – the sibling you would trust to have your back no matter what but not when it comes to choosing your wedding dress; the friend whom you will call upon in times of material need but not for emotional support. It is circumstantial. An inherent element of reliability is required for any relationship of trust.

Let’s not however jump to judgment. To cultivate trust requires time. It requires patience, and the desire and the curiosity to explore what makes another tick. And if their tick matches our tock, then we are heading in the same direction.

 

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”   ~ Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

It is worthwhile asking – how often do we examine our own words and behaviours, to assess if we are worthy of another’s trust? If authenticity in relating is required, how authentic, genuine, real have we been?

I have written about my friendships and the notion that every friend knows something about me, but not every friend knows everything about me. A thought – if every friend gets together, will they collectively know all there is to know of me? 🙂  I digress.

Being authentic does not mean wearing our heart on our sleeve or baring our soul to all asunder at all times. We get to choose when, how much and how soon. It means when we choose to do, we do so with truth and integrity. We are not faking it for reciprocity or to achieve an end.

To be trustworthy is to be real. To be open, vulnerable on our road to connect with another. Sometimes, it may backfire. Disappointment and betrayal are possible. Yet at least one of us has to be bold, to dare to risk the pain… one of us has to have the strength of character to trust one more time…again and again.

When our real-ness through our values in action meets another in their real-ness, we see the beginning of a trust relationship.

 

“Don’t wait for them to prove themselves to you. Trust them.”   ~ Karl Eikenberry

~ FlorenceT

 

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

 

Love relationships for Valentine’s Day

Standard

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

Standard

“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.

Selfish loving – Ayn Rand

Standard

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.

Stole the show

Standard

I am a mother, and thus by popular narrative, I am ‘daggy’, ‘old-fashioned’ and not cool according to my children. They love me lots but I am ‘old’.  This naturally translates to the music I listen to, as being ‘not trendy’.

Lucky for me, they attempt to educate me on what ‘good’ music is, and as any ‘good’ mother would do (saying this tongue in cheek!), I listen, I learn and I allow myself the space to embrace (or try to embrace) the music from their perspectives.

As Khalil Gibran in his poem “On Children” stated,

You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

I can never be them nor they me, but I can certainly walk with them on their journey, if for nothing else but curiosity.  Both children have worked out what my musical ‘taste’ is – or I should probably say, what my ears are attuned to. They introduce their music to me, every so often testing the limits of my endurance :-).

As I open myself to different experiences, they show me a world I would not have encountered on my own. I am also being privileged with beautiful music I am likely not to chance upon on my own.

One such song is ‘Stole the Show’ by Kygo, a Norwegian music producer, in his collaboration with Parson James. This song made its debut in Coachella 2015 and was quite a hit.

I love this song – for its rhythm, melody and lyrics. What a metaphor for the end of a relationship!

I hope you enjoy!

 

Darling, darling, oh, turn the lights back on now
Watching, watching, as the credits all roll down
Crying, crying, you know we’re playing to a full house, house

No heroes, villains, one to blame
While wilted roses filled the stage
And the thrill, the thrill is gone
Our debut was a masterpiece
But in the end for you and me
Oh, the show, it can’t go on

We used to have it all, but now’s our curtain call
So hold for the applause, oh
And wave out to the crowd, and take our final bow
Oh, it’s our time to go, but at least we stole the show
At least we stole the show
At least we stole the show
At least we stole the show
At least we stole the show

At least we stole the show

Darling, darling, you know that we are sold out
This is fading, but the band plays on now
We’re crying, crying, so let the velvet roll down, down

 

– FlorenceT

 

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

Hold… onto my hands

Standard

mauve leaves

Hold onto my hands, dear
I will not let you falter
And should you need a rest
Among the eucalypt trees
Let us take in the scene
Of beauty and breathe

Hold onto my hands, dear
You will never be alone
There will be thoughts and wishes
To keep you company
Love and care to guide your sleep
Remember, never alone

Hold onto my hands, dear
Almost to the mountain top
Looking across the southern seas
You may let go then
My hands but not my heart
Stand, beside me forever.

– FlorenceT

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

On love…Alain de Botton

Video

“… any of our ideas about love comes from reading novels… essentially we are shaped by the love narratives that we read. … We love within a very historical social context…” 

“… romanticism has been a catastrophe to our capacity to have good long-term relationships…”

Alain de Botton: On Love (at the Sydney Opera House, 10 July 2016)

 

What does he mean? True for you? 

Watch and enjoy. 🙂

~ FlorenceT

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

All My Life

Standard

Checklists are dangerous. I cannot recall, and therefore I am disavowing, ever having a checklist for “the man of my dreams”. “Tall, dark and handsome” wasn’t a thing for my teenage self. Well, maybe tall… Neither was romantic, charming, suave, humorous or tough. I don’t think I have a type, but I do wonder sometimes if it is a huge blindspot I have about my men 🙂

For someone who is “mental” – no, not mental as in crazy, but mental like using the mind a lot – perhaps my requirements are someone who engages my mind, who inspires my imagination, who challenges me intellectually, who is open to and receptive of new ideas and ways of being, who stimulates my creativity. Perhaps the cover is much less important than the content of the book. I suspect even if I had a checklist, it would have evolved and what is now will hardly resemble the list of my pubescent day.

Because here lies the danger of the checklist. We ought to appreciate it for being a list of preferences as our young self believed it to be at that point in time many years ago. By the way, if you recall a list like this in your past or present, what are some of the characteristics you had listed?

Well, the danger is we then take this checklist and make it our ‘truth’ that cannot or must not change. The search then continues for this illusion of the perfect person of yesteryears. For me, needing someone else to fulfill me is a little disturbing, worse if a set of criteria must be followed! When you are present in the moment with your loved one, sharing experiences … loved and loving, does a checklist matter?

Is your checklist of whatever keeping you stuck in the past? Do you have one you would like to get rid of?

– FlorenceT

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