Posts tagged ‘relationships’

February 3, 2017

Love is what you find at the bottom of a toy trunk

This completely quirky but totally true description of love is courtesy of Montreal author Heather O’Neill in her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night. (Read Heather O’Neill if you can; her work is brilliantly engaging.)

Love is like this small room where a child brings you to show you all their treasures. First the child shows you all the new toys that are bright and shiny and top of the line. But then she shows you all the stuff that has ended up at the bottom of the trunk. There are dolls with eyes that wobble, hair that is falling out of their heads, and dirt behind the ears. Their fingertips have been chewed off by dogs and they have been drawn on with ballpoint pen. It has been so long since they have been held or anyone has told them that they are lovely. They lie at the bottom of the toy chest, hidden and ashamed. You are either going to be disgusted by them, or you are going to be so filled with love for them that your heart almost breaks.

At some point, any long-term relationship will expose you to the bad, the sad and the vulnerable in your partner, alongside the good, the happy and the strong. That is the point when you find out if your love is real.

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January 3, 2017

Balm for a broken heart

These quotes are for my friend A.J. and everyone else who’s been there, felt that:

Love is spiritual training for a broken heart. Your heart will break if you love someone.
~ Polly Young-Eisendrath in The Present Heart

But then…

To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

And …

I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.
~ Mary Oliver

A broken heart is a gift. It means you are human; it means you are capable of opening yourself to someone else, to letting them in, to loving them — then, now and in the future. Your heart will heal and you will love again — better and stronger next time for what you have learned this time. ♥

October 15, 2015

Your future is not about people who walk away

Thought of the moment, from source unknown:

When people walk away, let them.
Your future is not about people who walk away.
It’s about the people who stay in it for the ride.

To all those people who are in it for my ride, thank you.

November 12, 2014

It’s the heaviness in life that launches flight

I like this passage from the book The Road is How by Canadian naturalist Trevor Herriot:

Is there a way to love, I wonder, without ever scaring one another? Without the descent off rooftops and into old age, without knowing the fear in one another’s eyes? Somehow in this life, it is the heaviness that lets a bird launch into flight, and the uncertainty ahead that makes us walk new pathways.

In other words, take the fear with the love, the heaviness with the lightness, the uncertainty with the sureness, and be grateful. For without these former elements, we would never know the grace of the latter.

September 27, 2014

Here you are again, she said

In her memoir Unsinkable, former Olympic rower Silken Laumann writes this passage about the interconnection between destiny and choice in each person’s life:

I have a belief . . . that goes something like this: Each of our lives is a book already written whose chapters have multiple endings. Depending on the choices we make, a chapter goes in one direction or another, but the book’s narrative moves forward with a relentless rhythm and aspects of inevitability. The things we are meant to do appear again and again in our story, until we recognize our responsibility and accept the challenge. No matter how hard we try to avoid them, or back away because we are scared or unwilling, they keep showing up in various incarnations.

What strikes me most about this passage is the latter part about how “the things we are meant to do” appear again and again in our personal story, in our thoughts, in our dreams and visions. I am experiencing this phenomenon right now: a certain person keeps popping up in my life story. I like to think that this person’s recurring presence is happening for a reason, because there is some inevitable yet unknown place that we are supposed to go together. Only time — and perhaps our own individual choices — will tell.

 

September 16, 2013

The perfect relationship

Together we are one thing.
Apart we are another.
Which do I prefer?
Both, please.

April 29, 2013

Heartbreak – a journey (in three quotes)

Heartbreak: a journey (in three quotes):

The breaking of so great a thing
should make a greater crack.
(William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra)

She took a step and didn’t want to take any more,
but she did.
(Markus Zusak, The Book Thief)

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
(Mary Oliver)

February 2, 2013

Life is random, like a bouncey-castle

Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet provides this wonderful perspective on the randomness of human relationships, and of life in general:

Our lives disconnect and reconnect, we move on, and later we may again touch one another, again bounce away.  This is the felt shape of a human life, neither simply linear nor wholly disjunctive [detached] nor endlessly bifurcating [forking into two paths], but rather this bouncey-castle sequence of bumpings-into and tumblings-apart.

Life’s encounters, Rushdie suggests, are completely random.  You might be able to choose which bouncey-castle you enter — or even whether you enter at all — but once inside, you can’t control exactly where the motions will take you.  You certainly won’t travel in a straight line, or bounce around in isolation, or move either up or down, left or right, according to your choice.  Instead, you’ll careen around the place, crashing into some people while never quite reaching others.  You’ll be hit from behind — unexpectedly knocked off course — by some encounters, while others will bounce right into your arms when you least expect it.  Even if you do control your trajectory for a while, you never know what the ground beneath you is doing — how it is rippling and rolling in response to the leaps and bounds of the other people cartwheeling around in there with you.  What seems like stable footing might suddenly shift under your feet, throw you left when you wanted right, tumble you head over heels who knows where.  No matter how you set your course, you never know exactly where your bounces will take you, and you never know who or what is heading your way.

What I like about this concept is that it encourages each of us to make the most of — to “jump on” — those bumpings-into that truly intrigue and attract us while we can.  At the exact moment when we cross paths or bounce in parallel with a like-minded soul, we have the ability, the opportunity, to reach out and hold on, to travel together for a while, wrapped in each other’s arms, until momentum pulls us apart.  These moments of shared travel may not last long, but we can live them fully while they’re there, until we tumble away into something new.

January 23, 2013

“It is only my own life, I realize, that I am afraid of . . .”

I love this quote from Jamie Zeppa’s book Beyond the Sky and the Earth:  A Journey into Bhutan.  Zeppa, a volunteer teacher from Canada posted in Bhutan, describes the inner turmoil she experienced in the lead up to her romance with a Bhutanese man — a romance that had been building for some time but that she had continually stepped back from because it didn’t seem “proper” or “practical” or even “possible” to her logical self:

I pretended that I was resisting out of ethical considerations but the truth is I resist because I am afraid.  My time in Bhutan, my whole journey in fact . . . , has been a coming to these edges, these verges, these high places where I am buffeted by winds and dazed by the view, by the risks and the possibilities I never imagined could exist in my life, where I am astonished that I could get so high up, how on earth did I get so high up, where a voice whispers JUMP and another cries DON’T.  Where I could turn back and walk down to safer ground, or I could throw myself over that edge, into what, what is out there, what is it that I am so afraid of beyond this last safe step where I am now standing?  It is only my own life, I realize, that I am afraid of, and at each high point I am given the chance to throw myself over and back into it.

She threw herself over and back into it, back into the meat of her life.  Will you do the same at the intimidating edges of your own life?

January 2, 2013

Love = space for two on a seat for one

I found this quote written by hand in an old photo album at the Roedde House Museum in Vancouver, British Columbia:

Love is blind, so they say.
Yet love can see on one small chair, sufficient room for two.

Beautiful.