How do we know what hidden crazy lurks in the minds and hearts of otherwise wonderful people? We don’t want to relive the same pain, but we don’t want to miss the very thing we are looking for either. We know that we all have our “crazy,” our faults, fears, and dysfunctions. We can’t even be sure that we are not manufacturing them in prospective partners based on our own conditioned expectations. The issue is fear.

I was recently asked this question, because I am in the same place as the questioner, two marriages gone by, older and wiser, and ready for a new partner. I’ll give the answer I have, and you may judge its merit for yourself.

We know the basics of what to look for; are they kind, do we have the same interests, are we going in the same direction, and if we know ourselves well, we know what we want. Want, not need. Need is the wrong reason to enter into a relationship.

One easy mistake is to see yourself as a static thing. “I am this, therefore he or she must be that.” I’ve said it before, we are not nouns–we are verbs. Relating is an ever-changing choreography of souls. If we are not prepared to learn, grow, reinvent and let go of our old patterns, and if our partners are not as well, then we will inevitably find walls, failure, and that old pain all over again.

As with most questions of the heart, the answer is you. Who is the You, you need to let go of? Your old relationships are your clues, if you have the courage to look. Whatever crazy you saw in your old partners, turn it around, ask yourself with your deepest, most secret honesty, in what way were you really seeing yourself? Relax; you don’t need to tell a soul, so long as you know. Our relationships are our best mirror, that’s really what they are for. Stop using them as such, and they will fade. Your partner needs to know this as well.

The inescapable, existential truth of life is that we all walk our path alone. Our partners walk their path alone. Can we honor that, and are we willing and able to walk alone together? Answer for yourself this most difficult question: Can you delight in the other’s path even if it is not with you? If you can say yes, your love is unconditional. Mind your attachments, center on the stillness in each of you, and you have an excellent chance of making it work.

Cupid is a myth, and a poor one at that. The idea of a little cherub flinging love darts at unsuspecting humans is profoundly misleading. Love is not an arrow. Desire is an arrow; possession is an arrow; expectation is an arrow; conquest is an arrow; need is an arrow; control is an arrow; illusion is an arrow, but Love is not an arrow. Some people walk through a hail of arrows all the time, and it is sad to think of them believing that this is love. Love is nothing you will ever feel you have to defend yourself against. As for the rest, my only suggestion is a sturdy shield! Now, ask yourself, are you an arrow?

I have an easy trick to tell love from these other things. Bear with me here. The insight is that so many people, good people, believe they are giving love when they are actually taking it. This may seem counter intuitive, but “love” that faces you, that seems, viscerally, to come at you from the front, is an arrow. When you feel love from another, ask yourself where it’s coming from? Pay attention, and you will see what I mean.

Love is a recognition of oneness. It starts from the back, you feel it as a warmth across your shoulder blades, then it passes through you, at the center of your chest, not your heart, that’s off to the left, right through your sternum. It then flows out before you, ignites everything, and changes your vision. You see the world as though through your lover’s eyes and yours together–separate but together. It feels as though they stepped into you, and became you. Think about it. If love is a mystical oneness, how can that oneness be experienced any other way?

If you feel this, and I am certain many of you do, there is no crazy you cannot handle.

Love is not an arrow.

I am not an arrow, and that is how I know I’m ready.

One thought

  1. I’m not ready for another person in my life. I still have a lot of work to do on me. Your observation, “we are not nouns–we are verbs” would be a good mantra for us all to remember.


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