Generation B for Blame: Waiting on the World to Change

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A Millennial friend of mine whose empathetic perspective I admire and never tire of recently posted this:

“Hi, millennials! We don’t like being judged and having older generations throwing their crap at us. So idea: Let’s not do that to future younger generations. Break the cycle. Next idea: Stop blaming older generations for our current problems. Yeah, maybe they messed things up, but hey we’re gonna mess stuff up, too. And I know I certainly don’t want to be judged and blamed by future generations for the election of that monster we call Trump. Because you know that very well could be our legacy, right? RIGHT?”

As an (older) dad of a Gen Z eleven-year-old girl, having essentially skipped a generation, (god, I hope that “Z” classification doesn’t mean she’ll be the last generation on the planet!) I feel generational blame rather keenly.  And so I offer my perspective to that of my friend, and for her friends.

Every generation
Blames the one before,
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door.
-Mike & the Mechanics

Those that came of age in the 60’s and 70’s are the worst critics of those who came of age in the 00’s and 10’s, but their reasons may surprise you.

The ’60/’70 Gen, the children of the post-WWII generation were the “hippies and radicals” that would ruin society.  Judged more by the length of their hair and their music than their race or economic background, they were not just criticized by their elder generation, they were reviled and even hated–blamed for the destruction of all that they and their parents worked for.  It was far more than disapproval, it was war.  And it was ugly.  And think of the WWII Generation, they literally just saved the world and now these damn kids are going to ruin it!

Trump is most compared now to Nixon and for good reason.  For Gen ’60/’70, they killed Kennedy (their Obama) and gave them Nixon.  The parallels from then to now are truly astounding, and it looks for all the world that we haven’t gone anywhere.

Gen ’60/’70 fought, rebelled, and even died for their convictions for a free society and for open loving.  They accomplished quite a lot (more than they give themselves credit for), but not all.

They imagined a future for their children; a bright, caring, peaceful, (hairy) and loving future.  Those children are Gen ’00/’10, our Millennials.  I want you to know that you, my millennial friends, are their golden children.  The special ones who would live the beautiful lives that they dreamed for you.  (Unfortunately, they told you that a little too often.)

When they blame you, it’s not because they see you as failures, it’s because they saw you as their hope, one they blithely embraced and never stopped to doubt.  They look at you and say, “Why aren’t you living that life we wanted for you, what’s wrong with you?!”

You can’t be blamed for the life you have any more than they can be blamed for reaching too high for you.  The world is a tough place.

When your elders criticize you, [minus the perennial assholes of every generation] it is not the criticism of hate and derision that they once endured. No, and you must realize this; it is the criticism reserved for those we love and cherish and want the best for.  It isn’t right, but it’s human.

At the bottom of their anger and disappointment, is the fear that THEY have failed YOU.

Maybe the world still has Trumps and Nixons, maybe we still hate and kill each other.  But, what I wish I could tell your critical elders is that they did NOT fail their golden children.  Boomers, though they didn’t inherit the perfect world you promised to bring them, you did bring to the earth and rear a generation who believe in equality, who value peace, and who trust in love, just the way you hoped they would.  You persevered, and so will they.  Ease up.

I also harbor a hope that you, millennials, can reconsider your pre-contempt and distrust of your elders, who like you, took a naive shot at utopia and missed.  You are SO MUCH more alike than not.  I wish you could see yourselves from my eyes.  Anyone who is really paying attention knows, you already have what is most important.

And when the time comes, take my friend’s advice and cut the Gen Z a break.

The Drowning Woman: A Rescuer’s Story

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THE RESCUER
There are times, few and shining when life’s struggles are overcome, and all at once happiness has no alternative but to grow.
Once, a long time ago, but not so far off as you would think, there was a young lad and a fine Spring day.  His bright outlook and innate wisdom, gifts more of nature than of experience, had brought him to just such a time.
In the earliest part of the afternoon, he followed a woodland path through the bristling August countryside, under a great blue sky, that led to a pretty little glade on the far side of a brook.  It was a bright place, peaceful, safe and alive, and he knew he belonged there.
He walked along thinking about his foregone troubles, and how he had dodged them or tricked them into disappearing. He was a happy lad, perhaps happiest when he was alone with nature as he was on this day.
Just as he began to think how little of his joy he shared with others, he came upon the brook that was deep and wide like a pond at one point and so clear that it returned a beautiful blue to the open sky. Spanning the width, and very low to the slow-moving water, was an old wooden bridge, the kind they used to carry livestock and farm folk to and from the town. As the young man approached the pond he heard a dreadful moaning and thrashing of water. It sounded as if some animal had been trapped in the mud and was desperately trying to free itself.
He stepped onto the bridge and could see that it wasn’t an animal at all but a girl; she was quite beautiful by the look of it, although it was hard to tell for she appeared to be drowning.  Her face was set, cold and hard. Her brow was furrowed almost to the point of being grotesque, but her features were fair and childlike.  Her slender arms and shoulders were visible only now and then as her clenched fists pounded and thrashed the water in a desperate attempt to keep her head above it. Her garments dragged her down in a spot where cut flowers lay strewn; she was like a vision of Ophelia waked from her deadly reverie.  The ferocity of her flailing was truly frightening.  It was a mortal battle, an ugly dance of death.
The young man leaned his elbows on the railing of the bridge and lazily crossed his feet. He called out to her, “I’ve seen people drowned before, you know.” He saw himself in his mind leaping headfirst into the water at first sight of the troubled young maiden to rescue her the way any gallant would. He shifted his weight and crossed the other foot. You see, he had indeed seen people drown before, and by experience learned the danger in attempting a rescue.
The beautiful girl gasped and choked and made pitiful gurgling noises in her throat as she twisted and splashed under the warm summer sky. He spoke to her again, “If you were going to jump in you might at least have learned to swim first,” no reply. It was a terribly cruel thing to say to someone in mortal peril. “It takes a dreadfully long time to drown you know, it’s a very messy business,” he added.  He could afford to be flippant, he didn’t plan on rescuing her. He intended only to walk on by and tend to his own business, no doubt the same way everyone else had that day.
Besides, he held the belief that anyone in trouble wanted it that way, for why else with they have it in the first place. He knew for himself that all the trouble in his life he brought upon himself, and all his problems solved were solved alone. Still, he didn’t really want to see her drown. He almost regretted not trying to save her, as he turned to go. She was so beautiful and so helpless, like a monarch butterfly caught in a web. He loved Monarch butterflies.
Just then, she caught his eye. Her eyes were a cold gray-blue, but her glance was warm like sunset, highlights touched the black of her pupils and made two stars in the night sky, distant and clear. He remembered her then; having never seen her before, even so, he remembered.  Two children sitting by the still waters dreaming each their own dreams, yet dreaming together.  His gaze softened and warmed her a little. Everything was still as they watched each other, everything but the rhythmic sound of her thrashing.
The young lad inhaled sharply and looked skyward. He let out a long sigh then said aloud to himself, “How silly of me to think I was done with trouble.”  He turned and raised his voice so that she would hear him over the thrashing. “Don’t get the idea that this is as easy as it seems. Rescuing is dangerous, and it just might kill us both.”  He spoke again to himself, “I must be a fool for trying this again. She’ll only drown, I know it.”  But inside he had already decided that this one wasn’t going to drown.
He dove in and glided effortlessly across the pond to where the girl was. As he reached her, a cold fist smashed across his face, a rake of nails tore across his cheek as he was pulled by the hair down beneath the foaming water. He tried to grab her waist from the back and force his way to the surface but a knee planted itself firmly in his chest and the wind was driven from his lungs. He tried again to surface but was scratched and bruised until he was finally kicked to the bottom of the pond. Feeling dizzy and out of breath, he tried to swim away from the frenzied legs that pummeled him into the stream bed pinning him to the muddy bottom.
The young lad knew just what to do to save himself, he pulled his legs in tight to his chest, planted two feet firmly on the bottom of the pond, and pushed as hard as he could. He came up with a great gasp into the sunlight. As he fell back into the water, he realized that he was standing in water that barely reached his chest. The water level where the girl was thrashing was well below her shoulders!
The young man walked over to the girl and stopped just outside her reach. “What are you doing?!” he said, “Stand up, the water isn’t even deep enough to drown you!”
“I can’t!” she said.
“Why not!” he said, annoyed, rinsing the muck from his face and clothes.
“I’m… afraid!  she said between gulps of water.
“You see me standing, don’t you?”
“Yes.”
“Well then, stand up. The water isn’t deep enough to drown you. It’s not over your head, it never was.  JUST STAND UP!  All you have to do is plant your feet and stand.  Come out of this cold water, and we’ll find a nice grassy hill and dry out in the sun.”
“I can’t.” said the girl.
“Try it.” he said.
“I can’t, I’m too afraid!
The young man struck his palm against his forehead. He shook his head and slowly trudged back to shore.
“Please help me!” she said, and as he walked he thought he wasn’t quite sure what she meant by help.
The poor confused fellow consoled himself while drawing himself out of the water by pointing out the fact that drowning people are not the most rational kind of person one might meet. Besides, it was clear to him now that this was not the proper technique for rescuing, despite the popular traditions. He shook off some of the water, wiped the blood from his cheek and limped back along the bridge. There was no question of giving up. What he started, he had to finish.
He sat himself down, dangling his feet over the edge of the little wooden bridge, watching her struggle. He watched silently for a long time, trying to remember her, watching her every expression. After a long while, he said, “What made you decide to drown?”
“Because my mother drowned,” she replied.
He wasn’t really expecting an answer to the question. He leaned toward her, and his voice grew very soft and warm.
“That’s really very sad, but it doesn’t mean that you have to as well.” he said.
He thought of how good it feels to speak from the heart, to speak from the house of kindness and not out of defense. He truly cared for this girl, for her own sake, and it made the best in him show.
“Don’t be so smug, and stop patronizing me; shut up and help me, please!”
The young man’s face turned sullen, the wound on his cheek began to bleed again. There was a long pause. Finally, she spoke,
“You don’t understand, she was my mother; I loved her.  They came, they did terrible things to her, unspeakable things, and she drowned!  Now I drown.”
Her head submerged completely for a moment before she resurfaced and resumed her pounding.
“You don’t know what it’s like to carry this!  My fear is SO heavy!  I am so sorry!
“It isn’t your fault; it was your choice.” he said.
“You will walk by like everyone else!”
“I am not everyone else.” He was beginning to take this exchange quite personally.
“Do you know how it feels to drown?” she said.
His look was midway between love and contempt as he spoke, “Do you know how it feels to hold out the key to someone’s prison and watch them turn away?”
She…drowned.”  She said it slowly and looked right at him so that he could see deep inside her. He didn’t need to ask if she had once tried to rescue her, it was understood. Both of them knew how hard rescues were, and how they never seem to work.
The sun was high in the sky now. The young man laid across the hot planks of the bridge and began to dry in the sun. The light, he thought to himself, from that great fountain filters down to touch every living thing. He was staring at the light pouring through the tops of the great Oaks and Maples that lined either side of the brook. The sky was a deep blue. Tufts of clouds rolled by. Across the bridge to the west was his meadow. The path sloped upward through stands of bramble and flowers, and beyond it, grassy drumlins rose that shimmered with a hint of silver. Clover, he thought.  A place bettered only in the sharing of it, he mused.
He drew a deep breath as if to drink in the sunlight. He smelled the moist earth and moss that surrounded the pond. The scent was pleasant but cool and thick. He took another breath as a warm breeze blew from the meadow, setting the leaves in motion. Its scent was of sunbaked grasses and wildflowers, the smell of summer memories; friends on the porch, sandals and swings. His mind drifted and wandered through Augusts of long ago.
A drop of cold water touched his lips and brought him back. He turned his head to watch the beautiful drowning maid. Her face was red as she snorted and spit. Her head was sinking lower in the water now, her leaden arms rhythmically pounding the surface, vaulting long splashes into the air. He turned his face back into the sun, took another breath and let out a sigh, then shot up fast,
“Damn you!” he said as he rose to his feet. “Inhale and lean back or by God, I’ll drown you myself!” This she did, and gradually the pounding subsided for the most part. She was now able to keep her nose and mouth consistently above water.

—————-

I wrote this story when I was twenty-three years old.

I never wrote the ending.  (I didn’t know how.)

I found it recently in an old journal.  Notes scribbled in the margins suggested several endings.  Neither involved the maid being “rescued” by the young lad, owing to the author believing, then as now, that it isn’t possible.  The main theme of this little tale is that we are the progenitors of our own misery, and our own sole source of rescue.  Help from others comes only in the form of support and illumination—the key for the lock, the latch for the window.  We ourselves crawl through the chinks and cross the thresholds. Do we really choose to create all the terrible things that we experience, even the ones that other people do to us?  Yes.  Not with our conscious mind certainly, that would be ridiculous.  But in the great ocean of our unconscious, that sea granted us by some unknown hand, we are the writers of the story that when told will lead us to preserve the learnings we seek.  This is the great and perilous Truth that once embraced, frees us utterly.  The boy never asked the maid how she got there or why she was drowning, he asked, “When did you decide to drown?”

ophelia-3.jpgIn one ending, she finally gives up her struggle, goes completely still and sinks to the very bottom, then she just stands up and walks out of the water.

The other takes place after several more bruising attempts at rescue and sees the battered lad walking away alone across the bridge to his beautiful sun-lit meadow, the sound of fists thumping the water slowly receding behind him.

It’s worth noting that the characters in this allegory can be seen as separate individuals (pick the one that applies to you), but also can be regarded as two warring aspects of our own psyche.

How would you end it, my friends?  My experience in life has been much like the latter ending.  What have I learned in the thirty-five years since my “young lad self” wrote it?  This:

“If you choose to help others, choose only the ones who are swimming toward you.”   

If not, you’ll find yourself buried in someone else’s darkness, and this serves no one.  In love, there are takers and there are givers.  If you are one who has built your house among takers, know that you deserve a giver.

It isn’t your fault; it was your choice.

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ADDENDUM TO: “The Drowning Woman: A Rescuer’s Story”

The more I re-read this piece the more fascinating it is to me.  It is so weird looking into my head 35 years ago, and the stunning thing is that so much of what I thought was a growth in awareness over the years was already there, it was just unproven.  (I have stood on that bridge since, more times than I would like to admit, and have also spent some time in the water.)

There is actually more to the unfinished story buried in the notes.  The two may have actually known each other, through letters only, and betrothed having never met.  And it offers some very timely insights into how we know each other through words conveying how we want to be perceived as opposed to the visceral connection of being present with each other.

The notion that we must take responsibility (response-ability) for our lives and embrace the belief that we choose or are “at cause” with all the events of our lives (somehow), is the very thing that gives us our personal POWER and allows us to create the outcomes we desire and frees us from a self-imposed and unjust victimhood (drowning).  Cool stuff!  Smart lad!

If you are curious, and you can read my ancient chicken scratch, have at!  The first and last pages containing notations are pictured here.

So I further the question, “How would you end it?”

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Wookin’ Pa Nub: Love, Relating, and the Muse

Love sculpture - Robert Indiana -  ShinjukuI love being alone. Wait, that’s not right, I hate being alone. I love solitude. A solitary mind is not alone it is connected with everything. The difference is that there is no one around whose presence alters yours. Zen masters call it aloneness, and it is not lonely, it is full and resonant and whole. Have you ever sat and looked up at the night sky and contemplated the stars and your existence? That is aloneness. Have you ever done it in a crowd or with even one? There is a difference isn’t there? Solitude is where you can project your consciousness out into the universe and sense what is reflected back to you, a sort of echolocation wherein you may find yourself in the deepest sense of the word.

I love solitude, right up to the point that I realize that I am terribly lonely! It’s true we are not islands. We require connection with others as part of our realization of who we are. That realization, and pardon my use of the broadest and therefore most meaningless term we have for it, is Love. Finding it is easy for a fortunate few, but for most of us, not so much.

Allow me to narrow if I can my meaning here with regard to this our most over-encumbered word. The union of souls, there that gets us a bit closer. We might call it romantic love, though sexual intimacy is not a necessary aspect of it, neither is gender.

As this post’s title implies, we are all “wookin’ pa nub”, with a grateful nod to Eddie Murphy’s SNL skit where he plays Buckwheat from “Our Gang” singing pop favorites. Truly, looking for love should never be taken too seriously. If Love eludes us, it is usually for a reason. News flash, it isn’t them, it’s us, and unless we find and escape the patterns we set, we are doomed to repeat our failures.

As for my own farcical search, it has been largely fruitless. It is a sisyphian tragedy, a fable of sorts, but the old kind, with a cruel recurring ending.

For me, the only type of people I truly understand, the ones that fascinate, engage and inspire me are artists; actors, musicians, performers, painters, sculptors, dancers, but with regard to the true union of souls, I had painted myself into a corner from the beginning.

I have always played the role of leader among artists, either as a producer, director, talent booker, or manager. There is a cliché in the theatre about the type of actress who carries on with her director, and this notion extends to my other leadership roles as well. It holds that any woman that takes up with the man in charge is either a mindless tart or a manipulating bitch. (Most directors are content enough with the former, and often fall prey to the latter.) Any good girl is unlikely to put herself in the line of fire of that cliché. They will be too afraid that they will become a target, one suddenly in competition with other women, judged, scrutinized, ostracized. Those fears are phantoms of course, anyone who truly cares about you, who sees you truly happy, will be happy for you. The rest can go hang. But try explaining that to a good girl.

To make matters worse, the only kinds of relationship I value are intimate ones, whatever the type of relationship. I am not an acquaintance kind of guy; I acquire precious few, and very close relationships. When I encounter someone I feel I understand and see clearly, I seek closeness, intimacy. With women (the only way I lean) it doesn’t have to be romantic or sexual, and often it is not, but since I don’t know how to stop seeking intimacy, and refuse to label what I don’t yet understand, there comes a point where I get too close and they don’t know how to let me in. Confusion and fear is the result and they play it safe, turn tail and run. I have been around that block more times than I will admit. This is my pattern, and a trap I still do not fully understand my way out of. It’s either that pattern or not being accessible at all, which is worse.

I wish I liked tarts.

Give up being a leader? No, that won’t work either. Though it sounds special, being in charge is not what it’s cracked up to be. I dislike being a leader, but I lead because the only thing I like less than leading is following. I stand in my painted corner brush in hand.  eyes-6-wallpaper right

Sad to say, I gave up on my failed pattern long ago with no resolution. Disgusted and bruised, I locked away wookin’ pa nub in a trunk, and shoved it under the bed. This time I decided that it was better for me to focus completely on my four-year-old daughter dealing with a newly divided home, than waste my energy on looking for Ms. Goodbar. It was a good decision, but even good decisions have their expiration dates. It has been clear recently that my daughter would benefit from my finding Love as much as I would. So I reached for that dusty old trunk and opened it. When I looked inside I was surprised and deeply moved to see that what I had left there so long ago was EXACTLY THE SAME AS WHEN I LEFT IT! What was I expecting, the problem to solve itself? Time to roll that rock up that hill again Gary, maybe this time it will be different.

In a fit of compassion for my little girl I tried on-line dating. I put up a profile and spent three hilarious days watching pings come in. They couldn’t even wait for a date before they started telling me what to do, how to post, and what I need to do to fulfill their expectations. “No thank you, when I want a girl who is looking for the next stub to blame her misery on I’ll call you.” After three days I scrubbed every bit of it off the Internet. I will put my faith in the Law of Attraction thank you, even if I die alone!

Guys are simple; they are looking for either their mother or a porn star. God forbid their mother was a porn star. Women will too often compromise their truth by settling for less than what they want in order to not be alone. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with that, but they will be dishonest with themselves about their expectations, still hoping for their desire, and end up resenting the fella who is only there to hold space. I submit that there was never a relationship that “failed” where there was real honesty with one’s self and with the other, a true understanding of expectations, and the integrity to follow through on them.

Even the word “relationship” is misleading. It’s a noun. We are not nouns; we are verbs. We are ever evolving and changing things, our relating must also change, evolve, and be new each day. The correct word is relating, the verb; a relationship is something that was, not something that is.

I’m not sure that there is such a thing as a failed relationship. Every relationship, no matter how good or how bad has its gifts. There is always growth and value to them, so how can we call them failures? My biggest peeve is people with a two dimensional view of relating. We are either friends or lovers, lovers or strangers, right or wrong, good or bad for each other. Bunk. There are as many kinds of relating as there are people to relate with. Each one is unique and should not have to fit into our cultural conditioning or confined by common archetypes, values, or morality. As unique as the individuals are, so too is their relating. How much love has been lost in the world because it did not conform to accepted standards, sad.

This understanding can answer some confusing questions about relationships that “didn’t work out.” Some souls enter our orbit, and we theirs, for reasons that we do not fully understand when it happens. The power of their pull and the serendipity of their arrival lead us to assume that these must be lovers sent to us by destiny. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. I call them Doorways, they are captivating, inspiring, and open us up to parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed, and break wide open a sky full of new possibilities. They fill our lives with light. This has to be destined love, right? Maybe not.

We often serve the same purpose for them as well, making it seem impossible that we should not be together, but there always seems to be some block or consequence or taboo that gets in the way of smooth sailing with Doorway people. Yet we are at times gifted with these unlooked for miracles of love for a special and often finite purpose. When their orbits are complete, when we have opened the doorways they offered, and they ours, their trajectories shift away from us. If we failed to understand or accept their true purpose for us, we would believe that we have lost at love, that the relationship had tragically failed, and it can leave us deeply heart broken. These can be deep, mystical, intimate and powerful connections, and for the unaware they can be quite a handful. Just the awareness that there can be lovers in our lives, even ones we never touch, that are not part of the ‘ever after’ myth can be a valuable insight for healing.

Did I mention they hurt? All growth hurts my friends. Never abdicate your happiness in the present for fear that it will end in the future, because guess what, everything has its ending.

eyes-6-wallpaper leftThere is another word used to describe my Doorway people, the ones who inspire us to new heights of achievement and depths of self-insight, it’s an old fashion word used mostly by artists, but anyone can have them, they are called Muses. My advice to you, and trust me on this, because I have encountered them many times, if you are lucky enough to find one, grab them by the hand and run as far and as fast as you can, while you can! The benefits far outweigh the risks. They are precious things, gifts from the Gods, do not run, do not hesitate, dive in, and conscience be damned.

I believe that much of our trouble finding Love has to do with a true understanding of what it is. We shroud it in illusions, some of which are not at all pleasant to release. What we call love is really a whole spectrum of relating. At the primal level, love is sexual attraction. Many of us remain stuck there, because our conditioning has burdened our sexuality with all kinds of expectations and repressions. As our awareness rises, we can begin to experience the love that exists beyond sexuality and honors the unique individuality of the other. We begin to understand that our partner often functions as a mirror, reflecting unseen aspects of our deeper self and supporting us to become whole. This love is based in freedom, not expectation or need.

One magical night you will finally meet your soulmate, that one perfect person who will meet all your needs and fulfill all your dreams. Right? Wrong! This myth that songwriters and poets are so fond of perpetuating has its roots in the womb, where we were so secure and at one with our mothers. We yearn to return to that place, and look for it in others. To put it bluntly and quite brutally, it is a childish dream. Nobody, whether it’s your current mate or some dreamed-of partner in the future, has any obligation to deliver your happiness on a platter, nor could they if they wanted to. Your happiness is self-bestowed. Real love comes not from trying to solve our neediness by depending on another, but by developing our own inner richness and maturity. Then we have so much love to give that we naturally draw lovers towards us. This is what I mean by the Law of Attraction.

Often we are not able to see each other clearly. Each of us may be projecting an image we have constructed in our minds, covering the real face of the person we are looking at. We all get caught up in this sometimes, projecting movies of our own making onto situations and people surrounding us. This happens when we are not fully aware of our own expectations, desires and judgments, instead of taking responsibility for them and owning them, we try to attribute them to others. They are clouds that prevent us from seeing reality as it is. We must recognize the game. Does what you see in others really belong to you? Is your vision clear, or clouded by what you want to see?

What are your definitions of Love? If you don’t have any, then how can you find it? I will share a few of mine that I have found, in case I caught you off guard. My favorite is, to delight in another’s happiness. When you experience bliss in another’s bliss even when it has no connection or benefit to you, chances are that Love connects you.

There is a marvelous story that Joseph Campbell told about two cops trying to talk a man off a bridge who intended to commit suicide. As one cop tried to coax him down from the railing, the man jumped. This cop jumped after him, right over the side himself. He caught the man by his legs as the other cop caught his, saving both of them. The first cop had a family and kids and everything to live for, so why did he throw his own life after a perfect stranger’s? He was asked this afterwards, he struggled for an explanation, and being pressed for how he felt at the instant he jumped after the man, said that it felt as if he was jumping, that he was the man throwing his life away. This is my next definition of Love, a recognition of oneness.

We are all made of the same stuff, we are one, and in extreme moments of clarity this inner knowing shows itself. What is this stuff? This stuff of which we are made is love. It’s not a metaphor; we are actually made of it. We are love. Find someone within whom you can see this truth, and you will have an end to all your fruitless searches.

My sister recently reminded me of what my mother said of love. The next day I was certain I remembered her saying it to me; she probably said it to all her kids. It is indeed the simplest and most profound observation of love I have yet found. She said, “You do not love another person for yourself, you love them for them.” Having a child can teach you that about love, and I know that I love others that way as well. Imagine though, loving another person like this, who loves you in that very same way. That is a true bond of love, and a union of souls.

My mother would also say to me somewhat ruefully, “Gary, you want the world to be a perfect place,” that’s right Ma someone has to. If I ever find a perfect world, it will most likely be in a pair of eyes, one that sees in me what I see in them.

Now that would be something.eyes-6-wallpaper