you and me

10 Exquisitely Wicked & Passionate Truths Of Love.

{Photo via Pinterest}

{Photo via Pinterest}

Once upon a time, while walking a labyrinth in the middle of Seattle, I met a curious homeless man named Doug, who pulled from his tattered backpack a Bible, of all things.

He asked me if I’d read to him a verse — one he had already picked out — perhaps memorized? The verse (which we have probably all heard in one form or another) goes as such:

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This verse, regardless of what religion or non-religion you may be part of, is profound. And this simple act of reading this particular verse to this man, in the center of my labyrinth (which is a symbol of love) some years ago, touched me.

After the encounter, I thought it was lovely that he wanted me to read to him about love because it also gave me a little love in return — from such an unexpected place. But go figure.

Love is a funny thing. It’s what we are the most mystified and moved by. Intrigued and repelled by. How can such a simple word pack a complexly humongous punch and wreak all kinds of bliss and damage on a life?

The following is — from my experiences with love — what I have come to know as the truth of love. Sometimes a truth is hard to come to grips with, but once we do, it sets us free.

“Love rejoices with the truth.” Because once truth is dispelled, you have the space to continue evolving through truths yet to be discovered. When we walk in truth, we can be a living example of Love personified.

As it stands for me now, the truth of love is like this…

 

1. LOVE IS: A force to be reckoned with.

Probably the most potent magic we possess, because love makes us capable of powerful things. It can give life, take life and create life. If you are a parent, this is a prime example. For me, Love became perfectly understood once I crossed the threshold into motherhood.

I had a handle on my understanding of Love up to this point, but motherhood dotted the i and crossed the t for me by bringing it full circle.

You know that saying: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” Well, that, right there, is the ferocious force I speak of. Love can lift cars, traverse time, take out the bad guys, withstand tribulation, defy logic, defy gravity, and keep hope alive where none can be found. It can even survive death.

It is most definitely a superpower to the nth degree, and an awesome one at that. It is an inspiring power to wield in this world that is seemingly void of more magical things.

“Do all things with love. Be ye therefore perfect.”

But not necessarily in the common perception of what we view as perfect.

 

2. LOVE IS: Not happily ever after or that fairy tale true-love’s kiss.

That’s just the honeymoon phase — which doesn’t go on forever. But True Love — the truest, true Love — is a little more visceral than that. It’s heartier and more grounding. It’s the kind that sticks with you when all the lights go out.

It’s what sits with you in the darkest nights of your soul and lays hands on you when you feel you are done for, to remind you you are still here, you are still breathing.

It’s that calm and compassionate presence when your vitality has dissipated and you are in a broken pile in the moon pool on your bedroom floor having dark, destructive thoughts.

Love sees the nightmare and bows to it, saying: “It’s okay. I’m here. Just be who you are, face those shadows — yes, they are ugly, yes, you are hard work, but I just don’t care. And it will all be okay. This will change. You can get through this.”

Love is the one little candle that can guide you one foot in front of the other in that cavernous abyss of darkness.

Yes, it does give you warm arms and comforting kisses. Yes, it does hold you against its chest while aiming a sword at your adversaries when you are weak. Yes, it does make you warm soup when you’re sick.

But, it will also tell you when you need to stand up and work, because you can and you are capable and you can handle it (more on this to follow).

 

3. LOVE IS: Part chemistry, part risk, part choice.

Sure there is the initial, chemical attraction where all is seemingly perfect — and you’re blowing each other’s minds right and left. Most likely magnetically glued to each other so hard that you can’t keep your hands to yourself or beds empty for very long — doesn’t matter where that bed is.

Then when the realm of comfort sets in over time, this is a vulnerable place, because unless you are both conscious of the familiarity, what happens is stagnation and boredom have a higher chance of infringing on you and your beloved’s territory.

It’s that moment in a relationship where it seems the magic has fizzled out. But in all actuality is just being eclipsed. And eclipses are new beginnings (or endings) either way they are new opportunity.

Love however, says: “Yes, we are in shadow and I’m bored. But I want to stay because you’re worth it and I know the light will return — time is cyclical.”

Even if that shiny new toy comes sauntering by (and it will), Love still says: “No. Because I already chose to love someone else… sorry.” — in this case, we choose to continue loving.

Love then has the opportunity to come in and say: “Let’s shake it up and create new alchemy between us — invent more magic, uncover new facets of our diamond hearts.” It is my belief that if we keep choosing our way through this strange bottleneck, we can reach another level of Love entirely.

The problem is that most people get stuck here and fail. They settle into utter stagnation and get too comfortable, only to unravel at the seams from built-up resentment towards one another, as they retire to the dead and broken piles of all lost and dysfunctional relationships.

It’s true you can’t really decide whom you fall in love with, but you can decide to stay in Love once it’s there with you.

 

4. LOVE IS: Self-sacrificing.

This is perfectly exemplified again in the realm of a parent’s Love for a child. It can also most definitely translate to lovers and others. I can tell you from experience that the first three years of child-rearing is a good strong kick in the ass in the realm of self-sacrificial Love.

This is a crucial learning period where you come to terms with the notion that you are, and always will be, forever second. You are no longer first.

The dreams or goals you may have been pursuing pre-parenthood, only garner a small percentage of your attention any more — the greater of that percentage goes towards raising this human being.

Your personal goals happen only when time can be found — usually into the late hours of night and for those two hours in the afternoon at nap-time (not delegated to you for sleep, but to your three-year old). Time is always found, but it requires tons of patience, diligence, sacrifice and follow through.

Love makes this possible and gets it done.

That first year of child-rearing, I lost all sense of time and all understanding of the word sleep. (What day is it?) My days of sleeping-in are long gone — swept away in that effervescent decade of my twenties. And Love quite simply says: “Yes, so they are.” It doesn’t candy-coat it.

 

5. LOVE IS: Not an idealistic concept of ‘The One’.

I used to believe in soul mates. After a horrendous broken heart and a violent slip into the darkness of solitude, I had to hash out who I was — apart  from him. I thought with my entire being that he was: The One.

For the decade following, I quit believing in soul mates and slipped into the murky waters of indifference with all things sex and men (which flickered in and out between moments of joy and then darkness again).

I so desperately wanted to believe in soul mates, but in all honesty I had come to realize it was a bit unrealistic. Maybe childish.

I had to dance hard with this dark truth. It was an awful dance partner, because I had believed so, so fervently in: The One. Yet constantly this concept kept letting me down. I finally changed up the choreography and now this dark truth and I have reached an amiable conclusion:

A soul mate is not necessarily that perfect One who makes everything idyllic — a knight in shiny armor who finishes your sentences, knows all your thoughts and plays into all your fantasies. A soul mate is a bit subtler and earthier than that.

I absolutely believe we can stay with A One our entire life. And not just because you settled, but A One who is as passionate as you are in creating this ever after in a way that is enriching.

If you are single, A One might appear in your back eastern entrance while you are standing at the front, looking west. I think that certain Loves start as a dim glow like a dawn aurora and can gradually brighten with time into an exquisite sunset that takes your breath away.

A soul mate is someone willing to partner with you and work with you and of course with that bonus that makes you feel wrapped quietly in the promise of forever feeling treasured.

But partnering takes two — and partnering is work — not just sparkle magic and rainbow kisses (though if you have pixie blood, this very well could be part of your reality). A soul mate is someone who works at life with you, even when it’s not always sparkles.

They see your weaknesses and help you stand courageous and fierce until it becomes perpetuated harmony even when the chords of life are flat.

As was stated above, it’s not happily ever after, it’s creating ever after an exchange of enrichment even when things get dark and heavy. Someone who can haul that weight and help you carry it through the valley of the shadows. A partner in crime.

Someone who pulls out the best in you and makes you see in broader perspectives.

 

6. LOVE IS: Learning patiently someones truth and honoring it.

Nobody is perfectly the same as you or in complete sync with all your personal requirements — how boring would that be! Don’t you want the unexpected? Surprise me with something I never knew I always wanted.

We are all flawed and broken, dark and cracked, surprises waiting to happen with truths yet to be uncovered. My reality is different from yours. Just because your reality is such, doesn’t mean you should be cold and self-centric about it.

On the shadow side of soul growth, this whole self-love concept can become quite — well — selfish.

Love would do anything for the one it loves; it is self-sacrificing.

One time a special person came into my life and swept me off my feet. He could not commit, yet at the same time, he wanted to carry on with me in some semblance of exclusivity (wanting me to exclude all others on my casual dating list — which I did wholeheartedly).

The problem herein lay in the fact that he would not do the same. He kept on spending time with past flings and intrigues on the pretext that: This was his truth.

My truth, however was not to be in an open relationship like that — a sort of fly-by-night, love-the-one-you’re-with sort of attitude. Not really my thing.

I was ready to commit and work at this relationship. Willing to sacrifice some of my personal truth to try and meet his — because so much of what we were together worked well. Yet still, he couldn’t do the same for me, and to me that’s not equal.

You cannot expect me to sacrifice without sacrificing something for me too.

Partnership works together. Two wholes coming together as one unit to become something akin to superhuman.

He was possessive of me, but open to others outside of us. So busy being preoccupied with his own truth that he had no compassion for mine, which was selfish.

So it was at this moment that I consciously and politely stepped out and bid him farewell. Was it easy for me? Fuck, no! I didn’t want that, but I wasn’t going to force him to be in my truth — then I’d be the selfish one and our relationship would be based on a forced reality — not a reality based in authenticity.

We can’t sacrifice our personal truths so much that it begins to go against our values. Sometimes, when you love something, you have to let it go.

Love is strong enough to do this — it’s unconditional and doesn’t need anything — it just wants. And if what it wants doesn’t add up — well then, Love keeps walking, knowing that it just needs to meet A One with personal truths that work with it. And that can be a scary and insecure feeling.

“What if this person doesn’t exist?” says Fear. To which Love replies: “Trust me.” Again — with its simple, quiet voice.

This segues into the concept that sometimes Love is tough, grating across your heart like a metal claw. But it is in fact Love that gives you the courage to let go.

 

7. LOVE IS: Hard on you but it operates for your best interest.

I once knew a man who was a teacher of sorts to me — he grew to love me very dearly and I him, though we were not romantic partners at all. We were simply colleagues.

At the time, I was a scared little thing who was quite uncomfortable in my surroundings and was having a very hard time coping with the tasks that this job demanded. This man, quite skilled in this craft, took me under his wing and gave me guidance.

He saw how willingly I wanted to learn, even though I tended towards being a deer in headlights. Instead of candy-coating everything, holding my hand and making it easy for me — babying me as I pussyfooted around — he showed me the harsh reality of it.

He made me do the dirty, wax on, wax off work.

At times I hated him for it, and wanted to throw food at him (we worked in a fast-paced industrial kitchen) but just as I would get heated and poised to lash out in my feisty vehemence, he’d step in quietly, offer up some words of wisdom, hand me the correct tool and say: “Do it.”

Sternly, but not unkindly — he challenged my weaknesses and made me stronger in that slow-burning way — a way that fortifies our strengths like forged steal pounded out to a weapon of quality precision. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Love does that to us — it burns (and I even have the scar on my arm to prove this), but that burn teaches you a lasting lesson.

 

8. LOVE IS: The best and worst thing of all.

Because when you have it within your sphere, it is magic. It is grace. It is bliss. It is ecstasy. It is rapture. It is joy. It is priceless wonder. The most sacred of all gifts. But at the same time, once obtained, to lose it — any form of it — is utterly, exasperatingly, extravagantly terrifying.

Whether you are a parent, a lover, a brother, a kindred — I know there are a lot of people out there who know this and therefore never throw themselves all the way into any sort of commitment because it’s too scary to have something so powerful in their grasp.

With love this ferocious, you think, if anything were to happen, if it were to disappear…??!! — god, who wants to fathom that? And many people have had to. A broken heart, the death of a child or a loved one.

And that’s where Love is soul-wrenching, because the very thing that gives you all the power in the world could be the very thing that takes it all away.

And for some, it’s hard to know what to do with energy that powerful, so they half-ass it at intrigue and infatuation (which oftentimes gets mistaken for love) or keep everything at arm’s length.

But, Love goes all the way past this and into the ugly, hard and gritty.

Love also says: “As hard as it is, Love yourself first.” Then loving others, lovers, children, parents can be fully dealt with, because you know you have your solid core to return to.

Love understands that nothing is permanent. Anything can damage us. All things can depart and move on at any moment, but Love says: “I’ll still do it anyway. And I’ll do it fiercely.”

Love loves despite the horrifying concept of loss.

 

9. LOVE IS: To die trying.

… said a man I loved once upon a time. “Because I wouldn’t believe it otherwise,” he concluded.

It took me years to understand exactly what this meant — I was young and dumb at the time, and was not ready for the kind of love he wanted to give. It finally dawned on me eventually that what he meant was: Love is action.

You can speak frivolously about how much you love someone and can tell your sweetie sweet nothings and I love you all the time, but if you do nothing to back it up, then what is it really? In other words, Love is not frivolous or careless — and it is certainly not lazy.

These things are better left to naivete and idealism.

As much as many of us here are writers, we are first and foremost physical creatures and words are nothing — disappearing into the great dark ether as fast as they manifested. The only way a word can become real is with action.

Without action and being true to your word by walking your talk—words are all smoke and mirrors.

My mother’s husband, in the beginning of their relationship, wrote a note to her that said: “It only takes me a moment to say that I love you, but it takes a lifetime to show you. Please let me show you.” That was the infamous note that made my mother go: “Yep. He’s my One.”

They’ve been married 18 years and are both showing one another again and again how strong Love can be through their actions.

You can give Love everything you have, and perhaps die a thousand deaths in the process, as you trip and fall on the slippery slopes of life, break wide open, or experience deep loss and Love steps in and shows you what it is to be reborn.

It grants you grace to start anew like a phoenix risen from ash; to love so fiercely again is one of the utmost blisses in life!

 

10. LOVE IS: Beyond all these things.

Because in all honesty, I know nothing except what I have experienced. And what I have experienced is but a teensy insignificant blip in the grand cycle of time. I don’t even know where Love ends. Nor can I remember where it began — as an energy.

I think it is that great big mystery — kind of like God, the Universe and dark matter. The more you uncover, the more you realize you don’t know. Will we ever know? Doubtful. But we can die trying!

Like the lovely Helen Keller states: “The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Feeling with the heart is indeed an action, because to open the heart and use it is a very difficult task not many care to take on.

But it’s the one thing we all crave the courage to do. It’s not always pretty. It opens us up to judgment. It parades our insecurities out loud and it makes us transparent.

But Love says: “You’re so damn beautiful. C’mere.”

Love is exquisite torture. Without Love, life would be incomplete, leaving a person… unslaked. Unlived. Unborn. Unfree. Because to not love, to not have it, give it or show it, in any way shape or form, is to be a caged, pacing animal. Or a robot.

And quite frankly, I don’t want to be either of those things (unless the robot has cool lasers and can time travel or something).

My heart is too vicious and it’s on fire — burning wide open waiting for someone to thaw their hands upon it as a respite from the angry cold places of this world.

As Kristi sits alone writing this at her favorite coffee shop, a shadow casts itself across her table. Unexpectedly a coffee is placed in front of her, made just the way she likes it. Before she comprehends this happenstance, a hand gently pulls the pen from her fingers and sets it aside. Someone sits down at her table…

 

*****

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Kristi Stout

Kristi Stout

Kristi L. Stout is an artist, mother, and lover. She considers herself a Renaissance woman, in service of Love in its many forms. It is her belief that inside each of us is our own sacred, Wild nature -- a hidden instinct that is not forgotten as much as it is dormant, like leafless trees in winter. It is the part of of us that is connected to all things. A knowing without knowing. The part deep inside that understands darkness is necessary for the moon to simmer silver, and recognizes that even if you’re lost in the middle of nowhere you can always find a sacred somewhere -- like an internal compass pointing true north to your heart center. Her passion project, work in progress, is She Is Wild. You can find more of Kristi’s work here or connect with her on Facebook.