By Emily Rosen
It’s “Love-Time” again, so get your pen and paper and prepare to take a short, simple quiz.
Here it goes: Finish the following sentence: “Love is ….”
Expand on your answer as you see fit and e-mail your response to me (See email address above). With your permission, I will include it in my next column, or in next year’s LOVE column, depending on how many responses I get.
And, yes, there are all kinds of love, and infinite degrees of intensity that the feeling engenders, and that’s what makes the subject an intriguing study, as well as a great dinner-party go-around at the table.
The big secret is that “real love” needs to begin with self – non narcissistic, “whole- self” – love. If that does not exist, I know some “shrinks” I could recommend. You cannot love someone else if you don’t truly love yourself.
I am always fascinated by the variety of ideas people express on the subject, all of them, no doubt, reflections of their personal experiences. Those of us who are engaged in pursuing self-awareness (or mindfulness, or a high level of consciousness) agree that the experience of “love” – all kinds – is the ultimate goal of human achievement, a concept which is the root thesis of most religions.
Love: Follow it and see the patterns change. It is like a piece of dough that begins with one ingredient and gets added to, reduced, blended, rolled, flattened and shaped. It is wiggling, bouncy, euphoric and constrained. It reaches out and pulls back. It is gentle and it is violent, giving and demanding. It is lustful and phlegmatic. It is the sustenance of the world and yet its chemistry can be venomous. It is a spot of mercury, darting, volatile, fusing and breaking into bits and pieces. It is open and closed, a release and a prison. It is agony and glory, darkness and sunlight, distance and touch … and, mostly, joyous.
As one who has experienced the entire range of love-feelings – and as one who has advanced in chronological years – it is pure happiness to report on “love” in the senior years. Some people call it “cute,” condescending to the belief of youth that those feelings experienced during the teenaged and early 20s and 30s cannot be duplicated many decades hence. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (I joyously report.) And thus – another celebration of Happy Valentine’s Day.
Here are two of several legends about Valentine’s Day: Valentine, a Roman priest, was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from a Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine, or Valentinius, fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed “From your Valentine.” The expression became quite popular amongst the love struck and is still very much in vogue.
So here’s to the good St. Valentine, may his love-aura be spread – and may you live in lovingness all the days up to and beyond the 14th.