We seek love -- desire it more than gold. Sometimes put it on a shrine and bow down before the throne of "Please love me forever." But when do we need it too much? What are the symptoms of desire turned into a monster of neediness and bone-gripping addiction? More subtly, when does love cease to be about giving, but wraps itself around our own hope for attention, healing from past wounds or just plain respect?
The magic of love, in all the ways it builds connection and sustains the spirit, never removes itself from the act of sacrifice. Of seeing the need to uphold, praise and cherish the one we have chosen as life partner. Love carries melodic tones of "You're the best thing that's ever happened in my life" in a rhythmic story of lovers who buy tickets to the same concert of mutual affection and "You're it in my life."
We all need love. To be cherished. Valued as unique. Special. Even adored. But adoration that comes from choice, from our soul-mate who knows us and has decided to love only us as husband, as wife. Not because we have extracted their devotion by our fears of abandonment, of our anxiety about being alone. Or out of our terror of never being wanted.
So what happens to our wants and desires? To our need for having a special connection and undivided heart-moving attention from our lover, our mate? How do we ask for all this -- or do we dare ask at all? When are we just plain needy and when do we raise the flag of hope for a mate who, out of their own thoughts, says "I rock and that I'm truly loved?"
Comes down to creation. To the unspoken agreements two lovers share. Two possible love-contracts that take you in separate directions and move you in different ways. One says "Love me because my survival depends on it." "My self-esteem, worth and value hinge on how you treat me."
The other? Goes something like this. "We have come together to share life, to commit to bringing our own personal loving actions and feelings to each other." Life-giving gifts to your partner that flow out of a bubbling well of care, from deep waters of compassion and tenderness. Not "I must have love to get by" but rather "I can't wait to reach out and deeply move your world with my emotional and physical touch." Not a "take" philosophy but one centered on electricity that comes from your own power grid of choice and desire to create a special, timeless connection with the one you've chosen for life.
Really, two souls who feast on giving their best to the one they love most. Not on getting for relief, for self-soothing, for stability. This banquet of caring thoughts and actions sits on a table of surrender, of reaching out for all your worth, and knowing you can create love. Fed by a constant assembly of intentions that become food for your lover's soul, to enrich his spirit, to give her life.
Call this attunement. When two lovers, rich in personal esteem and knowledge about how to grow passionate connection, settle into patterns of affection and awareness of the other's existence and need for special care. Attunement means we create an ongoing bridge across the raging waters of life and we go down that path together. Never leave one another behind. When we look down and the swift currents scare us, we find support in the arms of our soul-mate. Always on the move - reaching ahead for more, stepping into the unknown with the exciting privilege of accompanying our best friend. Through space and time.
We look back on the other side and realize that we were loved for all the right reasons.
Our partner decided to love us.
We decided to love them.
We let go our own self-interests and pursued theirs.
They pursued ours.
That is true love. Not love-junkies but lovers connected with the cords of trust and affection. Attuned to one another. In love from choice. For life.
Follow Doug and Leslie Gustafson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/authentictrue