Friday, December 27, 2013

A Farewell to Arms

The problem with love is that sometimes it just doesn't know how to land.

Michael Kors "Leighton" sandal in gunmetal
Acting like a diverted jetliner without an available runway, love often loses its way into the intended heart--exhausting every last reserve of its fuel.

The defenses are to blame:  that protective emotional armor that thwarts the possibility of hurt.  
And the violent rupture of our most sacred expectations.

So many of us carve entire existences out of our defenses--fortresses that guard against revealing our most vulnerable selves, our tenderest layers, our submerged truths.

Why trust, anyway?  Didn't someone once say that "self-preservation is the first law of nature?"

For so many of us who have been incinerated by hurt, it makes perfect sense--compelling us to shelve the possibility of joy. 

Until it withers away. 

Like those loving compliments that we let face-plant into snow.
Or those "suspicious" acts of kindness that we flag as part of a someone's hurtful agenda.
Or those moments we avoid to keep our hearts taxidermic:   once alive, but deadened nonetheless.

I get it.  I've been there.  One hell of a fortress with a few beastly moats. 

Whether it was basic human kindness or the profound love, I once let it all deflect into otherworldly strata.  Too much investment and risk.

When I was in my twenties, I once flew out to Portland, Oregon for a former roommate's wedding.  The airport cab driver--a recent college graduate--tried exhaustingly to help me with my luggage and engage in pleasant conversation during the whole ride to my friend's house.  He even waited for someone to answer the door before driving away. 

And all I could think about was how I could stab him with my heel if I needed to.  All in the name of defense.

Again in my twenties, there was this guy I got stuck talking to while my friend was on a blind date. Launching a pre-emptive strike on any potential connection whatsoever, I instantly extinguished any ember of conversation with him that night.  It was nice meeting you.  Thanks for the pleasantries. Next.
We just celebrated our fifteenth anniversary.

Guess what?  Survival gets old.  And is exhausting. 

Throughout the years, I've realized that the irony of self-preservation is that it suffocates any growth.  

The idea that we can make ourselves emotionally unassailable is a myth.  We are vulnerable whether we live inside or outside that castle.

A move toward vulnerability allows us to shift our realities and manifest our dreams.  

Yes, it would have been easier--and safer--if I subsisted under all of those protective layers, where I couldn't be reached or re-injured.  

But it's so much more beautiful in the light. 

A farewell to arms is critical to our happiness, our evolution, our authentic connections with others:

"It is a risk to love.
What if it doesn't work out?
Ah, but what if it does?"
 ---Peter McWilliams

Wishing you all love and surrender in 2014,