I was reading a thread on a friend’s Facebook page as she shared about her long polyamory journey. She spoke of ways in which she feels both jealousy and open hearted acceptance that a man she loves deeply, also has a powerful relationship with another woman she knows. Her pain was palpable and her vulnerability, raw. She has many lovers herself and each one brings out aspects of herself that she reveals sometimes willingly and sometimes reluctantly. Insecurity and confidence are tightly wound around each other. I have known her for more than five years and am astounded at her willingness to do emotional surgery and let observers see the internal workings and viscera. These days, she makes no apology for what she calls her ‘vulnerable shares’.
I wonder (as open as I am in comparison to some), if I would ever be able to let the world into the inner sanctum as she does. She provides a model for genuine personal exposure and ‘saying what isn’t being said’.
I have found myself and sometimes lost myself in ‘wanting to be loved best of all,’ as I have referred to it over the years. Is there anyone who doesn’t desire to be showered with love, attention and affection by a Beloved other? Does it come down to the idea that if I truly value myself, see my own worth, my unique beauty and purpose in the world, it doesn’t matter who else validates it? Not quite there yet, but it is my growing edge. I ask myself why I want attention from certain people and if I am not receiving it in the manner I desire it, does it mean either that I am lacking or they choose not to offer it spontaneously? If I have to ask for it, does it mean it isn’t genuine if they respond to my request? Since most people don’t have finally honed mind reading abilities, there are indeed times when I do need to ask for what I want. I still dance around the idea of asking mostly for what I think people will say yes to. I am releasing the investment in their answer, assuring myself that I will get needs met in another way. Most of the time, I do.
My response to my friend:
“What just spoke to me loud and clear from your message was that when we love more, it doesn’t get diminished or divided when shared with more than one person (whether they are platonic friend or lover), but rather expanded and we fill back up and have even more to share. It is like this can (pictured above) that I use when I teach. It is filled with invisible love and when sprinkled on participants, people watch others get loved on and there is a sense of compersion (for those who don’t know that word, it means to find pleasure in someone else’s happiness and pleasure,) that accompanies the experience.”
The story behind the can…on 11/11/11, I was in Sedona, Arizona visiting a friend. That day, we were on a mission; to find fireplace tools for her. As we perused yardsales in her community, we didn’t find them, but I came away with a treasure (the can). I initially planned to fill it with glitter to sprinkle about as if I was Tinkerbelle, but then thought better of it, since some might not want sparkly embellishment. Instead, what it contains is the essence of LOVE.
I created an exercise in which one person asks someone next to them if they want to be ‘spooned, sprinkled, dumped, all three or none of the above’. The can has all three of those openings. The giver does what is asked by the receiver. Some willingly and with zeal, accept whatever will come pouring forth. (I am in that group). Some only want a wee bit of what is in the can. I ask them these questions:
- How does it feel to give love?
- How does it feel to receive love?
- How does it feel to wait your turn to give love?
- How does it feel to wait your turn to receive love?
- How does it feel to watch others be loved on?
- Do you wonder if the can will somehow empty out before it gets to you?
When I used this exercise in a group at the inpatient psychiatric hospital where I had worked as a social worker, the observations were poignant. One person turned it down, telling us “Love hurts.” Another said, “I’m afraid of accepting love, since it goes away.”
Feedback I have received is that people can virtually ‘see’ love pouring out. Some feel a tingle and warmth when both giving and receiving. They are all convinced that it keeps refilling spontaneously. I’m right there with them on that observation.
Take a moment to think about your relationship with love. Is it something you believe that you get from someone else and give to someone else? Is it an energy shared between people? Is it finite or infinite? Do you make one person the Source of love in your life? That has its hazards, since the reality is that everyone will one day die or leave you or you will die or leave them.
As says my favorite line from the iconic film from 1971 called ‘Harold and Maude,’ in the face of insecurity in relationship, “Go and love some more.”