love and life in the clouds - expanded section extract

Friday, 18 September 2009 at 12:55
In the final push to make my book as good as it can be before sending to the printers I've made a number of changes (including changing the font, the section order, expanding various sections, added a couple of new ones, spacing out the paragraphs more and shortening many of the longer sentences). I'd like to share an extract from the additions to the section: 'Love and life in the clouds'. Let me know what you think!

... It would seem strange for a book on relationships (and especially one with the word in the title) to not address the question: “What is love?”. We've all considered it and heard many answers. On reflection we can see many types of love. Love for friends, lovers, family, fellow human beings, partners; love can be romantic, compassionate, lustful, obsessive, selfish, platonic and religious. The Greeks had (at least) 5 words for it.

Different loves sometimes go together and love is often what we make it – especially that head-over-heals, knock-you-into-the-clouds love. We share certain experiences (particularly sex) with someone and weird things happen with our brain chemistry that alter our perception. We become filled with inspiration, feelings of wellbeing and a desire to procreate.

This incredible and natural state is an amazing chance to share and learn, however it can be very addictive - and is a phase of that love we have for a lover or partner. Typically it will settle and mellow and given time and the right mix of personalities, deepen into a more whole and rounder form. This deepening can bring its own thrill and elation.

Some people, alas, do not realize this, expecting a 'true love' to carry on being that hair raising, heart pounding ride it was at the beginning. Or they realize that flavour of love is transitory, but the trill of it is so much they go from one person to the next as the highs pull and wane (for a similar reason some people may, genuinely, love a partner in one way and a lover in another – not that that automatically makes it fine for all concerned). What type of love do you look for?

The word itself, 'love', can be an issue for some. It can carry a lot of weight and a lot of baggage. It might help to remember that whenever someone says 'I love you.', there is a certain feeling for them attached to those words (think of all the kinds and states of love we've mentioned). That feeling may be slightly (or very) different depending on the situation (saying goodnight, taking a romantic walk, laughing at a joke, etc.).

The meaning therefore is in the whole expression. Focus then not only on the words, but more on the tone of voice, the expression and posture and you will get a clearer picture of their feelings when they talk about love. With a clearer idea of the way they are feeling 'love', in that moment, it may feel ok to say 'I love you too', if before it was difficult (otherwise you can just say 'thank you').

How do you feel when you say 'I love you' (or think about saying it)? Do you say it in a spontaneous moment of upwelling feeling? Do you do it looking for reassurance from the other person that they love you too? Or perhaps you do it with the fear they will take your words as permantant and binding, when you're not sure if you'll feel the same way next week?

If you know what the other person's attitudes and beleifs about love are, this will give you a clue to how they could interpret you telling them that you love them. For some people 'love' is a huge word, for other's, not so much. For this reason you may need to either use a different word, be more specific in describing your feelings or use the word more sparingly to avoid misunderstanding.

I believe the more we understand our own feelings around love and unlock our fears of it, the more of it we will have to share and the more we will be able to accept.

The 2 greatest catalysts in my life have been love and lonliness. I have to say I prefer love, it's far more inspiring. ...

Constructive critique welcome!


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