I claim to be no more than an average man…
Mahatma Gandhi quote

I claim to be no more than an average man
with below average capabilities.
I have not the shadow of a doubt
that any man or woman can achieve what I have
if he or she would put forth the same effort
and cultivate the same hope and faith.

~ Mahatma Gandhi.

The Art of Marriage
by Wilferd A. Peterson

The Art of Marriage is a beautiful poem written by Wilferd A. Peterson published in 1961. It is one of the most often recited wedding poems and is a wonderful ideal of what marriage should be. The lesson to understand is that a good marriage doesn’t just happen – it must be created by both partners.

The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon.
It should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other,
not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating
gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner,
it is being the right partner.

I’m more than interested in loving you, I’m committed.

Am I interested in talking with you? I crave it.

I am far more than just interested in talking with you, though.

I am committed to loving you.

My honor is found in my ability to keep a commitment.

If I can’t keep this commitment, am I worthy of your trust in any other commitment?

To love you is to be a man worthy of you.

To love you is to want for your happiness, to uphold your integrity, to fan the divine flame… Even if from a distance.

To love you is to resist the craving of my personal interest… To place a higher value on what I want most than what I want in the moment.

To love you is to not succumb to the pain of separation, borne of my emptiness, but to bring a man who is whole & complete.

And so, to love you – and to love myself – I will keep my commitment. It’s what you deserve.

Perhaps, in what you deserve, you will also find what you desire….

In love, I pray that you will.

As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few.
Quote – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few.
The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.
The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Letting Go Opens The Door To Receiving

That which is essential is invisible to the eye.

A while back I wrote a post about the concept of ‘letting go’. (See Letting Go Isn’t Giving Up)

At the time I was learning about the power that comes from trusting in the infinite. I believe that all things in the universe conspire for our good and that our desires are continually unfolding, although we may not understand the mechanics of why things happen the way they do.

As Voltaire poignantly said: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

Notice that he didn’t say that faith is believing in defiance of reason… true faith encompasses reason, but also extends beyond it. While we cannot understand everything with our mental faculties alone, faith offers us an understanding of truth that involves both our minds and our hearts.

It’s only with the heart that one can see clearly. That which is essential is invisible to the eye.

In short, our minds may not be able to figure everything out, but we can know exactly what we need to do through inspiration. As we trust it, and act accordingly, our actions will often bring the understanding that our minds crave. It’s just a matter of taking that step in faith.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

If that first step is taken in faith – meaning without fear, or disregard for reason – the illumination will follow.

A Deeper Perspective On Letting Go

Since I wrote the original post, though, I have learned a few other things.

Namely, that letting go is a paradox.

My first instinct of letting go is a visual of my hand opening up, letting go of a bird, and watching it fly away. With that in mind, it’s easy to think of letting go being a process of losing, or missing out.

It's only with the heart that one can see clearly.

What I have since learned, however, is that it is only when our hand is open that we can receive. If our first is clenched tightly, afraid to lose what we have, we limit our ability to receive and we are destroy the possibility that whatever we may be holding on to will actually want to stay on it’s own. Our fear of losing what we have makes it impossible to see that what we have may actually want to stay with us without our needing to hold on to it.

In short, our inability to let go – whatever it may be: love, success, etc – is what prevents us from truly enjoying what we have. If we are so afraid of losing that we have to cling to it, then it won’t be too long that our fears will fuel resentment, suspicion and unrest… in ourselves and in what we are trying so desperately to hold on to.

The old adage may sound cliche, but it’s true:

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.

On one hand, if we let it go and it doesn’t come back, we have truly loved it by allowing it what it needs. It cannot truly be love if we hold on to something merely because we fear losing it… instead, that is selfishness and is driven by lack.

On the other hand, however, how sweet a feeling to release your fears of losing and to let something go, in love and respect for it’s well-being, only to find that it has no interest in going away.

It’s my belief that if we learn to stay in the present moment, to act in faith and let go of our need to control, that everything we are seeking will show up in exactly the right time.

The Invitation
by Oriah

This poem has had such a profound impact on my life. The way I see myself, my aspirations, and the qualities I want to bring to (and find in) a relationship.

I hope it does the same for you.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. (Shakespearean Sonnet 116)

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

William Shakespeare
(1564 – 1616)

What is Love? Really?

When in times of challenge or stress, I find it most helpful to revisit the absolute basics, to make sure my foundation is strong and in order enough to support me in these trials. (In contrast with the tendency we all have, to try to “fix” our problems by throwing on the metaphoric band-aid of distraction or external validation.)

Lately, I’ve found it necessary to ask myself: What Is Love?

Instinctively, the description of love by William Shakespeare pops into my mind:

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”

I know this to be true.

And, I have always been able to observe this principle “in others“. Meaning, I would judge them when I felt that they didn’t really love me like they said they did, or I thought they withheld love because I didn’t meet their needs.

(It’s amazing how easy it is to see what’s wrong with other people, isn’t it?)

Now, however, I knew that I had to realize how this lack of true, unconditional love exists in me

Tough Love… For Myself

After asking myself: “Is my love altering for those I say I love? Do I stop loving others because they don’t meet my expectations?”I had to admit that I am still very far from being a perfectly loving being.

I came up with some important realizations about how unconditional love really works, and how I know if I have unconditional love.

With unconditional love:

  • If I truly do love someone once, I will always love them.
  • Though the nature of the relationship may change, I will love still love them.
  • I will always desire for their happiness – whether they search for it in the way that I think they should or not – for that is what love does.

.

In short, if I truly did love you once, I must love you still… or it wasn’t ever love to begin with.

How that love is expressed will obviously change, (ie: I won’t share a bed with someone I am no longer in a relationship with), but the core of love – desiring for their true happiness – must remain.

If not, it was just me using you to satisfy my own needs. (Sadly, this is the best that most of us are capable of)

Our Own Limitations to Loving… And Being Loved

If we talk about love so much, why is it that we have problems truly loving others?

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky

We only have to capacity to love others as much as we love ourselves.

Often we find ourselves angry at other people for the choices they make, especially the ones that hurt us. This is a sign that we need to love ourselves. Remember that “the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.” It’s okay to feel angry, but understand what it is. Anger is not lashing out to hurt another intentionally, but most often is just an expression of our own hurt.

As one friend said:

“Hurt people, hurt people”

People do things that hurt others, because they are hurt themselves. Knowing this, it does no good at all to be angry back. What we need to do is to love them. To do so, we must first love ourselves sufficiently.

If I do react with anger, it means I have a lack of love for myself, and am incapable of loving you in that moment. What I need to do first is to “fill up my own cup”, and that comes from within.

Similarly, not wishing you happiness is just denying happiness for myself. That’s all that love for others is anyway: an expression of how we love ourselves.

What Love Really Is

Love is not a feeling. (Though we often equate it as such)
Love is not something that we fall into, or out of. (Though many of us believe so)

However it looks, my wish is for your happiness.

Love is a verb. It’s something we do, it’s a choice we make. But, it’s more than that. Love is a sincere desire for the other person’s happiness.

If I love you, I want for your happiness. And, if I truly love you, I will allow you to search for it as you desire.

I will honour and respect each step of your life path, as part of your search for happiness…. And I will do this, because I know the value of my own path.

And so, after much introspection, after processing through and understanding my own hurt, my own limitations in love, I have one thing to say.

It is the same thing I said in the beginning:

I love you.

Patience & the power of Delayed Gratification
Piero Ferrucci

In these times of accelerated pace and immediate gratification, patience is an unpopular and seemingly tedious quality. And yet, many studies have demonstrated that those who are able to postpone gratification have greater chance of success in their ventures and in relations with others.

Children who can delay immediate gratification (for example, an ice cream cone) in favour of something more substantial later (a bigger ice cream cone tomorrow) show greater intelligence, less risk of delinquency, and better competence in social relationships. They also have a more developed locus of control – that is, a belief that they are in control over their own life, instead of feeling at the mercy of events, powerless, and without a say, the best recipe for depression.

Piero Ferrucci
from The Power Of Kindness

If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you…
(Epictetus Quote)

“If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you,
instead of trying to defend yourselfyou should say:
‘He obviously does not know me very well,
since there are so many other faults
he could have mentioned.'”
~ Epictetus
(Greek philosopher
associated with
the Stoics,
AD 55-c.135)