I had lunch a few weeks ago with a dear friend of mine, a multi-talented man of about 60 who has had life experiences that would have half of us green with envy and the other half wondering how he made it through alive.
He had been having a mad, wild, wonderful love affair with a friend of mine for about 6 months, that recently ended. Their age difference of about 20 years was too much for her, and even though they were both having the time of their lives, she decided not to continue it.
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He had been reticent to get into any relationship after his divorce several years ago, and I knew he was totally smitten with my friend. I asked him how he was doing with the breakup. In essence, I might have been asking …
* Was he crushed by her ending the epic love affair?
* Did he feel foolish or ashamed because he had been such a YES, and she had ultimately responded with a NO?
* Was he scorched and ready to raise his fist to the heavens of eros, saying, “never again!”?
* Did he resent her?
* Did he feel like crawling into a hole, fit only for wiggly slimy things?
These are all reactions I’ve had myself in similar situations. I hear them from clients all the time. Perhaps some sound familiar to you.
But he responded with something quite different and beautiful.
“Absolutely not. I’ve never LOVED like that before. At every turn, where I could have closed up, I opened. Whenever there was a time where I could have shied away from being truthful and transparent, I spoke it. I took out all the stops. I’ve never done anything like that in a relationship before. I quite honestly didn’t know if I had it in me. I went to places in myself and with her I never had the ability or courage to go for in my marriage. I am so glad and proud of myself that I went for it. Now I know what I’m made of, and I know how well I can love and let myself be loved.”
That’s a response we all might craft in a moment of zen clarity, feeling at our best and most magnanimous, but these were his unscripted, honest sentiments, shared over iced tea on the patio of a random restaurant establishment on an anonymous Monday afternoon.
Let us all take some snippet of golden goodness from my dear friend, shall we?
So, your mini-mission, should you choose to accept it: Choose Love.
* If there is a place you’ve been holding back with your loving, let it loose.
* At a moment you feel like closing up, protecting yourself or retreating, open outward.
* If your honest truth is bubbling up, before you judge it worthy or not wothy, let it flow.
“Choose your love, and then love your choice.”
To your loving and being loved,
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PS: Please don’t skew this and use it as an excuse to pour your love onto a person who isn’t loving you back at all, who isn’t reciprocating, or is treating you badly, OK? You deserve to be MET, to love your fullest and be loved to the fullest. While this is a call not to hold back, do so with the deserving, OK?