Love is a decision of the will

My husband prefers men, she said. Seated across from her, a Starbucks latte beating back the chill of Minnesota winter, I studied her face for a sign of emotion. Her placid countenance registered a winsome, dreamlike expression that grated on me.

Do you love him? I asked. They appeared to be a devoted couple.

Of course. The peaceful mask turned stern. Love is a decision of the will.

That was thirty-five years ago. I’d been married three times by then and I hadn’t heard that particular slice of wisdom before. But I took it to heart and tried it out with varying degrees of failure in the relationships that followed.

Part of the self-discovery quest when I came to Bali, was to understand where love and I had gone so terribly, terribly wrong. As I stepped back to observe the tumult within, to study my tendencies and learn different responses, I recognized that I had deep misconceptions about love. As I worked on reprogramming my entire response system, Bali threw opportunities in my path.

What are you writing about? Dewa asked as he did the regular morning schmooze with his guests. I was staying at his guesthouse, and by this time we’d had conversations that covered the gamut from the Hindu caste system, to his ideas for new business ventures, to why men cheat on their wives. So I decided to tell the truth.

I’m writing about my issues with men, I said.

Stricken, his hand went to his heart. You have issues with me? He looked so utterly gutted I had to laugh.

No, Dewa, not you. Just all other men! With a relieved little smile, he left and returned fifteen minutes later with a sweet bouquet of flowers. As he placed them on the table in front of me he said, These are for you. Please look at them while you write about your issues with men. 002 (3)My locked-down heart cracked open a notch or two and my eyes teared. Really? For me? Thank you!

Dewa’s caring caused the first fissure, and gestures such as his, random acts of kindness, unexpected and unsought, pried me loose from everything I thought I knew about love and overwrote the old programming.

Now, from the perspective of time, experience, and a more intimate understanding of myself, I know that love has nothing at all to do with a decision. I think too often I’d mistaken lust, need, dependence, admiration, or even the sick feeling of loneliness for love. Only an emotion that is pure, untainted by dysfunction or dependencies that muddy its integrity, should be called love. When it happens, it’s a rare gift, an awakening, and a glorious surprise. It flows from an inner place unchecked and it doesn’t need to be acknowledged or returned, it just is.

 

 

 

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Frei
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 06:56:55

    Lovely, loving words and I love you, girlfriend. cf

    On Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 6:44 PM, writing for self-discovery wrote:

    > writingforselfdiscovery posted: “My husband prefers men, she said. > Seated across from her, a Starbucks latte beating back the chill of > Minnesota winter, I studied her face for a sign of emotion. Her placid > countenance registered a winsome, dreamlike expression that grated on me. > Do yo”

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  2. baliinfoblog
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 07:19:24

    This is beautiful, and very true. Don’t you just love those Balinese men!

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  3. sageblessings
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 08:03:36

    It’s “in the eyes” don’t you think and the Balinese have it! Nicely written and shared, Sherry,

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  4. shanemac
    Jun 04, 2015 @ 16:13:31

    Thank you again for another insightful article. You give me new ways of looking at things and enrich my life with your words.

    Like

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