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How To Fall in Love

 



How To Fall in Love

We live in hectic, scary, and stressful times. Customarily, unthinkingly, we chat about daily violence and the economy and a host of other fearsome things that CNN seems to celebrate. We talk of it all with nary a blink.
These are the issues of the day; they try your compassion and make you wonder at humanity and the lack thereof. And more sadly, and just as glibly, people will also talk glibly of sexual issues (and everyone else's private and romantic life) as nonchalantly as they do of violence and tragic events. But mention things like love and romance?  Rare. (Unless it has to do with EHarmony and Craigslist Missing Connections). How come Love is at the bottom of the list of talking points when it is just about everything? And why do we talk about love as if it is silly fiction and pretend love is what we see in ridiculous reality shows, better or worse chick flics and sometimes, in the pages of a profound or lightweight new age soul mate book that promises us answers to 'are-we-there-yet" (in soulmate terms). 

And yet - falling in love, romantic love, soul mate stuff - it's still the holy grail in a world of love's infidels - love's great unwashed, which is - all of us, at some point of another - even when we are (yes, heaven help us) In Love. What is it to fall in love?  If you are on this search or even wondering about the state of the art of love, here is my own user's guide to love in the new millennium. How do I know this? It happened to me once and sometimes, that is all you need - that is, if you get that lucky or that blessed.

How to Fall in Love: the Guide

To fall in love, you must put away everything you have learned up to now. You must put away pride, wisdom, street smarts, and sophistication. What you may keep is dignity, patience, instinct and an open spirit. 

Relax your body, unclench your hands and open your palms. Look up to the stars and let snowflakes fall on your face without brushing them away. Let them melt on your cheeks in small puddles along with those tears too long held back. And then?

Wait.

First, you must find someone or let them find you. In fact, it is better if they find you and you find them but this is only possible if you both walk backwards and into each other. But you must start unaware and without expectations. If you are waiting and too-ready, you will not fall in love. You might find romance but you will not fall in love. How do you know whether you are finding romance or love? Romance will breed flutter; love will breed a sense of flow. Romance has a sense of urgency to it; love revels in being still. Romance looks over its shoulder or to the road ahead. Love looks into its own eyes.

The next thing you must do is to think of yourself as a house with all the doors and windows open. The other person will appear as sunshine that sneaks its way in and sends unexpected warmth upon you. You will bask in this delight. You will crow about it and tell all your friends. (And if they are kind and remember being in love for 2 minutes at some point in their own lives, they will not try and destroy or otherwise discredit the joy you think you've found).

And then out of the clear blue, just when you were putting your full weight down on the swing, it will change. That sunshine will become alternately rain and wind and cool breezes, and topsy-turvy gusts that upset your furniture and send your pictures on the walls all askew. You will want so very much to close the windows and slam the doors and slap your hands together in that brisk motion that says, 'enough of this nonsense'. You might feel beyond ueasy and then cover up the fear with the most wicked of all tonics: rationalization.

You might be so good at this that the rationalizations of things that are really a blessing and a gift, will seem as the truth. In fact, the opposite is so. The rationalizations are the lies; the truth will seem, well, unseemly. But no matter - if you go this route and forget this counsel, there is little to be done.

You will protest the weather and shut it out and forget that in minutes, days, hours - that same annoying wind of fearsome gusts can turn back into that sunshine that first warmed and beguiled you. 

Instead, I urge you to become a student of the weather and simply watch it unfold. Welcome the rain and wind, knowing it will not harm you and besides, it will soon pass. If you can manage to keep the door open, the rain will dry up and the winds will settle. You can look out again and see those rays which first caught you. You might even marvel on how it all changes while you have sat still and observed without fleeing.

If you can sit still.

Then there comes a hard part. Almost the hardest part. You will relax and get used to the changing weather. You will learn to take to the wind as if your heart is a human kite and the rain? It washes away tears. Either way, any sort of weather - you will learn not to notice and balk quite so much. Instead, happily, you will focus on that sun - that sun you love so much and determined to reappear. That sun will become glorious. It will become larger than your own open house. And just when you get to that point and are revelling in this glowing light, a big cloud will come. 

This cloud might stay and obliterate that sun which you have grown to love so well. It will stay so long until you know without uttering it out loud that this is not a change in the weather. It is indeed, the new, seemingly permanent landscape and a painful reality of the heart. Sometimes it is called heartbreak. It is the most stunning and oldest of hurts and still and always, and as testimony to its power - it  can cut you at the knees. Cut you to the bone. But it is an honour to feel it. It is a rite of passage. Only those who have truly loved get to this pinnacle.

At first, you will hope the sun will return but as the days turn into borderless chunks of time, you will know that is unlikely.

Now this is odd - because clearly, this is not simply about weather changes but just as clearly - a resident state of affairs. But still, you will have that same urge to shut the windows and close the door. Now there is no rain, snow, or wind to make you do that but nonetheless - you will want to take a hammer and nails and hammer down shut every crevice that sun or any light might creep through.

You might even close the shutters around your heart and snap the locks shut wherever and whenever you feel that lovely unfettered spirit trying to escape. Why? Because you will be quite scared at this point. Terrified in a can't hold on, can't let go glitchy switch. I urge you to stay the course. Don't close up shop. And don't talk to people who nod knowingly, and tell you Love is a myth and only in movies. They lie because they are also scared and probably closed those shutters long ago. Don't you follow suit! Where you are cut at the knees, you will, if you allow it, grow wings.

Now: if you are telling the truth about wanting to fall in love, this is how it done:

Take the glow from your own heart and your own truth. Set it in each window sill.
Make candles of your faith. Take the glitter from that plant called Hope and the twinkle from the dreams you cannot give up. Won't give up.

Adorn your home with these things. In time, you will not miss that sunshine you grew to love. The light will go from inside from your own hearth to the outside. You will not need those flippant rays you first experienced and learned to rely on. That warmth that starts from within and stays is what you will find if you let it come by again.

And one day, you might even look out again - because after all, you are still, in your heart of hearts, a student of weather. You might see another home - similarly lit. That might be an indication of another full, strong, open house - the only possible match for your own abode. It might be a place worth visiting. It might be a place to go to. As you wonder about it all, that thing called Heartbreak stops echoing quite as loud. That thing called Possibility begins to sing your name. It might even take reservations and find you a seat near the window. Where you can see the clouds form and dissolve; there you can see rainbows, sun showers and breezes that lift your skirt before you can pat it down.

They say falling in love is wonderful. It is. But at first it will be scary and it might not always work out. You might only taste romance which, as lovely as it is, is simply love's residue and ego's run-off.

To fall in love you have to be smart but naive. Hope against hope. Hold your heart high, proud, but unfettered. Celebrate its scars. Cry until you simply don't know what to do anymore. Sleep. Dream. Wait and be ready. There is always more weather. There is more sun. Put the hammer and nails away. Turn your palms open and upwards.

And that is how you fall in love.

 


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