love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
~ e. e. cummings
Don’t forget love;
it will bring all the madness you need
to unfurl yourself across
I have been questioning lately, wondering about, love. What is it? I think I know but the question arises: Do I really? Here is what I found at etymonline.com about love:
Old English lufu “feeling of love; romantic sexual attraction; affection; friendliness; the love of God; Love as an abstraction or personification,” from Proto-Germanic *lubo (source also of Old High German liubi “joy,” German Liebe “love;” Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob “praise;” Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs “dear, beloved”). The Germanic words are from PIE root *leubh- “to care, desire, love.”
The weakened sense “liking, fondness” was in Old English. Meaning “a beloved person” is from early 13c. The sense “no score” (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of playing for love (1670s), that is, for no stakes. Phrase for love or money “for anything” is attested from 1580s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c. 1640) as well as two who have no liking for each other (1620s, the usual modern sense).
To fall in love is attested from early 15c.; to be in love with (someone) is from c. 1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense “pay amorous attention to;” as a euphemism for “have sex,” it is attested from c. 1950. Love affair “a particular experience of love” is from 1590s. Love life “one’s collective amorous activities” is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love beads is from 1968. Love bug, imaginary insect, is from 1883. Love-handles “the fat on one’s sides” is by 1967.
My original question about love was really about how to love, deeply love, and it was, I thought, rhetorical. But maybe it was a real question about vulnerability or about openness and intimacy and how do we take down the walls we built to protect ourselves? Those of you who have been here for a while might know that I’ve been asking this question for a while. If there are answers, they change with time and experience, and that brings the question back around again for another exploration.
Maybe the question I’m digging into is more along the lines of this: How do we learn to love the world? Not just bits of it, but all of it.
I’m exhausted by the polarization or tribalism or whatever the word of the day happens to be. Maybe it’s time to give up my hardness towards “the other side” and learn to live with the fact that people are going to be who they are. It’s built into the design and that is as it should be. I did give up trying to change opinions or correct misinformation, and that was a goodly amount of weight to drop. Maybe it’s time to go through Valarie Kaur’s Revolutionary Love Learning Hub again (you might remember it as The People’s Inauguration that I participated in way back in January) and once again learn to see others as a part of me I do not yet know.
I was drawn to the definition of love affair in the etymonline.com blurb I posted above. “A particular experience of love.” Several years ago a good friend decided she was going to spend a year having a love affair with herself. What a fascinating experiment and experience, to start with self, to begin at the beginning. I think most of us spend a lot of time trying to start from the middle, perhaps so we can get to the end.
Having wondered and asked about love, it’s become an assignment of sorts. A love project. A box or container or a journal in which to put my notes and experiences and thoughts and questions. It occurs to me as I write up this blog post that my photos are, in a way, a container for my love of nature.
If I recall correctly (and I might not), the word Love was once my word or theme for the year. I normally don’t take that on until the Winter Solstice but there are no rules. Why not use the same word again and why not start now? Life is short, time flies, and there is no time like the present.
We are learning about the Sanskrit word atha in the Yoga Sutras class. It is the first word of the first book of the Sutras. Within the many meanings, “life is short, time flies, and there is no time like the present” seems to fit. Atha is often translated as “now” as in “be here now.” There is, of course, more to it than that, but “now” is a start. “Now” that I have done some preparation, I am ready to start from yet another beginning. Love, I believe, is a good place to begin.
Thank you so much for visiting and taking a little hike with me in West Virginia and the recent past. I think we might be hiking there for a while in my blog posts. I still have a lot to share. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset. Sunset is scheduled for 6:00 PM. On the dot. I don’t expect we’ll see much. We’ve had a lot of heavy cloud cover today. But you never know. It’s worth the trip just to stand by the water for a little while. Bundle up. It’s chilly. We even fired up the wood stove today.
Please be safe and be well. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,901) Walks and hikes, on my own and with others. 1,902) Warm jackets and cozy hats. 1,903) Love (is love is love). 1,904) The many different colors of autumn. 1,905) Time to rest and recover.