Why Love is Always in a State of Flux
I read a quote from Osho recently that I really like, “You have to remember that freedom is the highest value and if love is not giving you freedom then it is not love.”
As I travel along in life, I see that one of the biggest obstacles I have in experiencing love and freedom, is always hoping something better will come along — some better person, some better moment, some better anything. Even though I know better, I so easily slip into that bad, cocktail party behavior in which I look past the proverbial shoulder of the moment that I am in to see if there is a better moment about to walk into my life.
The joyful moments of putting giggly kids to bed at night are interrupted by my rushing to the next activity: writing, a phone call, cleaning the kitchen; the joy of teaching this summer gets lost in the shadow of new professional project that I am eager to develop in the fall.
I see how I treat right now. I treat right now as if it is the moment that comes just before the moment I have been waiting for. In actuality, right now is Right. Now. There is nothing to change, nothing to improve upon, and nothing to wish away. Said another way, here and now is the “then and there” that I was striving to get to just a short time ago.
Take this moment. This moment is taking place at 11:38 p.m. on a very steamy Saturday night. The temperature in my house is about 88 degrees and the air conditioner just can’t keep up with this summer heat wave. We’ve dug out the fans from the basement and they are strategically placed around the house to give the illusion of cool. My doors and windows are open because it is now cooler outside than it is in my house.
It would be so easy to complain about my hot house and the impending bill I see coming this week to fix my air conditioner. But if I did that I would miss out on the fact that this is the moment I have been waiting for. You see, growing up in New England, we did not have central air and every summer since I have been living in the South I wax nostalgic for the feeling of breeze blowing through windows and watching curtains dance in the evening air; I quickly tire of moving from one controlled-environment building to another as we do in the South. Humid or not, I enjoy the feeling of the natural air on my skin. And lucky me I have it, right now.
So now I am reminded to not just allow each moment to be just as it is, but to also allow the people in my life to be just as they are.
An old boyfriend used to say to me, “You and I will stop fighting once we accept each other and stop trying to control each other.” He was right, except I didn’t see it until after our push-and-pull romance transformed into a steady friendship based in acceptance. What I know now that I didn’t know then is the cost to a relationship of trying to control it and trying to regulate its non-domesticate-able freedoms. Love can only grow when it is allowed to be impermanent. Impermanence doesn’t mean something has to end. It simply means to accept that love is always in a state of flux and that is a good thing. It is through impermanence that love can transform into its most authentic expression between two people, an expression that can grow richer when it is graced with the freedom to evolve over time.
So, once again, I’ve learned that freedom and love truly exist by being fully present in each moment and by accepting the glory of exactly what (temporarily) is.
Bridge Builders, what freedom and love do you see available to you when you accept that right now is Right. Now?
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This essay was created by Dr. Cristin Whiting, Psy.D: Triad Tribe author, clinical psychologist, and adjunct professor at Wake Forest University. In addition to writing for Bridges, Cristin is launching a new website and multimedia blog called The Love Tango: The Extraordinary Dance Between Sex, Love and Intimacy. Cristin also writes monthly on the topic of relationships for Dr. Lara Fernandez.com who’s tag line is “Live the life of your dreams with your soulmate by your side.” She also blogs for Triad Mom’s on Main. Beyond her writing, Cristin is the mother of two children who are the joy of her life. She also volunteers as a leadership coach, empowering others to live lives they love so they can be a contribution to their communities. Cristin currently resides in Winston-Salem and has a private psychotherapy practice.