Love Myths

July 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

I’m always looking for good articles to share with you.  Today I came across the below article by Dawn Raffel based on an interview conducted with Diana de Vegh.

What I love about it, is how clearly talks about our misguided concepts about soul mates and people completing each other.  These are romantic thoughts developed and sustained by society and the media  and mostly directed at women.

If we are not a whole being and living a full life, chances of a loving and healthy relationship is minimal.  I specially like the phrase in the article “There’s no scarcity of love,” she says. “We can find it with our coworkers, with our friends and families, in our dance class. We can love what the world offers us; we can love our own vitality.”

“Everybody has one soul mate.” “True lovers can read each other’s minds.” “All you need is love.” A psychotherapist who’s seen it all pokes holes in some of romance’s little fairy tales and explains why life is saner—and happier—without them.
If we could each pick a few songs to banish from our heads, Diana de Vegh would nominate all those soggy old refrains that say there’s one—and only one—true love for each of us: our better half, our shining knight, the person we’ll be lost without. That line of thought, says de Vegh, a therapist in private practice in New York, isn’t benignly corny—it’s harmful, feeding what she calls the myth of love scarcity.

“In the scarcity model, where there’s only one person out there, we’re all competing for the guy who’s rich and handsome,” she says. Our relationships become fear based: We obsess and clutch instead of creating an environment in which two people try to unfold…Continued


Pablo Neruda

February 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Beautiful Pablo Neruda poem. Enjoy!

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,
risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.

-Pablo Neruda


One New Yorker Asks, What Is Love?

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

After seven years of talking about love with people on the street, Karen Porter Sorensen learned a few things that helped her when family members were ill.

By Marie Suszynski
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

what is love

Some researchers say that love isn’t just an emotion. It’s a need — like thirst or hunger — and that romantic love can create such intense cravings that it feels like a drug.

Karen Porter Sorensen, the Brooklyn, N.Y., author of love (luv) n. who asked perfect strangers for their thoughts on love in New York City, saw first-hand that people do, in fact, have a yearning for love and connection with others.

She also learned that one of the most important gifts we can give someone — especially someone who’s going through a health crisis — is love.

It’s easy to get swept away by love when you’re in a new romantic relationship. The real question is: How do you show love to a family member or a friend when you’re filled with grief over their illness? Sorensen has some ideas.

What Love Research Revealed

For seven years, Sorensen ran a “love research booth” in New York City and offered people walking by a single rose in return for answering five questions about love, such as, “What is love?,” “Who taught you love?,” and “Has your love ever been tested?”

The hundreds of responses she got were across the board. An art educator told Sorenson that love is making a new universe with other people. A man whose partner was dying said that to love is to understand what the other person needs and find ways to make it happen.

Why did she embark on this project? In part because Sorensen’s brother was diagnosed with a mental illness and he couldn’t express his emotions. Suddenly her brother didn’t believe in love anymore. “In some ways [the book] was a testament to him,” she says.

Sorensen was also new to New York City and wanted to connect to the city in an interesting way. And she was engaged and wanted to explore what love really was.

Loving Someone Who is Ill

Her research also helped her learn how to love family members when they were going through a health crisis. Not only was her brother struggling with a mental illness, but her mother fought breast cancer and survived, and her grandmother also became ill and died a week before Sorensen finished her book. Here’s what her research taught her about coping:

  • If nothing else, just listen. One of the greatest things you can do when someone you love is sick is to be available to her and listen to what she has to say without judgment and without having expectations of what you want her to say, Sorensen says.Being with a loved one living who is ill is uncomfortable, but it’s important to put your own feelings of discomfort aside and focus on her. “If you can, make space available for people to share whatever they want to share,” she says.
  • Be present, even when it’s painful. “It’s easy to check out and get caught up in your own grief,” Sorensen says. But it’s important to enjoy the moments you have left with someone who’s seriously ill. She and her family played Hungarian music for her grandmother during the last days of her life, which was something her grandmother loved when she was younger. And everyone in her family decided to dance for her grandmother, even though their sadness didn’t make them feel like dancing. “Find moments of joy even in the most difficult situations,” Sorensen advises.
  • Wear bright colors. When Sorensen did her love research on the streets of New York City, she always wore a red suit and red hat. Simply bringing color to somebody is powerful, she says. She used the same philosophy when she visited her grandmother when she was sick. When she walked into the room wearing bright colors, she noticed her grandmother light up.
  • When the person who is ill wants to be alone, try helping their family members. People who are sick sometimes don’t want others to see them vulnerable and in pain. Sorensen has a friend who volunteers to sit with people who have life-threatening illnesses to give them company. But she noticed that one of the men she visited, who had always been friendly and usually welcomed her, started sending her away. Instead of leaving, she sat next to his daughter in the next room instead and offered her a listening ear.

Looking for more love in your life? Sorensen put together 100 ways to do it, including sending a love letter to a stranger (which could be as simple as jotting a note of thanks to someone who showed you kindness), keeping a journal of where you see love, reading famous love letters, smiling at strangers, and spending the day telling the people who are important to you that you love them.


The Dark Seed

October 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Where is the dark seed

that grows the forget-you plant?

Searching, now I see

it grows in the frozen heart

of one who has murdered love.

– The Monk Sosei

(D. CA. 909)

What is this thing the Zen monk-poet Sosei calls love, invoking it to anchor his poetic statement? What is the place of love in a tradition as unsentimental and austere as Japanese Zen? In what way does such love serve as the ground of remembrance? And what has been forgotten by the one in whose frozen heart the dark seed has spread its roots? Sosei implies that it is by the loss of connection to living pathways of feeling that we lose our own humanity. The poisonous plant of forgetting in this poem obscures any sense of personal authenticity, leaving its victim unable to recognize his soul within his own skin.

The poet points to the heart, to the body of living, human emotion, as the causeway whose flow must be kept open, in order to attain the wisdom and understanding toward which Zen aspires. The recollection of the true self, he suggests, comes by way of an open, compassionate and tender heart. This, from the most unsentimental of spiritual traditions.

Sosei also confronts us with a thoroughly unsentimental conclusion. No one can “murder love”, or destroy the capacity to feel fully and deeply, from without, but each one of us can allow it to perish from within. While the world may be filled with accomplices to the crime, the ultimate responsibility lies within each human heart.

NPR recently broadcast the news that one of the most wanted war criminals of the Rwandan genocide had just been apprehended. He was number 6 on the most-wanted list; apparently 1-5 are still roaming the African countryside. The coverage of this event included an interview with a man whose family members had been brutally killed by one of the criminals still at large. There has been a “Truth and Reconciliation” movement underway in Rwanda for some time, an endeavor to bring stability and a modicum of justice and closure to the victims and to the society as a whole. The movement unites perpetrators and the survivors of their crimes through a process of acknowledging culpability, and the absolution that such acknowledgement confers. In the report, this man called out to the ones who had committed the killings, asking them to come forth, in order that he might forgive them.

Through his poem Sosei offers his conviction that no one, or thing can extinguish love from without. The Rwandan man’s readiness to forgive strikes me as a living testament to the truth of this idea. Nelson Mandela once said that there was no force in the world that could separate him from his own dignity. It seems that in the case of this man, there was no trauma brutal enough to separate him from his own humanity.

If there is any evidence for God’s existence, it is in the graceful hearts of such people, who have not forgotten their own humanity in the face of such violence and suffering.