http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/love-is-selfish/ (which I will reference throughout this post)
This is an article by someone I've never met (Waylon Lewis). But someone who has articulated a vision of love and marriage that hit so close to home for me, that 1) I thought I should probably marry him (or at least meet him, since, truly, I'm really not interested in "marriage" as a formal institution any longer); and 2) made me realize I'm truly "married" to my passions and my work. And, 3) If I define marriage as a lifelong commitment to loving completely and vulnerably...well, I'm married to quite a few people.
And then I started exploding out this idea of what it means to be fully committed to the work I do and to the love I have for the people in my life, and I started thinking about how much bigger that was than anything else I could possibly imagine...and...well, my mind has been a little blown. And Maya Angelou's statement that her heart had been broken so many times that it had been simply broken open comes to mind. I see so clearly that every moment of heartbreak, every moment of pain has allowed for empathy, for strength, for clarity...
Let me back up. I'm happy, blissfully so... But not for the reasons I thought I would be. I'm happy because I have finally stopped apologizing for the fact that I'm on a mission. This mission is self-chosen. It's both selfish and selfless. And parts of it are infinite and there are tasks that are finite at the same time. When I think about what I'm here to do, I realize I'm here for the work. Play is fabulous. It sustains me. But the work? It's the driving force of "me." The work is to make sense of our society, to figure out how to make it better, to make the world of education make more sense--in whatever way I can.
And the play? The play is love. The play is the outdoors. The play is new experience. It's openness. It's the recognition that in order to take things seriously, we have to have spaces in which we don't. The play is laughter. And the work and the play are the same: It's all passion.
I have realized, as I've been sifting, in the past year, through disillusionment, through anger, through hurt...that what this whole process has been is a re-awakening of who I am. And there's no fear here. There's only excitement, and the realization that I didn't so much have faulty logic in a choice in partner, I simply wasn't astute enough to make assumptions supported by data. (I have finally let go of beating myself up for my choice to marry a person who I wish I hadn't.) Red flags should never be ignored. I chose a partner a decade ago who I thought was the person who would help me look outward--that we would help each other do so:
"Two friends* facing the same direction together, symbolically east, the direction of the rising sun, as in ever-awakening fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit." (see Elephant Journal article referenced above)
I don’t need to go on a lifelong romantic picnic I have things to do."
Indeed. I do.
And my version of work and of love is really big. I'm here. Living is hard. It is. And I can't imagine living without being of service:
“And while I’m here I’ll do the work. And what’s the work? To ease the pain of living — everything else, drunken dumbshow” – Allen Ginsberg
And I'm pretty positive there are a lot of people out there with the same agenda.
We don't have that long. We aren't here for ever. I'm reminded of this daily. However, I also want to be reminded, by the people around me, that we're all in it together. And that we're all, in our own ways, trying to create spaces and opportunities for a better world to emerge.
I will love big. I will love without reserve. And I will not forgo "the work" for a blissfully ignorant view of what real love actually is. And I know, without a doubt, that I have some pretty fabulous company on this journey.