PillowTalk: How To Beat the Game of Love

“Nobody wins in the game of love.”

This week I’m on a ROLL with some of the hardest lessons I’ve learned while playing the game of love. What is YOUR “win” in a relationship? What do you consider a “loss”? I delve into some of the most essential keys I’ve gathered in my experiences in intimate relationships. Enjoy, comment, share!

Lovers Anonymous: Love Defined

This week, I share some of the most thought-provoking, non-romantic reflections on love I’ve come across recently.

But I’m not sharing these definitions just to be “deep” or cool, this is information for transformation: if we don’t do anything differently with the information we receive what is the use?

“…and love is an act of faith in another person, not an act of surrender.”

~paulo coelho

 

“This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.”

~mother theresa

 

“He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.”

~sherman alexie

 

“This is what it truly means to love: to be generous in our interpretation of another person.”

~alain de botton

 

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

~zora neale hurston

Have some of your own? Feel free to share.

Lover’s Anonymous: A Woman’s Worth

“It’s hard to give something away for free, and then turn around and demand payment for it.”

~this dude

The first thing I wondered was: does this apply to pussy too?

Although this guy was speaking about the business of professional boxing, I couldn’t help but to apply it to relationships – and the pervasive tug-of-war between the sexes.

Specifically, I was thinking about the “plight” of many women I know who choose to love men.

After some time, I came to this:

What’s a woman’s (love) worth in a “man’s world?” Do we get to decide, or are we relegated to becoming discounted products in a man’s market? 


Worth (n.): the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

In a “man’s world,” women are frequently initiated into one of two (faulty, in my opinion) principles when faced with undesirable circumstances: deal with it or issue an ultimatum. Neither works in my experience because empowerment comes from CHOICE – not manipulation or tolerating what you cannot accept.

What we all desire is our birthright: the freedom to be truthfully and choose freely. 

I sat with the idea until I came to this liberating epiphany: power is wherever we believe it is. And those with power assign value to those who’ve relinquished their power.

It was then I saw that my initial question was premised on disempowered thinking.


 

There’s an African Proverb that says:

“Until the lion speaks, the tale will always glorify the hunter.”

And so I changed the question entirely:

What’s our (love) worth? What kind of world will we choose to create?

My (love) is worth my voice. My truth. My presence. Expression. I’m worth fresh water, belly laughter and love-infused intimate rendezvous with my partner melting into sweat and morning, pillow confessions and sprinkles of eyelid kisses. By being in my truth and my love, I am powerful, and I help create a world better than the one I came into.

Woman, what’s your (love) worth? 


He offered me diamonds and rubies too. I gave them back, and said, “I just want you.”

~ Asha Tane

Lover’s Anonymous: Love’s Making

Love makes us stronger by helping us embrace what we once called ‘weakness.’

Vulnerability, actually.

That’s what we usually call “weakness.” In true, it’s the ability to be seen, touched and affected. And that can most certainly feel BOTH unnerving and intensely rewarding, depending on its reception.

I once led a workshop with young women. At the beginning of our session, I asked them to raise their hands if they felt alone or lonely. Almost every woman raised her arm.

The next directive warranted protestations of “I can’t” and “Oh my God!” from every mouth. We were to turn and face the woman next to us, hold her hand and gaze into each other’s eyes for 10 minutes. They like to have DIED; they could FEEL what was to come: vulnerability.

I could hear their hearts; I felt it too:

Someone might see something I don’t even want to see.

The 10 minutes dripped like molasses – even for me, although I’ve done this exercise many times. At its end, we sat in silence for a few moments, and then I said, “So…?”

Expressions of joy and wonder burst forth from their mouths at record-breaking speeds. They marveled together, laughed, cried, confessed…felt. 

I asked my initial question again:

“Who feels lonely or alone now?”

Not one hand went up.

I told them, “THAT is how connection feels.”

And it is.

We get high and heady on chemistry, but intimacy is the nectar.

Chemistry can take us only so far because chemical reactions eventually reach an equilibrium, and, when they do, we see what’s what.

Have chemical bonds formed? How easily are they broken? Have the elements transmuted or just had an intense reaction then returned to their individual poles?

I’m learning something of Love here…

Love makes us vulnerable. Love makes us. Love makes … Love.


Lover’s Anonymous: the Engagement

He knelt on one knee, reaching for his pocket. I shook my head fervently, NO! My eyes must have shrieked because he flinched as if too-hot water had splashed on his face.

“I propose engagement.”

“Me too,” he smiled, reaching again.

“Not with a ring.” He stopped. “With your heart, your thoughts, your body, your very breath. In our conversations, don’t just listen and nod, respond and challenge. Give me the rigor you give your friends while debating some worthwhile topic at the bar. And when you touch me, think not of release – neither mine nor yours. Feel me. Remember the touch that came right before my thighs instinctively melted? Because I remember the exact spot on your iliac crest that you didn’t know you liked being licked… And when I cry, remember there’s nothing to fix. I am not broken; I am a woman – and I can contorted in many ways. Mine is the path of circles and curves, just as yours is straight. Just hold me. I already know, somewhere inside, that it will be okay. Be here when you’re here, and take time away to do more than make money or rendezvous with shadows…take time to explore parts of yourself – even if it’s with another, and let me see if I notice the difference in the way you tilt your head when you return. NOTHING stays the same, not even you. Every day I’ve seen you wilt with the pressure to prove your love with time that is not yet yours, and so I propose this: be honest. Offer what you have, and no more. Give what you desire to receive, and no less. This is the only engagment that interests me.”

There was silence for a long time before he spoke.

“And I thought buying a ring was hard.”

**laughter**

-HER

© 2017 All Rights Reserved. Asha Taylor.

Lover’s Anonymous: Enough

“Your task is not to seek for love…”

~RUMI

What if that was the complete quote?

It is, after all, followed by the conjunction “but,” which means that it could stand on it’s own. Linguistically, speaking.

And, perhaps, it should.

The funny thing about Love is that there never seems to be enough of it.

Maybe it’s because we’re seeking it so desperately … calling Her replacement Her name.

We’re chopping down forests while looking for shade.

You ever look really hard for something you’ve lost, only to find it when you stop searching?

Love’s like that.

She has to be allowed, like warming yourself under sunshine. She takes time. She reveals herself when we’re ready – not a minute before.

I believe that if we want “enough” of it, we’ll have to become what we seek, and seek no more.

Instead…

We create as many opportunities to be – and share – what we most desire. We make a game of seeing how much love we can show while requiring less, and expecting nothing.

I hear you.

You’re scared you’ll never get what you deserve if you don’t demand it. 

But that’s not true. Nobody likes a dictator, even if they obey. And nobody appreciates a nag, even if they acquiesce. Love is not found in these spaces. It cannot be negotiated or traded.

Let’s be honest: relationships don’t fall apart because of finances and “irreconcilable differences.” Those are just symptoms. In my own life, relationships have fallen apart because I failed to accept what I saw and felt as true, and trust in the enoughness of what is.

That’s Love, to me – ACCEPTANCE.

I conjoled. I assumed. I overlooked. I hoped. I negotiated. I pleaded. I manipulated. But, I did not accept. Had I accepted from the beginning, I probably would not have been in those spaces to start. And, had we still parted (for Love is not togetherness), I would have known Love was right there – and is still here – and that there is no need to look for Her.

**follow-up musing in next week’s edition**

Disclaimer: I know NOTHING. Trust me.

 

Lovers Anonymous: Addicted

Love is the irresistable desire to be irresistably desired.

~ Robert Frost

I enjoy this quote, but I disagree. Maybe this defines longing or some other state of being Love cycles through, but let’s be frank: the irresistable desire to be desired is addiction.

No shade.

We’re all addicted to something.

And while certain addictions get a horrible rap (heroin, alcohol, etc.), some of the most pervasive addictions causing widespread disarray are overlooked, and left unaddressed – treated real cutesy-cutesy so.

The fact is addictions are not created equal. However thus ‘n so, some of the most widely-accepted, strongly-promoted addictions are responsible for gross injustices and devastating blows to the heart and ego, body and soul.

Our addiction to the concept of romantic love is a perfect example.

We live in a sadistic culture that loves to punish the very behaviors it promotes. The end result: we’re all muffed up in one way or another, but we can change that.

Merriam and Webster define ADDICTION as:

noun. a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal

Let’s be clear: Love is a need. We’re made of it, from it and for it.

But the part that gets sticky and tricky is the romantic part. It’s as though we are perpetually exiting the dark ages and in need of constant inspiration – no! another fix or hit…you name it.

I confess, this column was conceived from my own desire to resolve an internal dilemma surrounding ideas about romantic love. I claim no expertise on the subject that has inspired the greatest works of art and provoked devastating wars.

However, I do believe it’s a worthwhile exploration because the nature of our particular addiction whispers loudly about our soul’s deepest desires. There is nothing more important than connection – sincere … authentic … true.

This column is for anyone – lovers, romantics, haters and skeptics alike – to explore the vast dynamic ocean of this Oz-like enigma from a place of wonder and curiosity, rather than certainty and hard lines.

My disclaimer: I know NOTHING. Trust me.