They sing, “Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.” (by Stephen Sondheim) Exactly.
My next post could be something complex, dark and heavy, like Russian politics. Today it’s a brand new year, time for something that feels simple, productive and light.
They sing, “Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away,
Give it away,
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.” (Magic Penny) Exactly.
Sounds similar to what I would hear from a wholesome, clean cut man in Alcoholics Anonymous, telling me he needs to go help a gutter wino if he hopes to keep his own sobriety—You keep it by giving it away. Like love.
I’m no expert. Not in addictions and not in love. But every one has their own little story to offer, whether at an AA meeting or in a little new year’s essay. Today I want to offer my thoughts on love. Three thoughts. As I see it, if you only like two then, as they sing, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” (Meatloaf)
The ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said, Being deeply loved gives you strength, loving others gives you courage. That’s true for me.
A man with his own floor all dusty will go sweep his fiancé’s floor. I have done terribly risky things to help someone I loved. (No examples today, lest you think I’m trying to look like a hero)
They say, “You can’t love others until you love yourself.” Really?
Not for me.
Maybe because I didn’t get strength from being loved, or maybe I didn’t have role models for love, I don’t know, but I surely couldn’t love myself, not for many years. Only when others needed me to summon my courage to love them, and I took action, did things change.
Maybe I role modelled for myself, deep down inside, how I could believe in love. Believing first for others, and then at last for myself. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that wise old saying is wrong for me. I had to love others first.
To explain this thought I need to tell a story. At my toastmasters club, at a recent Tuesday night meeting, I did the opening invocation to get the meeting started. I said my “one to two minute” invocation and ended it with a phrase about love that moved people. I know, because people referred to it during the meeting. So here’s my story:
When I was college I would sometimes see my counsellor —and I don’t mean for study tips! You had to sign up for a slot well in advance. One time I went to my appointment with a light heart and nothing to say but, “(cough) I made this appointment because I knew it would be during mid-terms, and I didn’t want to take any chances.”
In my career program in recreation therapy there were eighteen of us. In our first semester we all signed up for a class in drama, thinking we were going to make puppets or something. Nope. It was your standard “introduction to” class: Nothing to do with acting or staging a play, for humans or puppets, and everything to do with experiencing the zen of drama, learning to have “energy and concentration.”
Our teacher was excited to learn that some of us had taken drama in high school, thinking these students could set her class an example of “courage to be present.” But no, because one or more of these high school graduates was a spoiled brat. Truly. One day our teacher just snapped, yelling at us future therapists, “If you’re going to stay in this field then you’re going to have to be more loving!”
I just happened to have an appointment that day. After class I went stomping down the hall to go see my counsellor. “How the hell,” I demanded “am I supposed to be more loving?” …My counsellor gazed at me steadily and then replied:
“The way you’re doing it now… Looking for the good and projecting warmth.”
“Oh” I said, relieved to hear this was something within my power.
… Happy new year!
By the walls of Mount Royal College,
~Next week’s post? It won’t be a “dark one,” I was only kidding!
No, I don’t want to write about Putin and the older Russians being still like communists inside their minds—did you hear their propaganda recently when they were banned from the Olympics for national doping? … Someone told me there’s a word in Russian for telling lies when your listener and you both know, and you both know that you both know, but you keep on propagating lying words from your mouth. Stupid communists.
No, let’s stick to comedy. Next week I’ll do part two of “Cheap hotels I have known” here in Alberta—and in that town sprawled across the border into Saskatchewan.
~Thinking of the benefits of college drama classes, I did an essay on Creative Movement, archived April 2012
~Incidentally, if you like today’s sort of blog, I did a new years essay in late December, on the last day of 2011, about Affirmations. It’s archived. I could have done a light self-improvement piece for each the of other new years, too… but I forgot to even think of it.