Monday, May 6, 2013

Patching, Packing, P’aching- to Love:

Trying to Learn to Love, through consciousness, I have realized that it can only be done a step at a time, inch by inch, day by day. That’s why God gave us Time, with the promise that we have eternity to get it right. And yet, we are relentlessly pressured by the shadow of death.
Now that my loved ones are making amends, patching up old wounds, packing their life-acquired goods before saying good-bye, I can only love them, by aching. It should come to me as no surprise, since, when the coin of awareness was tossed, in my life, it fell- pain-side up. Pleasure lost.  I learned to love through pain.
Early on, I learned that to ache was to love. As a child, every time I hurt, I was cared for; when I cried, I was embraced; when I was sorry, I was loved. Christ on the Cross, exemplified the Supreme act of Love by dying for us. So at this late age in time, I love by ‘aching’. Thus, when I hurt I tend to want to caress others´ pain away lovingly, knowing I am hurting from love. However sharing others’ sufferings with them, is not enough. It may lead to understanding and empathy, but it does not transform reality.
For a while now, I have been trying to change reality by ´praying’. I try evoking and breathing in, God’s Goodness, while exhaling all tension, anger and ill feelings. However, as I do it I am aware that I am releasing, all my negative feelings unto the world. I should rather, be taking in the world’s wrongs and ‘righting’ them, through Love. Thus, I could transform negativity, into blessings and ‘p-ray’ them back out, into the world. That requires transmuting pain into love.
We are all individual drops of water making way into the sea. When we unite with other droplets, we fuse our individuality to become one with them, as we gush together in the flow of life. Merging with others, I lose my subjective experiencing, and expand awareness through their experiences. My pain ceases to be mine when I expand my feelings, to perceive those of others and then give myself up, to be transformed into a ‘oneness’, altogether different. Thus, pain ceases, when there is no one to ache. Only then, can it be transformed into compelling Love. That is how I have come to understand that pain is just another way of perception. Stepping out of my experience of pain, I can become that added little drop of intention and become part of a greater flow of Love. Perhaps trying it, I could release the pain I feel for others and transform it into Love.
I was thinking how this century has brought about hopelessness, with the ill omen that menaces it-being the end on the world. But when I see my daughter elate into bubbles over a boy and be transformed into joy as she prepares for a party, I realize it must be a feeling that comes only as ‘our worlds’ get closer to their own ‘end’. Life seems to go on, as does the experiencing of it. So, with this renewed awareness, I chose to live what is left of it, transforming pain into love. Only then can I experience the pleasure of enjoyment and the grace of gratitude, for having a new day.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning to Love: Imagination?


The other day I was stung by a scorpion…it must not have been very poisonous because I did not get an anaphylactic shock. It was about as big as the palm of my hand, black and very angry as it forked its clippers wildly, when we finally killed it. Unfortunately, it stung me right in the nerve that innervates the plantar tendon of my sole; exactly on my ‘Achilles heel’.
As I have taken it upon myself to reflect on the underlying, every day lessons on Higher Loving, and give meaning to the synchronicity in my life, I kept asking myself ‘What meaning could a scorpion’s sting possibly have?’ ‘What was it telling me’. ‘What was this continuous burning pain in my ‘sole’ or should I say ‘soul’ for?’ ‘Why this crippling wound in my Achilles heel?’ It certainly was a constant reminder of my ‘soul’s vulnerability’. But why?  I knew it was not circumstantial.
After going over my familiar guilt-ridden associations, I ruled out punishment, sabotage, purging and penance. It had to have a constructive reason. As I explored my feelings related to it all, I uncovered frustrated anger at myself for having known, unknowingly, all along, that there was a scorpion in my room. I had even mentioned it to my family…but their familiar response to my gnawing intuition, only ratified that ‘it was just another crazy product of my imagination’. Even after being stung I denied my own intuition. It wasn´t till after we found it, the next day, that I was proved right. So, why didn´t I listen to myself? That has been my problem, along life. I’ve listened to others, rather than myself, always belittling my inner perceptions, which I shun as if I were indeed, ‘crazy’. Worse still, I thought perhaps it was my imagination that was actually creating the circumstances which I envisioned, would happen?
Suddenly, it dawned on me. The whole thing had a lesson to be learned. I had, in some weird way, unconsciously, provoked the circumstances that made for the scorpion to sting me. 
We are all generators of the things that happen to us. I had, somehow, agreed or accepted for this pain to come upon myself, much as I have created the problems and crises in my life, perhaps only to justify my self-commiseration as a victim.
Still, I kept asking my Higher Self: ‘But Why?’ ‘What for?’ ‘Why this continual pain?---and just like that, I understood. The pain was to remind me I have, as we all have, the capacity to create and change the circumstances around us. However, most of the time, we are unaware of it. So, we unconsciously induce only negative thoughts and effects…
The scorpion’s poisonous sting in my nerve has now, given me a constant reminder of the capacity we all have, to imagine, create and bring upon ourselves and others whatever we wish for. Now, this crippling pain has made me aware and conscious of the thoughts and choices, which I am consciously trying to use to wish for health, goodness and peace.
As as child, I used to play with an imaginary magic wand, waving it around to bless the people I met on the street, with. Sometimes at night, while trying to sleep, I would imagine flying into hospital rooms and showering those, sick, with ‘happy’ powders. But as I grew older I dismissed it all as ‘childish play’.
Now, my pain has made me wonder if we can, in fact create magic.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Learning to Love on my Birthday

With the poet Dylan Thomas..I can say:

It was my sixtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from Acapulco seas and neighbor bees
As the turtles pooled and the NGO priested shore set them free
While the evening beckons
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of time on my net webbed memory
Sets Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping realization that I have little time left to learn to love.
My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the hats and huts and violence..
And I rose
As the sun set on my rainy autumn
And I walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border of time
And the gates Of chance.
There could I marvel my birthday away ‘fore the weather turns around.
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
with the sun.
It was my sixtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the autumn eve
Though the town below lays leaved in blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Learning to Love: Higgs Boson and Love

The 4 of July, 2012 the CERN particle accelerator in Geneve announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the fundamental particle of the Universe, from which ‘energy’ is transformed into ‘mass’. Apparently, it is a moving particle that is slowed down by the resistance of an invisible surrounding ‘field’ of ‘energy’ from which ‘mass’ is generated.
The idea of a surrounding ‘field of energy’ in which the universe itself, floats, is awe-inspiring. Just visualizing its gentleness, as a heaving sea of potential, gives me peace. In my understanding, this surrounding ‘field’ in which everything stirs, is much as the encompassing field of Love that envelops Life.
Making an analogy of the creative process in ‘energy-into-mass’, with the creative process of ‘ideas-into-their manifestation’, this enveloping field and its resistance become vital. Higgs’ fundamental particle, could then be compared to the initial impulse of an ‘Idea’, as it stirs ripples of movement and change through the ‘waters’ of potential. Higgs field of energy could then be compared to that of a sea of Love, that shapes everything into life ‘manifest’. Its counteractive effect in the slowing of energy into mass could be compared to the counteraction of hardships in love, shaping life into existence. Such is the creative process. Ideas generated, are made manifest, as this field of Love shapes them into their manifestation. I like to believe that everything that exists is due to such expression of an ’Idea’. It is this initial impulse that generates the tangible/visible embodiment of everything that becomes ‘manifest’. This ‘causal’ impulse, would seem to ‘effect’ soft ripples of creativity in such a ‘sea’.  The resistance of Higgs field of energy builds mass much as the resistance of ‘Love’ counteracting ideas with chaos, and everyday problems shapes reality.
The creative process would then involve projected ‘ideas’ shaped by a sea of Loving resistance into manifest existence. Something like Higgs particles of energy, that are turned into mass with the resistance of a surrounding field . Thus, ideas are like these generative impulses whose energy is ‘slowed’ down be the resistance of a field of Love

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Learning to Love: Feedback

Does communication depend on the lover’s capacity to ‘send’ his message of love? Does it depend on the loved one’s capacity to ‘receive’? Is it the message of love, itself, that determines the quality of mutual ‘communion’ in their communication? Is it the code, .. the ‘decoding’, or the ‘channel’ ? It is clear that all are important: the lover, as sender; his message, coded to his ´loved ones’ understanding; the channel used to transmit it with fidelity; and the willingness of the ‘loved one’s’ open reception to accept the message of Love.
Much of loving is about communication. Hence, the importance of analyzing all the elements involved, to try to solve the difficulties in the relationship between ‘lover’ and ‘loved one’.
We were talking about it the other day, while catching up on family gossip. We debated over Dr. Gary Chapman’s five codes used in close communication between loved ones:
·         -Use of kind words
·         -Touch
·         -Gifts
·         -Quality time and
·         -Service

These five codes were identified, after studying the problems of thousands of couples who reported these as their main dissatisfactions.
“The gist is..” we all agreed, “..that both, the lover and the loved one, should speak the same language, for fluent communication in a good relationship”.  We came to this conclusion, when we each admitted that our problems communicating with our respective partners, stem from differences in the codes we used;  one partner, trying to show love in a language, misunderstood and rejected by the other. I, for example, show love as my mother did, through ‘service’. However, my ex-husband ( who is still part of our extended family), joined in admitting that the  ‘service’ given as love, made him feel  it was ‘duty’, tending, rather to reject it, because it made him feel guilty.

However, later, while my ex-husband and I walked on the beach, alone, we both agreed that it was not enough for the sender to try to code his message with fine fidelity to his inner authenticity; nor was it enough for the partner to ‘receive’ the message with open acceptance…both had to share their mutual perceptions, distinctly identifying subjective differences, in the exchange. This ‘feedback’ allows for the ‘thesis’ and ‘antithesis’ of their interactive discourse, to re-create synergy in a ‘synthesis’, both can identify and share.
I don´t think this is the only emotional alphabet, in love. Maybe these 5 languages are really ‘channels’ used to transmit our personal ‘coding’ .

 Everyone develops their own alphabet in love, as they each assign personal ‘meaning’ to different ways of transmitting it (channels): the way we touch, the emotions we express, the words we transmit or the  gifts we give. What is important is that love cease to be the abstraction of our mere intention, to become ‘real’ with our manifest ‘actions’, in the present’.

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leaning to Love: Meaning

In the beginning was the “Word”; the “Alpha” and “Omega”; the Idea…of God/Love. Then, there was the ‘receptor’ (lat.: re-again; capio/ere- capture); the container; the concept.

If the first idea is God/Love, the conceptual containers are ‘Mothers. This stem-source of Ideas and their manifestations (or better said ‘woman-ifestations’), through concepts, is then divided and subdivided into ‘mesh-words,’ that state shared positions, opinions and stances. Families would be these existential ‘position-statements’. As ideas continue their fissions and fusions into the multiple interpretations among families, we create communities of inter-relatedness. They all require understanding in a common code.
This Spring break, my sisters and I spent time with our Mother, who is still the conceptual mold within our family. If ideas are liquid, she is the container that determines their shape. I confirmed, that the beliefs and meaning that she has given to her ideas, have molded the vessels of understanding in our homes, their rules and the interpretation we all assign, to  Love. It would seem that ideas conceived and spelt out by our Mothers, are the ones that give families their conceptual alphabet. My Mother taught my sisters and me to speak, to listen and to understand both inner and outer dialogue. It is her definitions that give us understanding of life. Even as I teach, I repeat such molding. Thus, mothers are the direct first-line-meaning that we give to words.

During our visit, my Mother urged us to teach our children to read.

“The new generations aren’t reading” she said. “We must insist that they read, so that they can develop the capacity to re-create images and project them in the imagination”.

Reading, undeniably, stimulates neural activity and opens mental maps to new ideas. But I would add…we must teach children to think..to question…to want to ‘know more’; ‘why’; ‘what for’… We must teach them to read ‘vertically’ between the lines, to see what is unseen, to intuit. We must teach them to contemplate and meditate so that they can ‘read meaning’ into their lives and not just read words. We must teach them to contact ideas first-handedly so that they can appropriate their meaning and make concepts of their own.
‘Re-cognizance’ comes when we break out of the molds that define ideas with the concepts created by mothers, and reach out to ideas, first-handedly. When we develop introspection and explore our own understanding, reassigning personal meaning to the ideas we contact, we create new concepts.  Blogs allow for such liberal exploration. They set the matrix for ‘re-presentation’ of ideas, their shared understanding and the possibility or re-creating joint meaning through interactive synergy. On internet, this networking through the ‘web’  creates cohesive bonding within communities of shared understanding.

Although ‘Ideas’ are absolutes, their experiencing is relative and individuated. Blogging gives us each, the opportunity to broaden our outlook to conceive a fuller Truth, through  shared kaleidoscopic ‘realities’. Thus, ideas become more important, even, than ourselves. You and I, and others like us, are all re-creating ideas through our imagination, our subjective interpretation and our personal experiencing, as we fill in the cells of this conceptual ‘Mother Matrix’, in the web. Finding and assigning new meaning to ideas is the revolutionary way to transcend both the literal ‘here and now’ and the local ‘me’. On the blogger, I cease to worry about the roles I have to play and the ‘persona’ I have to be, for acceptance….When I blog, I feel more authentic, because of the freedom to express my ideas.
The meaning we each give these transcendental  ideas, will allow us to re-create concepts and network through bridges of significance, to reach others. Shared understanding is the cohesive link that will transform the world.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learning to LOve: Families

Families are containers for re-latedness. To relate (lat.: re-again; latio-side/beat) is to re-establish contact from a different side; to re-establish timing to a re- newed  ‘beat’. Both acceptions require the containing framework of an encompassing family. Thus, I can break away from my personal ego-centered stance and shift to the perspective of a loved one within the safety-grounds of a trusted environment. Change and ‘development’  is easier within this ‘envelopment’.

While in the Mexican Association of Sexology, we did a research on ‘families’, establishing up to 29 different structures: nuclear families, extended families, divorced…with ‘your’ children; ‘my’ children; ‘our’ children; adopted children; grandparents, uncles, aunts etc .It included indigenous structuring of families, where twins share wives;  where father and son share wives; even villages with a shared ‘wife’. They all hold love. ‘upholding strongholds as holdings’ held together by relatedness.
This Spring I invited my ex-husband to our family town house. I did it for him to get away and have a break from the hardships of everyday life (and aging), he started the year with. I was surprised, however at everyone’s reaction. Despite our having dinner together once a week, for over the 11 years we’ve been divorced, my daughter’s reaction and that of my step-children and sisters was one of ‘shock’. No, we are not planning on getting back together, again, but what is  wrong with ‘caring’ for each other, beyond the marriage vows? As Western society would have it, love is only allowed in marriage. We like to believe we divorced out of love. If we had wanted to hurt each other we would have stayed married to continue making our lives miserable!!!!

The experience was interesting. My parents shared mutual enjoyment with his presence, perhaps from the wisdom, borne of time, that values everyday as if it were the last. No strings attached; no false expectations; just ‘living the moment’ gratefully. I enjoyed the old comfort of knowing each other well, making it all, relaxing and easy-going. However, there too, were surprising changes. He opened the car door for me! And even thanked me for making his bed. ’Change’ is ‘strange’…both, with a hidden ‘angel’ within.
 In my understanding it confirms that love can be extended beyond what is socially acceptable. But it needs family.

 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learning to Love: Change

Yesterday, we had a memorable dinner to celebrate my parents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary!!! (…talk about learning to overcome everyday hardships, to distill love, borne from patience).
Anthropologists argue that man is, by ‘’nature, monogamous, but only for an approximate seven years at a time (corresponding to those, needed by children to develop to the point of no longer needing taking-care-of). Anyone aspiring to a marriage “till death do us part”, requires ‘supernatural’ help, hence marriages, before God. My parents thusly, learned to muscle virtue and have lasted sixty years together! Of course it hasn´t been easy. Challenges, worth overcoming, never are. However, it is these daily conflicts that give us opportunities for growth. To wrestle with them we have to ‘change’.
The debate about ‘change’, whether it be ‘immanent’, ‘permanent’ or just ‘potential unfolding’, has been going on since Aristotle through Hegel, Kant...to the present day. Do we actually ‘change’ or is it just the unraveling of personal development? Can we ‘change’ our essence? Does ‘change’ depend on free will or is it conditioned by ‘nature’? Can a loved one actually ‘change’ to overcome his innate shortcomings and transcend his ‘natural’ imperfection? Can we trust that our giving second and third chances to those who have let us down, will actually make a difference? What does ‘change’ depend on?

We all have loved ones who have collapsed the inflated expectations we had of them, through disillusion. Can we ever expect them to ‘change’? If so, how much longer must we wait? (I would like to believe God would say “Forever. That´s why I made eternity”…but it may just be wishful thinking).
I was impressed with the number of people asking these same questions, at a workshop in self-growth, I gave, recently. Their main concern was not about themselves, but about loved ones caught up in mediocrity, ignorance and self-deprecation (or should I say ‘de-prickation’!). These innate ‘care-takers’ have been trying, over and over again, to love loved- ones who feel unworthy of ‘ being loved’ and just end up rejecting  help. It is this dejection that seems to have them ‘give up’ and harden to loving, cynically responding to it with sneers of disbelief (I know, because I have been there!)
My parents have mutually let each other down, over and over again, but have both held tight to their ‘ideal’, confident of change. It is this ‘unwitting trust’ that Love is made of. It’s about ‘believing ’patiently, over and beyond evidence, in the potential of our Higher Selves. It is about trusting ‘change’.
My tendency to ‘doubt’, till Science and evidence proves ‘otherwise’ , strongly objects to such belief in ‘change’. People ‘are’ as they ‘are’ and their acts speak for themselves. Such doubting renders  anything else, a ‘wishful projection’.  However, having myself, been one of those loved ones who rejected loving, for whatever reasons  and ‘changed’, I now stand up for the silent dis-believers, confident that they too, will ‘change’. My parents’ example is my avowal and evidence that proves change is possible.

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Learning to Love: Order

The popular aphorism, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, reminds us of the importance of counteracting the entropic tendency of everything going to chaos. We have to consciously, put effort into reverting this disintegration, by putting order. It dispenses energy and continual effort.
I have kept myself busy (and out of trouble) cleaning closets, painting walls and doing spring cleaning, these last days. It is not only good for the house, but good for my body (Reverend Mother always said, that the best exercise was doing housecleaning!) and my soul. It discharges dirt, disorder and negativity, depression or guilt, making way for singing!
My Mother’s Puritanical upbringing got me into the healthy habit of keeping everything clean and orderly; of arranging and re-arranging things for everything to have its place; of picking things up immediately after use, so as to avoid cluttering; of continuously giving things I don´t use, to someone who may need them. However, I don´t obsess about it.  I like to think our home is clean-friendly, where my rat-like nature has me saving everything; the cat and dog get on the furniture to share with us and eating is allowed in the ‘living’ room. Ceremonials on Christmas, Halloween, Easter…bring change to our daily life with re-organization of the furniture and routines.
Making a ‘home’ in a house is a full-time job. It hopefully, makes your loved ones want to be there. So it is important to keep a stress-free ambiance to allow them to relax. Not only dirt, but screaming and fighting have to be actively avoided. I was shocked when the sex-workers I gave HIV tests to, told me that husbands who bought their 'favors', frequently blamed the conditions they lived at home, for their wanting to avoid it. Rituals from shamanistic and religious settings help cleanse such negativity. In the Carmelite Monastery we would cleanse every room before sleep, going through them in choral prayer with a lit candle, incense and bell. It holds true for homes. Peace has to be borne from the heart.
Not only the home, but the body has to be cherished and cared for. Even the astral aura can be cleansed (not necessarily with shaman flowers or eggs!) but a simple shower after a nightclub or a rough day. One always picks up negativity, from people in angry or stressful situations such as traffic or endless queues.
In loving, it´s always good to shower together before love-making; perhaps a bath. At least wash your hands before touching!
I feel so ‘re-lived’ when I clean. It´s even better than confession, because you are left with tangible ‘ordi-nation’ and makes you feel ‘good’…worthy of being loved.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Learning to Love: Keeping Busy

Gloria Ornelas
There are two types of people: those who love and those who ‘think’ about loving..(guess which one I am?!!!). The first ‘act’; the second, ‘re-act’, ‘enact’, ‘subtract’….
Reverend Mother, in the Carmelite Monastery used to remind us constantly, that the ‘father’ (she actually said ‘mother’, but I changed it!) of all sins was ‘boredom’…doing nothing (not the same as ‘leisure’, which is the ‘time-out’, necessary for meditation and contemplation).
Those of us who go around moping and complaining about how unjust ‘life’ and ‘love’ have been to us…aren’t loving. Even those who go around ‘re-membering’ the broken pieces of heart, or proudly trumpeting their ‘ideal come true’, are merely re-flecting..not ´living´love.

I recently asked a Nun what love was for her, and she sat down, took my hand and was silent. I was immediately engulfed with an upsurge of warmth and energy. I sighed, unexpectedly, as I heaved with relief.
“What are you doing”, I asked. And she looked straight into my eyes ‘lovingly’. I had an image of a flower whose petals were opening up as she began to share her secret.
“I breath Love in, as I evoke Eternal Grace ; plead for forgiveness as I assimilate its ‘Goodness’; and exhale a blessing on all I know, all I come in contact with, and all who may need it” .
“You do that all the time?” I asked horrified, as I realized that it would imply having to ‘let go’ of inner dialogue. I would have to stop analyzing, judging, comparing, self-justifying, let alone have to set a distance with people and their luscious gossip.
“It is Living Love, every minute of the day” she answered, peacefully, and continued.. “When I pray consciously, I use my imagination to take me into the ‘Heart that Loves me, Unconditionally’ and let myself  feel embraced and lulled. It is from that Higher Loving that I ‘p-ray ,‘raying’ it onto others”.
“Take the Rosary,” she continued  “..when I pray it, I imagine myself imbued by Mother Love, and feel ‘im-pregnated with Higher Loving, so that I can embrace souls that may feel lost, using imagery to envelop them  in an Imaginary Womb, while I wish them  protection and Love”.
I was shocked, half thinking she wasn´t  ‘all there’….but she went on, disowning my doubts.
 “Use your imagination to make Love happen. It’s like magic. Imagine you have a ‘wand’ and bless everyone who comes across you during the day, wishing them all kinds of goodness. If anything, it will keep your mind busy, free from idle thoughts and out of trouble”, she said  laughing.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since, even trying it. I don’t know if I’m loving any better, but it certainly keeps me mind busy.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Learning to Love: Reality Check

Gloria Ornelas
Today I went out for a drink with university colleagues and while talking about ‘qualitative research’ for an educational protocol we’re doing, the term “context” struck a note.
“Context determines what happens”, they were saying….
I suddenly realized, how unattached I was from my external ‘context’…as I focus solely on my subjective internal experiencing.
(This is how uneventful stirrings catalyze reflexive thinking.)
‘Context’- defined as the external reality; the conditions  that determine existence, is for me, as follows: the external ‘context’ of experience, is the ‘glass’, the container; while the internal ‘meaning’ of the experience, is the ‘liquid’. The context gives shape to the meaning with which we signify our experience. The gist is trying to live both and align external reality with inner Truth. This is particularly difficult when changes in the external context have a different timing to those of internal experiencing. In linear causality, meaning before the experience, is called ‘intention’; whereas the meaning given after the experience, is ‘justification’…all within the same context.
Lovers are contextual. They determine the external conditions for the experience of loving. However, love, before the actual loving, may be defined as the intention or desire, a priori. Love, after the actual loving, is the justification we give to the experience of loving, a posteriori . It sounds bizarre but as fragmented as it sounds, my experience in the Monastery gave my understanding of love a subjective quality, loving blindly, through prayers. The intention behind our loving then, was to send good vibes in wishful prayers, and the justification was believing they were actually helping someone. However, the ‘one being loved’ in the external context, was  unknown, being un-accessible to us in the cloister. Thus, the loved one was an abstract; unreal to the senses; and the loving, merely subjective.
Perhaps, for love to become real, there must be a lover…or as the metaphor of the “one who yells in the woods”, goes:  “you must have someone hear you, to actually acknowledge you exist”. So I must have someone feel my love, for me to exist as a lover, myself.  Amo ergo sum.
All this pseudo-intellectual gibberish boils down to..having to ‘touch base’ and make a ‘reality check’ in love. First, we have to make sure we have a lover, and funny as it may seem that’s where I’m at…wondering if I can actually love, when the only contextual contact is a long-distance phone call….
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

L'Earning to LOVE: Learning to Love: Dying

L'Earning to LOVE: Learning to Love: Dying: Gloria Ornelas- In these days that celebrate either, the Christian Easter, with the 'passing' of Jesus from this world into the...

Learning to Love: Dying


Gloria Ornelas-
In these days that celebrate either, the Christian Easter, with the 'passing' of Jesus from this world into the next; or the Jewish 'Passover', from enslavement of the Jews in Egypt to the Promised Land, we are the wiser to reflect on 'loving'- as the choice to be willing to leave life as we know it, so as to be transformed into something Higher. That´s what Love is about: dying to EGO-self to be reborn into a Higher form of Loving.
Love then, becomes a conscious choice where we are willing to choose death, for our loved ones’ welfare. However, it´s not about suicide, self- flagellation, sabotage of our right to pleasure and happiness, or ‘suffering’ for others (been there, done that!).
Our ‘personality’ (from Latin: per-for; sonare- to be heard) is our outer ‘persona’, created to relate to others. It is a protective mask-formation that must be outgrown and set aside, for us to let go of external attachments and internalize our focus for inner development.  ‘Death,’ as a passage towards personal transformation, is an abstract projection of our own dying and letting go of ‘old ways’, to re-new internal Life. Our ego’s  outer ‘shell’ molded by our upbringing in family and social culture has to be peeled away, for us to develop inner awareness and make ‘conscious’ our ‘unconscious’.
It’s easily said, but painful, especially if our external reality is all we know. To break away from everything that we have created 'co-dependence' with, is a type of dying. It requires blind faith, courage or having the personal despair of having ‘touched bottom’. The pain comes from letting go of our Ego’s false reality, when cracking out of its protective shell, to expand our conscious awareness of who we really are. This may come as a ‘heartbreak’, when our most tender hopes, knit around a projected illusion of desire, are shattered.
We will never find fulfilling love in external outreach. It is our inner spring that satiates our thirst for Love. It is from there, that we Love others, freely, flowing with gratuity.
The steps we must take to break through our Ego shell are:
1.       Cutting off attention, on what is perceived through the external  senses.
2.       Looking inward.
3.       Stopping time. Being still. Leaving the fast track as we race for objectives projected in a linear future.
4.       Breathing…inhaling deeply, assimilating and exhaling slowly..(This will draw awareness to the physical ‘here and now’)
5.       Turning thought-processing ‘OFF’…with the mind in blank…cancelling the screening of ideas and cutting the thread of internal dialogue.
6.       Focusing on perceiving: body, feelings and inner stirrings.
7.       Inhaling ‘goodness’, ‘life’ and ‘peace’ with every breath.
8.       Filtering all ‘darkness’, ‘tightness’, ‘knots’ or blockage and expelling them, with every exhalation.
9.        Recognize and follow Inner Truth, even at the expense of 'disobeying' rigid expectations from the outer world.
10.     Honor Self.

It’s easily done, for a couple minutes, but to live every day in that state, disregarding the immediate, and disengaging our emotions from expected outcomes requires sustained awareness and self-control. Practice makes it easier, till slowly, a re-newed sense of Self transforms our consciousness of what is really important.
Practice makes change…not ideas. So die to ‘thinking’ and flow with your inner feeling.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Learning to Love: Responsibility


Gloria Ornelas-
Responsibility.
My dear psychoanalyst always warned me: “If you want to care for your children, stop trying to ‘help them . AVOID HURTING THEM. Carry the responsibility for your own consequences; repair them so as not to pass them on to them. That would be enough”.

Just the other day, my 22 year old daughter returned from work in a sea of tears. The promotion she had been working so hard for, and rightly deserved, had been given to another girl who was willing to pay her boss with sexual favors. She was deeply insulted and appalled.
“Welcome to the worldl!” I said sarcastically, remembering my own experiences, as I flashed back over moments where being a woman, had been a set-back and a reason for abuse. I was furious. So much so, that my dreams replayed the pain. It wasn´t fair…but it never has been.
She kept asking herself, why she wasn´t upgraded. ‘Wasn´t she good enough?’. ‘Was she trying too hard?’, putting herself down as she became over-assailing. I was very proud of her, but could see her self-doubts belittling her self-esteem. And again I saw myself in her shoes.
“Please Dear God, don´t let her repeat the mistake of putting myself down, for others to love me!” I prayed. Maybe my mother prayed the same, for me.
As it was, she got the promotion and public recognition for her hard work. But I was left with my fears, reflecting on the personal work I had to do, to avoid setting wrong examples.
I see it in my patients, over and over again. Young girls choosing lovers who are alcoholic, to inwardly try to heal their fathers; or others who choose married men…unconsciously exploring the reasons why their fathers commit adultery…or young girls who unwittingly get pregnant just to abort and ‘kill’ their inner child, as they feel unwanted, themselves. The Bible rightly warned that we would be passing down our sins, from generation to generation.

Before carrying the responsibility for our deeds we must learn to care for ourselves. This starts with respect for self and others. ‘Respect’, from the Latin: ‘re-spectio’ (to perceive from another angle), will give us a second opportunity to see ourselves from  re-newed understanding that will set  a firmer pivot for our personal choices. It’s not about right or wrong; about judgment or punishment. It´s about forgiving ourselves and accepting our human imperfection; it’s about repairing the damage done, from the compassion that comes when we re-cognize that same imperfection, in others. It all starts and ends with love.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Learning to Love: Loopholes

Gloria Ornelas Hall-
Complexity, as its name implies is opportunity unraveled, flexed over, plicated, folded upon itself. It is potential to be unfolded. That’s what I tell myself when things get tough and uncertainty and loss of control make for chaos in my life. Inevitably, epiphanies let the light in and shine with sudden understanding, opening portholes that seem to loop through time. Then, Einstein’s notion of time as warped unfolding, seems to make sense.

I had one of these ‘eureka’ moments the other day, as I had coffee with my dear High School teacher. In itself, our meeting after so many years is a loop in time, with a sudden gushing in of forgotten memories that refreshed ‘my today’. I presently understood the simultaneity of things related to the soul. Loving is made of such things.

Re-creating reality with the awareness of parallel synchronicity opens a network of channels giving us opportunities of simultaneous input and output in all directions. (A bit like this blog, that opens portholes to other lives, tapping into parallel realities that share same interests). Consciousness itself, expands with such bizarre notions as the possibility of understanding human behavior in two or more dimensions. As if the physical reactions of chemical and electrical stimulation, now uncovered by scientific probing into the brain, were connected to one’s own ‘integrating soul’ at another plane. This would explain that consciousness is not limited to the brain but is integrated and given meaning, by a parallel mind. Plato’s description of reality as mere shadows reflected on a cave wall, and Freud’s description of consciousness as being an ‘iceberg’ where part of reality is seen while the other goes unperceived, comes to mind with such a possibility. Man could then, be described metaphorically as a lipid protruding through a cell membrane, on both the inside and the outside of the cell. Meaning then has expansive qualities that readjust understanding to a re-newed concept of self and others.

In the light of time, as having these ‘trans-membranic qualities’, with simultaneous contact between this reality and another a-temporal space, the injunction of past and future within today’s every moment becomes onerous. Imagine yourself, fixed on the limited self-concept of being a mere finger, and suddenly expanding awareness to realize that you are also the hand, the arm and the whole ‘being’ of life.

In love, such expansive awareness comes when we broaden conscious integration of our ego-self, to include another; and another; and another till we realize we are all one. Such an epiphany includes new ways of loving: forgiving; accepting; understanding or not; letting go and trusting that ‘it’ll be alright’. We are all interconnected by this matrix of loopholes to and from each other, not only today, but from the past and the future, simultaneously!

So, ‘what the hell!!!!!’ Stop trying to control, holding on to fixed ways that only limit our way of loving. Open up and let go.. Flow with the gush of love.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning to Love: Illusion

Gloria Ornelas Hall-

Illusions (lat.: absence of light) glow from the reflection of wishful thinking, much as the moon, having no light of its own, reflects moonshine from the sun. They can be deceiving, oftentimes desirable, but in the end, fantasy. Romance builds expectations from such phantoms. We see the attributes we assign our loved one, wishfully.
There is scientific evidence that validates optical, auditory or tactile illusions, as cerebral distortions of perception. However, their ‘reality’ does not make them ‘true’. Such is the differentiation that Hinduism makes of their term, Maya, which is an illusion, but neither ‘false’ or ‘true’. The sympathetic and parasympathetic response elicited by neurotransmitters stimulates or antagonizes pupil response, sensorial attentiveness, focused concentration and stimulates sensations that define our perceptions. Consciousness integrates these isolated memories giving them meaning.

I have lived deceived, and in self-deception all my life. Perhaps that is what differentiates subjective experience and makes us unique. I tend to project what I want to see on to others, displacing my imagination onto the images I perceive. It works for me, because I invariably validate my own reality in self-justification. It is a commodity that excludes all I wish to delete. So in romance, my lover is as I want him to be…smart, funny, hard-working, creative, kind, understanding….But is he really? I don´t think I want to know….and yet loving him with such subjective distortion perhaps only reflects my self-love, leaving him untouched.
To love another we must first see him/her in truth. Only then can we reach and touch them. However, in so doing, we have to face dis-illusion. The ego hurts when we don´t let it have what it wants, or let it have its way. It requires disenfranchisement from our right to vote or give our opinion. We have to peel off all wishful thinking and protective sheaths to face the stark-naked truth. Only then can our loving shine of itself, and not as a reflection of our desires and imagination.

So much for Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee?”
Let me count the ways:
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Risking sacrilege, perhaps with ‘dis-illusion,’ I would say:
I love your depth, breadth and height dispossessed of idyllic grace.
I love you, not to meet my dire need, but freely;
Not for praise; not in faith; not in wishful relatedness to saints.
I love your breath, your smiles and your tears in my life,
and in my living today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning to Love: Rage

L´earning to Love-
Gloria Ornelas Hall.

 Rage
My Dad is sick and loving him can only come from Dylan Thomas’ call to: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

 Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Learning to Love: Transmutaion


L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

 Transmutation
Life’s a bugger (that´s an understatement!). Nobody ever teaches us to handle the hardships we encounter, so we are ill-prepared for difficulty. Yet, it is unavoidable.
By nature, everything tends towards disorder, dissolution and disintegration. This is called ‘enthropy’, a basic principle of Physics. To revert it, we must dispense effort and energy. In life, this process of continual re-creation stems from Love. The very desire to change this destructive principle and transform it into order and re-construction requires loving. This is transmutation (lat: trans-through; mutare- change). The cost is self-sacrifice. We must counteract egoism and selfishness to re-construct life and love.
Mothers are perfect examples of this. Take pregnancy. They gain 11 kgs, and duplicate bodily functions, pumping up to 40% more blood, to have a baby. They normally postpone personal satisfaction till their caring for others is done and often, are willing to give their lives up, for their loved ones.

Approximately, a third of the population has this intrinsic selflessness, with a natural tendency to care and help others. Their protective factors give them a resilience that makes them resistant to risk. As Salvador Diaz Mirón says, in his poem ‘A Gloria’,  “They fly over swamps without soiling their plumage”. It is they who carry, not only the responsibility of their own personal welfare, but the weight of those who damage themselves and others. So some of us come to learn and try to ‘get it right’, while others come to help. Having been helped, myself, over, and over again, I know the need we all have for each other.
Chaos cannot be re-created with dependability without this help.
Transmuting dis-order into order requires the desire to help others, a basic principle of love. Caring enough to be there for others, at the cost of dispensing one´s own selfishness is the first step. Feeling their pain and keeping them company as we walk alongside others, sharing their lives’ path, is a second step. Holding their hand when asked for help, is the third. Thus, the pain of living becomes an opportunity to hurt together in love.
Transmutation is not about changing or resisting reality. It is about transforming the experience of pain into love.

 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Learning to Love: Destiny


 
L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

 Destiny
In today’s society, man´s pride has imbued in us the notion that we each forge our own lives. However, as mine unfolds, the idea of ‘destiny’ makes more sense.
In Greek mythology, three ‘Moirai’ thread the canvas of fate, the inevitable destiny we each have when we are born. Nietzsche goes further with his ‘Amor Fati’, the acceptance of this predetermination, through ‘choice’. The unpredictability of life, with its creases and folds, more of the time, depends on variables that have nothing to do with us. That is fate. We may choose or not, to go where fate leads us, rebelling and resisting that which we most dread, in fear of losing control over our lives. Sooner or later, we will end up where we began, anyway.
 Love is inevitably interlaced to fate. We think we choose our life-long partners or children, naïvely pegging reasons and qualities that earn our favor, ignoring the fact that our souls respond to another call. We are beckoned to live out our soul’s longing, either to learn or repair, or help others into awareness. We can try to ignore this path, laid out long before we are born, but that is only fooling ourselves. It is not merit that earns us love. Sometimes it’s need from imperfection; sometimes it’s desire to help, entwined with co-dependence; sometimes, it’s inexplicable. It is  not about choosing what 'cross' to bear or what sacrificial penance to accept. It’s a call, an ‘e-vocation’.
Love is not indiscriminate or dispensable. It does not overflow from abounding generosity or virtue. It is intricately nestled in our lives’ design, for reasons we may not understand, till we do; most of the time, near death. We must play out the role love deals us, acceptingly. I should have learned that in the Monastery when I pledged a vow of obedience. I thought it was to obey Reverend Mother; later, I thought it was about obeying my superiors in the Navy; later, obeying my husband, much as I had obeyed my parents…..I had never realized that the obedience, expected, was to fate. Love is not about being kind and dispensing compassion over those, ‘less benefitted´. It is not about charity from pity or compassion. It is about loving him or her, next to you; him or her, you most reject; him or her, fate had you be born with. It is not about pleasing or satisfying our will’s desire, but about fulfilling our destiny. In the light of this truth, fidelity makes sense.

The other day I was reminded of this, as my ex-university-classmates and I met after almost forty years. I was so grateful for them reminding me who I was, as we remembered outrageous scenes from our youth… It was one of them that pointed out that I had always been different (as we all are) and always set a sense of duty before me. It was she who reminded me that I had a destiny to fulfill, maybe even yet.

 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learning to Love: Valentine´s Day


Valentine’s Day, and I got a phone call from my ex-fiancé’s girlfriend challenging me and asking if I was ‘going out with her boyfriend’. Now I am almost sixty and he and I were programmed to be married, thirty years ago! I tried calming her, throwing light on the fact that he lived in a different city and I hadn’t even seen him for several months…but to no effect.
Now, she’s right. Not that we ‘date’ but that we love each other. We always have…and sharing a history of intimacy obviously gave her that gut reaction of feeling excluded. I was sort of excited after so many years of being out of the game, though not meaning any harm in being friends with her boyfriend.
Where does fidelity stand when the neat limits of marriage that stave off intromission, are gone. Nowadays, people live with their lovers, without the commitment of matrimony. So is it ‘adultery’ to befriend someone else´s friend? And how close is close? Do you have to have sex to be off limits or is simply picking the phone up and sharing everyday life, a transgression? Are you off bounds even when you are past the menace of reproduction and the natural possessiveness implied?
Why should love be made a sin? Why must we possess each other, tying each other down in fear of losing their love? Why love to cover up our insecurity?
I remember my mother telling us, five children, that there are always more ‘warm fuzzies’ where they come from; not to feel they would finish, and someone be left out from their share!

I tried calming her, saying that my love for him, encompassed anyone and everyone who loved him, and whom he loved, even if I didn’t know them. Knowing he was well and happy was enough. But of course, she knew better. She wasn’t making him happy. She wasn’t taking care of him; she couldn’t even take care of herself…(been there; done that). How sad that we women have to hold on to a man to guarantee economic safety . That was probably, more like it…and how comfy it sounds…but what a burden to a relationship.
It is hard to be true to love, because it requires that we be true to ourselves, first. I had a patient who held a fifteen-year-old love affair, through two marriages, feeling she was being true to her love for him, despite being married, because she had no sex with either of her husbands; one, for sickness; the other, for alcohol. Now, that is squizoid, but there is some truth in aligning one's actions to one's true feelings.
I find it hard to be self-sustaining with a 22 year old daughter, but the struggle is worth my freedom. I am mine to give and receive (I should hope so, at sixty…). They say that in love everything is valid as long as you don’t hurt yourself, your lover or others. So I hold fast to my right to love whom I love, at the cost of being hated.
(Not so nice on Valentine’s Day…)