“Who knows how to make love stay?” Tom Robbins famously asks in Still Life With Woodpecker.
At the beginning of a relationship, when we’re falling in love, there is a copious amount of magic that’s present. It pervades every crevice of our existence, making life’s tedious tasks and obligations come alive in a vibrant rush of passion.
Then, one day, without any warning it’s gone. Just as effortlessly as it appeared, it flitters off in the night sky with no mention of where it’s heading or if it has any plans to return. We retrace steps wondering, is there is anything we could’ve done differently?
With the absence of that once gratuitous passion, we begin to steal glances outside our partnership. Maybe there’s something better? Maybe there’s someone better?
While the friendship may still be in tack, that hit of magic, and the lure of passion is so enticing it trumps the once devoted promises of love, family, and shared dreams.
Is this really the nature of love – so fleeting in its rewards, and so unapologetic in its’ farewell?
The short answer is no. At least I don’t think so. It’s the illusions, we hold about love, that cause us to hit the road in search of that alluring magic that makes us feel alive once again. We think that passion is something outside of ourselves- something we can possess, experience or hold. We take for granted that it will just spontaneously reproduce on it’s own, ignorant to the understanding that if we aren’t generating passion for our own creations, how could we ever expect it to be present in our partnership? After all, even a romantic relationship is nothing more than the sum of its individual parts.
I too used to hold these very illusions. I devoted many years supporting a past boyfriend pursue his passion, believing his dreams were big enough for the two of us. As the sparkles evaporated from our relationship, I fought like hell to get them back; completely oblivious to the fact I was guilty of not bringing my share to the party.
The simple truth is we are the single biggest generators of passion and magic for our relationships, but there is some fine print: we must create it for ourselves on an individual level first.
Just as if a group of friends were to arrive at a potluck empty handed, there would nothing to feast on; cultivating a relationship with no inspiration to share leaves the relationship craving more. But we misidentify this more as something out there instead in our hearts where the roots of passion lay.
When we discover and pursue that unique thing that light us up inside, and we begin to understand the very reason and purpose that we’re on the planet, we become super conductors of passion and magic, bringing these precious elements into every relationship an experience we create.
Life is a journey, a process, and hopefully a passion. There are no guarantees. But if you take the time to turn inward and cultivate what lights you up individually – to discover what makes you come alive – then at least you are doing your part to make love stay. If love still doesn’t stay in the relationship, (you can only be accountable for the inspiration and passion you personally contribute) your love will stay within you. And like a gigantic magnet, you’ll attract love wherever your path leads you.