All the love you want

How is it going with your soul mate – that glorious other with whom you have cosmic discussions as well as easy silence and light chats; silly jokes, fun, games, happy sex; mind-body-and-soul-altering sex; functional, practical cooperation on the logistics of life regarding money, parenting (or not), leisure time (or not), sleeping conditions, and what to do with dirty socks; PLUS deep, unconditional goodwill and hence true love? Yeah, that person!

I know only two couples that seem to have found and maintained such a relationship.

So. My questions:

  • What are those soul couples’ secrets? (How did they find each other? How do they keep their relationship so luminous?)
  • And why is their number seemingly so small?

Maria Popova – my personal hero and the genius behind brainpickings.org, a site you should visit, bookmark, and send money to because she is THAT awesome – recently reviewed the newest book by cultural historian and philosopher Roman Krznaric.

How Should We Live?: Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life includes a game-changing chapter on love. Popova describes the chapter in detail:

“…Krznaric contends that our modern definition of love is too narrow, which both deprives us of the breadth of this grand human capacity and sets us up for disappointment.

We can navigate these difficulties of love — and enhance its joys — by grasping the significance of two great tragedies in the history of the emotions. The first is that we have lost knowledge of the different varieties of love that existed in the past, especially those familiar to the ancient Greeks, who knew love could be discovered not just with a sexual partner, but also in friendships, amongst strangers, and with themselves. The second tragedy is that over the last thousand years, these varieties have been incorporated into a mythical notion of romantic love, which compels us to believe that they can all be found in one person, a unique soulmate. We can escape the confines of this inheritance by looking for love outside the realm of romantic attachments, and cultivating its many forms.” [emphasis mine]

The Greeks identified six love flavors. We wrap all six of them up in the idea of one ideal person. Use the following worksheet (based on Popova’s and Krznaric’s ideas) to:

  • Consider how you currently engage in each kind of love. Which loves do you expect from your current/ideal sweetheart? How many different kinds of people – and how many individuals within each category – do you love in each way?
  • Brain-storm as to how can you expand your loving.

Current Loving: A Worksheet

Kind of Love

Quality

Typically toward/between

With whom do you now experience this love? From whom do you “expect” it?

Random, brain-stormy ideas of many new ways to experience each love. Think out of the box!

Eros

Sexual passion

 

Lovers

 

 

Phila

Intimate, familiar, loyal; camaraderie

Friends

 

 

Ludus

Playful affection

 

Children; casual lovers

 

 

Pragma

Deep understanding

 

Couples in long-term relationship

 

 

Agape

Unconditional, selfless caring

 

All humanity

 

 

Philautia

Self-love

Positive: Nourishes your capacity for all love, beginning from within.

Negative: Narcissism

Self

Current examples:

 

Click here for .pdf to download and print

Instead of trying to find our one true love, Krznaric advocates (according to Popova, that is!) asking ourselves:

“How can I cultivate the different varieties of love in my life?

[…] The varieties of love invented by the ancient Greeks […] are what we should be striving to cultivate, and with a range of people rather than just one person. I am not saying that you should get your pragma from a steady marriage but then satisfy your eros in a series of lustful affairs. That is bound to be a destructive strategy, for sexual jealousy is part of our natures and few people can tolerate open relationships. What I mean is that we ought to acknowledge that we may only be fulfilled in love if we can nurture it in a multitude of ways and tap into its many sources. So we should foster our philia through having profound friendships outside our main relationship, and make space for our lover to do the same without resenting the time they spend apart from us. We can seek the joys of ludus not just in sex but in other forms of play, from tango dancing and performing in amateur theatre to laughing with children around the family dining table. And we must recognize that being drawn too far into self-love, or limiting our love to only a small circle of people, will not be enough to meet our inner need to feel part of a larger whole. So we should all make a place for agape in our lives, and transform love into a gift for strangers. That is how we can reach a point where our lives feel abundant with love.” [emphasis mine]

Aha. This answers BOTH my questions.

    • The soulful folks’ secrets: All four members of those soul couples are wildly, generously adept at loving so many people in so many ways (while keeping actual sex between the two of them – and happily so). I also know crazily vital single souls living this same way (which explains their lack of sadness over not being paired up).
    • The reason so few of us find a soul mate: We think one person has to do ALL of all of this for us. They don’t. But don’t worry; you still (or maybe “therefore?!”) can get all the love you want.
    • One reason why some originally soulmate-y relationships may sour: We may find all kinds of love with one person. It is so so nice. But then we may narrow ourselves and start expecting those loves only or mostly from that person. Then we are no longer the people we were at the beginning of the relationship. Soul relationships that last seem to expand each person’s experience of loving others, not contract it to just the sweetheart realm.

You can have it all with another person — just not ONLY that person!

Abundant love.

It may take time to readjust our way of thinking about love(s). But what fun practice. Here’s a daily deal you can use to remind yourself to expand and mash-up love in your life. Not that you will plan every single different way to love every single person for each day, but it’s fun to think about. (Click here for .pdf to download and print.) Let me know what happens!

Daily Love: A Planner

The people in my life.

Love flavors + just a few ways to try them

Ways to love my people in different ways today

Lover(s):

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

Real friends

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

Playful people

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

Practical, reliable, logistically developed partners or colleagues

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

Everyone. Including strangers and enemies. (Well you don’t have to list them, but they’re here.)

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

You

Agape: Smile, really look at person and see them, listen without offering opinion, beam goodwill from your heart to theirs…

 

Pragma: Share a project, ask for help, offer help…

 

Ludus: Arrange a play date, join in a game, be goofy, email a joke…

 

Phila: Have a talk, share a hobby, ask for advice, confide…

 

Eros: Be sexy. (Think out of the box — it doesn’t mean just having sex, right? But do be safe and careful with this one.)

 

Philautia: Practice real self-kindness. Care for your self, stand up for yourself, notice how you think about yourself.

 

This entry was posted in Love and Soul Mates, Worksheets. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to All the love you want

  1. Anna Clearwater says:

    Love this!! Thank you.

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