Loved and Lost, Left and Laughed

Have you heard the expression

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Although this can be a great way to think about past relationships — appreciating love in all its forms — it can also make us feel melancholy, miss “the good old days” or regret things we did.

I recently stumbled on a new musical artist, Leif Vollebekk. In his song When the Subway Comes Above the Ground he twists that well-known homily like this:

“It is better to have left and laughed than never to have left at all.”

– Leif Vollebekk, When the Subway Comes Above the Ground

For some of us, this is all too true! It is better to have left unhappy or abusive relationships and learned to laugh again. It is better that we found our inner, hidden strength, that we learned to respect and love ourselves… It is so much better to be alone and happy than attached to someone who hates himself so much, he is intent on making you miserable. He probably does love you, but he is so unhealthy he doesn’t know how to treat you with love and respect. Let him be the one one saying “it is better to have loved and lost…” Many people who love each other can’t live together peacefully, and that’s just the way it is.

It has been over twelve years since I left and laughed. If you are on the threshold of doing the same, considering leaving an unkind mate, let me tell you there is life after an ugly relationship, there is laughter after leaving.

International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
yellow rose

“Leaving” could apply to other things, too. Maybe for you, it’s about leaving a job that isn’t good for you, or maybe you are thinking about leaving the place you are living. If you really can’t find a way to laugh — enjoy yourself, be happy — then maybe it is time to move. Sometimes we outgrow a place (or job), and the only solution is to leave and accept our “bigger good” somewhere else. Just keep in mind that if you are trying to run from your problems, they have an uncanny way of following you!

But sometimes, you just have to leave that drab apartment for a nicer place. Have you ever ridden a subway that came above ground? It is an interesting experience, and Leif Vollebekk’s song captures it beautifully (video below).


Thanks to CBC Radio, Q with Jian Ghomeshi for introducing me to this great music.

Controversial Love Drugs

Many love songs croon “I can’t live without you” and “you’re everything to me.” Love can sure be overwhelming! When we are newly in love, we think about our sweetheart all the time, imagining the next time we will be with them and reliving the best moments. We can get kind of obsessive, and as long as we aren’t stalking someone who doesn’t like us back, it’s all good. That obsessiveness normally fades over time and we develop a nice, balanced relationship. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we get used to having them around, but lately I’ve noticed it is more than that.

I’ve been learning a lot about the human energy field; we each emit an energy field that extends out a little ways from our bodies. When we are close to someone — physically and/or emotionally — our energy fields overlap and interact. When you spend a lot of time around someone, your body literally becomes accustomed to that other person’s energy field, and when you are then apart, you can feel their absence.

I know, a large part of “missing someone” is psychological. We want to see their smile, feel supported by them or be an encourager to them. There is, however, evidence that there is an energetic reason for “missing someone” and I have experienced this phenomena myself. It is very noticeable for me when I spend a lot of time with one person, visiting them, and then go back home again. My energy field feels different because it hasn’t touched that person’s in a while. The effect seems to wear off in a week or so, and my energy adapts to my new location and the people around me there. I don’t think it really matters what emotions I have for the people involved — love, admiration or just toleration — the energy fields will interact no matter what.

I say all this in order to discuss the new “love drugs” that are being studied. There are two in question: one is intended to boost the feelings of being in love for couples who have lost the spark, and one is to help people stop feeling in love. The love-booster does not seem overly strange to me. I can see why someone might manufacture the chemicals that make one feel in love — it is such a high! I can see why couples that logically want to stay together would want to renew their amorous feelings. The drug that is designed to kill feelings of love did surprise me a bit.

I listened to an interview on CBC Radio (the Q show) where the host, Jian Ghomeshi interviewed an ethicist, Brian Earp, about the use of love- and anti-love drugs. The doctor advocated the anti-love drug in particular for people who are trying to leave an abusive relationship and they are “addicted to the other person” and keep going back to the abuser, even though they know how unhealthy the relationship is. If they took the anti-love drug, it would stop their feelings of love (or addiction) for that person and make it easier to end the relationship and start a new life.

In my role as a Victim Support Unit volunteer, I counselled several women who were leaving abusive men, and I’m not sure how much a love-killer drug would help. Overcoming abuse takes time, work, and a support network to help the abused woman grow her self-esteem. The love-drug is such an artificial solution to this problem, and I can easily see the drug being misused in many other situations. The radio host, Jian talked about just taking it to get over a bad break-up, which isn’t so horrible, I suppose, but imagine someone slipping this drug into another’s food in order to manipulate them into a divorce, or the drug being added to an antidepressant to help people be even more “numb” to the world. If I took a little of this drug, would I still love cheezies, sunsets, starry nights, or hiking in the woods? Would I be able to enjoy a nice meal or a good movie with a friend?

I don’t think the love-booster drug is any better. Do we really need to chemically induce every feeling to feel? I think there are some science fiction novels about societies doing that, and it never ends well! Have we become so removed from simple pleasures that we can’t just feel good when we do something we enjoy? Whenever I spend more time being aware of what is going on — what my body is doing, breathing, coming back to the present moment — I am so much more responsive and I am never far away from feeling good. Maybe not ecstatic or elated, but good. Content. Happy.

avocadoOn the other hand, one could argue that food itself is a drug. Have a hot chocolate or mocha and feel the boost it gives you! Enjoy a perfectly-ripe avocado and notice how clear your mind feels afterwards. Eat a big meal of turkey and stuffing and feel the sedative effects. How do donuts make you feel? What about a nice, fresh salad? Steak? Notice any change in the biological feelings in your gut? Besides the obvious fact that food is fuel for your body, every thing you eat is fuel for your mind as well. You can choose to alter your feelings by what you eat. You can alter your feelings by what you think. It all starts with taking ownership of how you feel, and not blaming anyone or anything else. And isn’t it interesting how it can also be explained by energy?!

What do you think of the love-drugs? Would you want to take them to help you through a situation? Do you think there’s a place for them or do you think they should never be approved? I know this is a big topic, so forgive me if I summarized a lot!

One last thing: if you are missing someone, or trying to get over someone, give it time. Try to get yourself in a new environment, with some new friends, and see if you can get your energy field sorted out.

We’re All Killing Something…

I’ve been writing quite a bit, but I wasn’t keen to post any of my articles until today. This blog post practically wrote itself after listening to this podcast.)

We’re all killing something.

We are all murderers of something — killing time, for example — and we could even expand this to things we hate. We hate getting more snow (especially in April). We hate traffic, bad drivers, and road construction. Some of us hate our jobs, or where we are at in life.

Hate is really the first step to murder. We’re all killing something. The root of what we are doing, though, comes back to how we feel about ourselves. Most of us are trying to kill something within us — some part of us we don’t like. Instead of killing it, we may choose to fill our lives with trivialities and materialism to avoid taking responsibility for wielding our real power. We definitely would like to kill an obsession or an addictive personality, our dark sides or flaws. Yet, it takes the dark to make the light… and admitting our imperfections is so very freeing.

Sometimes, we want to kill lovely things, good things around us. Sometimes, we hate ourselves so much, we hate everything positive. We want to dirty goodness, smother kindness, kill peace. We hate ourselves so we abuse and mistreat those around us. Ultimately, there were men who hated themselves so much, the killed a really good guy, Jesus. He epitomized goodness and freedom and healing and happiness, and they just couldn’t take it, so they killed him.

You know what’s amazing about Jesus, though? Even though he was the ultimate victim — was killed even though he was perfectly innocent — he didn’t die with a victim mentality. He died simply. He didn’t whine. He didn’t blame anyone or want to get them back for what they did. He didn’t dwell in self-pity for one second.

In the podcast which inspired this post, Jesus’ entire message is boiled down to this

We are killing the things we should love.

So… what are you killing? Could you possibly learn to love it instead?

Anything is possible. 🙂

New Outlook on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. Love. Sweethearts. Lovers. It’s a day to celebrate that person who will buy you chocolate, a diamond, or take you out for a dimly-lit overpriced dinner. Oops, is my skepticism showing? 😉

But what if you’re single? Valentine’s Day can be a very lonely day! But it doesn’t have to be. Being single doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you as a person. Your value does not depend on being in a relationship.

This Valentine’s Day, rather than focusing on romantic couple love, let’s remember and celebrate all the amazing people in our lives! Let’s make February 14 a special day to make sure we don’t forget about all the lovely, caring people in our lives…

  • friends who are like sisters, brothers, and cousins
  • sisters, brothers, and cousins who are amazing friends!
  • friends who would give us the shirt off their back if we needed it
  • friends who would drive for 8 hours to see us
  • friends who call to check on us just to make sure we’re okay
  • friends who support us in our dreams, accept us as we are and laugh at our funny stories
  • friends who are like partners in crime!
  • friends who were there for us when we were mourning, or who visit us in the hospital
  • friends who take us along with them to some tropical place, or music festival, or canoe trip
  • friends who we just can’t wait to see again

There is no need to be lonely on Valentine’s Day, when you are as lucky as I am to have friends like these. Allowing yourself to get down in the dumps because you don’t have “that special someone” is a slap in the face to all the wonderful people you do have! In a way, it’s a profound new level of UNthankfulness, so no wonder it feels so hopeless and full of despair. Might I suggest a radical change in your perspective?

Be grateful for all the amazing people in your life. You are not alone. You never will be! Refuse to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself, moping, or feeling desperate to hook up with somebody. You are better than that — that is only one option of how to act on Valentine’s Day. You could instead choose to be fabulously happy, calling or messaging all your best friends to let them know how important they are to you, or making plans to do something you LOVE to do but don’t usually have the time for. This, of all days, is the day to make sure you don’t forget those people who have helped you when you are down, who held you up when you were weak, or who believed in you when you weren’t so sure about yourself. Know that you are an amazing person, full of life and vitality, and that life is full of possibilities.

Nope, there won’t be any moping around this place! My chocolate is happiness and my diamonds are appreciation. I go for joy! Married and dating people, you can appreciate all the wonderful people in your life, too!

(Photo from Patti Digh’s blog)

The Stain of Complaining

The other evening, a very good friend and I were sitting around the living room, listening to music and talking about our life experiences. We were connecting deeply, and as the night went on, we both fell asleep on the couch. I was so amazingly content — beautiful music playing, cozy living room, lovely company and wonderful conversation. I felt myself rising to a very high vibration — love and appreciation — and I stayed there for a long time, basking, feeling warm, and connecting to my intuition…

My friend was very comfortable on the couch, I could tell. I was too, but suddenly, I felt like my back was cold — it wasn’t covered by any blanket and there must have been a slight draft from somewhere. From my place of pure, clear appreciation, came the stain of complaining. It was positively palpable — I could taste it in the air. It was like those cheesy stain remover info-mercials where they add deep blue and red dye to a clear container of water — the dye churns. My complaining was colouring my mood and I could feel it as clearly as if I was standing outside in the rain. It churned.

I adjusted my position to get warmer and more comfortable, but the mood did not lift immediately. I laid there, thinking about the startling effect my complaining was having on my body. My happy, glowing feeling was gone. I was just back on the couch, mostly comfortable. I felt like I was in my body again — I had been flying so high, I had been somewhat unaware of my physicality for a while. I felt very concrete, but not grounded. It’s difficult to explain.

The effect on my mind was just as obvious. The lighthearted, clear feeling I had been basking in was gone. I was cloudy, confused, even anxious… all from one little complaint. I had a hard time shaking that feeling of complaining, and I even, very briefly, started judging my friend for being comfortable when I was not. Thankfully, since I am in the habit of being aware of my thoughts, I nipped that in the bud — what a ridiculous thing to be jealous of! But that is what complaining does to you — it makes you jealous, cloudy, confused and frustrated, and since I had been feeling so great before, the contrast of those icky feelings was striking.

Of my body, mind and spirit, my spirit was affected the least. Since I was so aware, I didn’t let the complaining go on too long. I let the feeling pass through me, and resettled into a happier state. I keep coming back to the analogy of a cork on water — you have to work quite hard to keep it down. We are the same — when we stop judging ourselves harshly, putting ourselves down or thinking thoughts of lack, we immediately rise up and start to float again. You and I have an invincible spirit, and the very simple, quick act of breathing and coming back to the moment, feeling the goodness of this moment, lets us rise again.