A Renaissance of Love
Love is a mighty power. It is light. It is the energy of life. It brings us into life and sustains us while we live and breathe.
Love is an energy, not a substance. It is essence, not matter. You can't contain it; you can't put it in a box, but you can feel it, taste it, and know it. Its presence is unmistakable. It is exquisite and profound. And when you are in love, nobody, not your best friend, your parents, or even your own mind can talk you out of it.
Love is mysterious and beautiful. It makes us happy, gives us hope, allows us to believe that the impossible can happen. And yet, it's inexplicable. It can't be defined or analyzed, catalogued or priced. Its premier property is that when it exists, it can never be mistaken for anything else, and nothing else, no matter how worthwhile or supposedly grand, can ever be passed off as love.
Love is a divine energy that steps into human circumstances, a timeless essence that enters time. It is older, wiser, finer, truer, sweeter, and more radiant than any human being. It is what makes us wise, fine, true, sweet, and radiant. It is the best--the essence of God--in us. And it is love, this exquisite energy, with which we connect when we first enter into the human experience we call "a relationship." We see that energy in one another's eyes; we feel it in our bodies and we know that something bigger than life has stepped into our lives to capture our attention. It is this highly charged, buoyant, transcendent, delicious feeling, and the longing for more, for a lifetime of it, that propels us into relationships.
Relationships are the endless interplay of this vast energy of love and all that occurs in our daily human lives. Our desire to feel this love forever, to be in love always, to repeat and endlessly recapture this ecstatic luminous feeling day by day, year after year, with the person who first inspired it in us is not only why we "fall in love" but also why we choose "to have relationships." It is also why, when our relationships go sour or grow threadbare, we reminisce about the way they once were. We want to reconnect with love.
Our greatest desire is to have our relationships return us again and again to the transforming and beautiful experience of the love that first inspired them and brought them into being. We live to love.
If all of this is true about love, and I believe it to be, then why are we so often disappointed in the love in our lives? Why does it so often seem to fail us and why is it so often a pitched battle?
Like so many of the rest of us, I am a veteran of the relationship wars, and by profession I am also a diplomat in love's peacekeeping operations. I've entered and ended more than a dozen fully formed intimate relationships, ranging from conventional marriage to passionate interludes that ran their course, then ended. In some I left; in others I was left. In some I was betrayed; in others I was the betrayer. A few ended in anger, many more ended by creating the portal to a new and deeper connection, allowing the love that had infused them to become even more profound after the relationship's so-called demise.
I've written more than half a dozen books about relationships from the point of view that an intimate relationship is the ultimate container of love in the human experience. As I wrote these books about the traditional forms of relationship, urging people toward the enchantments of romance and the fulfillments of marriage, I watched as my own relationships broke the rules of convention and assumed surprising and extraordinary forms. At first I thought this was just me, but then I realized that everyone I was counseling was also living in relationships that were in conflict with their own definitions of what a relationship should be. Their relationships, too, were turning somersaults and taking on forms that shocked them, and the very strangeness of all this change was sowing a sense of confusion and disaster.
In fact, these startling, new relationships, which conventional minds might call aberrant, are actually Roman candles lighting the way to a world of new possibility. Something wonderful is happening in all this chaos, but nobody knows what it is. Everybody in this position is thinking, "Other people have real
relationships. What's the matter with me?"
There's nothing the matter with any of us, but there is a grand transformation afoot. A mysterious energy seems to be quietly taking over, and things, we may say, just aren't the way they used to be. When we say this, we're not like our grandmothers, crotchety in their rocking chairs, lamenting the passing of the past. A new world, a new way of being, is being born in our midst. We can feel it.
Things are categorically different. Time has a strange new quality. It passes before we have a moment to rest in it. There's a new softness in our midst, a way of being with one another, that is gracious and gentle and kind. There is also a beautiful strangely infiltrating awareness, a mystic pulse of connection that seems to be gathering us together. Love is trying to find us.
And in the process, all the forms are changing. Our whole world of relationships is in an uproar. Love is the wrecking ball that is pulverizing every relationship of record that isn't wide enough or brave enough to let real love in. As a consequence, we can't fantasize anymore about what our relationship lives will be. The truth is that exceptions and aberrations abound. It's as if we awakened one morning to discover that a blizzard of transformation occurred during the night. The new world has its strange beauty. Familiar landmarks are vaguely, heartwarmingly still visible beneath the blanket of snow, but it's treacherous out there. We're cold, we long for the hearth; we want to come home.
This book is about the breaking down of relationships as we have known them, the subsequent emergence of new forms of relatedness, and the future of love. It is about a journey we're already taking. We have been moving backwards, forwards, and sideways into the future, moving away from a place that was dear and familiar and sweet toward a world that is strange and forbidden.
Having been raised to regard marriage as the only honorable relationship, we woke up to discover that it was only one in a vast array of intimate connections. Our relationships are about our hearts, and all this chaos is breaking our hearts. We don't know whether to go along with all this transformation or resist it, whether to think of it as some kind of progress or to dig in our heels, praying for a reprieve from all this harrowing evolution.
The truth is, we have all come from love, but our relationships have often been a detour from love. I believe that we were all together once, as a single, vast, pulsating, luminous consciousness that was divided bit by bit, person by person, into the tiny, shining fragments that are our individual souls. Love is the river, each human being a droplet of water, and together, in spite of our fears and resistance, we are returning to love, melting and flowing toward home.
We're all looking for more love. It's that simple. In the end, nothing else really matters to us. In the beginning and in the middle, we're concerned with the forms of our relationships, what they look like, what our parents think of them, how they stack up in the eyes of the world, and whether we're getting our share of the goodies: sexually, emotionally, and financially.
But in the end, we won't care about the forms. The forms will be as multitudinous as the stars and all that will matter is the love that was in them. No one can escape the divine upheaval of love. I haven't; you won't; our neighbors and strangers and family won't either. Love is coming to find us. All of us. Because love is our essence. Love is who we are. From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from The Future of Love by Daphne Rose Kingma. . Excerpted by permission of Main Street Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.