From Everything to Nothing

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.
~ Jack Kerouac

When we were strangers, I watched you from afar
When we were lovers, I loved you with all my heart.
But now it’s gettin’ late and the moon is climbin’ high
I want to celebrate, see it shinin’ in your eye
~ Neil Young, Harvest Moon

In our Nothingness of being of new to the world of consciousness, the first Love most of us experience is from of our lifeblood: Mom. We never doubt it because it’s unconditional. Really–who else but my Mom would continue to quietly and lovingly forgive my uncharacteristically circumstantial anxiety, bitchiness, and withdrawal? Not a single damn person. 

Maybe it’s because of our mothers’ unconditional Love that we don’t analyze most other declarations of Love we encounter as we grow. Instead, we’re inclined to accept Love from most people at face value. Just as us, they’re occupied with their own pursuits and troubles. And just as we do, they give of themselves as they can at any given time.

But the coupled romantic variety of Love… Awh! It holds the infuriating (and yet exhilarating) distinction of having to withstand much more scrutiny.

From the time we’re children, this type of Love is presented as a fragile mystery. Despite knowing that a flower can’t predict human emotion, I couldn’t resist the spike of Happiness (and Rejection) that I felt as I reached the last few petals in that timeless backyard game:

He loves me.
He loves me not.
He loves me.
He loves me…?

While in the rush of new love, our analysis of their words and actions replace the flower petals:  

-How can I be sure that he truly loves me when he (did or didn’t do/say…)?
-If I give so much of my life to him, will he always see to my best interests alongside his own?
-Will I exist in his life as an accessory or am I needed as his partner?
-Will his commitment extend through the inevitable difficulties of a long-term relationship?
-Does he trust and respect me enough to tell me things he tells no one else?

These types of questions fade over time as couples continue to form a solid foundation. And when the initial wow-iness has settled into a more comfortable contentment, those committed in some significant way usually evolve into regularly and unambiguously expressing their Love for one another. Whether they demonstrate their affection in other ways or not, doing so helps demonstrate their commitment to the health of the relationship.

Yet, because we’ve all been hurt before, because the realist side of the brain exists alongside the romantic side, and because we practice different Love languages, we can still have internal doubts:

-Are our differences too vast for us to be suited for one another?
-Does he want to build a life together or am I just a convenience, or worse, a consolation prize?
-How can we be so Bouncy with and Balancing for one another, yet lack so many fundamentals? 

Absent regular and voluntarily mutually-initiated reassurances, one partner or another can be left to gauge if the relationship is where they’re “supposed to be” by relying only on their own feelings. The strength and purity of such positive feelings are revealed during Unexpected Moments of Clarity while experiencing life together:

-Feeling the all-enveloping hug of a cherished tradition spent in the forest with their friends
-Viewing oscillating digital memories of life together while rocking out to the surround-sound music that’s become their soundtrack
-Watching him with his mannerisms and his arms and thinking with a heart smile, “he’s my __insert pet name here__”  

At a deeper level, Unexpected Moments of Clarity reveal themselves in the short-term absence of the significant other:

-Tending to the 30 hot peppers plants you put in the garden dirt for him
-Connecting with his favorite writer because of a quote at the start of a borrowed book

I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles- a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other- that kept me going. – Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

When Moments of Clarity become more complex in their intensity during prolonged separation, one might be confident in the Authenticity of their Love for the other, but is at higher risk for projecting their own Authenticity and falsely believing that their partner will receive them with a more open heart and mind:  

-Embracing and welcoming the Contradiction of being simultaneously elated for Solitude and also longing for his presence
-Somehow finally being at peace with the possibility that he may reject your attempts to be closer but choosing to be vulnerable anyway

These more Intense Moments of Clarity can answer the wisdom that middle school aged girls cling to for guidance.  

If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was. (Here’s a psychoanalytic perspective of this popular phrase.)

Transcending to the Intense Moments of Clarity is possible through a return to the state of Nothingness. Finding, exploring, and returning from even a brief period of Nothingness results in a lingering of Absolute Joy so consuming that one can finally and fully understand what it means to possess Happiness and Love within instead of searching for it in others.

To have that kind of Love returned to us, we have to give it away uninhibited. It’s useless to keep it all to ourselves.

But sometimes, it’s just too late.

Sometimes you return to find he is struggling to be set free.

And with his twice-stated refusal of such an ordinary disclosure, which reveals that his Vulnerability is less penetrable than a brick wall, you experience a Moment of Clarity so Contrary to those others that forever kept your heart open and available to him, that you finally and fully understand–none of your questions were unfounded.

So you set him free.

And he doesn’t come back.

So it goes.

Everything has turned to Nothing. 

<3,C – 20171024


  1. An interesting and thought-provoking read. “….possess Happiness and Love within instead of searching for it in others.” Yep. Resolved that about myself many years ago and quite happy the way my life has gone. Do I miss the companionship? Occasionally a whiff of a great aftershave will make me nostalgic. But not enough to do anything about it! 😉 I ‘draw’ my love from the love I have for others: first, with Rachel and all those growing-up years we had together; second, with Zeke because he’s my #2 Sunshine; third, family; fourth, God’s love; fifth, close friends; sixth, service to others. So, yeh, I agree.


  2. For the longest time I felt that I needed someone whom loved me as much as I loved them. But I now know that I was wrong. Nobody is ever going to make me happy if I am not happy with myself. Love is a mystical subject that has been pushed into an objective reality for most people. We are told our entire youth that we must fall in love, get married, have kids and so forth. It’s the American Dream, so the object of love has been force fed to us our entire lives. Great post and thank you for opening the thinking and feeling calves within.


    • Thanks for the comment, Be Love!

      I agree totally. The “complete me-ness” of romantic love and the idea that the American Dream has a white picket fence around it has permeated American culture for so long that most people move from love, marriage, kids, etc. without much thought about whether they’re on their best life path.

      With that said and being someone who hasn’t followed the prescribed path to American Dream happiness, I do believe in the value and power of a having a committed soulmate / life partner. Similar to your statement that no one can make us happy unless we’re happy with ourselves, I firmly believe that “the Love you take, is (indeedy do), equal to the Love you make” – including and most importantly, the love that you allow yourself to give to yourself. My next blog is forming around that very idea.


      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s