Sunday, September 29, 2013

Acting The Fool

Yesterday morning, I was wandering around a site called Rebelle Society and discovered this passage by Jennette Winterson in a short essay, "Falling in Love Explained to Children," from Andrea Balt:
How do you fall in love? You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear.
It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signaled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home.
And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
P.S. You have to be brave.
It was a nice way to start the day, and I was feeling mushy about Pinko. Really mushy.
Since we had been internet buddies for a couple of years before I went to Burning Man, I already knew I loved Pinko before I ever went out there.  I love all my internet friends.  The primary difference between Pinko and my other colleagues at Roundtree7, or Punk Patriot or Comrade Kevin or any of my blogging buddies is that I never had a romantic agenda with any of the other internet friends.

Pinko and I seem to get along like a house on fire, which is great, but since I finally shifted my romantic patterns and am not looking to a man as an authority figure to forgive and heal ancient wounds, define my identity and all that mishigas people load onto romantic relationships, this thing with Pinko feels very different from relationships in the past.  Given that those relationships were generally unhealthy, there's a reason to celebrate, but I didn't recognize any of my feelings or responses as they are unfamiliar.  "Falling in Love," helped clarify something I suspected was developing around Love.

Now, Love is a very loaded vocabulary word and I've avoided using it in any way shape or form with Pinko.  I avoided it yesterday morning, too, even though we did talk on Skype like we usually do.  What Jennette says about taking a big jump was in my head, though, and when we were reviewing a bit of our brief history, I used the phrase "leap of faith."  Pinko objects to the word "faith" because of the religious connotations and made it clear that he wants no part of that word ever associated with anything he says or does.  I understand where he's coming from, but I started wondering if our different ideas about spirituality, or lack thereof, will wind up being a deal breaker.  The thought hit me so hard that I had to go to bed.  Pinko was able to see that thought take hold in my head.  He didn't know what I was thinking, but he remarked that it was like my light just turned off.

I had indulged in a little wake and bake, which I haven't done in a while, so it was easy enough to say I'd hit the wall and needed a nap.  But that wasn't really true.  I was wondering if his opinions about some things are so strong that there's no room for me.   A couple of hours later, I started wondering if I've made this whole relationship up in my head.  I've wanted a partner for a long, long time - and I've made mistakes with square pegs and round holes before.  Usually the square peg doesn't go along with the round hole idea, and Pinko has certainly been going along with me about coming to New York to investigate an alliance.

It's probably natural to have thoughts like these when you're getting to know someone, especially someone who is rapidly becoming part of your life.  That kind of change is scary, and we sometimes invent obstacles to prevent getting closer.  You've got to be able to trust your own instincts to be able to distinguish between real issues and invented fears.  Since the issues are typically just an expression of Fear, we're back to choosing to look on a situation with Love or with Fear just like we do all the time about everything.

It's kind of like The Fool in a Tarot deck.  A leap of faith may not be sensible, but it feels right.

The fool is the symbol of true innocence, a perfect state of joy and freedom, the sure feeling to be one with the spirit of life, at any time.
The Fool has the number 0, for someone ready to go in any direction, open to all possibilities.  He belongs nowhere, has no past, but an infinite future . . . He reacts directly to the current situation, nothing is calculated, nothing is hidden.
In most decks, The Fool is shown with an animal, as a symbol of nature, the animal soul in perfect harmony with the spirit that just follows its instincts.  The Fool is courage, optimism and the belief in life and himself.
When times are hard, and we suffer the pressure of 'being reasonable' or denying our instincts, The Fool reminds us that our inner person knows best what to do. 'Always trust your instincts.'


intelliwench said...

"You've got to be able to trust your own instincts to be able to distinguish between real issues and invented fears." Rings so true for me -- and not just in matters of the heart. We humans so often do a much better of putting barriers in the way of what we want, perhaps because it's safer to discount any chance of success than to risk, and possibly not get that ideal outcome. I thought I'd outgrow that, but no . . .
(And I would refer Mr. Pinko to's first entry for the word faith: "Confidence or trust in a person or thing." I have faith that with time you'll both be speaking the same language ;-) )

PENolan said...

Thank you, Intelli
A quick consultation of Etymology online revealed that "faith" did not become associated with religion until the late 14th century.
Lots of faith long before the Church started using it to boss people around.
And we do, indeed, throw barriers in our own way all the time. I read a book once about The Upper Limit Problem - where we create dramas because we believe we've reached our upper limit of happiness.

Soulfulseasuzz said...

yep... I'm with intelliwench. Faith is about trust, and its so polarizing to chain it to religion. I also think that if you're not into religion... don't get so hung up about the lingo associated with it. Spirituality on the otherhand is a lovely thing. Its a gentle way of moving through life with love and tenderness. To take a leap of faith is to trust your gut that its ok to push the upper limits of the known.

joanneinjax said...

I have been a frequent reader of your blog, but have never commented.
I admire most of your political views, and support your re-invention of yourself post-divorce.
What troubles me if your focus on having a partner. Believe me, having a decade, at least, more of experience in this field, I fear for your heart. You were primed for the 'big love' at BM, and you 'found' it.
If this guy doesn't have 'faith' in your relationship, because of his lack of belief in traditional religion, then no matter how many dictionary, or theological definitions you come up with, something is missing. And, I'm certainly not born again, or even religious, though brought up Episcopalian, or Whiscopalians, as we often joked.
I want great things for you, and perhaps Pinko is yours. I'm sure you will know after a few days of him being 'first man' in your lovely new home.
Best to you,

Susan Partlan said...

Faith and religion were a stumbling block in the beginning of my relationship with Martin. We argued about it for years. I'm not particularly religious, but I am spiritual, and my community of church friends are important to me. Now Martin sings in choir with me at my Episcopal church every Sunday. The way we worked it out is by agreeing on language and concepts we can both live with. For example, Jesus is another manifestation of the Plant God. (We read a lot of Joseph Campbell.) The Eucharist is the same as the bread of the earth and fruit of the vine from Judaism. Stuff like that. We mixed everything up with ideas from multiple spiritual systems. It works for us. I think if you stick up for what is important to you it will work out, but you might have to discuss/argue the point more than feels comfortable. Sending love and hugs Patricia. xoxo

PENolan said...

Susan - Great advice, and I think we're heading in a similar direction. The good news is that I'm aware of old patterns and am working to prevent old mistakes.

joanneinjax - I'm so glad you commented. Don't worry! It's all good - he's got confidence, and now that I took intelli's suggestion to heart and sent him the definition and etymology of "faith", he may even have faith too. And you're right, this sort of thing is exactly what that month is for.

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