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Wolf Larsen On February - 21 - 2011

So what is love? Has it found you or left you? Do you live with it or exist without it? Is its absence an open wound or a relief?

Love is maybe the most subjective emotion a person can have. It is ever evolving in and out of a relationship. It can become your best friend or worse enemy depending on the outcome. It is necessary for many but not needed by some. You can live without it. But can you flourish? I truly don’t know. But I know there is no single answer or solution for everyone.

I am writing this because a friend of mine wanted to know what I thought love was…..given my track record you would think she’d have sought more of an expert. But here goes…

For me love is many things. It resides in family and hopefully is returned to you with vigor. There is the love of friendship….that often neglected union that can go years without nourishment and return to life with a simple phone call or a long overdue visit. There is the love of a child that for me can’t be equaled. That is the purest love.

There is the love you find on the playground. In a darkened theater… on a summer vacation long ago or only yesterday. It is found everywhere…and sometimes nowhere to be seen. A song can remind you of a moment when it was found and now lost to the years….still holding a powerful hold over you.

It can bind you to another for the rest of your life or its hold can be tenuous and weak….losing its grasp after only a short time.

I know I am romantic….guilty as charged. I have found it many times and lost it. Still carry it in my heart for many….even those that may no longer remember me. It feels great and it can cut like a knife.

Wars have started over it. Some of the greatest literature in human history deals with it. It is sought….held close….and can slip from your fingers. Do you give up when you lose it? Hope not. Do you work hard to keep it when you find it? Hope so.

For me it is what sustains me. It is what breathes life into me and without it I feel lost. It is something that has to be shown daily to be appreciated. Nothing I have ever known is more graceful than the walk of the person you love. Nothing more sublime then their morning smile. When it finds you again….like it has me….your life is never the same. It is seen through the eyes of another. Pretty damn amazing and a complete mystery. Thank you L.

That is what love is to me….what is it to you……

107 Responses so far.

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  1. ADONAI says:

    Love is being stupid together.
    ~Paul Valery

    Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

    Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.
    ~James Thurber

    The best proof of love is trust.
    ~Joyce Brothers

    ~Random Ex-Wife

  2. Abbyrose86 says:

    Great topic Wolf!

    I think people do need love as much as they need food or air.

    We are social creatures and do not exist on this planet alone, we need others and we need to feel valued, respected and cared about…which in my mind is at the basis of the emotion called love.

    Love is not just romantic in nature, although that can be part of it…there are many layers and types of love.

    There is romantic love or the love that grows for a significant other or spouse that comes from being together from being together a long time, that encompasses MANY different components.

    There is the love for parent to child. There is the love of a child to a parent, or a grandparent OR any other family member to one another. There is the love of a sibling or a friend or even on another level, the love for a neighbor or for mankind in general.

    There is the love of one’s country or for one’s city, or one’s sports team, while these types of love seem to be be more superfluous, then the others, they still count.

    Love is such an important aspect of life and without love; life is meaningless.

    I’ve lost forever many whom I loved…my mother, my father, and other beloved relatives (grandparent’s, aunts, uncles, cousins) as well as many good friends.

    I’ve been going to funerals since I was 5 (literally) and realized at a very young age, how important love really is and how much it hurts when a loved one is gone forever.

    In addition, just like everyone else, I’ve experienced break ups with romantic partners and old friends, even splits in the family, and have seen the damage lost love can do to a person.

    It seems one does not realize how important all these types of love REALLY are, until they have lost people whom they love; either through death or break up or other other means.

    Love is so important to a fulfilling life and yet we don’t as a society seem to place enough value on it…

    • Wolf Larsen says:

      Thank you Abby and well said. When I wrote this I never really expected the level of outpouring from so many different people. We all have much in common in what we love but the way we dispense it and the walls we at times erect to guard us from it varies greatly.

      Your post like so many of the others does illustrate one thing. Love comes in many shapes….exists on many levels and is still a bit of a mystery to most people.

      Reading everyone’s comments really gives one a rare glimpse into a world that makes them uniquely who they are.

      For me it seems when I am looking for love I rarely find it but when I close myself off from it….it finds me….

  3. coffeegod says:

    Love is allowing another person into your personal world and opening yourself up to the inevitable injury of doing so. Taking that risk is the first and hardest step of love.

    To love is to hurt and be hurt but to grow out of that hurt and learn from it. By loving, you become strong, you survive.

    My most difficult task to date is loving my son enough to let go and allow him mistakes and injury.

    I don’t think it is that warm, squishy feeling when you lock eyes with that amazingly attractive human across the room or how you feel when he/she finally shows up with chocolates and flowers. Both of those feelings, however, are well worth experiencing.

    Thanks, Wolf! Great words.

  4. LisaDi9 says:

    Love is a personal journey.
    Each one of us have stories of heart break
    Each one of us have stories of great loves.

    What I do know, I have my baggage to content with.
    What I learned is sometimes, I have to take that unpleasant journey to learn more about myself.
    So for me, Love is a journey, coupled with my personal wisdom through out my days on earth.
    I always found this saying strange….You need to love yourself, to love others.
    Now, that I have gone through some journeys in life, I find it profoundly true.
    For instances, if you’re intolerant of your mistakes, how do you learn from them
    I’ve made many mistakes in my life, I’ve accepted the shame and consequences, and I TRY REALLY HARD to learn from them.
    Love is a journey…one step at a time, with many laughs and cry’s on the way.

  5. semirade says:

    What an interesting thread -so much romance after Valentine’s it’s a bit hard to take (oops, almost wrote tame, maybe should have). I’m in the lost and found department myself! or vice versa. At my old age, with a complex history of child abuse, gender identity issues, baggage car full of items brought to my relationships, a wife who died of cancer, not before divorcing me, and my caring for her in her final years, leaving me with 2 kids to raise -- going into a “closet” for fear that my history might disrupt the equilibrium of the traumatized loved ones -- and through it all, a loyal past girl friend who pushes my buttons and became a “born again” -- “love” alludes me!!!!
    I’ve become far too cynical — although I must admit the memories of love are some of the most profound that haunt my life, and it’s cruelties some of the most shameful and regrettful that do the same! I believe love is sadly temporal -- and will at some time create the most profound loss to one partner -- but hopefully the most life-affirming memories.
    Later in life I cared for an elderly couple, perhaps the most love I’ve expressed in my life has been the care for others -- my children -- both wonderful and well-adjusted human beings; my ex who with the hurt we caused one another -- I learned to bring her life to a close and love her through it (leaving me with the most complex memories); the man I cared for-for 12 years until he died in my arms; the relationship with a lady who has changed to something I “love/hate” but can confess my deepest secrets to!
    Yet I am alone with several regrets! Love shouldn’t impede the lives of others, either in its’ most destructive rift or its’ most passionate moments -- it should help to evolve and forward the world and the human race -- whether one finds him/herself “poly-amorous” or “monogamous”, if the time comes that love “collapses” -- it’s how one negotiates through the ruins without harming others and still have the ability to heal wounds and accept the scars, knowing that some of the most precious gems have imperfections. Now I hate to be alone! I wonder if I am reaping that which I have sown -- love like life is a wondrous complexity -- and one that few are lucky enough to experience in its’ perfection, but always marvel at its’ capacity. Hey that’s just the ponderings of an old cynic! “True I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy, which is as thin of substance as the air and more inconstant than the wind” -- Mercutio a la Shakespeare

    • Artist50 says:

      That was so open and honest. I am now alone after a 32 yr marriage and and 8 yr relationship. I’d never been alone and at first it was physically painful, but I actually love and cherish it now. My life was always based on someone else’s -- my husbands or my childrens. Now I’ve found a self love I never had thought I had in me that has made me a more giving person. I’ve remained friends with both of the loves of my lives and my love for my adult sons is different now that they aren’t dependent on me. I can feel that tide switching as they are starting to feel responsible for me. I am now experiencing the joy and love of 3 young grandchildren which is like magic and they have filled any void I may have had.

    • Wolf Larsen says:

      Thank you Semirade….. ; )

  6. Hay Zeus Boodah says:

    Love never cuts like a knife…..the lack of does !

    • Wolf Larsen says:

      Thank you Zeus….I always found unrequited love can cut like a knife but you are right….it comes from an absence in another…; )

  7. KQuark says:

    To me anything that makes life worth living is worthy of being called a love. Love manifests itself in infinite ways and has infinite degrees. You can put love in different arbitrary subgroups if you want but it all comes back to the same basic feeling.

    I love my wife and I love pizza. Because if I lost either one from my life would be diminished. Of course the degrees I love each are not even comparable. It sounds like I’m minimizing the word love but as long as you put qualifiers with the term love you can describe all it’s different forms and levels.

  8. teamplayer says:

    “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together;
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

    I love Khalil Gibran.
    He understood the importance of personal space.

  9. Khirad says:

    Several ancients distinguished different forms of love.

    The Greeks, famously had ἀγάπη, agape versus ἔρως, eros (these two adopted by Christianity), with φιλία, philia -- brotherly love, of course. Sanskrit had even more distinctions (with a correlation of प्रेम, prema and काम, kama to the preceding).

    Modern Hindi/Urdu has at least three to four, sometimes used interchangeably, but with different shades of meaning: प्रेम prem, प्यार pyar, इश्क़ ishq, मुहब्बत, muhabbat (last two Arabic loanwords محبت ,عشق).

    And there’s still more more subtle distinctions. The Persian loanword दोस्ती, dosti might be comparable to the Greek philia. Ishq, by the way, at least in Bollywood, tends to denote something more ‘passionate’. (By these words alone I just gave everybody here an easy way to mine Hindi songs on YouTube, too. 😉 )

    English has the greatest vocabulary of any language (due to so many of those furrin’ words), and yet unlike Hindi, a total paucity of words to describe one of the most complex emotions -- if not the most -- in the human experience.

    Can ‘love’ really adequately describe it all? Or, is it fair, because, it’s all ‘love’? Or, like the good Germanic language English is, that we get by on compounds (like the Inuits do with snow -- yes, that cocktail story about them and words for snow is a myth).

    Personally, I find the different shades and inflections of individual words for love more fascinating -- and utilitarian to the poet, but I just thought I’d leave that out there for y’all to ponder.

  10. PocketWatch says:

    PocketWatch ➡ Roadkill on Love Highway, just north of mile marker 5.

    Wave as you go by…

    ” alt=”Emoticon” border=”0″ />

  11. KillgoreTrout says:

    I’ll let Harry explain it;

  12. chasethis says:

    Goodnight, all. And would you all join me to encourage Wolf to post here on a regular basis? How many thumbs up have you got?

  13. chasethis says:

    “Women marry men hoping they will change.
    Men marry women hoping they will not.
    So each is inevitably disappointed.”
    — Albert Einstein

  14. ChrisR266 says:

    Nice, Wolf. You make such a fuzzy concept and feeling very real.
    Many people tend to think of love as it is (or isn’t) manifest in behaviors observed or self-authorized. And, most Interpersonal Communication texts deal with relational issues of love by referring to Lee’s “colors of love:”
    * Eros – a passionate physical and emotional love based on aesthetic enjoyment; stereotype of romantic love.
    * Ludus – a love that is played as a game or sport; conquest; may have multiple partners at once.
    * Storge – an affectionate love that slowly develops from friendship, based on similarity.
    * Pragma – love that is driven by the head, not the heart; undemonstrative.
    * Mania – obsessive love; experience great emotional highs and lows; very possessive and often jealous lovers.
    * Agape – selfless altruistic love; spiritual; motherly love.
    I tend to bring it down to simple terms:
    Love is like oxygen
    You get too much you get too high
    Not enough and you’re gonna die
    Love gets you high
    ~ Sweet (Scott and Griffin)

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