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Friday, February 3, 2017

Four Kinds of Love


Perhaps the mightiest law of the universe, Karma, is not some malicious force that boomerangs our wrong-doings back to us. It is the energetic accumulation of every one of our actions, both good and bad. And Karma has a reputation for repeating itself.”
Dr. Carmen Herra (The 4 Kinds of Love Relationships, Huffington Post, May 14, 2014)

This month includes Valentine's Day, when we celebrate our love relationships. Let me begin by saying that there is nothing quite like love to absolutely break you down and smash your heart to pulp. Just saying. But having gotten that off my chest, allow me to elaborate a little on the variety of love relationships. I don't know about you, but I was taught the Disney version of love; you fall in love with someone, you marry them, and then you live happily ever after. The "happily ever after" part was the marker of a real relationship. When your primary love bond does not last a lifetime, the feeling of abject failure is overwhelming, and often reinforced by a culture that says you must remain married at all cost—you took a vow to bind yourself to this person “until death do you part.” People have long since figured out that “death” means a lot of things, but knowing that does not always heal the feelings of failure.

Psychologist, Dr. Carmen Herra, identifies at least four types of love relationships—all of them valid. The first is transitory love, which bridges a gap between two seasons of life; two relationships, for instance. In the gap between divorce and remarriage, for many people, a transitory relationship can function to ease the pain of break-up, and restore confidence in one's ability to love and be loved again. Transitory relationships are often fiery in the beginning, as pent-up passion runs amok, but then cool to the freezing point once sanity returns. They may be painful, but they serve a purpose, none the less.

Karmic love is the result of an accumulation of the energy of our actions, both positive and negative, that require resolution. This is where we run into our patterns—attracting, and being attracted to the same kind of person over and over. The hamster-wheel feeling we have, the question, “Why do I keep falling for this type?” is a good one to ask. And, not only ask, but wrestle with. Awareness and action are required to break any problematic pattern. The “owning” of the pattern is crucial. It is MY pattern, and not the other way around. Karmic love may last forever, or it, too, may be transitory. Either way, it can be quite enriching and life-changing because of the personal work it evokes.

And then there's the kind of love in which two people simply grow comfortable with one another. They're not “in love” but they are caring and considerate of one another. Some call this “settling,” and I suppose it is, but many marriages grow into this particular category over time. The relationship is stationary—it feels secure, if not passionate. We get used to each others' quirks and characteristics, and, while they may be irritating, we learn to accommodate and tolerate them. We may find ourselves gritting our teeth pretty often, but not enough to launch out on our own. Very often financial considerations are the glue that holds this kind of love in place.

And, finally, Dr. Herra includes the soul mate sort of love. The one we say we want, but rarely find. It is the sort of love that becomes a singular focus, sometimes to the point of absorption and isolation. People often describe it as “love at first sight.” They knew at some very deep level that this would be their mate for life. Soul mates express the phenomenon of knowing what the other will say before they say it, being so like-minded that no discussion is needed, as though there is only one person with two bodies. Just thinking about it kind of gives us independent types shortness of breath!

All kinds of love, whether temporary or long-term, are valid. We can't have too much love. The more we love, the better our lives will be. Yes, there is pain associated with love, but it's worthy pain! Don't stop loving because of pain. Leave your heart open. The more open your heart, the more positive Karma you generate. And that, my friend, is a very good thing.

                                                       In the Spirit,

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