Sunday, November 29, 2009

Love is not love unless it is unconditional


I've discovered, in the last several years, that the reason we come into life is to learn lessons, and that every one of life's lessons is about relationships to myself and others, or put simply, about love.

I learned very early in this life that a lot of what we human beings label as love is either very co-dependent or conditional, and that we have mirrored that kind of love in our religions and beliefs about God. Christianity (along with most religions),  teaches us that God's love is very conditional: We must bring just the right sacrifice into the temple or he'll not only reject our sacrifice, but us too. And if we keep messing up and don't get it right, we get cast into the outer darkness while God and his teacher's pets (the ones who gave the right answer to the question "Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?"),  get to have a party in heaven.

Ah! I get it! So love is about pleasing! (The light bulb moment.) I get it - I go to God with a contrite heart and confess to him what a dirty, filthy, worm I am and that I don't deserve to be loved and then I ask Jesus into my heart and get covered up in Jesus' blood so that I can deserve God's love and now God doesn't know it's me but he's really looking at Jesus and...wait a minute. If I get covered up in Jesus' blood and God only sees Jesus, then he's not really loving me, is he? And since Jesus is God, then really God is only loving a reflection of himself. Then God must be a narcissist.

And this is the model that we use as the primary measurement for love in Western society. Little wonder we're so fucked up.  This is the reason why parents can't love their children without placing unfair and unrealistic expectations upon them. (Do it my way or risk my disappointment. Marry the right person or risk my disappointment. Choose the profession that I want for you or risk my disappointment. Don't make mistakes, get divorced, lose your job, be gay, or in any way disgrace this family or risk my rejection.) This is the reason children grow up feeling like they're total fuck-ups and can't do anything to please their parents or gain their love and approval. This is the reason we pass that hurt, anger, and disappointment into our own relationships with our friends, neighbors, spouses, children, and throughout the entire world. It is this model of love (which is really not love at all), that is the cause of all war, hunger, and greed, for it is rooted in fear - fear of not getting our needs met, fear of being unrecognized, and ultimately the fear of being cast into the outer darkness or the fear of rejection.

At the tender age of thirty-nine I decided that I'd had about all of this kind of love I could take and I set out on a different journey. I set out to find real love.  It took me about three years of intense deprogramming, and consistently receiving a lavish dose of real, unconditional, love on a daily basis before I began to realize that what I had always thought was, and experienced as love, wasn't love at all, but was a sick, fearful, narcissistic kind of love that was only using me to get its own needs fulfilled. And once I tasted real love, I could never go back to the cheap, conditional, imitation stuff. And when the threats of rejection from my family and friends came along (because I was no longer playing by their rules), it made it so much easier for me to turn to them and say, "Sorry guys, I really do love you, but I've found something much better. I no longer need what you have to offer," and I turned and walked away.

For nearly ten years, now, I have known and experienced real love. I'm not saying that it has always made my life easier. In fact, in many ways it has made my life more challenging, for to accept and live real love, one must completely ignore what the rest of the world not only offers but most often imposes as love. And I find that I must often remind myself, in moments of weakness, that what they're trying to impose on me is not real but a cheap imitation (like imitation cheese - yuk!).  It's worth it, though, because in knowing real love I have cast out the fear of rejection and because I no longer know fear, I am no longer enslaved to others' expectations and I am free - free to love them in a way that they never knew how to love me...unconditionally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Living beyond fear


 
 
 
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
 
It is our light, not our darkness,
That most frightens us.
 
We ask ourselves, who am I
To be brilliant, gorgeous,
Talented and fabulous?
 
Actually, who are you not to be?
 
You are a child of God.
 
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people
Won’t feel insecure around you.
 
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
 
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
 
And as we let our light shine,
We unconsciously give other people
Permission to do the same.
 
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
 

 by Marianne Williamson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On living in the past

 


 

 History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside. -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I can't believe it's real!

So my copy of my first novel, So Faithful a Heart, arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. (And yes, I'm still pinching myself!) When I opened the box and held it in my hands for the first time, I almost cried. I really did it! I really wrote and published a book! There were a few small issues with it (miscalculation on the spine so the wording was off-center and the font on the chapter heading in chapter seven didn't imbed for some reason), but those issues have been corrected so anyone who orders a copy at this point won't see them.

This novel was inspired by my master's research thesis on the life and career of Mozart's original Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Anna "Nancy" Storace. After I wrote my thesis, I realized that this story was so interesting, so exciting, and so beautiful that I couldn't believe that no one had told it. It took me nine additional years of background research on the lives of Mozart and Nancy as well as 18th century Europe, 18th century England and Catholic Europe, the French Revolution, and anything else on the 18th century I could find and read. Finally, on a cold day last January I decided to quit putting it off and I just started writing. I never dreamed that less than a year later I would be holding it as a book in my hands.

Last night I told Steph that I've finally rescued Nancy Storace out of the cobwebs of Mozart history, vindicated her, and given her the rightful place that I feel she deserves in the Mozart story. She had gotten lost, and it was shame because her/their story is incredible and adds an important perspective to Mozart's life that authors and historians have missed througout the last two centuries. (I have my theories as to why they were missed, and I explore that in the Afterword in my book.)

So many thanks go to so many people for this, but none so much as go to my beloved Steph, who without her novel, Night Music, and without her knowledge and expertise in so many areas, as well as her assistance in so many of the technical aspects of this project, this book would never have happened. I kept telling her that her name deserved to be on the cover of this every bit as much as mine, but she refused to accept that place, giving it to me alone. But that's how she is, and is only one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

And so here I am. I've accomplished something that only a few can say that they've accomplished: I'm an author!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So Faithful a Heart: The Love Story of Nancy Storace and Wolfgang Mozart on Lulu.com


The day has arrived!  I have published my novel and it is ready for purchase on Lulu.com!  Go to THIS LINK to purchase your copy! 

Here is an excerpt:

It was only a short walk from the Trattnerhof to the Burgtheater, just a few yards to the square, and across to the Hofburg. They arrived at the stage door, where the guard recognized them and allowed them passage within.
     The backstage area was dimly lit by some sputtering candles in sconces on the walls. Nancy's dressing room was only a few short feet down a narrow corridor, so she asked Mozart to wait for her while she went to retrieve the score. She took a candle from out of a small wooden box lying by the backstage entrance and lit it off of one of the wall sconces.
     Mozart loved the look and smells of the theater backstage. The aroma of dusty velvet mixed with sawdust, human sweat and stage make-up captivated his innate sensuality, and the thick, red velvet curtains reminded him of the draperies that hung in the bordellos he'd visited once or twice. Perhaps it was also because of the many clandestine encounters he had witnessed between so many actors and actresses, backed up against the walls or hiding behind heavy, velvet curtains, unashamedly indulging their heated passions between acts. Whatever the reason, being backstage always aroused him, especially when he was in the company of a beautiful woman.
     In only a few minutes Nancy made her way back up to the corridor to where Mozart stood waiting. Her hair was piled loosely on the top of her head with curls cascading partially down her back and little wisps softly framing her heart-shaped face. Her golden skin reflected the dim candlelight, giving her a soft, almost iridescent glow.
     "She looks good enough to eat!" he thought. He still couldn't separate his thoughts from their earlier conversation, and despite his claims that he was concerned mostly for her safety, he couldn't escape the vivid pictures in his imagination of the wedding night, and what would take place between Fisher and Nancy in the sanctity and privacy of the bedchamber. The thought of Fisher touching her was almost more than he could bear.
     "Is there nothing you can do to prevent this marriage?" He hesitated a moment and looked around nervously before he spoke again. "I can't stand the idea of Fisher's hands on you," he exclaimed.
     Nancy was taken aback by his sudden outburst. She stepped back slightly and peered into his eyes. They pierced into her, and she was mesmerized....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blog Neglect


Yes I admit it. I'm suffering from blog neglect, but not without good reason, for I am now in the final throes of publishing my novel, So Faithful a Heart: The Love Story of Nancy Storace & Wolfgang Mozart and I am looking at a publishing date by the end of the week and a release date in a week or so afterward. So please bear with me as I get this project finished up. I should be back in full swing in a few weeks!