02 October 2009

Tell Me Tales Of Love

Amor non tenet ordinem (“Love has nothing to do with order”)
Columbanus, Irish monk a-wandering in circa 6th century A.D.

Nutty Irishmen seem to have it in with each other.

Columbanus, perhaps a brother or cousin to me and separated from me more by time than by spirit, knew whereof he spake. His ‘rule’ has earned a special place in my head and heart, as of late. I say this because I get it, and I don’t get it.

Order? Love? Through one set of lenses, they seem a perfect pair. After all, isn’t love the way of things, the path that all hearts follow? We awaken to love in youth, through the spectrum of attachment to Ma and Da, learning to love our siblings and extended family, stumbling onto the precious delights of romantic love as we turn from foals into stallions and mares…eventually diving into the overheated ocean we call passion and sex. It is an arc of which we are very familiar, and we begin to think the lenses we wear to be our eyes. In the opiate daze of passion, we can no longer tell the difference between the two. Cool crystal merges slowly into warm flesh, and we are so distracted the border between mineral and animal effectively no longer exists.

Change the color of those lenses from rose to garnet, and the order we once knew dissolves, igniting into the unchecked fire that is love gone wrong. The petty slights of an unthinking partner, the abandonment of a heart gone cold, the sheer bloody-mindedness of human beings who take things for granted: fuel for an enraged heart and fevered mind. Sometimes the flames eat at the center of our souls, like a coal fire buried in a mountain. Other times, the fire engulfs us on the outside, consuming everything in its path at a breathtaking pace. Consider the forest fire unleashing such energy that the trees explode: the sap and water boil under the onslaught of combustion and runaway oxidation.

In either case, we lose a sense of our discrete identity. As so often happens, we learn this too late the first time around, and shy from it the next. The transformative nature of these emotional transactions can never be avoided, they can only be experienced. One can only hope that we ourselves are iron in the hands of a master blacksmith, or honey in the mouths of bees.

Love. Fractal emotion that defines the swirling edges of an interior self that yearns to be wanted, to be included, to be desired. If our hearts can be described as strange attractors, our minds fervently hope that the mathematics of compassion and desire will bring us to that ideal state from which we need seek no further. Our emotions a mesh in the currents of space-time around which another soul will spiral and spiral, finally coming to rest in the bottom of the curve.

The joke, the prank that the Universe lays upon us is this: just because the heart falls into an ideal state, does not mean that it is the only, best state in which to exist. We can predict with some certainty that there will be a time, a place in which the heart feels at rest and need go no further. What we cannot know, because infinity cannot be known, is if the state we are in is indeed the best to be had…or even if it is close to being the best. Thus, the slow poisons of insecurity and jealousy and fear can knock the heart out of the mesh in which it is embedded. Sometimes it is pure accident, sometimes it is medicine…the heart wanders about, seeking another occurrence, another intersection of want and need in which to lose itself. The lucky ones succeed. The unlucky ones keep looking.

The Beatles, Jesus, the Persian poet Rumi: Many are those who have suggested that all you need is love. As children we accept this without questioning. As adults we tend to scoff at such breathtaking naivete. Eventually, though, experience transforms into wisdom, the color slowly drains from the lenses, and the heart and the mind meld into singularity. Love will not feed you, or clothe you, or put a roof over your head. It will, however, sustain you.

The chaos of love: an order that we cannot perceive, without which we cannot live.
Speaking of the things we do for love, please check out "BEING AWARE CAN SAVE A CHILD'S LIFE" on HotDads, by Kevin at Always Home and Uncool. Thank you to Kevin, for bringing this to my attention. Blessings and all the best to you and yours.


  1. "What's love got to do with it?"

    that kept running through my mind............

  2. I'd love to see the mathematics of compassion and desire in action on paper.

    Had a Guiness (or two) the other night and thought of you. I'm Irish too you know, my ancestors are from County Mayo.

  3. I've made a conscious decision not to fall for that old prank anymore. Perhaps my new sense of contentment - for once - has outsmarted the universe.

  4. I keep hearing (in my head) that scene from Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law singing lines from many love songs. That will be stuck in my head all day.

    for Mo. My ancestors came from Counties Louth and Armagh (my mom's side anyway. not sure about dad's)

  5. My Irish side if from Cork.
    Great post, Irish. I think it's the reason we are here.

  6. Oh Irish, you wax poetic. Love is one of those intangible things that everybody experiences differently. So often the mind tends to try and override the heart, but when we stop to examine the effects of love on our soul we are truly humbled by it.

    Yes, even if you consider that you have found "the one" you sometimes find that you fall back on your loins and never progress any further. I discovered this myself and found that I wasn't trying to be the type of person that I was striving for before I got married. I let a good six years go by before realizing this. I have been striving ever since and have applied what I learn to my relationship towards that one person and have benefited significantly.

  7. great post, Irish :-) I'm glad I wandered by today, as I am every time I wander through your word garden

  8. My dad was the oldest of fifteen children in an Irish Catholic clan, his parents had a love/hate relationship for sixty years.

    Love is what feeds our soul. Without it we wither or become monsters.

  9. 'The chaos of love: an order that we cannot perceive, without which we cannot live'.

    Ye fantastic wordy bastard Irish!! A beautiful ending.

    This fruit and nutty Irish bastard loved the way you explained this little word with its gigantic ramifications.

    Take care.

  10. I am pretty sure I love this, yep. I do.

  11. Amidst the chaos, it is love that anchors us and gives us reason to believe we have a purpose.

  12. Love that label! "Finding my as....." lol! The only prank the Universe can play on us is one that we have thought into being. You are right about one thing, Mr. Gumbo, love will sustain you!! Love ya, M

  13. That's just one kind of love -- what about philos and agape?

  14. I find we are never satisfied. We being me, but I think I speak for everyone.

  15. Love sucks. I did it only recently, after I reached menopause, God help me... Mary, Jesus and Joseph.

    I obtained my first heart break at this late age. How is that for ironic? Jaysus.

  16. There's something about your writing that resonates with me. Perhaps it's because my last name is Connor and deep inside there's an Irishness that's being stimulated. Or perhaps not. It doesn't always happen but when it does your words ring my head like a gong. Thanks for this post, it's set up a love shaped standing wave in my skull. One that'll have me thinking for some time to come.

  17. I told a man once, 'you know, I could fall in love with you, but I fall in love at least once a day, so don't get all freaked out over it'

    He stopped freaking out. It was nice!

  18. Hmm. Do you suppose that at some point you can just accept one particular state-of-heart as YOUR ideal state? The best place for you to exist, instead of constantly roaming?

    The key, I think, is in securing yourself against the slow poisons of which you spoke. Insecurity, jealousy and fear can have no place...at least not in the right state-of-heart.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...