February 11, 2010

To Have Without Holding

As Valentine's Day approaches I am practicing letting go. Dating is so very hard and your mind gets all wrapped up in what could be, should be, won't be "mode". So much imaging and with it so much disappointment. Reality check, please.

Tonight in yoga class we practiced strength. It felt so good to be strong and flexible. At the close our teacher read us this poem by Marge Piercy. Even before she read it I was thinking about how important it is to let go in love.

To Have Without Holding
By Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

The final lines speak to me "and not to hold, to love with minimized malice, hunger and anger moment by moment balanced." Creating all these scenarios in your head is an uncomfortable mix of malice, hunger and anger. Letting go, like a tightened muscle, is such a relief. Holding a space for possibility without filling it with stories is so much healthier - easier said then done.