We are made of seasons. Experiences throw us into the darkest nights and coldest winters. Our tears are rainy days for our hearts, watering the seeds of grief and healing. Laughter heals us the way the bright blue sky does when clouds finally part in Spring, and love is tender and warm like the sun on our skin. A smile given freely comforts us like shade in summer, and true friendship is the relief of a cool pool on a hot day. Love is greater because it stays with us through all these seasons.
Love is like the moon, which changes shape and color as time passes, as weather changes, as days shift, but it is always the moon, and consistently (“regularly and often”) returns to its fulness.
We resurrect each morning when our eyes flutter open, our arms stretch, and we climb out of bed.
It’s good practice for later, I suppose.
This is the life-death-life cycle we all experience, we all prepare for, we all tune in to as the seasons change around us, change within us.
Unlike humans, wolves do not deem the ups and downs of life, energy, power, food, nor opportunity as startling or punitive. The peaks and valleys just are, and wolves ride them as efficiently, as fluidly, as possible.
It just is.
It is a part of life, and when we are healthy and well we flow with these cycles as if they are a part of us, as if they flow within us, as if this is the way we learn to breathe. These cycles are a river, our river of life, and we can float on them just as we can float on water.
It’s only hard when we try to stand against the current.
We only drown when we panic and become afraid.
Among wolves, the cycles of nature and fate are met with grace and wit and the endurance to stay tight with one’s mate and to live long and as well as can be. But in order for humans to live and give loyalty to this most fit manner, in this way which is most wise, most preserving, and most feeling, one has to go up against the very thing one fears most. There is no way around it, we shall see.
We cannot develop beyond ourselves without developing with another.
Yet, nothing is so terrifying, or so difficult, because it entirely depends on the other person also developing.
This is the lifting of your feet off the sand, the submitting to leaning back into the water, and trusting you will float.
Doing so gives the view of trees and clouds and sky, of stars and moons and planets, like nothing else, all while be carried away effortlessly on the most amazing ride.
But doing so means trusting you will float.
Some people make the mistake of choosing someone who will only bark orders at them of how to swim but never get in the water with them, or choosing someone that makes them paddle for both people.
That’s not the same as floating.
To float, one must trust the water to do what water does.
One must trust the atonement to serve its purpose, the Lord to keep His promises, and the Father to do what He planned to do.
One must trust the other to also trust.
That is what makes an enduring love, to let water be water and let it flow.
The story I am about to relate to you is a hunting story about love. It is set in the frozen north. To understand this story, we have to see that there, in one of the harshest environs and one of the most stressed hunting cultures in the world, love does not mean a flirtation or a pursuit for simple ego-pleasure, but a visible bond composed of the psychic sinew of endurance, a union which prevails through bounty and austerity, through the most complicated and most simple days and nights.
Such a union requires flowing through seasons. It requires flowing like water, flowing the way new life always follows death. It requires faith in the other, and knowledge of the resurrection. It requires waiting for spring to come again, and knowing that it will. It requires being awake in time to see the sun rise.
This kind of union is never found on purpose, for no one chooses to work so hard intentionally. We may know that we must work that hard, but really we only want to be fed and nourished. We forget that to be fed and nourished, we must feed and nourish another. This is why such a union is often found on accident.
Even if one understands the work will be hard, even if one is waiting for such a union, even working for it and preparing for it, still it always comes by surprise.
In the story, there is a fisherman. He knows how to fish, and what to do, and what he needs. He is doing the hard work. He is expecting dinner. So it is not by accident that he catches something.
But what he catches does surprise him.
It’s a gruesome story, from long ago, from another culture, a story not yet “white-washed”.
It’s the story of a girl who had done something of which her father disapproved, and so he threw her off the cliffs and into the sea. Her flesh was eaten away until her skeleton laid there, rolling in the current.
This where the fisherman comes in, many ages later, not knowing the ancient story of the abandoned girl who was given no redemption.
He only knew that something was caught on his hook, and that it was something big.
In his mind he was thinking of how many people this great fish would feed, how long it would last, how long he might be free from the chore of hunting. As he struggled with this great weight on the end of the hook, the sea was stirred to a thrashing froth, and his kayak bucked and shook, for she who was beneath struggled to disentangle herself.
It often surprises us when we are “caught” by someone, as much as it is when we catch someone we were not expecting.
But that’s only the first surprise.
The next surprise is looking square in the face of who you caught, and what caught you, and realizing that some caught-ing has been done.
The fisherman screamed, of course, when he realized he had pulled up a skeleton on his fishing line.
She could do nothing about it, for she had been caught, and was only a skeleton still, not yet having been redeemed.
So it appeared to an outsider, that the skeleton chased him as he paddled frantic-like back to shore. He wanted to get away from her, from this monster he had caught, but she was stuck with him because he had entangled her in his line. She was not really chasing him, but he had hooked her with his line and still had a hold of her. They were both terrified!
And not realizing she was tangled in his line, he was frightened all the more for she appeared to stand on her toes while chasing him all the way to shore. No matter which way he zigged his kayak, she stayed right behind, and her breath rolled over the water in clouds of steam, and her arms flailed out as though to snatch him down into the depths.
He kept screaming even when he reached shore, grabbing his fishing gear and running for home.
But she was still hooked, so she still followed.
The faster he ran, the more quickly she followed.
He kept screaming, for this was a very terrible thing.
She was humiliated to be turned into such a monster quite by accident, as surprised by it all as he was, naked to her own shame as she was dragged along behind him, only a skeleton woman.
He ran until he reached home, collapsing in exhaustion in a pile with his fishing things.
This is when he realized it had been him making all the noise. It was quiet when he stopped screaming, and still when he stopped running.
When his breathing calmed, and he felt more himself again, he lit a candle to take a look.
There she was, the skeleton woman, a pile of bones all tangled up in herself and his fishing line.
He began to sing, both to keep himself calm and to comfort her, and began sorting out her bones. He untangled her from the fishing line, put her bones back in Order, and covered her shame with furs.
And she felt warm, warmed by the song and warmed by the furs and warmed by his tender care.
He felt into his leather cuffs for his flint, and used some of his hair to light a little more fire. He gazed at her from time to time as he oiled the precious wood of his fishing stuck and rewound the gut line. And she in the furs uttered not a word – she did not dare – let this hunter take her out and throw her down to the rocks and break her bones to pieces utterly.
But he did not throw her out, and he did not throw her away.
This was the next surprise.
Instead, he went to sleep by the fire, and cried in his sleep that life should be so hard, that anyone would throw the girl off the cliffs in the first place, that he had been so scared instead of being a brave hunter. It was a dream of sadness and of longing, and so a little tear slipped from his eye while he slept.
The Skeleton Woman saw the tear glisten in the firelight, and she became suddenly soooo thirsty. She tinkled and clanked and crawled over to the sleeping man and put her mouth to his tear. The single tear was like a river, and she drank and drank and drank until her many-years-long thirst was slaked.
The more nourished the skeleton became by his tears, the less of a skeleton she was.
She began to sing to him in his sleep, just as he had sung to her.
The more she sang, the more flesh grew upon her, and the more alive she became to the dreaming fisherman.
They sang together, then, the fisherman and the woman, tangled in their love instead of just fishing line.
This couple did the frightening work of making love real and enduring.
Many do not want to work so hard.
They may know if they are thrown off the cliffs, or if they are drowning. They may know if they are fishing, and they may even think they hope to catch something.
But when someone is finally caught, and it frightens them, that’s when they run.
They only wanted to be fed, to somehow skip from the catching to the full tummy by the fire, without the frightening chase and hard work of life that must happen in between.
Inability to face and untangle the Skeleton Woman is what causes many love relationships to fail. To love, one must not only be strong, but wise. Strength comes from the spirit. Wisdom comes from experience… passion is not something to go “get”, but rather something generated in cycles and given out… a shared living together through all increase and decrease, through all endings and beginnings, [that] is what creates an unparalleled devotional love.
Instead, we want to see life and death as opposites.
We think a hard day, a winter season, a silent night means death has come and that is all.
But if we believe in resurrection, we know the sun will rise again, spring will come again, and new life will be born.
These cycles are natural and necessary, like seeds must be planted below the earth before their green leaves appear above the earth. It is a time of growing and feeding, of digging in roots, of preparing for the summer season when all will ripen into nourishment that can be picked in abundance.
We tend to be afraid of the death cycle, afraid of the night, instead of remembering it is on the same continuum as life and the part of our day that makes morning bright.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, the author of the words in italics and the book from which they come (Women Who Run with the Wolves), divides the story’s lesson in seven phases of enduring love. Remember, too, that in the kind of psychoanalysis she and I do, we always play all the parts ourselves. So this is not about male (the fisherman) and female (the skeleton woman) roles, though that may apply at times. It is really about each of experiencing both sides of catching and being-caught in any new relationship, lesson, or experience, or an old one that has come to life again after we thought it had drowned.
1. Discovering Spiritual Treasure in Another
Treasure is discovered in another person both because of their value, and because of the surprise of catching them. It is always a struggle when we are surprised by catching someone, because there is hard work to do underwater and hard work to do on the surface. It does not matter, for a moment, that we were fishing for dinner and wanted nourishment. We are only frightened by what we have caught, and not sure what to do with it or what to do about it.
He does not realize that he is bringing up the scariest treasure he will even know, that he is bringing up more than he can yet handle. He does not know that he will have to come to terms with it, that he is about to have all his powers tested. And worse, he does not know that he does not know. That is the state of all lovers at the beginning: they are blind as bats.
We think we are hungry for dinner, and we can go fish, and that our line will pull up a nice microwave dinner, cleanly organized, already hot, ready to eat. We forget about the raw-ness with which real nourishment comes, whether it is dug out of the earth or caught on a line. It must be cleaned, and prepared, and warmed before it can be eaten. We must nourish before we can be nourished.
Because each of us is a treasure, this is why we should choose someone who does cherish us – but also do the work of cherishing them. We should cherish and be cherished. If the treasure comes as a surprise, then we are responsible to do the hard work of recognizing it for what it is and tending to it as such.
It is your soul’s work to not overlook what has been brought up, to recognize treasure as treasure, no matter how unusual its form, and to consider carefully what to do next.
And what comes next is hard work.
We pretend we can love without our illusions about love dying, pretend we can go on without our superficial expectations dying, pretend we can progress and that our favorite flushes and rushes will never die. But in love, psychically, everything becomes picked apart, everything. The ego does not want it to be so. Yet it is how it is meant to be, and the person o fa deep and wildish nature is undeniably drawn to the task.
This is why death comes to relationships, again and again.
Not to kill us, or our loved one, but to kill off what gets in the way, like a garden that needs weeding.
This is how we apply the atonement, when we apply the atonement, how the atonement makes us at-one again, and brings new life again.
What dies? Illusion dies, expectations die, greed for having it all, for wanting to have all be beautiful only, all this dies. Because love always causes a descent into the Death nature, we can see why it takes abundant self-power and soulfulness to make that commitment… The relationship begun in all goodwill flaps and sways, and sometimes staggers, when the “sweetheart” stage is over. Then, instead of enacting a fantasy, the more challenging relationship begins in earnest and all one’s craft and wisdom must be called into action.
The hard work begins when the feel-good ends (or fades, or shifts, or changes), but it is the hard work that brings the feel-good back, again and again.
Not doing the work is what turns us into skeletons, leaving us depleted of nourishment and lacking nutrients so that we cannot even exist as we were designed.
Doing the work is facing the skeleton woman, realizing you caught something, and doing the hard work to figure out what to do next.
She surfaces, like it or not, for without her there can be no real knowledge of life, and without that knowing, there can be no fealty, no real love or devotion. Love costs. It costs bravery. It costs going the distance… to love means to stay with. It means to emerge from a fantasy world into a world where sustainable love is possible, face to face, bones to bones, a love of devotion. It means to stay when ever cell says “run!”
But we do run, in some way or another, and that is okay.
It is a natural response, and it buys us time to think.
But as we begin to understand what we must face, then we stop running.
We do not run for long, and not forever.
2. The Chase and the Hiding
We are running when we begin to think of all the reasons it will not work, all the reasons it is too hard, and all the reasons we should say no.
This does not mean we should not say no to those people or relationships that are really not good for us. If we are in danger, or the relationship is toxic, or they do not meet our spiritual needs, then it is okay to say no. But if we are healthy and well, there will be no catching of those, because we will know to throw those back.
So this is talking about the moment we catch something, and it is good and worthy, and our spirit and our heart know it, but our mind – our ego – tries to talk us out of it.
Our ego sees what has been caught, and doesn’t know what to do with it.
Our ego knows we have been caught, and doesn’t know what happens next.
Our ego doesn’t like not knowing.
So our ego tells us to run.
We think we can run fast enough, far enough, long enough to out-run what we have caught.
But what we do not understand is that it was the natural, good, well-meaning, right-intentioned, healthy desire to connect and relate to another human being that hooked us.
That’s why our ego can’t get us away entirely, because it actually did its job. We did what we were trying to do: we caught dinner, we found someone, we connected in some way. We were successful!
But our ego panics because this means all the variables are changed, and it doesn’t have the answers for what comes next. The ego wants a re-boot, and so tries to tell us to run. But it is too late.
Some make the mistake of thinking they are running away from a relationship… They are not. They are not running away from love, or the pressures of the relationship. They are trying to outrun the mysterious life/death/life force. Psychology diagnoses this as “fear of intimacy, fear of commitment.” But those are only symptoms. The deeper issue is one of misbelief and distrust. Those who run away forever fear to truly live according to the cycles of the wild and integral nature.
We cannot run forever.
And, despite what our ego tells us, we catch the skeleton woman just as soon as we are ready, and not a moment before. This is why we cannot keep running, why eventually we will collapse in exhaustion in our own home (always a symbol of our own subconscious), because we know – deep down, somewhere, we know – that we are ready. We are ready, even if our ego doesn’t have all the answers.
There is a saying that when the student is ready the teacher appears. This means the interior teacher surfaces when the soul, not the ego, is ready. This teaching comes whenver the soul calls – and thank goodness, for the ego is never fully ready.
We do not have all the answers for tomorrow, and do not know how to solve every single problem the future will bring. We do not know every single detail. But we are ready anyway.
The seeds in my garden do not wait until August, when they know how the Spring storms blew through, how many bees and butterflies visited, or whether the summer was a drought or not. They do not wait for the details, even though they know they will need food and pollinating and water and sunshine. They trust that it will come, and they just sprout. They don’t wait till August to sprout in April. They sprout, and then do the hard work of summer as it comes.
The do it because that’s what it means to be alive: to create more of yourself, to do the hard work of growing all the way until harvest.
Those who enter into relationship with her will gain an enduring skill for love. Those who won’t, won’t. There is no way around it. All the “not readies”, and the “I need times” are understandable, but only for a short while. The truth is that there is never a “completely ready”, and there is never a really “right time”. As with any descent to the unconscious, there comes a time when one simply hopes for the best, pinches one’s nose, and jumps into the abyss. If this were not so, we would not have needed to create the words heroine, hero, or courage.
It is our work to learn. If one wishes to love, there is no getting around it. The work of embracing her is a task. Without a task that challenges, there can be no transformation. Without a task, there is no real sense of satisfaction. To love pleasure takes little. To love truly takes a hero who can manage his own fear.
3. Untangling and Understanding
Whether running from a person or an idea or a new experience, we must at some point stop running and face the lesson to be learned. It is untangling our fear from possibility that brings possibility, that creates new life.
It is standing to face what we have caught that builds courage within us. It is facing this new thing, experience, or person that adds dimension to our existence. It is willingness to work so hard for something that creates potency, potentiality, possibility.
Untangling the bones from this fishing line is being willing to try, even when we are apprehensive or afraid. It is organizing chaos into a new world that has never before existed. It is creating a life different than we have thus far lived. It is looking at the pieces, in our ourselves and in another, that begins to show us what we are made of and what is yet to be.
We are willing to see how it all goes together. We are willing to touch the not-beautiful in another, and in ourselves… [In other fairytales,] the beautiful appears ugly in order to test someone’s character [“The Frog Prince”, “Beauty and the Beast”, etc.]. In fairy-tale justice, as in the deep psyche, kindness to that which seems less, is rewarded by good, and refusal to do good for one who is not beautiful, is reviled and punished. When we enlarge or extend ourselves to touch the not-beautiful, we are rewarded.
This is the difference between fake fairytale “love” and real-life-hard-work love. Both may have happily-ever-afters, but in real life it is hard work to create the happiness. Happiness doesn’t just happen. Happiness is chosen, cultivated, and created.
To untangle the skeleton woman is to understand that conceptual error and to set it aright. To untangle the skeleton woman is to understand that love does not mean all glimmering candles and increase. To untangle skeleton woman means that one finds heartening rather than fear in the darkness of regeneration. It means balm for old wounds. It means changing our ways of seeing and being to reflect the health rather than the dearth of soul… it means to begin to understand something previously closed to us, to understand its applications and uses, to become… a knowing soul.
We cannot become “knowing souls” and remain as we are.
It is the transformation of who we are that brings knowledge.
Progress requires stepping forward in faith. It requires leaning back into the water, trusting it to let you float. It requires relaxing into trust.
Fear is a poor excuse for not doing the work. We are all afraid. It is nothing new. If you are alive, you are fearful.
This is why we need more than our ego. Our ego does not know how to relax into trust. That’s not its job. Its job is to plan, cover the details, and know what’s going on. There is nothing about relaxing into trust that warns you ahead of time. You can’t know what it is to float until you try it.
This is why love requires the soul rather than the ego. What’s the difference?
Three things differentiate living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road, and the patience to learn deep love over time… It takes a heart that is willing to die and be born and die and be born again and again… it means to gain articulate knowledge of self and other. It means to strengthen our ability to follow the phases, projects, eras of incubation, birthing, and transformations peaceably and with as much grace as we can marshal… A person who has untangled the skeleton woman knows patience, knows better how to wait. He is not shocked or afraid of spareness. He is not overwhelmed by fruition. His needs to attain, to “have right now”, are transformed into a finer craft of finding all facets of relationship, observing how cycles of relationship work together. He is not afraid to relate to the beauty of fierceness, the beauty of the unknown, the beauty of the not-beautiful.
When we are not-afraid, even if we are not yet brave, and when we are willing, and when we have done the work to untangle and to understand, only then are we able to relax into trust and only then can we float.
4. Relaxing into Trust
Relaxing into trust requires a kind of simple faith, a child-like eagerness, a willing submission that is far beyond those with heavy, concrete walls of self-preservation.
It requires an innocence, the kind that is choosing the right despite knowledge of the risk.
This is not ignorance, where one does not know the risks or dangers or circumstances. One cannot fully consent without fully understanding the risks and consequences of a choice. It is being aware of the risks, even that a relationship depends on the other person also choosing the right, that it cannot be forced, that you both must choose well. It is knowing all of this and jumping in anyway – that is innocence.
Ignorance is not knowing anything and being attracted to the good. Innocence is knowing everything, and still being attracted to the good… This state of wise innocence is entered by shedding cynicism and protectionism, and by reentering the state of wonder one sees in most humans who are very young and many who are very old. It is a practice of looking through the eyes of a knowing and loving spirit, instead of those of a whipped dog, the hounded creature, the angry wounded human… In Spanish, the word “inocente” is understood to mean a person who tries not to harm another, but who ALSO is able to heal any injury or harm to herself… To be an innocent means to be able to see clearly what is the matter and to mend it.
This moves us from the “being” into the “doing”. Sitting around all day singing to the birds is a lovely sappy moment, but it does not accomplish love. Celebrating love a good and noble thing, even an important aspect of relationships; but celebrating love is not the same as cultivating it.
Active participation in the cycles of a relationship is part of relaxing into trust. It is not that one can just lean back and do nothing. One must do their own part of stretching into the water to float.
This is different than unhealthy relationships where survival depends on someone else rescuing, doing for, or enabling. Healthy relationships create life, not destroy it. Healthy relationships encourage communication, not silence it.
When we relax into trust, we are not relaxing into the other person, hoping for the best. We are not co-dependent, falling into old-school drama-trauma, or having the life sucked out of us because of no boundaries. We are not ignorantly assuming our very-human-spouse will never hurt us, or that we will not have days (and weeks and months and years) that are challenging in some way. We are not diving in blindly, unaware of what we are choosing.
We have already done the work to untangle, and to understand, and are fully aware of our choice – and choose it anyway, in a good and brave and healthy kind of way. We are depending not on the other person, or even ourselves, but the atonement. When we relax into trust, we are having faith that we can be healed, that relationships can endure, and that the atonement is big enough.
His trust is not dependent [on the other] not to hurt him. His is a trust that any wound that comes to him can be healed, a trust that new life follows old. A trust that there is a deeper meaning in all these things, that seemingly petty events are not without meaning, that all things of one’s life – the ragged, the jagged, and the lilting and the soaring – all can be used as life’s energy. When both are well initiated, they together then have the power with which to balm any hurt, outlive any pain…. The only trust required is to know that when there is one ending, there will be another beginning… For love to thrive, the mate must trust that whatever will be, will be transformative.
This is the transformation of the atonement, that heals past sadness, gives power for the present, and creates future dreams.
5. Sharing Future Dreams and Past Sadness
Transformation always brings knowledge. We also gain knowledge about another as we experience them, who they are, and how they relate and interact with those around them. This is more than just co-existing, or not-silencing, or putting-up-with. This is an active participation, consistent interaction, sincere transformation kind of knowing.
To love another is not enough, to be “not an impediment” is the life of another is not enough. It is not enough to be “supportive” and “there for them”, and all the rest. The goal is to be knowledgeable about the ways of life and death in one’s own life and in panorama.
This goes hand-in-hand with relaxing into trust.
When we can trust that the atonement is big enough, even for me, even for my failures, even for injustices against me, and also be knowledgeable about another – even the good, the bad, and the ugly – then we are empowered to know how and when and where to apply the atonement.
That is what gives us the power to heal.
When we have the power to heal, we can also meet needs, and nurture, and nourish.
That’s when we truly love.
The internal feelings of tenderness that moves the fisherman to untangle the skeleton woman also allows him to feel other forgotten longings, to resurrect self-compassion. Because he is in a state of innocence, that is, thinking all things are possible, he is unafraid to say his soul desires. He is unafraid to wish, for he believes his need will be met. It is a great relief for him to believe his soul will be fulfilled… [When he cries], the fisherman is letting his heart break – not break down, but break open. It is a love that comes upon him, a love he has always carried within him but has never acknowledged before.
This is how we are healed by pure love that has compassion and meets needs.
This is how we are healed by knowing and being known.
This is how we are healed by loving and being loved.
6. Healing Archaic Wounds
In describing the way the fisherman and the skeleton woman sing to each other, sing together, Clarissa writes of creation. This is deep healing, the work of the atonement, that restores beyond bringing us back to zero.
Song is a special kind of language that accomplishes this in a way that the spoken voice cannot.
It is a spiritual thing, she says. Something related to creation.
This always makes me think of Narnia, when Aslan sang creation into being (in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis):
In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it… Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice [of Aslan] was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silver voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it [. . .] you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
7. Singing Up New Life (the Intermingling of Body and Soul)
This creation is the whole point of us being here on Earth.
Our spirits were sent here to be sewed to our bodies. Not just born into them, for that is not enough. We must, through making of good choices, sew our spirits to our bodies the way Peter Pan sewed on his shadow.
We learn this better in relationships than anything else.
Nothing teaches us better of the atonement than our relationships with other people.
This is why families are ordained of God, why families are central to His plan.
Through relationships, we learn who we are and who He says we can become.
Through relationships, we practice resurrection again and again.
Love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces again another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many, many endings, and many, many beginnings – all in the same relationship… There will be flowing, there will be draining, there will be live birth and still birth and yet born-again birth of something new. To love is to learn the steps. To make love is to dance the dance… The life/death/life nature not only teaches us how to dance these, but teaches that the solution for malaise is always the opposite; so new action is the cure for boredom, closeness is the cure for loneliness, solitude is the cure for feeling cramped.