PART I: WILDNESS
Wildness, to me, is the opposite of safety. Wildness is being free and open and vulnerable to the whole wide world of danger and opportunity. It’s a sprawling vista, a door that won’t close, a clock that doesn’t matter anymore… Exposure. The feeling of being dwarfed by an endless roof of stars.
Of course, wildness is also getting caught out in the storm. Wildness is price you pay when you trade your shelter for a chance to be alone with the Moon.
Love is notorious for this kind of wildness. Just think of all the songs that romanticize love’s soaring highs and breath-taking lows. We’ve all experienced the racing heartbeat, the inability to quiet our thoughts, and the sudden and exhilarating departure of logic when love takes the wheel. Wildness is what makes love so compelling. Love is the sunlit ocean begging us to tear down the walls and let the waves surge in.
The prospect of giving into love this way is terrifying. Will we sink or will we swim?
The answer is neither.
When we surrender to love, we become love.
That is the goal.
The intellectual is always showing off,
the lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away
afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love
is to drown in the sea.
PART II: SAFETY
But love that is only wildness is grueling. Over and over again we wash up battered and broken on the rocky shore, completely destroyed by the very hands we trusted to lift us up. We dive into the sea and are stung by jellyfish. Shark-hearted people swallow us whole. Eventually we protectively drag our sea-sick and sun-burnt hearts into the shade, declaring that love is not only foolish but also fucking insane.
We’re not far off.
But the problem is, we are mistaking passion for love.
Love that is only wildness is passion. True love – full love, life-giving love – balances vulnerability and safety. The truly beloved jumps off the cliff of passion knowing that they will be caught by their lover, trusting that they will be held and cherished when the stars cloud up and the sea begins to rage. The beloved roams freely, but not without anchor. Love gives shade and shelter along with the wide open sky.
It took me a long time to find love that could be both wild and peaceful, passionate and gentle, heart-racing and soothing. Love does not have to be a struggle.
And to be honest, it took me even longer to accept that fact.
Love should not drop the bottom out of your life without providing a new, shared foundation. Love should not constantly demand that you run to catch up. If you find yourself exalted by wildness but starving inside for stability and calm — leave. That is half-love. You deserve better.
Special thanks to Pete for teaching me that love is not only a shared adventure up a mountain, but also — afterward — the wordless honoring of each other’s favorite side of the couch.