Browsing some of my feeds this morning, this quote came up. It’s from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
I had read this at a wedding of two of my closest friends many, many years ago and the words have always resonated with me:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Often, we meet another person and want to get lost in them. Learning them, loving them, letting them learn about us. Then one day we wake up and we wonder where we went, where they went. We worked so hard to come together and to “compromise” that we’ve lost ourselves. Become a shadow and someone we never intended to be. And so did they.
I’ve seen a lot of this in marriages over the past two years as a great many of my friends have gone through divorce and break ups. Myself included.
But I’ve also seen this in friendships; envy and jealousy when one part of a friendship discovers something new and begins to learn about this new person or thing.
We meet each other and love each other and for some reason seemingly put each other in boxes of sorts. When the other of us tries to extend an arm, a leg, or even a questioning gaze outside that box, it brings turmoil. Fear. We discourage them. Avoid them. Try to push them back into the box. Slam the lid shut, sometimes even slap a lock on it.
Are we really so afraid of change that we need to place this ownership of sorts onto each other? Though that may sound harsh, it really is what we’ve done. Taken a snapshot in time of another person and locked them into that person in our heads, our hearts, and our relationships.
The problem is, when we place another in a box, it doesn’t stop them from growing. But it does contort their growth in a way that causes them to be misshapen. If the box is square, we force them to have corners, edges, and points. These can often be sharp. Yet we are startled when we encounter these sharp points where there previously were none.
I’ve learned (am learning still) to take a different path. I’d love to share it with you:
I’m choosing to add to my life those who will provide value to me and allow me to provide value to them – without consuming each other. I’m encouraging their exploration the way I encourage my own. I revel in their individuality. I place only one expectation upon them, that they allow and encourage my growth and individuality, as well. Even if it means we grow apart.
I’ve learned to realize that we aren’t actually growing apart, we may simply have less time for each other, now, while we learn this new thing.
But I’ve also learned that if I stay open to the new version of that other person, and they to me, we continue to return to each other because we are excited and have this new thing and want to share with someone who knew us before. Share how the new thing changed us, allowed us to grow.
It’s a beautiful sight. To see another person with a new gleam and sparkle in their eye; It’s the embodiment of love, in my opinion.
Those of us with children in our lives see this in our children when they come home excited about something new. We allow their exuberance to infect us; We encourage it; Cheer for it. We get excited about this new thing, too. Why do we apply different ‘rules’ to our adult relationships?
I share this Gibran quote and this writing with you all today in an effort and hope that you will fall in love with it, as I have, and apply it to your relationships. Whether those relationships are with a friend, lover, spouse, partner, family, whomever. I’d encourage you all to witness changes and growth in your loved ones and allow them to share those changes with you. Even if it means that person no longer fits into your life, be it because of time, interests, hobbies, whatever the case.
Better yet, I challenge you to set yourself free. It’s an amazing sight to see that gleam in your own eyes, too. What can you learn today?
If you love something, set it free …. Free to become whatever it may be.
In Love and Light