“This just might hurt a little…love hurts sometimes when you do it right…..Don’t be afraid of a little bit of pain, pleasure is on the other side…” -John Legend
These two lines are some of the best music lyrics I have ever heard and being crooned to in John Legend’s honey voice doesn’t hurt to bring home the message. This is the truth about love and life, that often when we do it right it still hurts. But it is a good hurt, the kind that lets you know that you can grow and be challenged and feel the strength of your heart and courage as you open up to life.
The lyrics feel almost iconic to me, they never stop being true. In every way that I have ever loved anyone of anything, the kin relationship of pain and pleasure has always been there as a guide, a tease or sometimes a torment. Increasingly I trust that they occur in mostly equal doses, but not always at the timing we demand. Some might disagree and say that love is nothing but pain. It is clear from listening to them for just a brief moment what captures their attention and where they have trained their eyes.
I am still in practice even after all these hundreds of days, learning to focus and refocus my attention on how the pain shifts to pleasure easily and without a lot of effort when I can change my attention. I have room to experience more discomfort than I ever did before because it doesn’t threaten to capture me anymore. I am prepared for life to disappoint, surprise, unravel – because it is how life is, and I am able to find, sometimes groping my way towards gratitude, with each turn of events.
I don’t believe that boundaries are made of lines not to be crossed, the stuff of emotions is way too fluid and messy to draw a line and walk away for the sake of discomfort. It might even be true that the relationships we invite into our lives are there to push our perceived limits beyond our imagination. This is how I save room for relationships anyway. For me, the willingness of two people committed to slog through the mud and debris of daily relating is enough- heroic even. It is the only kind of relationships that hold any interest for me.
The rest are too fragile and temperamental. I know its going to hurt sometimes when I do it right and I am prepared for that. Walking out or threatening to every time it broaches the limits of comfort, these relationships are too narrow to grow into the full life and breadth of what relating means.
“Won’t you stay… stay….stay. Save a little for me….” This is the chorus of a real love song.