“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars….” -Jack Kerouac
I think that this quote is one that I have always remembered because it describes me in ways that have not always been easy to live. I am a presence. One of my oldest friends recently referred to me as “a force” of goodness and love. Mostly she meant it kindly, but it isn’t easy being a force in the world; other people are often put off by it and I have been perhaps rightfully accused of overstepping other people’s personal boundaries or insensitive to other people’s feelings. Admittedly I do sometimes miss the boundary lines that people draw tightly around themselves and have long believed that it is better to err on the side of too much honesty than too much privacy.
I know these traits are annoying. They sometimes annoy me- it isn’t easy to be mad and driven in life. It would be easier to be satisfied with a quieter life, and save all the compassionate energy and outgoing attention that is not always received with the intention it is offered. Increasingly, I understand that the best communicating we do is usually on the listening side and that there is little else we can offer someone that wasn’t requested. I am learning the deep skills of sensing inside, which transforms the act of listening into pure energetic exchanges.
But still I am exuberant, overly enthusiastic and always attempting to teach. It is how I was made. Jack Kerouac was a kindred spirit of sorts; he also was quoted saying: “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” Still, after five decades of living with the gifts and burdens of my out-of-control passionate existence I have learned to identify one thing and treat it as sacred- that real love is the kind that will never ask you to abandon yourself. Real love grows a safe and expanding sanctuary, which allows us to grow into the best part of ourselves. It accommodates for our weaknesses and is the most gentle of teachers that recognizes that the only real growth begins with where we are.
Love has to be patient and kind because this transformation into our best selves takes a lifetime. We have to accept the madness, the things that drive us crazy, with the things we adore. They come as a single package and often are one in the same. It is hard to love not only because we, each of us have such annoying aspects to embrace, but because loving fully risks the possibility that you will come up short.
The heartbreak of our lifetime and the wounds that we all suffer with somewhere is that we are too mad, too serious, too silly, too loud, too sad, too whatever, to be loved as we are. We love in our own broken ways and must risk the possibility that it won’t be enough. The only sane choice is to choose oneself. To see the madness for what it is and love yourself with your entire broken heart. From here we search for our real tribe.