Setting Love Totally Free

This time I am changing tact from popular topics, debates, and polarizing controversy of COVID-19 and our disuniting federal-state politics and lack of leadership during these unprecedented times in the U.S. to talk about something much more personal. In my opinion, it is critically important because it has to do with advanced(?) or semi-advanced, progressive society’s most integral part of long-term strength and stability. What is it?

I am talking about true liberating, non-judgmental, euphoric, Soul Mate/Twin Flame love. The intense, rare kind of deep passionate love that few people experience in their lifetime and even fewer recognize or have the courage to seek, find, and gleefully embrace. I am also posting this over on my Private blog The Professor’s Lifestyles Memoirs. I think this is worth posting on both sites.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

I have two good long-time friends in the Alt-Open-Swinger Lifestyles, Jackie and John Melfi. They own and run all the Colette Lifestyles clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and their newest in Austin, TX. They are fantastic role-models for the Open Lifestyle and both Jackie and John are a wealth of wisdom, experience, and tips/help for anyone or any couples interested in taking their marriage/romance to a much, much deeper fulfilling level together.

ol-101-new-logo

Jackie reposted recently a blog-post she wrote in February 2016 called Setting Love Free in an Open Relationship. In her post she offers invaluable perspective and understanding that applies not only to Open-couples, but everyone else equally important in whatever the love-arrangement together. She begins:

One of the most frequent questions I get about being in an open/swinger relationship has to do with love.

“If you play apart aren’t you afraid your partner might fall in love with someone else?”

“What if someone else falls in love with your partner?”

Well, I have the perfect story to relate my response.

That is probably most every spouse’s or partner’s biggest FEAR if they allow or don’t stop the (perceived) predatory behavior on their Significant-Other by those interested. However, those perceived fears are often unjustified. Jackie continues:

Recently John had to travel out of town on business. He was traveling back to a city where he used to live, so he had several friends in the area. We discussed before he even left town about any opportunities he would have to meet up with any of his old girl friends.

There were a couple of women he said he would be interested in seeing while he was in town. I had met both of these women in the past, so I was familiar with who they were. I like both of these women. They seem to be very sweet and kind women. I encouraged John to yes, by all means, make contact with them, even if it is just for dinner.

Why didn’t this bother me?

Because I trust John.

Alright, but HOW exactly is that trust built, earned, thoroughly known and appreciated once gained between two Lovers? Is it all done only by your partner/spouse? Do you expect them to do all of the work? Or are you yourself equally a part of that trust-achievement?

Everything about his behavior towards me shows his trustworthiness. He calls when he says he will. He discusses with me beforehand about possibilities he may have or want to have with others, and his actions show his love and devotion to me and our relationship. I saw no reason to believe this situation would be any different.

So John left for his trip. It wasn’t long before I received a text from him saying he would be joining a female friend of his later in the evening. She had always been a dear friend of John’s and needed some advice.

What I love about this story is my husband gets to put his strengths (his ability to give sound advice) to others without me being afraid. How much the world would miss if I tried to keep him all to myself.

Jackie says Everything about his behavior towards me shows his trustworthiness. He calls when he says he will. He keeps his word, he is reliable and just doesn’t feed her with regular empty lip-service. In other words, John walks his talk. What he says matches what he does, time in and time out for 5, 10, 20, 50-years. This is a very rare honorable trait in John! Believe me.

I have known many married couples, where both the husband and the wife sometimes or often confide in me. It seems to be the cost of meaningful friendship. Other times the wife seeks me out, alone, wanting to keep a secret platonic(?) friendship. Then sooner or later she will even go so far as to initiate a full-blown affair with me if she trusts that I will not wreck her marriage, wreck her home with kids, and her public image. The trade-off? I must be invisible to the world and her world. Whether it’s a good thing or bad, I cannot tell you, my readers, how many times over the last 15-20 years I have been duped into this very awkward predicament. I’ve lost count. I kid you not.

Just this last week I had a couple I have known for years, first the wife as a long-distant close friend, then her husband too, who I pushed and pushed her to please involve her husband in everything we discussed and everything she wanted to do with me in person —wide open, all the time. Nothing hidden from him. But she refused.

Just last week they “celebrated” their 20-year marriage anniversary and she publicly stated (I’m paraphrasing only a tiny bit):

Sooo much has happened these twenty-years… so many memorable, remarkable, special-times and experiences, and just as many difficult bumps in our road together. Marriage ain’t for the faint-hearted!! LOL I love this man, and he is my best friend. He’s an incredible Dad, protector, repairman, and bozo.

This same woman has carried on a 3-year affair with another man her husband never knew about, still doesn’t know about, and has carried on two separate long-distant phone-sex affairs for several years with two old ex-boyfriends (one of them married with children) and her husband doesn’t know about them either. He also doesn’t know about a one-day stand this past March in a hotel room with a fourth man.

Is it right to hide anything from your spouse? Is it right or healthy to keep secrets from your 20-year spouse several sexual-romantic affairs from him or her under false pretenses? More importantly, is that REALLY a testimony of “true love” to your own children, much less the world? Of course not!

When I read her above public statement to family, friends, and the world… I honestly could not stop laughing in disappointment, deep disappointment. Reading her husband’s beautiful tribute to her and pride in their “marriage” caused me to then get nauseated with pity for him/them, because he has no real clue whatsoever who his wife of 20-22 years is truly. It broke my heart to read their public proclamations, especially for their children who believe (falsely) their parents are perfectly and happily married even after many difficult bumps in our road together. Sadly, this woman, a former friend, doesn’t really know what brutal honesty is, the kind Paolo Coelho bluntly describes:

Paolo Coelho quote

Or make them believe in false-realities. I finally had to break-off, breakaway from her and our risky, precarious, dishonest friendship. It hurts what she became because there was so much hope for her as well as her husband to get hardcore real with each other. But in the end she was a scared, confused woman struggling with being true to herself. Consequently, she was becoming a prude, more and more untrustworthy drowning in her fear, denial, and endless excuses no matter what I tried to warn her about. It was just no longer worth it, especially when over the last 6-10 months she would fire nasty, self-absorbed exceptions/barbs and retaliations at me over ridiculous, trivial, insignificant, knit-picky things about me… like Jackie Melfi is describing here in her exceptional Feb. 2016 blog-post. Let me continue with her wisdom:

What I love about this story is my husband gets to put his strengths (his ability to give sound advice) to others without me being afraid. How much the world would miss if I tried to keep him all to myself.

As I laid in my bed at home reading, John was hundreds of miles away with a woman in his hotel room. He called me several hours later to tell me the evening went well. They spent those hours talking. In that moment I loved my husband with just a little more gusto.

I was so proud of him, not because he hadn’t had sex with her, but because he is so loving. Loving enough to share with others what he has learned in life. I allowed myself to be filled with gratitude for this amazing man. A man, who not only loves me, but strives to be loving to everyone. I love him even more because of this.

Jackie is so incredibly lucky to have John, and equally as well, John is so very lucky to have Jackie. What a rare, almost unheard of healthy, thriving marriage and complete trust they share together! They are one of my top heroes of couples I know and deeply respect.

But the story doesn’t end here. The very next evening, John had another opportunity to visit with a female friend. This visit was different. It was the same in the sense that I knew it was going to take place. John told me she had asked him to dinner and that he wasn’t sure how the evening would end. It was different in what happened.

John arrives at her home. She has prepared a scrumptious home cooked meal for them to share. To make a long story short, they ended up having sex. While they were having sex, she told John she still loved and cared about him.

Okay, so this is the dreaded scenario most people fear and will attempt to control from happening with their partner. Like I said earlier, it’s that fear of, “but what if your partner or the person they are playing with, fall in love?”

What if they do?

A symbolic menagerie of deep, exhaustive, liberating love:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is where the true, brutally honest definition of Compersion is demonstrated in our Open Lifestyle! Personally, I liken compersion to feeling the same level of joy I’d experience with my own two kids when they experienced unbelievable euphoria in another or in an event they are immersed inside. Jackie’s response and attitude to her husband afterwards is quite stoic and admirable, if I may say so myself. Bravo Jackie, bravo! I wish more husbands and wives strove HARD to get out of themselves and develop/nurture this same positive, appreciative, truly exhaustive love that Jackie and John share and model. Her conclusion is remarkably mature. Read it closely.

This is what I thought about this woman loving my husband. First, I was touched and honored because she see’s the same great qualities in John that I do. It made me like her even more. I mean of course she would love him, what’s not to love?!

Besides, just because she loves him, doesn’t mean John’s and my love for each other diminishes in any way. This woman simply adds another layer to our life. What’s not to love about that?

Can you imagine the stress and anger and fear and jealousy the evening could have had, especially using the traditional viewpoint?

First of all, John wouldn’t have even been “allowed” to go over to her home to begin with. My adult husband would not have been “allowed.” Even typing this makes me shake my head. John definitely wouldn’t have been able to share how wonderful the meal was, because I might be threatened by her ability to cook and I would probably lose John over her culinary skills! Instead of being threatened I instead have 3 new amazing recipes to try!

John returned home from his trip in great spirits and was eager and excited to see me. He told me over and over how much he loved me and how grateful he is to have such an amazing relationship.

My point is, we don’t have control over who we end up having feelings for, regardless of whether or not we think we can control it. I am so glad that John and I don’t try to control it. We embrace the love we have for those we come in contact with and relish in the goodness of this love.

John and I became a couple so we could add to each others life, not take things away.

As Jackie writes about facing your misplaced fears, embracing our own vulnerabilities and your partner’s/spouse’s, and as I know and have known so very many fairy-tale, falsely-based marriages full of secret locked closets and rugs bulging up with many unwanted 500 lbs. gorillas and pink elephants (silence), this raw hardcore honest, vulnerable love DOES EXIST. There are many paths and justifications to never-ending marital doubts, suspicions, and minefields of unhappy marriage/prison… and then there is one or two truly liberating, fulfilling, sometimes arduous sometimes fiercely real, correct paths to finding and living inside love that is completely set free and encouraged to stay completely free as Jackie speaks about. Believe me, I know. I’ve watched and experienced both. There is no comparison.

Fear stifles, courage fulfills. “The prude is in fact the libertine, without the courage to face their naked soul.” — A.S. Neill.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

L’amour: l’énigme

A friend who had grown up in a Far Eastern country told me the other day I have never been in love. I do not know what love is.” She asked me if I knew it, had I experienced it. As I thought about how to describe it, I was hampered by some pity for her; many people I knew and dear friends and family knew of love, consuming love. But no one or my friend should ever go through life without loving and being loved passionately. Never! Why, why, WHY our obsession with either or!?

I was reminded by this classic story about love and its complications. You might remember the ancient story by a famous poet in a time long ago. For my allegorical blog-post here I begin in its third book toward the end, and continue, hopping forward, into the fourth:

A Laborious Stormy Life

“Here, after endless labours, often toss’d
By raging storms, and driv’n on ev’ry coast,
My dear, dear father, spent with age, I lost:
Ease of my cares, and solace of my pain,
Sav’d thro’ a thousand toils, but sav’d in vain
The prophet, who my future woes reveal’d,
Yet this, the greatest and the worst, conceal’d;
And dire Celaeno, whose foreboding skill
Denounc’d all else, was silent of the ill.
This my last labour was. Some friendly god
From thence convey’d us to your blest abode.”

[…]

But anxious cares already seiz’d the queen:
She fed within her veins a flame unseen;
The hero’s valour, acts, and birth inspire
Her soul with love, and fan the secret fire.
His words, his looks, imprinted in her heart,
Improve the passion, and increase the smart.

Though the wayward, seafaring Prince of refuge had encountered many storms and had been thrown off course in his noble journey, he assured the beautiful Tyrian Queen his misfortune and delay was apparently quite fortuitous, nigh… serendipitous? The Queen was taken by this Trojan’s story, seized and smitten, swept by winds unknown, yet dripped with sweet intoxication.

Traps, Temptations and Diversions – Or Fate?

When next the Sun his rising light displays,
And gilds the world below with purple rays,
The queen, Aeneas, and the Tyrian court
Shall to the shady woods, for sylvan game, resort.
There, while the huntsmen pitch their toils around,
And cheerful horns from side to side resound,
A pitchy cloud shall cover all the plain
With hail, and thunder, and tempestuous rain;
The fearful train shall take their speedy flight,
Dispers’d, and all involv’d in gloomy night;
One cave a grateful shelter shall afford
To the fair princess and the Trojan lord.

Fault Not the Forces of Storms, Satyr and Nymph

Meantime, the gath’ring clouds obscure the skies:
From pole to pole the forky lightning flies;
The rattling thunders roll; and Juno pours
A wintry deluge down, and sounding show’rs.
The company, dispers’d, to converts ride,
And seek the homely cots, or mountain’s hollow side.
The rapid rains, descending from the hills,
To rolling torrents raise the creeping rills.
The queen and prince, as love or fortune guides,
One common cavern in her bosom hides.
Then first the trembling earth the signal gave,
And flashing fires enlighten all the cave;
Hell from below, and Juno from above,
And howling nymphs, were conscious of their love.

While her accidental guest from the sea leaves her arms to return to his men and army, Queen Dido cannot help but long for him and his return. For her, the official public vows of eternal love and marriage could not happen soon enough. She had fallen, hard, and floats head-over-heels. From that night forward there was no return to her previous life. In a near hypnotic trance she recalls their fiery night in the cave while storms raged. Fate had delivered a succulent honey-coated future together, forever squirming in gooey sloppy love. Everything she had ever hoped or dreamt awaited her and the Master of her heart Poseidon miraculously tossed onto her shores. Dido’s yearning is not unlike this modern song that ominously tells of nonstop, irrepressible passion and love:

But as the adage goes, all good things either change or come to an end.

As Pietas, Minerva and Athena before Her

The Gods and Goddesses are angry at Aeneas! They must remind the Trojan Prince he has a much bigger date with destiny and with glory of an empire. Duty, honor, and unwavering loyalty was most prized and sought by Greco-Roman culture, sometimes at the expense of beautifully simple things.

DEGENERATE MAN,
Thou woman’s property, what mak’st thou here,
These foreign walls and Tyrian tow’rs to rear,
Forgetful of thy own? All-pow’rful Jove,
Who sways the world below and heav’n above,
Has sent me down with this severe command:
What means thy ling’ring in the Libyan land?
If glory cannot move a mind so mean,
Nor future praise from flitting pleasure wean,
Regard the fortunes of thy rising heir:
The promis’d crown let young Ascanius wear,
To whom th’ Ausonian scepter, and the state
Of Rome’s imperial name is ow’d by fate.”

Insatiable love, desire… or duty, honor, glory? One must choose principles or passion. You cannot have both. Surrender to irrationality or stay the course, stern and cold. Much of human history has taught us through myth, legend, and prose that we must always choose one or the other. In my life I have gone through this battle more times than I care to count. Now, well into the last half of my expected lifetime, I have only just learned and confirmed the last fifteen years… it is not either/or, one or the other. I ask when, in the history of humanity have we always been giddy and content with restraints, limits, injustice, enslavement or being told “No. Impossible. It cannot be done!”?

Honor and Loyalty. My Dad taught me a lot about honor and loyalty, the kind that ignores death, ignores irrational emotions and passion or fear for the sake of the mission. Semper Fi”! He believed those two virtues were the highest qualities to aspire and live out. They are invincible, impenetrable, and unmoving for a U.S. Marine and man of principle. I believed him, to the marrow of my bones and to the deepest corner of my heart I believed him. I’m sure too he unflinchingly believed the Trojans and Spartans. Then April 25th, 1981 happened.

Like Aeneas to Dido, in my senior year of high school on Halloween night I was consensually seized, taken and swept downstream by the voluptuous beauty, spunk, vivacious lure and charm of my Roxanne. I lost my virginity that night, but it didn’t matter. I was lost on another planet and I did not care. I thought, this is what Dad has been talking about and trying to teach its profound meaning, its euphoric highs and explosions. Oh yeah… and with possible life-altering, lifetime consequences. My 17-year old brain libido kept repeating one thing in my head:  Woah! I want/need more euphoric explosions! Every night or second night if possible!

But as it turned out I was very young and naive in the arena of love. Nothing I had hoped, dreamt, or expected for Roxanne and I played out. Five months later I caught my Roxanne inside another man’s kiss and heated embrace. I was so devastated the next 6-8 weeks, not only had I gotten fired from my great-paying summer job—a graveyard shift I had lost too much sleep from my Love’s betrayal—but I also sank into utter apathy over school grades combined with as many opportunities to drown myself in bottles of Bacardi Rum or in search of Jose Cuervo’s worm at the bottom. Those were some of my worst, last three-months of my high school senior year. They were also leading up to university where I had a near-full soccer/football scholarship—based on my athletic ability yes, but also high marks of course—waiting for me and my very promising collegiate then, as it turned out, pro soccer career. Did my foolish heart and Roxanne ruin my destiny?

Hindsight had taught me then and now that unleashed, reckless, teenage libidos are exactly what the Greeks and Romans feared most; like eruptions of Thera and Mount Vesuvius fear and terror… they cowered and ran from Earth-trembling, roaring, explosive, consuming eroticism. And I have learned by firstloins firsthand, many times (over 70 times to be precise) why they feared it so and were paralyzed by its voracity as had overwhelmed the aimless, smitten, refugee-Prince from Troy, Aeneas.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Queen Betrayed and Abandoned

Once the intentions of Aeneas had been discovered Dido was hurt and angered by the Prince’s unscrupulous plan of secret escape. Rightly furious she hunts Aeneas and gives him a piece of her mind:

But soon the queen perceives the thin disguise:
(What arts can blind a jealous woman’s eyes!)
She was the first to find the secret fraud,
Before the fatal news was blaz’d abroad.

[…]

At length she finds the dear perfidious man;
Prevents his form’d excuse, and thus began:
“Base and ungrateful! could you hope to fly,
And undiscover’d scape a lover’s eye?
Nor could my kindness your compassion move.
Nor plighted vows, nor dearer bands of love?
Or is the death of a despairing queen
Not worth preventing, tho’ too well foreseen?
Ev’n when the wintry winds command your stay,
You dare the tempests, and defy the sea.
False as you are, suppose you were not bound
To lands unknown, and foreign coasts to sound;
Were Troy restor’d, and Priam’s happy reign,
Now durst you tempt, for Troy, the raging main?
See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?

[…]

Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
I sav’d the shipwreck’d exile on my shore;
With needful food his hungry Trojans fed;
I took the traitor to my throne and bed:
Fool that I was—— ’tis little to repeat
The rest, I stor’d and rigg’d his ruin’d fleet.
I rave, I rave! A god’s command he pleads,
And makes Heav’n accessary to his deeds.
Now Lycian lots, and now the Delian god,
Now Hermes is employ’d from Jove’s abode,
To warn him hence; as if the peaceful state
Of heav’nly pow’rs were touch’d with human fate!
But go! thy flight no longer I detain;
Go seek thy promis’d kingdom thro’ the main!
Yet, if the heav’ns will hear my pious vow,
The faithless waves, not half so false as thou,
Or secret sands, shall sepulchers afford
To thy proud vessels, and their perjur’d lord.

Despite Dido’s outrage, tears, and pleas he would remain, to alter Aeneas’ heart back to her’s, the redirected Prince on the other hand feared more the reprisals of the gods if he failed to attend his greater destiny and glory. The modern rendering might be described as ‘service to social customs’ first and always—abiding to all at the expense of a beloved few.

Which is greater? It is a classic dilemma, an enigma that Virgil, at least, and certainly divine beings rip at our human nature and egos, whether insidious or not. It could be argued today that not too much has changed since 19 BCE, hence this blog-post’s title, Love: The Enigma. No, not Love the Enigma. However, many would enjoy the misread, macabre, but false title. Thanks to the Greeks we are darkly fond of a tragedy aren’t we? Ah, I mustn’t digress so much.

Dance of the Swords, Chronic Gods and Burning Hearts

Since Aeneas could not be dissuaded, that night in her chambers Dido flounders back in forth between bitter anger and fierce love. Her memories of passion now become unbearable torture with only one end in sight: waiting for Aeneas with no assurances. Her impending emptiness could be told by a song, this (2017) song, which conveys just one or another effect Dido could’ve lived with and longed for it’s return:

Eventually, unable to sleep and in emotional exhaustion, she hatches a rather impulsive scheme to escape her cruel fate and glory-smacked Lover.

The wretched queen, pursued by cruel fate,
Begins at length the light of heav’n to hate,
And loathes to live. Then dire portents she sees,
To hasten on the death her soul decrees:
Strange to relate! for when, before the shrine,
She pours in sacrifice the purple wine,
The purple wine is turn’d to putrid blood,
And the white offer’d milk converts to mud.
This dire presage, to her alone reveal’d,
From all, and ev’n her sister, she conceal’d.

Tragically, Queen Dido could never compete with a man’s fame and destiny, much less the Gods of Mercury, Jupiter, and Zeus. The latter made sure of it by going again to Aeneas that night, disturbing him so deeply that he chose to sail to Italy with his fleet before sunrise. Atop her city walls and taller palace Dido watched Aeneas and his Trojan fleet take to the sea. It was a sharp spear pushed deeper into her broken heart and dreams. In tears, she turned toward the large pile of all Aeneas’ items he left for her, but was now among stacked wood, sticks, and kindling. A platform was on top with Aeneas’ dagger.

Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass’d,
And mounts the fun’ral pile with furious haste;
Unsheathes the sword the Trojan left behind
(Not for so dire an enterprise design’d).
But when she view’d the garments loosely spread,
Which once he wore, and saw the conscious bed,
She paus’d, and with a sigh the robes embrac’d;
Then on the couch her trembling body cast,
Repress’d the ready tears, and spoke her last:
“Dear pledges of my love, while Heav’n so pleas’d,
Receive a soul, of mortal anguish eas’d:
My fatal course is finish’d; and I go,
A glorious name, among the ghosts below.
A lofty city by my hands is rais’d,
Pygmalion punish’d, and my lord appeas’d.
What could my fortune have afforded more,
Had the false Trojan never touch’d my shore!”
Then kiss’d the couch; and, “Must I die,” she said,
“And unreveng’d? ‘Tis doubly to be dead!
Yet ev’n this death with pleasure I receive:
On any terms, ’tis better than to live.
These flames, from far, may the false Trojan view;
These boding omens his base flight pursue!”

Quickly after lighting the pyre, the flames surrounded Dido and soon would engulf her. She picks up Aeneas’ dagger. Stricken by unbearable circumstances, betrayal, humiliation of her throne and dishonored love—and one must presume her virginity too—Dido thrust the dagger into her chest and soon falls breathless with no more tears of pain. She had freed herself from the heartless cruelties of patriarchal gods and glorified princes:

Meantime the Trojan cuts his wat’ry way,
Fix’d on his voyage, thro’ the curling sea;
Then, casting back his eyes, with dire amaze,
Sees on the Punic shore the mounting blaze.
The cause unknown; yet his presaging mind
The fate of Dido from the fire divin’d;
He knew the stormy souls of womankind…

Once again these damned obsessions with either or… by men, women and their kingdoms—customs or ancient traditions too—and the God(s) that supposedly made them and chronically intervene when their created go awry or follow their hearts and natural passions! Why? What a madhouse of celestial rulers (or Ruler) we’re under and terrestrial, accidental(?) circus we mortals reside and travail!

Glorious Duty or Hastened Death?

An odd question? Maybe not. If there are some lessons we can learn from Virgil’s culture, and his ancient Greeks, they did indeed know a few things about passionate, perhaps reckless irresponsible love believe it or not. For them love had at least six forms, in no order or hierarchy:

  • Eros, or sexual passion, including steamy gooey eroticism
  • Philia, or deep unbreakable friendship
  • Ludus, or playful love and lust, but not hidden or deceiving
  • Agape, or love for everyone without discrimination
  • Pragma, or longstanding, reliable love
  • Philautia, or love of self or a very healthy self-esteem

These six different forms of love indeed exist around the world and are practiced quite well. Furthermore, this concept is applied and functions in expanded forms beyond six. In some parts of the world they are not bound by two people or a couple, let alone marriage. I dare say proudly (with full confidence), in various regions they are not limited by gender or sexual orientation either. Not in the least, thank all the stars and galaxies for that! Rhetorically speaking, do the customs and norms of Virgil’s day or any days in early to late Antiquity still govern and apply today?

If the art of coffee deserves its own sophisticated vocabulary, then why not the art of love?
Roman Krznaric — “How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life,” BlueBridge Publishers, 2013

The answer is no, they do not govern or apply today. For me, this begs another question, Why couldn’t Aeneas and Dido gain every single component of complete love, more whole love? History has shown many times that individuals and humanity have the ingenuity and courage to recognize, adapt and make it work… often with sheer brilliance!

This brings me full circle, back to my friend’s question to me:  Do I know what it is like to be head-over-heels in love with someone? Yes I do, unequivocally. Not only that, but I have grown past my fears of being horribly hurt or betrayed like Virgil’s Dido, that ironically liberated me allowing my natural, fiery passion to love and live more fully! This far and away includes my two painful divorces! Sadly, like many things in life and lifestyles, it disturbs others, even loved ones and endeared family members, unfortunately and unnecessary my own two children included. 😞

Loving so intensely, so passionately it will seem time stands still and all “normal reality” disappears or gets suspended. Today several, maybe most, social conventions receive less of my valuable time and energy. They fall by the wayside as more organic, meaningful, helpful, and impactful relations replace anxiety, confinement and a spoken or unspoken stress to look good for the Joneses as well as keeping up with them. This isn’t just with me either. Around the world this is the case. And living without shame or being shamed or wrongly and naively judged has remarkable health-life benefits! No comparison. I want to share two more quotes for you to think about that I often remind myself with:

Fear stifles, courage fulfills.
My version

‘Tis better to have loved [with all you have] and lost than never to have loved [so passionately] or be loved [so passionately] at all [liberally in return].
Alfred Lord Tennyson, with my slight tweaks

This brings me to my question for you, my readers and followers:

Why must we magnificently imperfect, intelligent, and passionate human beings so limit ourselves during this short life with each other, unable to rewrite what’s past, and yet write what’s next? Why cheat ourselves from more?

By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! 😍🤭

————

Live Well — LOVE MUCH — Laugh Often — Learn to Fail Better

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Our Better Angels

————

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break
our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell
when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.”

President Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address,
Washington DC, March 1861

————

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Back in the Fall of 2015 I had read some rumors and articles that one of my all-time favorite American, historical stories was being made into film. I was thrilled, elated this true event was finally making a screen-write then into full production. This true story is set during the 1970’s Civil Rights Movement throughout the old South, but for these two main characters the movie would begin exactly where it all began, Durham, North Carolina, 1971.

I thought about titling this blog-post Our Better Virtues, but decided against because Lincoln’s quote was just too spot on and appropriate for this subject and film. Although, “Virtues” would have inferred my own meaning, intention, and desires for human kind around the world. After all, every single living human on this planet has some virtues. They just have to choose to find them, bestow them liberally, and nurture as well as grow them. Oh well, “Our Better Angels” gets the point across just fine. 😉

I have blogged here several times about C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater and the volatile, appalling events they both found themselves. In a February 2016 blog-post I wrote about expanding sympathy into deep empathy and how the two feelings, behaviors are actually quite different. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others” and so on, falls short of deep, impactful empathy. Real empathy requires much more than being self-centered or focused on one’s self. It requires putting yourself into their life, their shoes, and metaphorically (or literally?) walking in them 100-miles or more. It does not involve yourself.

This 2019 film, The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson (as Ann Atwater) and Sam Rockwell (as C.P. Ellis), tells that story about finding and giving common, deep empathy for your fellow neighbor, your fellow human being. I finally had the opportunity to watch it and not soon enough! Here is one of the trailers:

Sadly and disappointingly critical reviews of the film have been average and unkind if not neutrally bland. Therefore, I am writing my own reviews and commentary everywhere I can. Why? Because I feel strongly it is important to point out a few things about historical, time-period films to less discerning audiences regarding authentic history, particularly scholarly history that seeks to gather all possible data, evidence, sources, and narratives… no matter their viewpoint. Now, for my personal review of the film, The Best of Enemies:

I imagine this film is horribly underrated and unappreciated by the majority of cinematic fans and specific “cultural” groups. BUT movie reviews will never change what Ann Atwater changed in North Carolina and the ripple-effects she and C.P. Ellis began afterwards during and for the Civil Rights in the 1970’s.

The fact that this film briefly portrays in two short hours what was accomplished in real life between Bill Riddick, Howard Clement, C.P. Ellis, and Ann Atwater—not to mention the Black community in Durham, NC—must be remembered. No matter what movie critics think about the film, and honestly, their trivial criticisms about its direction or production or script or acting do it injustice. Pffffft.

Real, accurate, authentic history is near impossible to translate/transcribe onto the silver-screen in a measly 2-hours or less. This unwinnable cinematic anomaly against movie producers, film-writers, film-budgets, then movie audiences and critics, should always be seriously considered when producing and releasing raw, historically accurate, socially-politically CORRECT and LEGALLY RIGHT Movements as the American Civil Rights, or other highly controversial subjects as the Holocaust or the U.S.’s 18th – 19th century treatment, extermination, and resettlement of Native American Indian tribes. Typically 2-hours or less will NEVER do these historical time-period subjects full justice.

Hence, when all considered, including reading and deciding the real worth/value of this film’s many bland or negative short-sighted or undeserved reviews, just remember this…

2-hours will NEVER be able to tell the full astonishing, real-life true story and relationship about and between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis… which required and evolved over three decades! Ignore movie critics, remember the core and marrow of what the film is telling, portraying!

5-stars and more, every time, every day!

Did I emphasize 2-hours enough? 😜

Seriously though, I hope you will make the time to watch, appreciate, and support these fine altruistic, humanitarian films like this one and the stories they tell. They will at least introduce to you a starting point to go further, dig deeper into the entire contextual narrative, facts, plausible facts, and plausible probabilities despite there often being degrees of cinematic license taken to appease corporate profits, severe time-constraints, and/or film productions at the expense of truth and full historical accuracy. Please keep this in mind.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.