This is me and my dad. When I was lil. Well, I'm still lil so I guess when I was younger. When I didn't know anything except my mom and my dad. I look at this picture and I reflect back on who I was, how I became who I am today and everything that has happened since this picture was taken. Follow me for a moment here.....
Have you ever heard of something called 'Spider Love'? Its this really interesting notion that Martha Beck talks about in her book, Steering by Starlight. I found it because I have been desperately trying to find some peace, some understanding, something, anything in regards to dating. I've read Deepak Chopra, I've done meditation, I've listened to Tibetan singing bowls, I've tried Buddhist chants, I've read passages in the Bible, I've prayed, I've gone to the gym to run run run like a hamster and will my brain into stop obsessing about things in the past. It was these few paragraphs that really brought me some peace and some clarity.
If you went into your garden, recruited a spider, and asked it, "What do you love most?" the spider might answer, "I love flies." This is true: Spiders enjoy a tasty fly the way I enjoy ice cream. And how does this love cause a spider to behave? Well, it makes a sticky web, catches flies alive, wraps them up to keep them from escaping, and keeps them there, conscious, but helpless. Then, whenever the spider needs a snack, it scurries over to the fly, injects it with venom to dissolve some of its insides, and slurps up some of its life force.
This is the way many people think of "love." They will say, in all honesty, that they love their children, their partners, their friends more than anything in the world. But their love is consumptive, not giving. They need their "loved ones" to feed them emotionally, so they imprison people, trap them in webs of obligation or guilt, paralyze them to keep them from going away. They love other people the way spiders love flies.
Before you set out to lead a relationship where conflict is occurring, remember this: The goal of real love is to set the beloved free. If someone else's "love" requires that you abandon your own soul, it's spider love. If you find yourself trying to control a loved one, you're in the spider's role. Spider love really isn't love at all but a version of fear that creates a perceived need to control.
There are two red flags that will start to wave when real love disappears and spider behavior begins. The first is the deception, by which I mean saying or doing anything at all that is not honest for you. The second is the word make. When you do something even slightly dishonest because you're trying to make someone do or feel something, love is no longer running the show. This is just as true when you're trying to make people feel good and loving as it is when you're trying make them follow your orders. People-pleasing and guilt-inducing are as much control strategies as domination.
If you're on the giving end of spider love, you'll feel grasping, desperate, angry, wounded, or all of the above. If you're on the receiving end, you'll feel a desperate desire to escape, often muted by your own rationalizations. "Mom's just trying to make me happy," you might think. "That's why she's offered me a house if I get gastric bypass surgery." Or "Coach only screams at me because he's trying to make me achieve my potential." Or "Jesse just needs to make sure I deserve his trust; that's why he's tied me to this chair."
If you find yourself repeatedly convincing yourself someone loves you, check yourself for spider glue. If your body and your mood darkens when you think of the person who's trying to "make you happy," listen to it. If you feel wretched and panicky with the need to control someone else, realize you may be playing the spider yourself. Either way, leave the web behind. Detach. Whatever your role in the drama, drop it and begin focusing on real love, the sort that always frees the beloved. You can think of it as Stargazer love, because at the level where you are truly steering by starlight, you'll do it naturally.
Reading this made me realize that the "love" that I had in the past was NOT the kind that builds each other up, it just broke me down. Who I am at my core, what makes me the person I am, what makes people like me and enjoy me is perfectly explained by an indecent that happened when I was 3.
My family and I had just moved into a new neighborhood. As I stood looking at the kids playing in the street, I formulated a plan. I went to my mom and asked if I could have a popsicle ...it was after all a hot Arizona summer day. When she said yes I ran to the door, flung it open and called out
"Hey!! Pop Pops for everyone!!"
That's me. That's what makes me at my core. I love people. I love to make people happy. I love to invite people over. I love to cook for people. I love to talk to people. I love to bring a smile to someones face. I love to give money to homeless people. I love to give cupcakes to people at work.
I love people!
I am a social butterfly.
I want everyone in the world to acknowledge our differences and celebrate them!
I want everyone to gather on the porch and enjoy a cherry popsicle on a hot summers day and relish the simplistic joy of the moment.
I am a light. We all have that light. And I know you will be able to find the light if its missing. Look a picture of yourself as a kid. Find that snapshot of you in the midst of a moment of pure happiness. That moment is your joy. And no matter what any spider tries to do, no one can take away your light.
I know my last few posts have been a little on the angry, a little on the bitter side. But that's over now.
My light is back. No one will take it again.
And the mantra I have started to repeat to myself that helps me raise my standards
(as Tony Robbins would say) is
"My husband. The man I will marry....would NEVER treat me that way"