There is a scene from the film, ‘Adaptation’ with Nicholas Cage (playing twin screenwriters, Charlie and Donald) that taught me a simple clear lesson about the nature of love and what it means to love.
Charlie: There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh.
Donald: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.
Charlie: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was being really sweet to you.
Donald: I remember that.
Charlie: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. And it was like they were laughing at ‘me’. You didn’t know at all. You seemed so happy.
Donald: I knew. I heard them.
Charlie: How come you looked so happy?
Donald: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn’t have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.
Charlie: But she thought you were pathetic.
Donald: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That’s what I decided a long time ago.
When we love someone, it is our love. We get to love. If the other returns the love, well, that’s wonderful but loving another does not have to be dependent on the other feeling the same way.
My own dreams have shown me this time and again and this has been a place of deep healing for me. Our dreams often return us to painful memories, painful relationships, not with the intention to recover the relationship, which may be impossible or unreasonable. The dream doesn’t ask us to do anything other than take us back to that time and give us the opportunity to recover the love we felt for another…a love…a parent…someone who couldn’t return our love. We get to step out from under the debris of story about the relationship, which can be painful, against which we may feel guarded…and simply feel the love. And we come back from this place holding this glowing gem in our hands and our heart…our recovered loved.
This is one of the miracles of the dream…one of the miracles of love…that even in those places where our love may have been rejected, we get to recover love. It is ours to give..ours to feel…ours.
Another movie scene that taught me a lesson about love is from the film, “Marvin’s Room” and a conversation between two estranged sisters, Lee (Meryl Street) and Bessie (Diane Keaton.) Bessie has spent two decades taking care of Marvin, their ailing father, and their Aunt Ruth while Lee remained outside the family.
Bessie: Oh, Lee, I’ve been so lucky. I’ve been so lucky to have Dad and Ruth. I’ve had such love in my life. You know, I look back, and I’ve had such…such love.
Lee: They love you very much.
Bessie: No, that’s not what I mean. No, no… I mean that I love them. I’ve been so lucky to have been able to love someone so much.
“I’ve been so lucky to have been able to love someone so much.”
To love who and what we love and to know that we love. In that moment we drop so utterly from the head to the heart…everything distills and dissolves and in that moment, even in what may have been the most difficult of relationships…where they may be deep grief…we remember and experience…and get to keep what is ours…what has always been ours…what is essential, what is the eternal…the love.
Mary Jo Heyen is a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients throughout the country and abroad in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or www.thenaturaldream.com