A smile. It starts with a smile. From one person to another: boy and girlfriend, mother and father, husband and wife, partners, friends, mother with baby, father with baby. Anyone with a loving parent. A dyad – usually. Just two.
And just a smile. Eyes lock. Contact. Lips, smiles are all about lips and teeth and metaphors. You know that feeling, it’s indescribable. It’s loving. On the same wavelength. A poem sits in the air between you both. I remember this feeling with my first baby, there might have been air, but there was absolutely no space between us at all.
Look closer: what do you see? Crinkles at the corners of mouths? [I love crinkles, you’ll see] Something clicks inside you. You’re not looking for faults, you just love the whole lot. And you’re seeing a mirror reflecting back what you’re feeling. It’s pure symmetry. It’s joyous. It’s the potentiality, the not-yet-known element, the magnet that draws you in.
What do you hear? Words? Gurgles? Muffled murmurs? Something directed – or not – towards you as you catch a glimmer of conversation. There is no meaning because it’s all about form and effect. And affect. The effect this has on you. On your affect. All your senses are on alert, primed. Songlike, a poem with music is struck in your heart. The old songs were right.
It’s not just in the eyes, or just what you’re hearing [or not]. It’s how it makes you feel. What do you feel? Warmth inside – you sigh. You’re loose. Your blood pressure drops [like patting a dog or stroking the cat sitting on your lap]. Your shoulders drop a bit too as you leeeeaaaannnnn iiiinnnn a bit, lean in towards your object of love and affection. Your veins expand and the blood pumps.
A belonging, in place, here, present, matched.
But this is not just biological. It’s a yearning for unity. Does love attract opposites, or do we love only those that are just like us? I don’t know. I only know about how it feels. At certain times. The inexplicability of it makes my own heart beat loud in my chest.
What do you experience? You take joy in the miniscule: the look, feel, touch, appearance and movements of your beloved. A flick of the hair, the movement of the eyes, the crinkling at the corners of the eyes. Why? It’s because of the gestalt created on the surface of your eyes by the appealing look and feel of your beloved. We all learn this as children, watching adults, how they look from different angles when they gossip, fight, are bored, are cooking, laughing. We learn all this from them, about how to respond. And react. And the gestalt speaks to the opposite part of the image as it hits your eye. It’s total. And we take all this in. Creating a whole out of parts. The parts are us. The whole is becoming.
This gestalt sits well with you now in your own universe of one. You process the multiple sensory inputs emanating from your beloved object as one, it’s impossible to separate them out, just as hunger is not simply a grumbling tummy.
Your heart rate slows down, your pulse initially quicker, slows as you expand.
Why are you expanding? You expand to incorporate your beloved into you. You feel flushed, hot. All yin [or yang, depending]. Your universe of one expands to incorporate the object of your love [this is not a psychodynamic psychotherapy lecture about object relations, but – ]. But your universe expands.
We’re all going to end up as black holes: dark, mysterious, full of energy and matter and incorporating everything we love into us. This is the being in love, the loving, love. This is a partnership. This is parenting. At its best. I am me and I am you.
Really close up, love is incorporation. Close up, it’s just getting warm, real close to another person. Sometimes it’s warm and wet. Othertimes, it’s just warm. Or hot. You generate more heat if there’s more fuel. We do that when we’re younger. A lot usually. Generate heat by burning fuel. As we age we might generate another kind of heat with our beloveds, the heat of ANGER. We move from incorporation to accommodation to repulsion. We spit out heat, reverse love.
Anger is just love turned backwards. Instead of incorporating the emanating warmth, you’re projecting heat. And really, if you get angry a lot, you have to turn the heat down a notch. Just as loving warmth is generative, so too is the heat of anger degenerative. Anger doesn’t warm: it burns. That’s why it’s degenerative.
You’re a black hole. Remember this next time you’re feeling loving or even when you feeling hate. We’re all black holes.