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To Have Without Holding

--by Marge Piercy (Oct 14, 2013)


Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
you float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.


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60 Previous Reflections:

 
On Sep 22, 2015 Marisa HarNadh wrote:

 i loved 'him' for 30 yrs amidst our marriage to someone else, amidst the lovers that came after. Holding the space for him for that long unfolded many layers of unconditionally love. At 50 and securely in my spiritual path and life purpose, another layer of letting go presented itself to me. I thought to myself, why not REALLY re-lease him, with all the love and blessing, I did... maturity and authenticity are now my allies. I will always love him, the having and holding is no longer a hunger. I Am Free.



On Aug 24, 2014 Rebecca McCarty wrote:

 This is beautiful, and reminds me of something that William Blake wrote, "He that binds to himself a joy, Does the winged life destroy. But he who kisses joy as it flies, lives in eternity's sunrise"



2 replies: Marilyn, Me | Post Your Reply
On Jan 10, 2014 R wrote:

 I find this beautiful.



On Jan 7, 2014 Sunder wrote:

Hogwash. You're simply compromising yourself and finding a way to accommodate the feelings that are telling so. Time to expect more of yourself, and create something of your own.



On Jan 7, 2014 Hilary Campbell wrote:

 For me in this moment, loving with my hands wide open and having without holding, mean that I allow the unattached energy of love to flow through me, rather than me trying to control the love that comes flowing through me.  Love of itself is an energy of optimism, of feeling empathy and intimacy...It is when our egos focus on love that we get ourselves so caught up in confusion and hurt and attachment.  Often jealousy and frustration too.  For me I am learning to be brave with love, I am in a relationship that could be coming to an end and in a place where I feel love and care for my partner even though he has really hurt me.  I want to feel love that is true, not caught up with the hurt and distorted by recent events, more as a language that transcends the current personality damage.  Can I love with my hands wide open and trust that I won't get hurt again?  Thats the test for me right now :-)



1 reply: Always | Post Your Reply
On Jan 7, 2014 Cameron wrote:

 
Nice, very, very nice.



On Jan 7, 2014 unknown wrote:

Lovely piece. Great meaning!



On Dec 8, 2013 Brittany wrote:

 I write like-minded things : http://bphillips8709.wordpress.com/leaving-history-worth-leaving/



On Oct 29, 2013 Elizabeth wrote:

      When I was younger  my eyes would never close my heart would never function and for what reason, nobody knows     When I grew older my eyelids were falling  shut my heart was nothing  but I think it was there     It's weird because I didn't seem to have feelings every salty whisper it wouldn't peel my self esteem  even as the air grew crisper       I never knew what this was all about why I felt like a vampire creeping in the daylight the smile that I wore from ear to ear it was never here     It confused me when people asked what was wrong with me because that's the one question that I could never answer the confusion, it spread like cancer      The cherry red tears there were enough to fill an ocean each sour bullet coated in emotion  but emotion of what kind      I grew up wondering who I was and what I was forcing myself into believing  I used to tell  See full.

      When I was younger 

my eyes would never close
my heart would never function
and for what reason, nobody knows

    When I grew older

my eyelids were falling 
shut
my heart was nothing 
but
I think it was there

    It's weird because

I didn't seem to have feelings
every salty whisper
it wouldn't peel my self esteem 
even as the air grew crisper 

     I never knew what this was all about

why I felt like a vampire
creeping in the daylight
the smile that I wore
from ear to ear
it was never here

    It confused me when

people asked what was wrong with me
because that's the one question
that I could never answer
the confusion,
it spread like cancer

     The cherry red tears

there were enough to fill an ocean
each sour bullet
coated in emotion 
but
emotion of what kind

     I grew up wondering

who I was and
what I was forcing myself into believing 
I used to tell my self
if you trick yourself into thinking you're happy
for long enough


You'll be happy. 


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1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
On Oct 29, 2013 Ekika wrote:

I have this friend you see
With chocolate eyes that joked
Always laughing and forever kind to me
Through my darkest days
he was there
To demand a smile
And request my care
He was my dog dare
My brilliant blue diamond, so rare
I fell too fast, I fell too hard
I left without a fight but remain scarred
I felt too scared and was never more aware
Of the troubles that belied love
Too late I shared, too late I bared my soul
Now the truth is my love is leaking
Leaking from a big black hole


Thanks second lover for grabbing that bowl



On Oct 29, 2013 Felicia Montgomery wrote:

 I thought that was soooooo BEAUTIFUL ,I'm crying because my husband and I work hard to love each other with conscious love daily,it's hard work,but who really wants LAZY LOVE..............Felicia



On Oct 28, 2013 Lori wrote:

 

Left Behind

I was in love once
But never again
He was my soul mate
He was my best friend
Oh we would fight
And they were really ugly
But I loved him so much
And he was no catch
He was fine as hell
Hells what he put me through
Everyday no matter what
But I loved him
After ten long years of trying
When every word was like dying
My eyes so tired of crying
I walked away
...............................
Today I find myself hurting
Wishing he was here
I miss him so very much
My heart welled up in tears
I think of him everyday
Wonder how hes been
Has he found a new love
Has he found a new best friend
I'm pretty sure he has
I told you he's looker
I will never love again
I know this is true
Because I left my heart behind
When I walked out that afternoon.

©Lori Callahan 2013



On Oct 28, 2013 Lori wrote:

 

Left Behind

I was in love once
But never again
He was my soul mate
He was my best friend
Oh we would fight
And they were really ugly
But I loved him so much
And he was no catch
He was fine as hell
Hells what he put me through
Everyday no matter what
But I loved him
After ten long years of trying
When every word was like dying
My eyes so tired of crying
I walked away
...............................
Today I find myself hurting
Wishing he was here
I miss him so very much
My heart welled up in tears
I think of him everyday
Wonder how hes been
Has he found a new love
Has he found a new best friend
I'm pretty sure he has
I told you he's looker
I will never love again
I know this is true
Because I left my heart behind
When I walked out that afternoon.

©Lori Callahan 2013



2 replies: Mish, J | Post Your Reply
On Oct 28, 2013 Linnba wrote:

 I love you. 
Plumply said, but thank you for writing this. It appealed to my current situation and made me at ease that someone reflected in such a diffrent way. 



1 reply: It's | Post Your Reply
On Oct 23, 2013 beany wrote:

 Loved the write up, i look to every parent and grand parent for examples of responsible loving. They may not always get it right but there's genuine attempts to strike the right unselfish balance. A big thank you to the girlfriends of my life...



On Oct 19, 2013 De cacqueray wrote:

 I'm french... It's more difficult to write in your language... My i phone changed m'y words ofen..
"Loving with the hands wide open" : for a New exemple, last week I receved a beautifull ring by a frend, it's a similar an art to see the beauty of a lot of sort of arts.. I take the ands love, not only my lover, but my children ands, my grands sons ands il they choose to take my hand to walk, for thinging... Aimée avec les mains ouvertes et vides!
Marie -Christine de Cacqueray 



1 reply: Mish | Post Your Reply
On Oct 16, 2013 Elmyra Powell wrote:

My husband and I have a 38 year marriage like that.  It is a second marriage for both of us, so we entered into it a bit wiser.  In our marriage vows we promised honesty, to the best of our human abilities.  And we both recognize that the heart's stirrings can be neither demanded nor controlled.  We promised in our vows to work toward the continued vitality of our marriage, and we vowed that if one of us was so unhappy that he or she could go no further, the very first person to be told would be the other spouse.



2 replies: Mish, Ammi | Post Your Reply
On Oct 15, 2013 Ammi wrote:

 If you love it, let it go. Set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it was never meant to be.



3 replies: Ganoba, Mish, Lfm | Post Your Reply
On Oct 15, 2013 Avriane Maritz wrote:

 Maybe  it means loving without claiming, without owning. The closest I come to that is with my pets. I see them ageing, becoming weaker, and realize I cannot keep them alive for ever. So it means loving them maximally but being ready to help them leave when time clearly has arrived for them to go...



On Oct 15, 2013 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 My loving experience has  helped me grow and enrich me through out my life and it is still offering me gifts. Loving freelry without holding has been the most difficult part of loving someone closely. I have had my own needs, desires, ideas and ideology and stubbornness. There have been times when we were in total sink and flowing together and there were times when we felt emotional tension in letting go of our insistence. As we grew older, letting go became easier, almost effortless. When I look back I see my drawbacks and limitations and a regrets for remaining blind and asleep. Thanks to the kindness and empathy of my soul-mate, I have grown and still growing. Though she is not with me anymore physically her presence still gently taps my shoulder and lovingly and softly whispers what I need to hear. My heart says love never dies.

Jagdish P Dave



On Oct 15, 2013 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 My loving experience has  helped me grow and enrich me through out my life and it is still offering me gifts. Loving freelry without holding has been the most difficult part of loving someone closely. I have had my own needs, desires, ideas and ideology and stubbornness. There have been times when we were in total sink and flowing together and there were times when we felt emotional tension in letting go of our insistence. As we grew older, letting go became easier, almost effortless. When I look back I see my drawbacks and limitations and a regrets for remaining blind and asleep. Thanks to the kindness and empathy of my soul-mate, I have grown and still growing. Though she is not with me anymore physically her presence still gently taps my shoulder and lovingly and softly whispers what I need to hear. My heart says love never dies.

Jagdish P Dave



On Oct 15, 2013 Mordechai wrote:

" Love with hands wide open" to  me  means loving without grabbing on to. it means giving without being possessive. it means giving without expecting, receiving, getting , taking in return. it means free love.
 



On Oct 15, 2013 Lfm wrote:

 The first paragraph describes the "movement of love" beautifully.  By the Power of Heaven (I call Him Holy Spirit), Love comes.  He, both, HAS and HOLDS us in LOVE. . . . and then moves us to reach out, to have and hold for Him.  
Great Spirit of Heaven, Breath on us.    



On Oct 15, 2013 Mish wrote:

 Loving & allowing freedom.....free to be you...free to be me...less ego/fear.



On Oct 15, 2013 Marilyn wrote:

It means loving your spouse even when Alzheimer's has turned his brain into that of a toddler...taking him to dances when he can't remember how to dance so he can smile at friendly faces..taking him for walks in snow and rain because he loves to be out in nature...and telling him you like to help him so you can show him how much you love him as you crawl under the stall in a public restroom to clean up the mess. It's a new kind of love, but it's just as real.



2 replies: Neeti, Amy | Post Your Reply
On Oct 14, 2013 Linda wrote:

 It means every good by is forever.  That allowing the moment fill me up and rest in the sweet memory of it.  If the lover appears again, it is falling "in love" as deeply as the first time...again and again if the Devin deems the opportunity.  And if good bye is forever allowing love to be...just be, let if fill me with joy and sorrow at the same time.



2 replies: Jenny, Linda | Post Your Reply
On Oct 14, 2013 Jenny L wrote:

I'm Learning!   To Love openly with no holds, no expectations and no judgements - for my partner and myself.  The joy of being together is enough and free of 'stuff'.  It is tempting to want more, to want to bind each other in commitments, until I remember that I AM Love, I AM complete and I AM whole.  And yes, we hold hands, and we let go, remembering our sacred touch and then rejoice when we can hold hands again.



On Oct 14, 2013 Amy wrote:

 In reading this a second and third time, my heart hurts.  This looks to have been written by a priest, one called to have but not hold "sacramental love".  I'm sensing, the writer's want/frustration with his promise to love without holding.  
To this, I say, "I want to hold your hands"!  Why?  Because, Jesus would! 



On Oct 13, 2013 david doane wrote:

To me, "Loving with the hands wide open" and "having without holding" means loving without trying to control, possess, limit, change, or manipulate.  It means loving without goal or agenda.  It means accepting and enjoying the other, reveling in and for the other.  It means being open and vulnerable.  It means being immersed in the present without holding onto the past or worrying about the future.  It is a state of insecure bliss.  I've had some such times, and they are the times that I am most alive and living is most exhilarating.  We can develop our ability to love consciously, conscientiously, concretely and constructively by not trying, by developing our allowing and valuing of the other, and by developing our awareness of oneness with others which develops our openness to difference.



On Oct 11, 2013 navin sata wrote:

with my limited understanding its hard to put in the words "loving with the hands wide open" yet one can experience,unconditional love in all creation, and silent creator in nature,roaring huge waves in the sea,or gentle mountain springs flow,birds sings in blue,clear  sky ,sunshine on the  water[ song by john denver] new young flowers in the spring,or fall  seasons natures [rangoli] colors ,morning sun rise ,evening sunsets reminds me hands that paints the infinite sky,full,moon nights are all lovers of all ages favorite,starry,nights in desert,morning dews on roses,walking on beech in rain,in silence of our mind we all do exp.this unconditional love in our heart in our spirit in our inner and outer world [in harmony]we are all on our spiritual journey of life mother nature [earth]provide loving hands wide open. I came to conclusion long time a go 1,keep an open mind 2.do the things righteously  3.keep conscious clear by remembering goal and purpose  See full.

with my limited understanding its hard to put in the words "loving with the hands wide open" yet one can experience,unconditional love in all creation, and silent creator in nature,roaring huge waves in the sea,or gentle mountain springs flow,birds sings in blue,clear  sky ,sunshine on the  water[ song by john denver] new young flowers in the spring,or fall  seasons natures [rangoli] colors ,morning sun rise ,evening sunsets reminds me hands that paints the infinite sky,full,moon nights are all lovers of all ages favorite,starry,nights in desert,morning dews on roses,walking on beech in rain,in silence of our mind we all do exp.this unconditional love in our heart in our spirit in our inner and outer world [in harmony]we are all on our spiritual journey of life mother nature [earth]provide loving hands wide open. I came to conclusion long time a go 1,keep an open mind 2.do the things righteously  3.keep conscious clear by remembering goal and purpose of every action of human life, one can not complete infinite journey without infinite love.always love navin

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On Oct 11, 2013 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

 There are degrees of development and degrees of love. I believe that if one loves consciously one simultaneously loves conscientiously, loves concretely, and loves constructively. Whoever heard of destructive loving? I wish I could share a personal story where I was 100% conscious and 100% consciously loving at any given time but I can't and I probably could not notice 100% of any way of being.  That could be an excuse for my allowing myself to be lackadaisical. When one is loving consciously at one's level of development, and accepting what and where one is am at that present moment, then one is doing fine at that moment.: doing fine even if the hands aren't  as wide open as someone else's hands,  No one is perfect. It is fine to extend effort as we move towards effortlessness. Trying too hard to be what you are not can interfere with opening wide the hands. Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone



On Oct 11, 2013 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 loving with hands wide open means: not holding too tightly. having no expectations. allowing the other to be who they are. no restrictions. no judgment. not molding the other into a vision we may hold, but accepting completely who they are. I do the best I can one day at a time to live this way. Especially as I travel so often throughout the world. I do not expect anyone to hold onto me with their hands when I am gone a month, two months. Or I've met someone while traveling and we connect so deeply. So I've learned to enjoy the moment, whatever the moment holds, with hands wide open. I enjoy the people I meet. I love deeply whomever I am with; with my hands wide open and without holding. I believe what is most important about "loving consciously, conscientiously, concretely and constructively" is that we each do this however works best for us & that it is a work in progress. I hope this makes sense.