“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
by Nicky Hjort
I’m sitting here snuggled up in a comfy bed with warm toes and my hair in Dorothy braids as I type this hoping my response will be worthy of such a profound question. One we all keep asking ourselves yet never seem to be able to answer for longer than a fleeting moment before we get all fickle and change our minds about the nature of the force that turns the world round. Whew! That was a long sentence.
My beautiful babies sleep peacefully in the room next door and James Arthur keeps reminding me to “Say You Won’t Let Go” because I’m playing him on a loop to keep me focused. And while I listen to this beautiful song (sorry Lionel) again and again, on my bedside table sits a half full cup of coffee with peppermint creamer, which I can smell from here (delicious), and a mostly full glass of red wine. Both of them trying to convince they have all the answers to the question:
“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
I can almost hear Tina Turner laughing because I know she knows. Doesn’t she?
But do I?
More importantly, do you?
Anyway, unlike most nights it’s not the music that preaches to me as I ponder the answer to this question…it’s the beautiful giclée in the corner that twinkles and shines while it promises to guide me where I need to go on this one. Now James keeps yanking on my heartstrings too because this song reminds me of someone I hold dear to my heart, but even that isn’t enough this time. No- it’s all about The Kiss.
This question is just too big to let the music answer for me. I gaze back up at the print. It’s Klimt’s famous The Kiss: the only painting beautiful enough to possibly catch and keep my attention while James keeps telling me that I made him feel like he was enough. As if… silly James. Anyway back to The Kiss….
Have I ever told you about the first time I saw this painting? I was walking through a store in a large mall in Texas with a doctor I was working for as a medical assistant at the time. We were strolling through this building and bam! the beauty of it struck me from the side of my head and dropped me to my knees. Literally. I fell to the floor
and starting crying right then and there. And I swear to this day, Klimt walked right out of that painting and kissed me. Ah it was The Kiss of a lifetime (or many lifetimes). And I was instantly and completely the woman in that painting- so loved, so shimmering, so gorgeous, so inseparable from him because in that moment I simultaneously disappeared and was everywhere at the same time. There was simply no place where he ended and I began. No place where impossible existed. No place were hurt or wrong or bad meant anything because they no longer held any meaning. I think it was the first time I saw myself, as God would have me see myself…
Anyway that was twenty years ago and I still look up at the pair of them more often than not hoping to feel that way again. And even though it has never been the same since I saw it the first time, I keep hoping and I keep waiting because one time I know it will.
Because love is just too big to explain and too precious not to hold onto and out for. You can’t understand it. You can’t see it. You can only feel it (and maybe almost taste it like this peppermint creamer). You know it when you know it. And even more so you know its absence.
Try, please for God’s sake, to describe it for me. You can get close. You can come one degree of separation from it. You can talk about hormones and pheromones, but that’s not worthy. Screw that… it’s a feeling. And feelings aren’t supposed to be understood by the cognitive mind, they are meant to be experienced by the heart: an organ far wiser than our little analytical brains.
Rumi once said, “Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” EE Cummings said, “Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear: the strength so strong mere force is feebleness; the truth more first than sun, more last than star.” Victor Hugo said, “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.” Thoreau said, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
So what do I say? I say love is the very nature of what matters in life. It is the juice that makes up the center of joy. It is why we get up and why we lay down. It is why we tremble and why we shake. Why we write. Why we sing. Why we dance. Why we create and why we destroy. It is everything.
So how do you find it and how do you keep it, I ask myself?
My heart steps in and slaps my brain so she can finally get a freaking word in.
My heart goes, “Lub, dub, lub dub, silly Nicky don’t think you can find or keep love. You can only become it and then it becomes you. Then you shall really have it and cannot lose it unless you lose yourself.”
My chatterbox mind, for once, goes silent because that sounds interesting.
My heart goes on, “Just like that golden pair of lovers in The Kiss. He has become her and she has become him in their shimmering glory of golden passion. No conditions. No exclusions. No omissions. No withholding. Only pure intimate connection that is beyond description. Duh. How many times do I have to show you?”
And now I’m laughing because it’s funny to observe my heart and mind chatting it up like this.
But have you ever experienced that? I have. Lucky me. If you have then you too are one lucky soul and you should stop reading now because you, much like Tina, already know what my heart is so busy yapping about.
So lesson over… James is telling me to get some rest as he keeps singing me this song. “I’m almost done, I swear it,” I say. “Hold on. I have to answer the question.”
So… “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
Everything and nothing.
Why? How? What?
Because it’s never really about the love, not the love outside of you anyway. It is the love inside you that draws the love unto you, not the other way around.
Dang, my heart is clapping. Can you hear her? I think she just cracked further.
I wonder why it took me 20 years to figure that out after seeing that painting that glorious day at the mall.
Oh well, at least there’s hope for me now. Hope I’ll find another Kiss not hanging on a wall, but living and breathing inside me as me as I offer up the best of me. And in return, no doubt, the best outside me has no freaking choice but to come straight to me. Hmmm? What a lovely thought. I hope he has a strong broad chest.
So this Valentines’ Day if you are looking for love…might my prophetic heart suggest you set that silly old outdated brain-driven plan down and become love instead of searching for it. It is inside you. It always has been.
Your heart will thank you. Your heart has been trying to tell you for so long.
Much love and love much. James and I need to dance while he pulls me closer to his chest and sings “Say You Won’t Let Go” one more time. What a wonderful song. What a wonderful life. What a wonderful love.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
-A Nicky Hjort