My life partner Christine, my iPod, my good friend Bonnie, passenger trains and their whistles, my children, dancing and teaching dance, pieces of music like “The Procession of the Nobles,” my large and lovely feline Isaac: these are a few of my favorite things. I believe that life, at least my life, is made wonderful by falling in love over and over again. The trick, as I try to live it, is to stay in love with the valued old while falling in love with the new and maintaining firm boundaries to keep the new from displacing the old.
Have you ever read “The Little Prince?” It’s about allowing yourself to have wonderful attachments while knowing that it will hurt like hell when you lose them. I remember the deep sobs when I lost my father and when I lost my last two cats. I remember, already, the future sobs when I lose my wife, hopefully in the distant future. (I know, I know, I may very well go first.) I’ll probably lose Isaac far too soon and the pain will be excruciating. Yet I’ll take the attachment and pay the piper when payment comes due.
Do you allow yourself crazy wonderful attachments? I recommend it highly. It’s part of the “wear yourself out, don’t rust out” philosophy of living life. Go full tilt and damn the cost, that’s what I’m talking about. You can’t think a lot about it. And that brings me back to Isaac.
If I think very deeply about my attachment to Isaac, I have to be realistic. He’s just an animal who depends on me for food and probably can’t think or understand much or anything I say. But I don’t let reality stop me. I have elaborate conversations with him. I know I’m projecting me into him and my love for him is a form of self-love. That’s OK with me. To a fairly large degree, all of our attachments, to humans, to animals, and to inanimate objects, are a form of self-love. Healthy self-love generates energy and spirit that allows us to more fully and genuinely love others.