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The Thing Called Love
Like a Bolt from the Blue

Everyone's talking about it... and everyone wants to know more about it... (almost) everyone wants it… and no one truly understands it.

People have been trying to understand it and explain it (i.e. put it in a nice secure box for safer observation) for as long as there have been people.

If you don't have it in your life, then you want it. But the harder you look for it, the more elusive it likely becomes. Once you have it in your life, then you want a little outside confirmation that you've indeed made the right choice.

If you once had it, but then somehow lost it... in your abject misery and pain, you demand to know why you lost it.

But no reason given is ever going to be enough to satisfy and soothe the pain of loss. And if you've decided you're one of those people that has great difficulty keeping it alive – then you search endlessly through books, magazines, and gurus for magic formula instructions on the care and feeding of it…

What is it? What is this wonderful (and awful) thing that hits us like a bolt from the blue?

The Thing Called Love
Truth is… the more we try to pick love apart... the more we attempt to dissect it, scrutinize it, dismember it, analyze it, control it, and subject it to the light of reason and rational thinking – the more "the thing called love" elusively slips through our fingers like so many million grains of sand.

Modern science is now attempting to reduce "the thing called love" to being little more than a "chemical communication" caused by pheromones that we share with the rest of the animal kingdom.

And for that matter, it's been discovered that even an innocent enough 30 second platonic hug releases chemicals in our bodies that provide both the hugger and the huggee with a temporary irrational sense of well-being.  

Anyway, modern science further instructs us that this "falling in love" thing - along with its chemical communications and changes in the brain - at best, lasts only 12 to 18 months. After that, you're on your own.

As a result of these new discoveries, many 12 Step program advocates are finally beginning to feel vindicated. 12 Steppers have been speaking out about love's darker, destructive, addictive qualities for many years. They've labeled love's darker side as a dysfunctional and co-dependent behavior synonymous to drug addiction.

Let's face it! When we're DULI (Driving Under Love's Influence) – the world around us feels like a brighter place to live, the chirping of the birds sounds so much more beautiful, and the air smells oh so much sweeter.

But if (God forbid) your lover suddenly, unexpectedly leaves you high and dry – then love's effects often feel as if you're undergoing the excruciating, painful withdrawal of a highly, addictive drug. 

It's Greek To Me?
The ancient Greeks had a wonderful non-rational way of explaining, describing, and giving meaning to many of the universal experiences that we mortals share in... the telling of stories.

The irrational experience of "falling in love" is one of those commonly shared "archetypal" experiences that the ancient Greeks tried to wrap their minds around via their stories depicting the gods.

Once upon a time in Greek mythology... there was a god named Eros. Originally, Eros was one of the oldest and most powerful of the Greek gods. He was the dynamic force behind the creation of our world (i.e. It's love that makes the world go 'round.).

Later on in the development of Greek mythology, the god Eros became a wee bit more "civilized" and was then known as the handsome son of the love goddess Aphrodite.

The Valentine's Day Connection
These days we know Eros best, by his Roman counterpart Amor or Cupid. And over the passing of time we've attempted to further tame Cupid by picturing him as a chubby, harmless, innocent little imp that comes out to do his wee bit of mischief on Valentine's Day.

However, make no mistake, the Greeks knew Eros as the most beautiful and desirable of the gods. Eros was a god not, I repeat not to be taken lightly.

Two Types of Arrows
It's a little known fact that the god Eros actually had two very different types of arrows with which he pierced the hearts of mortals and gods. Eros had golden tipped arrows that would evoke desire and irresistible attraction... but Eros also had those nasty leaden tipped arrows that brought about irrational feelings of disgust and repulsion.

To the mortal or god wounded in the heart with one of Eros's special tipped arrows, it was a wounding of either irrational desire or irrational disgust which suddenly, seemingly came from "out of the blue" (i.e. out of the sky).

The mortal or god struck by the arrows of Eros was then destined (and under the compulsion) to live out this wounding of the heart, often acting in irrational ways and committing mad, passionate crimes in the name of love.

The Tragic Story of Apollo and Daphne
The beautiful river nymph, Daphne (meaning laurel) was Apollo's first love. How this love for Daphne was said to come about is that Apollo, thought to be the second most powerful of the Olympian gods, had been making fun of the young god Eros (son of Aphrodite) and bragging about how very weak and puny little Eros was.

The Rational Struck Down By The Irrational
To show the powerful Greek god Apollo (the god of rationality), a thing or two... the god Cupid struck Apollo with one of his (Eros's) gold tipped arrows. When struck by the gold tipped arrow, Apollo immediately became inflamed with irrational desire and love for the lovely river nymph, Daphne. However, at the same time, Cupid struck Daphne with his lead tipped arrow of disgust and repulsion.

Thus... the more ardently poor Apollo pursued his true love, Daphne – the more she (Daphne) became repulsed by Apollo. Apollo relentlessly pursued Daphne across the face of the earth, and he would not (could not) give up.

Finally – Daphne, herself exhausted and terrified, cried out to Mother Earth for help. Mother Earth then transformed the river nymph, Daphne, into a laurel tree. Apollo went away rejected and mournful.

And isn't that an excellent bottom line description of what "falling in love" and "falling out of love" feels like?

"The heart has its own reasons that the mind cannot comprehend..."

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