All About Love and Story

All About Love and Story

Jane Austen told many stories about love.

Life has always been about story. Our early ancestors learned to communicate about the catch of the day through gestures and grunts–hey check this out, I’ve got food!  As a biological reality on this planet, we humans have been able to develop our communication skills through language and the art of story. It might have started with dragging a felled animal or carrying a fish in a basket, but it was a story of providing and became a story of love. Now on Valentine’s Day the card, the bouquet, the email or the phone call continues the story of love and friendship. Communication is a profound human need and when you stretch it just a bit, story is everywhere in our lives–and much of it about love.

Gossip is story–one person sharing a view of events with another. A medical report is story, the tale of your health and how your physical body is doing. Report cards and teacher notes are story–and most times they tell the tale of effort and the rewards for that effort. Even anger and threats are part of a story that might lead to negative consequences that don’t contain love–but unfortunately that too is part of our human condition.

Today, I want to celebrate the story of two people finding each other almost in their own backyards–me and my husband. And of those two people learning and growing together and discovering that place, family and custom–can contribute greatly to a common ground that supports true love.

Today I want to celebrate the three children that love has created and their lives and their falling in love. So wonderful to have someone in your life that GETS you and believes in your dreams and plans. It’s not silly or sentimental at all–it is absolutely necessary for success, mental and physical growth and the gift of happiness. Grandchildren are an extra special gift, born again of the initial love. And it’s so powerful to witness–the two kids from the same Chicago block and how they talked and walked together. How they dreamed dreams and made plans together. And then…

So my story echoes the story of many of you reading this. And if it drips a bit with sentiment–isn’t that what we cling to? Because when we gather with others–we tell our story. And it’s usually not about how “huge” we are (LOL) it’s about who we love. Or possibly what we love to do. BECAUSE, we talk about our spouse or our partner. We mention our job/business/profession–the engine that drives us, makes us vaguely interesting and gets us up and out every day!!  And for those who have them, we always talk about our children. Hopefully, they are emblems of our love. Yes, there can be stories of dissension, but even those stories have love in them–the love that works through sorrow and disappointment.

But today, I am thinking of positive stories–the ones we like to tell. Maybe it’s a story of travel and discovery, of creation or even of loss. When I tell the story of my mother’s death, I still profoundly feel her love–it drives the story, because her love still drives me.

So thanks, Dear Reader, for reading. I’m far from Jane Austen, but her moments were profound and she saw the purpose of love and of story. So if you are about to call or text or visit someone and express your love-story to them–you just might say: YOU MUST ALLOW ME TO TELL YOU HOW ARDENTLY I LOVE YOU. Sigh, sigh.  And let me know how that works, wink wink.

Standing in the doorway, the bodies of the two touched side to side, hands joined, like two willows bending toward the same stream. Claire invited them in and after making his call, the man took his love’s hand in the soft light of the kitchen, held her gaze for long moments–time important only to them and no one else existing. Claire, caught up in their moment, found she was holding her breath.  


All About Love and Story

Why Not Celebrate Kissing

Why Not Celebrate Kissing

Auguste Rodin’s THE KISS

Despite the fact that August Rodin’s THE KISS was made of bronze, it captured the intimacy and intense emotion that has grown to be a symbol of love’s beginning and/or the enduring love between two people.  Though early artists rarely illustrated kissing, anthropologists assume it has always represented love and close human contact.  Even in the animal world nuzzling, licking and kissing are instinctual. So let’s celebrate kissing.

Instinctual or Learned?

Andrea Demirjian in her book “Kissing: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures,” discusses the argument of kissing’s origins: some anthropologists side with the instinctive, intuitive explanation, citing an evolution from a baby suckling at the breast to mothers chewing food and then passing it to the infant for sustenance. Another theory says early cave dwellers smelled and tasted the saliva of women to discover if they were healthy and capable of procreation. From these actions the kiss evolved and possibly Eskimo nose rubbing. An argument against kissing being instinctual is that researchers discovered cultures in the South Pacific and Asia where kissing was not done until European explorers landed and introduced this activity.

Kissing History

Kissing has been around for a long time. Indian Vedic Sanskrit texts of 1500 BC mention kissing revealing its very early appearance in literature. The Indian religious text Kama Sutra defines kissing as early as the 6th century AD. In the Roman culture, different kisses meant different things.The Osculum was a kiss on the cheek, Basium a kiss on the lips and Savolium was a deep kiss, which today we call French kissing. Kisses instead of handshakes were used to seal legal agreements. Kisses sealed documents and letters and thus we inherited the term “sealed with a kiss.”

During times when people did not know how to read or write they drew an X on the line for their signature to make it legal.  Today we sign letters with X for a kiss.  Early Christians greeted each other with a kiss to show unity and shared understanding.

The Kiss in European History

Today the European culture still supports a kiss on the cheek for a greeting. Andrea Demirjian relates that kissing on the cheek was probably adopted to rid cultures of confusion. For many centuries the mouth kiss was the form of greeting and one didn’t know what that greeting actually meant: is he interested in me or is he just saying hello? Of course some connections between illness and kissing had to be made with the onset of the Black Death. To avoid the pestilence people began kissing on the cheek, thus avoiding germs, illness and possible death.

Good and Bad Kisses

In writing we often find kissing to be an extremely positive symbol: Sleeping Beauty is awakened from a death-sleep by the kiss of a prince. The Frog Prince who’s been cursed by a witch is able to reclaim his manhood when kissed by a princess. But the kiss of Judas Iscariot marked Jesus Christ for arrest, torture and death. 

It’s in the Chemistry

So what’s the real skinny on kissing? When people first meet and date they often talk about “chemistry.” What is or could be going on between these two people? It’s not unlike the sniffing in cave-men times. Kissing truly involves a chemical experience as it elicits the production of neurotransmitters which flood the brain.  If the chemistry between two people is right, the kiss begins a chain of pleasurable feelings.

In our culture today kissing does not have to be sexual. We often assign the message: close human contact showing warmth and love. Platonic friends kiss each other. Mothers kiss their children, and kiss a knee or hand that’s been hurt.

Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of “The Science of Kissing” says that all of it matters. “Our lips are packed with sensitive nerve endings. When you look at the amount of our brains involved in the sense of touch, our lips are very overrepresented…Women often say kissing is a way to tell where the relationship is going, and many people remember their first kiss more than their first sexual encounter.” On Valentine’s Day and all through the year we should celebrate kissing with the people we love.

Thanks to Round Peg photostream

The Kiss Klimt

Kissing elicits positive feelings.