Most of us are running a virus in our mental/emotional background--a piece of malware, really, working its way into almost every waking moment. Fully implanted by the time we are teens, the directive is: Get something out of life.
"Life" is our interaction with various facets of self--people, places and things. As we move through the world and it moves through us, we habitually try to add objects and concepts to "me" which represent security, sensation and power. Once we are able to find food, shelter, clothing and some basic form of affection, we want more safety, more experience, more respect. We want wisdom, too, if it promises greater comfort and better feelings. Because--god forbid--we might miss out, not fully actualize, be alone forever, have bad teeth, etc., etc. We will cease to exist, and then all will be lost! Seize the day, kill that time, and leave a legacy--or else.
Generally speaking, we don't get the kind of attention and reassurance we prefer from trees, rocks or the wind, so we try to get it from our fellow humans. If security, sensation and power were physical commodities like water or clothing, we would fiercely compete for them. They exist only within us. Still, we try very hard to "get" these feelings from other people, as if security was a fence someone could build, or power a cloak of self-confidence someone could wrap around our shoulders (there, there!).
Crazy--almost everyone is seeking like this. We're trying to grab something from each other that doesn't exist. No one has this stuff--not one! Security, sensation and power are spontaneous, natural, holistic expressions which, like love and trust, can't be bought, stolen or forged. The belief, however, that the world (an "other") is something to be used, to prop us up, make us cooler, hotter or more immune to mortality is deeply embedded. We think of relationships as investments, as something we do in hopes of a big return for our time and trouble. Meanwhile, our partner in this crime is hoping for an equal return. I ask you--how can you give what you don't believe you have? How can you get a "state" of being that is only sourced in you, and which, furthermore, you have zero control over?
When we are fourteen, or sixteen or twenty (and beyond), there is a terrible hollowness inside that holds the cusp of adulthood, the myths of our parents and culture and all the intensity of Being combined. Steeped deeply in the viral division solution, we are too young, perhaps, to directly face all that fear and longing, and so throw it outward, hoping to somehow catch a miracle of beauty, of raw strength and approval from that oceanic condition we live in, but feel so separate from. Cast. Cast. Cast. We may land just enough to keep us fishing, to fortify the belief that something will come along to really care for us, grant us what we never had, bring us healing and balm for our loneliness. We hope, before we die, to get that elusive Something out of life.
This hopeful, desperate youth within us never goes away. Ever. We learn, in time, to be well-adjusted, to manage it, dumb it down, numb it out. Most of us divorce this wild creature, on some level, as it is simply too problematic, emotional, and occasionally self-destructive. We think we are adults, until in the depths of some argument with reality--usually someone we love--out comes the most rebellious, immature drama we could ever hate! (Ah. Thought I was rid of the brat.)
Not ever. But with proper care, the brat can grow up, becoming a mysterious ally. Eternal Spring is the heart of this creature...a well of passion, a sparkling morning to get you through a very dark night. Proper care? All your love, immense patience, that wisdom you thought would get you somewhere. This is the place to plant it.
Take your wild child for a walk and feel what it is to let sensation be given. It is nothing she needs to wring out of the woods, the rain, the air. There is nothing, anywhere, better or other than this. Sit with him and feel the power of this kind of vulnerability, the fact that direct and thorough love is inescapable. Let her understand that security lies in the freedom of being a shifting point in a whole field of them--all equal, all relevant, all valid, all illusory. Remind him that here he is, even in all emptiness.
It's futile to spout platitudes, because wild creatures need the holism of synesthetic language. They want to understand in their bones, in their loins, in the very reason they are present. So in order to demonstrate the important fact that the "Love (Life) you take is equal to the Love (Life) you make", ask your coltish one about its gifts...the things she resonates with, the things he must do to express all that pent-up passion. Does she want to paint? Does he want to drum? Write, swim, act, sing, dance, say, do, what? Listen.
Honor this courage by doing just that thing...safely, respectfully, with intensity. In other words, make Life--not for attention, not to prove anything, not to get anywhere. Just put the notes, the cells, the colors and steps out there, in the void, like a painting made of sand...for no reason, other than the listening to the longing of your buried heart. Afterward, take the time to notice that here you are, even in all fullness.
Do it again.
Eventually, there will be no distance between the giving and receiving, Spring and Autumn--no imaginary hollow to fill with stuff, no justification for the beauty you do and see, no avoiding the inevitable pain or joy. There is a purity and efficiency here, not conducive to viral invasions of the psyche. Spacious fullness, with a well. :)