I do believe that we are all worthy of love, the kind of romance, commitment and true friendship which remains when the bright flame of ‘being in love’ is merely embers and only love in its purest essence remains. This is something ancient and primal which we all seek and very few actually find or understand how to make it have the kind of substantial energy to nourish and thrive within us and our partner.
I am in the process of research for my second book, trying to understand exactly how to find and cultivate this very special kind of love (well, in truth, to also find it for myself and my future partner). I recognise that within myself I can’t simply ‘turn it on’ – my emotions, sense of humor and intelligence being stimulated all help to develop into something precious for me. I know I am getting ever closer to achieving this ideal but I am not ‘quite’ there yet!
Some women seem to naturally have a gift for making men to fall at their feet, bestowing their fidelity and adoration (and sometimes exquisitely thoughtful gifts) and other women experience the dearth of these blessings. My reading materials and movie watching (also available on Hulu) spans many cultures and more than a thousand years of historic lovers as well as the more notable amongst Geisha and courtesans and oh, yes, goddesses. I am particularly interested in what makes a woman appear goddess-like to the external world and yet accessible to a singular man who sees her truest nature and loves her for it. And, of course, how his being is transformed into something loftier in loving this one woman completely.
Throughout human history the female form has been revered in sculpture and ritual – in all of its permutations! And, quite frankly, as a woman with curves, I don’t buy into the whole anorexic mannequin look that the fashion industry would have us believe is ‘normal’ – it’s not, nor is it particularly healthy (mentally, emotionally or physically). In the United States the average woman 5’4” in height weighs 166 pounds (by most definitions in the health and beauty industries she would sadly be considered obese with an ‘optimal range of 116-145’), in France it’s a bit more than 138 pounds for a 5’3” woman (which actually surprised me given the BMI of women and men around the world) and even puts the quintessentially sleek French woman at the high end of that range if you subtract the 1″ advantage in height her American sister has over her. If you look at ancient world goddesses, as captured in various marble and stone, the feminine ideal was hardly a stick figure.
Very likely my most favorite classical sculpture I have ever seen in person is the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre in Paris. To pay an entrance fee and be in the presence of one of the greatest pieces of art ever created is no small thing, to stand beneath this 2300 year old sculpture as she is has been so thoughtfully positioned by the Louvre’s curators is to feel insignificant as well as awed; I hold in my psyche to be some portion of this feminine magnificence. This is no skinny-mini woman, even as a winged goddess (minus her head) she is voluptuous in the extreme.
When you view the relief sculptures of India, the feminine forms depicted (however stylistically different) are even more lush in their ‘assets’ – from the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ellora to the Lakshmi (at left) in Gangaikonda the ancient city of Cholapuram. Perhaps this has more to do with the ‘treatise of pleasure’ most commonly known as the Kama Sutra as compiled in the 3rd century by the Hindu philosopher Vātsyāyana – and the ideal of beauty in the East. Men and women have both benefited from his efforts for thousands of years, attaining god and goddess-like state while engaged in the art of making love, and within the realm of trust so fostered they merge into one, and unite with the Divine in the process; is this too much to hope for? (I don’t think it would be a bad thing to have a pair of gold Lehnga ankle bracelets to wear as a talisman to channel that nature – the art of love certainly being very different from the act itself.)
In any case it is the mystery and what we hold as unattainable that inspires us to cherish and honour our lover once attained. My greatest wish for all reading this is to find your version of “to have and to hold”.
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- Louvre restores famous winged statue (bbc.co.uk)