The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances – if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
Carl Jung’s words found me in the midst of reading Loving and Leaving the Good Life, a book written by Helen Nearing that describes her life before during and after its intersection with the life of Scott Nearing. This couple has been active in my thoughts for a while now, and hearing Helen’s perspective is fascinating. 21 years Scott’s junior, she makes it clear just how profoundly her life has been changed by having known him. And the reverse is certainly true as well.
but not always easy.
Because there are all kinds of external forces telling me what my relationships should look like.
Because the grey area is murky and confusing – and it’s much easier (if sometimes less fulfilling) to be black-and-white, defined, comfortable.
Because doing my best to be intuitive and living true to what I believe is also being selfish; and in any relationship, there are at least two individuals to consider.
Because people don’t want to talk on the elevator, make eye-contact on the street, or open up a conversation with a stranger on a plane. Or if they want to, they feel like they shouldn’t.
Because leaving your heart open to people is also leaving it vulnerable.
Of course I’m an optimist. I’m hopeful. I’ve seen the potential we have to light sparks for each other – friends, family and strangers alike. And I believe in the strength and possibility of the connections we form, no matter their brevity or label. I also know that any pain my heart has felt has always been followed by a deepening of the love I’m able to offer others. So I’m in this human chemistry experiment for the long haul. A beautiful experiment it is.
I was two miles into a long run today when these words popped back in my mind. The sun was shining, miles of back country roads were stretched out ahead of me, and there was just enough grit mixed in with the snow and ice to ensure I wouldn’t be limping home with a bruised tailbone. That’s just about all you can ask for in a run on a windy January day in Michigan.
So I’m on this run, my mind is off exploring its various caverns (64% of the reason I run), I remember that line from an old journal and I think –