Norma Jean: Is It Safe?

Who can forget the torture scene in the film Marathon Man in which Dustin Hoffman is having each tooth drilled to the nerve as he's asked over and over, "Is it safe?" This scene has nothing to do with this column except that its question evoked this weeks topic: the subtle link between real agony and our own private terrors regarding the question, "Is it safe to love you?"I can't think of anyone who hasn't experienced a semi-freezing or deadening numbness of the heart after kicking around this life. I recently witnessed my own child's precious heart breaking when someone he tried to befriend snapped harshly, "Shut up, I don't like you." His small body trembled when he told me the story, gasping to catch his breath, tears streaming down his cheeks. As I witnessed the first walls around his heart forming my body relived that cellular agony.Our imperfect world reveals its paradoxical head early in life, preparing us for life's endless openings and closings, elations and torments, war and peace. Finding a healthy balance of protecting ourselves and being able to open to great feeling is the true test of living.We all need to be loved and to love. Nothing is more satisfying nor gives us greater security than opening the heart with trust and having it held in honor and respect by another. True bliss is allowing us the joy of our soul's full expression. Living with respect, commitment, loving kindness and emotional safety is the grand prize when finally finding our soulmate.So why do we injure each other so soon in love? How do amazing connections end in one person pushing the other away or our lover suddenly slipping into the cool zone? I ponder the paradoxes of human behaviors as a daily practice. Core trust issues present themselves at work, between friends and, in their rawest form, between those we choose to make love with in intimacy.All the ads on this page aspire for that one safe and enduring love, yet no one is willing to live for long stretches of time in an open "I deserve to be loved" state. We insist on seeking reasons to regain our position and control by shutting down that scary vulnerability that releases all manner of strange emotions and behaviors, as we declare our independence and our need for no one. Being out of control is seriously frightening and most tantalizing.No wonder rude is fashionable; it works! Cool people (as in frozen) are snobby, arrogant, sarcastic, aloof and nasty. It's safer to strike first than risk a tumble into the mushy zone of needs, wishes, hopes and longings. Risking in love is the spookiest thing I know of in life; yet it takes that very risk to reach the state so many long for.Peeling the layers off the onion-heart one after the other, scared and crying all the way is the real deal.With respect,Norma Jean


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