"Don't tell me you will love me forever.
Tell me that you will love me Thursday afternoon at four o'clock."
~~W. H. Auden quoted in The Five Things We Cannot Change by David Richo
Love happens in the present moment. And when we inhabit the present moment fully, we can love fully, with everything we are and everything we have.
As I look back on past relationships, the ones I remember the most fondly are the ones where I was the most present. I am surprised by how seldom that actually happened. You think you are with a person, but it is not enough to say you're in relationship. What does that even mean? How often are you with your partner physically, but mentally off inhabiting some other time or place? Is this being in relationship? What exactly are you relating to--the person in front of you or the thoughts in your head? I've lost so much time, so many opportunities for love, by not being present to what is, to who is, to all that is.
I am learning now to live life as a series of moments, those Thursday-afternoons-at-four-o'clock moments. I do my best to be present with people, enjoying time and space with them, holding on to the precious moment with them, and then letting go. Letting go with an awareness of the very real possibility that our paths may never cross again. This is life. There is no forever. There is only the eternal moment of now.
Learning to let go has been one of the most difficult life lessons. Perhaps what underlies it is our fear of the final letting go, death. But now, even that doesn't seem so scary. Once you learn to live and die to each breath, each moment, not much is so scary anymore. In fact, it becomes a beautiful dance with the unfolding of life.
I like dancing.