Wednesday 19 September 2012

Evolving with love: Letting go of stale beliefs

Today I was upset to hear the Australian government has voted against same-sex marriage, and it got me thinking about love, equality and evolution.

What is the one thing human beings agree on?


Our desire for love and our ability to love is universal. Even the hardened criminal has the capacity to love (it was probably a lack of love that made them turn to crime in the first place). We are all capable of loving others and of loving ourselves.

Where things go wrong is when we limit who we love. We allow ourselves to love our family members, our partners, our children, and our closest friends. But some of us stop there. We create a bubble of love that extends only to those we know personally and we ignore everyone else. This is where we let ourselves down as human beings. This is where understanding and compassion get lost in a sea of hatred, discrimination and fear.

Imagine for a second if we loved each and every person on the planet in the same way we love our own family and friends. Would we then go to war to kill those we love? Would we make choices that leave our loved ones homeless or without food? Would we deny our loved ones basic human rights because of their gender, or their race, or their sexuality?

Of course we wouldn’t. We would want the best for our loved ones. We would want them to be happy and safe and loved. We would want them to enjoy all the beauty life has to offer. After all, isn’t that what we want for ourselves already? Why wouldn’t we choose that for others?

To me this is what we do when our governments give marriage rights to heterosexual couples but not to homosexual couples - we are choosing to limit other people. We are saying to them – ‘your life and your choices are not as important as mine.’ We are telling them – ‘the love you feel for your partner is not as valid as the love I feel for mine.’ 

Think about marriage for a second. What is marriage? Is it not the union of two loving people who are choosing to commit to one another and share their lives together? That’s how I view marriage, so in my mind the union of marriage should be available to ANY two people who choose it. That’s what it’s all about – choice. To take away a person’s right to make their own choices means you have stopped loving them. Simple as that. Love no longer exists when we limit each other.

But it’s not all bad! :-) The human race is still evolving. It’s the miracle of life; our ability to free ourselves from shackles of the past, to see the error of our ways. When things are no longer working, or have become outdated, we can change them. We invent new ways of doing things that align with our new beliefs and needs. It’s what happened when we freed the slaves, or gave women the right to vote. And that’s where our views on marriage are right now – in transition. In the past marriage was a union based on property then it became a union based on procreation. Now marriage is a union based on love. And therein lies the answer. Every human being deserves love and every human being desires love. If a couple want to express that love by getting married then that is their right as loving human beings, regardless of sexuality.

I believe our governments will see the light of day eventually. Until then let’s remember one thing - love is a gift we can choose to bestow. So let’s choose to love one another wholeheartedly.

Friday 7 September 2012

Book Review: The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

'Hypnotherapist Ellen is fascinated by what makes people tick. So when she falls in love with Patrick, the fact that he has a stalker doesn't faze her in the slightest. If anything it intrigues her, and the more she hears about Saskia, the more she wants to meet this woman. But what Ellen doesn't know is that they've already met.

Saskia has been posing as one of Ellen's clients. Unable to let go of the life she so abruptly lost, she wants to know everything about the woman who took her place. And the further she inches her way into Ellen's world, the more trouble she stirs up.

Ellen's love story is about to take an unexpected turn. But it's not only Saskia who doesn't know where to stop: Ellen also has to ask herself what lines she's prepared to cross to get the happy ending she's always wanted.'

Liane Moriarty's contemporary fiction novel The Hypnotist's Love Story is the third book I've read as part of the AWW2012 Challenge.  It has been described as a 'perfect holiday read' and the book is definitely entertaining and easy to read. The plot itself wasn't particularly heavy, but I was very intrigued by the ideas in the book - that letting go is hard and relationships are never entirely without their issues, even when you're with the love of your life.

The story uses two points of view. One follows Ellen, a hypnotist, as she falls in love with Patrick and learns to deal with his stalker - Saskia. The second is Saskia's point of view so we can come to understand her motivations for stalking Patrick. Moriarty has created a lot of depth for both the female characters, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity as a reader to explore stalker mentality and Saskia's inability to let go.

I related a lot to the main character Ellen. I liked her semi-hippiness, her spiritual outlook on life, her fascination with people and what makes them tick, her ability to overthink every little thing and every little action. I liked her desire to know herself better, to understand her own motivations. I liked her self-awareness.

This book was thought-provoking in its own way. It made me think about the realities and complexities of relationships, and that love can make us all go a little insane at times. I appreciated the book's take on letting go - aside from learning to let go of past loves, we must also let go of expectations and learn to see the big picture. Ellen learns to stop over-analysing her life, and to just let things happen as they are meant to. In that respect the book is about learning to let go of control and 'go with the flow'. If there's a spiritual message to this book it is -  trust in life.

A very engaging, entertaining novel that was more than just a 'summer read' for me. This was the first time I'd read a book by Liane Moriarty and she has captured my attention. I now want to go back and read her previous novels. If you like stories about love and its hardships, you'll enjoy The Hypnotist's Love Story