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    « Confessions Of A Topless Jackass | Main | June 12, 2008: Z-Day »

    Love At Last Sight

            Many people fantasize about love at first sight. Human relationships are so diverse, complex, fascinating, mysterious, and wonderful that I believe virtually anything is possible. I can’t speak from experience about love at first sight. But I can speak from experience about love at last sight.
            Love at last sight is when you look at somebody you already know, maybe intimately, and for the first time feel the true depth of your emotions for them. It may not actually be the last time you look at them, but it could be. Something inside of you pops, and everything that was already in there, but for some reason you couldn’t feel, suddenly becomes available to you. Like an internal flash flood of love, you get swept away by something that you didn’t even know was there a second ago.
            At once beautiful and debilitating, it happened to me. We had gone out for ten months. Spent lots of time together. Went through quite a bit in that short time. I loved her, but I was not in love with her. Or so I thought. When I saw her that night, it was as though I suddenly saw her with new eyes. Actually, what I was doing was looking at her with a new heart. An open heart. In the time it took me to raise my head, cognitively recognize who I was looking at, and acknowledge her presence, my heart opened. I don’t know exactly how. I don’t know exactly why. But I do know it happened. Because I felt it. It was unmistakable. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before.
            It wasn’t so much an emotion as an awareness. A sensation. A deep knowing. A sudden awareness that there was something inside of me that I had forgotten about. I always knew it was in there, but it had hidden from me so effectively, for so long, that it had become a stranger. And for many, many years before it went into hibernation, it hadn’t dared show the scope and magnitude of it’s true presence to me except in short, evocative bursts. Because that was all I would allow.
            That something was my heart. When I say “my heart”, I’m referring to a life spring of positive, powerful energy. My heart represents the best of who I am. It is the center of all my passion for life. For all my hopes and all my dreams. For all my compassion and tenderness and gratitude. My heart is the holding space for that definitive nebulosity that makes me different from anybody else who is alive or who has ever lived. My heart holds all my capability to give and receive love, in all of it’s infinite forms and shapes. My heart is a vital part of myself. My heart is a huge part of who I am. And my heart had been in exile. Until that moment.
            In the flash of an adoring gaze, my heart came out of hiding and made itself known to me for the first time in almost two years. With an intensity that I was completely unprepared for. So I did what I knew how to do. I left.
            Immediately after looking at this woman and experiencing this epiphany, she walked towards me, opened her arms, and invited me to hug and kiss her hello. I remember looking at her doing so, and I remember walking towards her. But I don’t remember hugging her or kissing her. Because just before I did so, I went away. My body was there, I’m sure, doing the hugging and the kissing, but the rest of me had gone. Clint had heft the building. Clint had checked out.
            I disappeared. I had disappeared plenty of times before. It’s a coping mechanism I developed as a kid when things got too emotionally intense for me to handle. I would leave my body and not remember what happened. My memory of the event would have a big hole in it, where I remember something before and after, but not during. I still do it today. It’s involuntary. I don’t consciously choose it or even know I’m doing it. It’s only afterwards upon reflection that I realize it’s happened.
            It happened then. I know why. In the moment that I saw her for the first time with an open heart, I instantly became aware, for the first time, of how much I cared for her, how much I wanted to be with her, and how much I loved her. And I also knew that I wasn’t with her. An explosion of one’s heart is a big enough event in itself. Throwing that, along with the crushing truth that I was no longer with a woman I was in love with, into the emotional mixing bowl just overwhelmed my internal mix master. So I just bolted.
            But whether I was there or not, my heart had exploded open. And the consequences of that moment literally changed my life.
            My heart had been in lock down since my father died. I know myself to be a sensitive, emotional, demonstrative, emotive, outgoing, loving, artistic person. Having my heart shut down is like restricting the oxygen flow to a runner; he can function, but only in a limited capacity. That was me for a year and a half. Functioning, but at a fraction of my self.
            In truth, my heart had been hiding for a lot longer than a year and a half. Throughout my adult life, my heart had been poking itself out here and there. Some periods more than others. But I rarely came from my heart. I was in my head almost all the time. I wasn’t communicating with my heart. I wasn’t integrating how I felt into my life. And integration is essential.
            My mind is a wonderful tool. It’s very analytical and insatiably curious. It sees things in a unique way, and it’s usually very open. But it’s a tool. It’s not me. And like a chain saw that develops mobility and a mind of it’s own, it can wreak havoc if it’s not manned. My heart just wasn’t in my mix enough. I was living in my head. I was trying to do everything with nothing more than my body taking orders from my mind. And there’s a lot of shit in my mind that doesn’t belong there. My mind, just like everybody else’s, has some twisted ideas about who I am and about how my life should be lived.
            My mind is like the world we live in: there’s an amazing amount of great in it and there’s an amazing amount of shit in it as well. Undirected, it can lead itself very much astray. I need to be telling my mind where to go, not my mind telling me where to go. But for the longest time, I wasn’t doing that. I was letting my mind lead me everywhere. Like a puppet on a string, I followed. Like a power crazy general who thinks he knows it all, my mind wants to completely control me, all of me, all of the time. And just like a power crazy general running a country, that doesn’t work too well. The general needs to be an instrument of the state, not the other way around. My mind needs to be an instrument of my self.
            Not digging that role, however, my mind fights constantly to keep control. It’s always trying to run the show, twenty-four-seven, and sometimes it still does. But I have another voice now. A voice that I pay much more attention to. The voice of my heart. The song of my emotions. The power of my feelings. The energetic nothingness that’s responsible for the tears I cry, the laughter I expound, the sadness I no longer hide from, and the boundless child-like joy that I indulge myself in. My heart is the indescribable circle of energy, residing in the center of my chest, that holds the essence of who I really am.
            That energy is incredibly powerful and positively beautiful. I’ve found it again. And I’m integrating it into the very fabric of my life.
            And it all began one otherwise unexceptional evening, just about a year ago. When I looked at a girl. Felt something happen. And never turned back.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a Boston Design Center full of Wrongs) Reserved.

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