Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Search of the Pure Love

Mothers Day wasn't much of a celebration for me. Unfortunately, I was down with fever and all I could muster was just enough energy to send a text message to my mom to convey my love for her and my gratitude in having her love in my life.

With a wet towel wrapped around my head to keep my fever down, I chatted with a couple of friends online. Suddenly, as if on cue, the topic of the chat swerved to talking about our emotional needs and the possibilities of having our needs met perfectly. This got me thinking about what had happened over the past few weeks.

In my previous entries, from the time when I first began blogging, I have never mentioned my first love until about 3 entries ago. And due to the big havoc that came as a result of paranoia and ignorance of certain quarters, I had to practically slaughter my 'creative writing' to mere skeletal version of what it was originally. My intention was to pay tribute to first love. Puppy love. I've realized now that puppy is love is not pure love. Pure love can never be found there.

I believe that as human beings, from the moment we were born, we have been in search for that pure love. Presumably, the term Pure Love is defined differently by each individual. However, I truly believe that it boils down to the first love we experienced and received when we first looked into our mothers' eyes and have that knowing feeling everything is going to be okay. We feel accepted and loved unconditionally. We feel cared for and precious. And we have never ceased, from then on, in our search for that very same love in another human other than those we call family. We look for it in choosing our life partners.

Our experience with puppy love is our initial introduction to how it feels like to be loved by someone other than our parents and immediate family members. Some may never get over that experience and fantasize about making something which is temporary in nature into something more permanent. Big mistake! Lessons in life is not meant to be made to be life. Lessons teach us about ourselves and how we can learn from our bad choices and mistakes and turn it into something that will benefit us in our future experience.

Life is complicated. Simply because it involves interacting with other people. Therein, lie the elements of uncertainty and risk. Life is a gamble. We won't know the exact consequences of our choices until we've made them. We can speculate. We can try to predict the future. We can even ask trusted friends and confidantes for their opinions and views. But, alas, we have to live our own lives. No one can do it for us. And that means taking risks and gambling with the odds of success or failure in everything we do.

Our hearts know what it needs. We may not know how to articulate it perfectly, but when we see what fits the criteria, our hearts will guide us, drawing us close to those who have the qualities we need in order to fulfill our gaping void within our souls.

Sometimes, we can't help but feel impatient or flustered when things don't work out according to our expectations. We might even feel discouraged and give up our search, quietly trying to shove aside our emotional needs with a silent hope that life will spring us a surprise and we will be fulfilled and live happily ever after.

But, is it realistic to expect someone else to love us the way our mothers do? Is there anyone out there who is capable of giving that kind of love? Are we capable of giving unconditional and pure love? For it ceases to be unconditional when we expect to be loved in return, much in the way we have given it.

I remember the time when my mother's love made me feel precious, appreciated, accepted and valued unconditionally. Regardless of whether I behave well or not, my mother's love never fell short of the first love she gave me the first time I was handed to her in her arms, with my umbilical cord still attached. And although I believed that I have indeed found my soul mate 20 years ago and have been married to him for a good 18 years, why am I still searching for that love in every face that seem familiar to me? Is it not enough? Why is it not enough? What has changed?

I have changed. In the beginning, I was the precious one. And then came my little brother. My first friend. Later, my youngest brother joined our posse. The preciousness became less and less. I began to look outside of my family circle and into my social circle.

That need to feel loved and precious. Is it a bad thing? Is it part of my ego? My pride? Or is it just something that is organic in nature. Just the pure need to feel connected and understood. To feel loved and taken care of. To feel secure.

I noticed the difference in the look in my eyes in two photographs. One when I was less than a year old; and the other as a grown woman. I can see the sense of security in my one year old eyes. Something that is starkly lacking in my grown up eyes. Where did I lose my sense of security? When did I lose it? Is there any way I can retrieve it? Or do I need to search for a new source of loving security that I feel I sorely need now?

Maybe, some might deem me as being ridiculous. Still searching for security and love at an age where I am already a mother of two teenage daughters? What the hell is going on? Mid life crisis or menopausal? But here is where the skeptics have failed to see. I need to find means and ways to fulfill my own emotional needs in order for my daughters to grow up emotionally functional and independent. Am I looking to be an emotionally independent adult? Yes. But life is a lot more wonderful when you can share it with someone who is equally, if not more, emotionally fulfilled and independent as you.

I have come to a conclusion that in my journey called life, there will be times when I feel my needs are fulfilled and I find myself no longer needing to continue searching. But as life goes on and I evolve, my needs go through a form of transformation of sort. New levels of emotional needs will arise and I am not able to disregard or ignore it. And so, my search continues. I don't know where its going to lead me. But I know I can't be in the same place and expect new things to come rolling onto my lap. I have to keep moving on. Evolution is a very holistic experience. Not just an emotional one. In the name of love. In the name of love.


“Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.”
- Duke Ellington

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
- Amy Tan

"If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough."
- Ann Landers

Poem by Bertrand Russell
Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.


Kat(i)e said...


I hope you don't mind me commenting. I found your blog randomly a while ago and was very interested in reading it because I saw that you are a Muslim and I am a Christian and yet we think very similarly about life in at least some ways. I like that.

In particular how you write about love here really fits with how I see life. A journey that is the search for intimacy and perfect love, where our relationships reflect that to varying degrees. Indeed, I have been writing about this recently and so has my (atheist) friend. I think the fact that we all see the same truth in the world despite the different perspectives we have is utterly beautiful.

So, if you don't mind, I want to share something with you from the bible that I think, if nothing else, is a wonderful description of Pure Love:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

With love,


Johana Dato' Johari said...

Hi Kat(i)e,

Thank you so much for your comment. I truly appreciate you sharing the description of pure love in the bible.

I believe pure love is a universal need and source of joy for everyone, regardless of race or religion. For as long as we are human, we shall have the need for it and will keep on searching for it. Some find it in one person, some receive it through many people, while others find it through their pets or nature itself. Some also find it through their relationship with the Divine Power and that makes it enough for them to endure this complicated journey we call life.

Whatever it is, I am glad my writing has resonated with you and I sincerely hope we will keep in touch.

Stay blessed!