Lara Owen on love and paradox
I was well struck by a something my friend psychotherapist/ author Lara Owen (who patiently waded through and corrected my horrific French for my last novel) posted in her blog recently, starting with the words of Tibetan yogini Machig Labdron:
“You may think that Gods are the ones who give you benefits, and Demons cause damage; but it may be the other way round. Those who cause pain teach you to be patient, and those who give you presents may keep you from practicing the Dharma. So it depends on their effect on you if they are Gods or Demons.”
One of those writers who's able to bring thinky thoughts into practical use, Lara went on to examine the relationship between tolerating/accepting paradox and the achievement of inner peace, which sounds a lot less oovy-groovy when she defines it as "spiritual and psychological maturity".
There are many paradoxes to encounter in life. For example, we think having plenty of money generates happiness, but then we realize this is true and also not true, because large amounts of money tend to complicate relationships and can present huge difficulties.
The core paradox of life is that while now we are alive, we know that one day we will die, as will those we love and rely upon. At a certain point we have to stop scrambling around this and accept it as best we can...Cognitively this is almost impossible to handle, but spiritually it is completely possible.
I guess this is how she's managing to survive the major media blitz for her new book, Love Begins at 40, (co-authored with Cherry Gilchrist) which was just released in the UK. (We Yanks can buy it on Amazon.)
"The best relationships often come after forty," says Lara, "when experience has taught us what kind of person suits us best, and we can love more wisely and kindly than we did at an earlier age. But when you are single in your 40s, 50s or 60s, how do you go about meeting a new partner?"
Offering both practical info and emotional support, Love Begins at 40 is a guidebook for those brave enough to put themselves out there and search actively for love.
This from a review in the London Daily Mail:
Gilchrist and Owen go far beyond the ‘pull yourself up and believe’ exhortations, which are the staple of self-help. They get down to the nitty-gritty of how to phrase your ad, what tone to adopt if you leave a message, how to deal with ‘baggage,’ the importance of being flexible and so on.
Perhaps most important of all, Love Begins At 40 will be a support to those who try but don’t achieve instant success. Its lessons about what you can learn from the actual journey are invaluable.
With a diverse background that includes Chines medicine and psychotherapy, Lara applies the teachings of Buddhism in her therapeutic work. She's the author of several books, including Her Blood Is Gold, a groundbreaking work on the psychological and physical effects of cultural attitudes surounding menstruation.
Lara was born in England, spent some time here in the US, and is now dividing her time between England, France, and the internet. She's one of the most interesting people in my far-flung circle of writer acquaintences.
Click here to read "The Sabbath of Women", an article I just sent to my daughter.