Archive for October, 2014

We have a hunger for love just as strong as the need for food, water

by David McElroy

Hungry for love

You can almost always tell whether I’m getting the love I need. When I’m not getting the love I need, I gorge myself on ice cream and cookies and doughnuts. I stuff as much as I can into my body — trying to fill a hole that can only be filled by love. The result is serious weight gain.

So the general rule for me is simple. If I’m eating in a way that’s good for my body, I’m probably feeling loved and understood. If I’m gaining weight and making daily trips to the ice cream aisle for Blue Bell cookies ’n’ cream or rocky road, you can be pretty sure that I’m empty inside and I’m engaged in a futile unconscious attempt to fill that hole with food.

I’ve been thinking about this today because of a comment that a friend made on Facebook Thursday night. He’s down and frustrated this week, and he said, “Me siento perdido y tambien he perdido mi fe en el amor,” which roughly translates to, “I feel lost and I’ve also lost my faith in love.”

His comment struck me as sad and I could easily empathize with him. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life feeling the same way. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that his phrasing didn’t strike me as right.  What does it mean to “lose faith in love”? Does that even make sense?

Human beings have a very fundamental need for love and understanding. Love is just as necessary to the healthy functioning of a human being as food, water and oxygen. Lack of oxygen can kill you in minutes. Going without water might take days or weeks to kill you.

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What do you love enough to want once more before life slips away?

by David McElroy

Seeing the ocean one last time

On Tuesday, a California woman took a trip to the beach. Her daughter pushed her wheelchair into the water so she could feel the water at Laguna Beach rush onto her legs. Her joy was obvious, but it’s an experience she will never repeat.

This was her last trip to the beach, because she’s checking into a hospice facility to die.

For me, this bittersweet image tells a lot about the truth of the life we live on this planet. It can be sweet and joyful. It can be an amazing sensory experience. But it’s all too short — and death is always waiting at the end far too soon.

When I was a child, a year seemed like forever. Even an afternoon or a week could seem like forever sometimes. The time between one Christmas and the next was definitely eternity.

That changed slightly as I grew, but I was still always eager for the next step. Others seem to have shared this pattern. We were impatient for life to begin. Or, rather, we were impatient for what we thought life was going to be for us. We had high hopes and we believed that life would be different for us than it was for other people. We were going to be happy and successful. Our futures were unlimited.

Life would be very long for us. Death was so far away that it almost didn’t seem to exist.

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Wealthy CEO walks away from millions after daughter’s challenge

by David McElroy

Mohamed El-Erian

It’s easy to say you care about your spouse and children, but words are empty compared to actions. Earlier this year, a California multimillionaire was forced to decide what was most important to him in life.

Mohamed El-Erian was CEO of a $2-trillion investment firm called PIMCO. He’s a very successful and hard-driving businessman who has made a lot of money. In 2011 alone, his income was $200 million. But he shocked the financial world in January when he quit his job — not to jump to a rival firm, but to spend time with his wife and daughter.

We can all learn something from his choice.

El-Erian was forced to decide what was most important to him — his family or his income — because his daughter challenged him. Writing for Worth magazine in May, El-Erian explained his crisis of values.

He said he asked his daughter to do something — which he recalls as brushing her teeth — and the two ended up arguing about her lack of compliance. He reminded her that she had always been quick to obey him, but she asked him to wait a minute, then she disappeared briefly to get a piece of paper from her room.

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A broken heart is devastating, but closing yourself to love is far worse

by David McElroy

Broken heart

Is love the best thing in the world? Or the worst?

Do you remember your first love? I remember mine well. The world seemed perfect. Everything was right as long as I could be with her. Do you remember your first heartbreak? I remember mine painfully well. The world seemed black and dark. I couldn’t possibly be happy again, because I couldn’t be with the one I loved. You’ve felt that way, haven’t you?

I’ve been thinking about love all week, both the good and the bad, because of an experience a friend has just gone through. He sent me a note Tuesday to tell me what happened to him and ask for advice. I’ve been slow to respond, because I’m not sure what I can say that’s useful. How can you help a man whose heart has been broken?

My friend just experienced his first love and then his first break-up. The relationship didn’t last but a couple of months, but it’s changed so much for him — and he’s left confused and hurting.

We’re going to call him Josh, but that’s not his name. He’s a smart and insightful young man, but he’s struggling to reconcile the horribly conflicting emotions that took him from an amazing high to a devastating low. He described everything that had happened and then asked, “Any advice?”

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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