Most of my blogs here deal with the deeper emotions of my life, how I handle conflict, chaos and cancer. Yet often during my three years of blogging and especially now as my book, Courting Me(n) is about to be born, I'm interested in sharing how I cope with love and you'll read all about it when my book comes out.
In my experience, there have been times when I've lost that "loving feeling" with the object of my affection and don't know how to get it back. Even though this loss can signal the end of a relationship, I've learned that many times, a heart-to-heart and face-to-face is all that is necessary to resurrect the passion. Pain, aggravation, jealousy and other difficult emotions can get in the way of what is best with that person who tickles my fancy. Being willing to talk together and see past the problem in order to remember what is at the core of our caring brings us out of the ego battle and back to that which we all recognize as that "loving feeling." The following is not a movie review, but my appreciation for a great flick that step-by-step reminds us all how to get back to feeling that feeling we love to feel.
Hope Springs is a movie about sex that is family friendly. It's about a relationship that lost its bloom early on and moved into mere existence for many years, rigidly controlled and maintained, without much satisfaction for either involved. I say its family friendly because even though the issue of sexuality comes up, the film deals with it in a delicate, humorous and subtle way. Meryl Streep sits with a banana in a bathroom while reading a book she hopes will enhance her skill with a subject matter she's never felt comfortable contemplating before. She nervously bites into the banana while uncomfortably reading the foreign concept her body refused to do decades ago.
Sex is an issue we all obsess about -- whether we are having it, not having it, not having enough of it or having too much of it. We worry we're not doing it right and many worry why our heads go elsewhere as we seem to watch ourselves from above, when all we want is to surrender to the feeling. This movie helps us get out of our heads and reminds us how to surrender.
It is during sex when we can take a breath, remove the artifice demanded elsewhere and hang with our honey. Yet many couples have lost that 'loving feeling.' The mind betrays the soul with reasons for instilling concrete walls around our heart. Either we've been hurt or we fear being hurt, so our ability to bond fully and dance freely in the moment is bound up with external expectations that cloud honesty and intimacy.
Expressing ourselves in a safe, trusting environment is not easy or necessarily a natural option when the rest of life demands a stiff upper lip, rigid maintenance of the status quo or obedience to the rules in order to continue receiving the benefits of employment, social circle inclusion and acceptance long denied by religious dogma.
Sex is nothing to be ashamed of and I believe this movie will become a classic, useful for all couples to help them reconnect in a non-threatening way.
Human relationships can heal and this movie is a testament to that. It emphasizes communication above all as a way to reconnect and feel again. Learning to be honest about what and how we feel, what we think we want and need versus what we really want and need is vital. Learning to discuss the subjects we think are taboo is the first step, and who we are and what we feel is nothing to cause shame, which can become an excuse for silence.
There is a hunger women have and when it is allowed expression, fully and freely, all other parts of her psyche can fall into place. When a woman is afraid to admit what she needs, when she settles for one portion of life to the exclusion of other portions, she feels unbalanced. Some men feel the same way, whether they admit it or not. When a woman has a mate with whom she can truly relate who she is and what she feels, even though those feelings shift from moment to moment, she feels empowered.
Hope Springs deals with an older woman's hunger for touch. Her husband long ago turned away when she repeatedly rejected his advances for reasons he didn't understand and she couldn't articulate.
I studied Pluralistic Ignorance in Political Psychology at UC Berkeley. Person A thinks Person B doesn't care. Person B observes Person A's behavior and assumes he doesn't care. Both people care but instead of braving the chasm their self-doubt creates and faulty witnessing relays, they stay stuck in their own solitary pool of misery.
Romantic love isn't heart surgery. It isn't as complex as conflict in the Middle East. This movie can help any couple at any stage of impasse. Tommy Lee Jones' character appeared so gruff, controlled and unloving that I didn't see how he could shift out of his rigidity. Just because negative routines have squelched what once was hot and heavy doesn't necessarily mean the love is gone. This movie shows the steps necessary for reconnecting and saves you the cost of and time spent in multiple therapy sessions.
If love is there, and respect for each other is present, the desire to be together can be revived. For anyone who has lost that "loving feeling," this is a movie must-see and one perhaps to have on hand any time rust or plaque has built up and the heart needs a Rotor-Rooter.
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