I’m a sucker for real life on the big screen – not so much reality TV- documentaries with a clear focus and exploration of something interesting. MTV’s True Life series does this for me with topics that are heart felt (as in True Life: I’m Homeless) to ridiculous (True Life: I’m a Jersey Shore Girl). Last Sunday evening I strayed from my normal routine of my Netflix doc or foreign film in search of something more pop culture – and I found it with True Life: I’m Polyamorous. Thanks to MTV for providing a guilty pleasure, in an educational format so I don’t feel quite so bad about myself.
For some reason or another I feel the need to give myself some sort of credibility by using sources…so, according to Wikipedia polyamory (or “poly” for short) is:
Polyamory (from Greek πολυ [poly, meaning many or several] and Latin amor [love]) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
This is an interesting topic to me as I sometimes get boy crazy and can get overwhelmed by commitment – polyamory seemed a great option. What I wasn’t prepared for in my exploration was that I’m more traditional than I thought and am beginnning to appreciate the tradition of one significant relationship or partner at a time. Dating is a different story, dating more than one man at a time is always a good idea in my book – can’t put all your eggs in one basket! (Although what really concerns me is that I’m more worried this draw towards tradition is a sign of getting older.)
My syntax critique begins now…”intimacy” and “love” both bother me. How can we all possibly be talking about the same thing with such a limited vocabulary? Um okay, “more than one intimate relationship.” I already have more than one intimate relationship – I consider myself rather intimate with most people I know (not all 800 FB friends mind you, but the ones I see in person, yes). We share who we are on emotional levels of intimacy. Physical intimacy is an entirely different animal and I don’t think they can be used interchangeably.
Now for love or in this case “romantic love.” On a spiritual level I don’t believe there’s any difference, on a human level I feel convinced there must be. Butterflies and adrenaline – not love, hormones. Joy and peace – love. Polyamory seems tied to the idea that “love” is mostly experienced in romantic relationships and the more relationships you have the more love you would potentially have in your life (or least is the idea MTV’s True Life made it seem). Love in all forms is something inside of us and I worry myself when I attempt to find it in any other form.
I have no doubt that an entirely enlightened being could be in significant romantic partnerships with many people without any issues of jealousy. Among the many things I am not, is enlightened. Love doesn’t need ownership and therefore I know I experience romantic love most times in a societel way and not a spiritual way. Partnerships and marriages offer access to a spiritual practice of learning and growth. They can be challenging one day and blissful the next, they teach us about commitment, respect, and communication. (Not that I’m an expert – I know people in relationships and they tell me so.) 😉 One of my favorite Goethe quotes (or possibly by W.H. Murray, there’s still a debate about who said it):
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”
What sorts of things can occur that may not have otherwise occured? I don’t know and that’s what I’m willing to find out – someday. 😉 Thanks to MTV I learned a lot about me from this episode. Call me traditional, call me unenlightened – what I’m not is polyamorous.
Today I’m grateful for MTV, Zen gardens, and love (in all its perceived and radical forms).