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Love is not blind nor does it turn a blind eye. In its purest form, love is exactly the opposite: it sees everything and it doesn’t look away. Love remains in spite of faults or flaws. Love absorbs toxicity, neutralizing the most deadly poisons. Love is a catalyst, converting and transforming one thing into another yet remaining unchanged. Love acts like sunshine upon green leaves. As if by magic, energy and fuel is made feeding and nourishing so we can grow and thrive. Rob a tender shoot of its sunshine and it will not reach its full potential.

Love is a risk taker; it will ante-up , call the bet, shove its entire pile of chips forward. Love is all in. Love also calls the bluff. Eventually you have to lay your cards on the table. The game always involves an occasional bluff, you may bet the ranch and sometimes you just stand there holding trash. You just can’t throw down your cards and walk away, angered by the loss. You must sit down at the table and get dealt a hand. You can stand at another player’s shoulder as they play hand after hand and think somehow that you have real skin in the game.

And love is a gamble; it is a game. The level of risk depends on who we are loving. Love cannot be assumed. One thinks a mother will always love their child….until you read in the news about a mother drowning her babies in the bathtub. Or that a child will always love his parents until he burn down the family home after bludgeoning their parents to death with a 5 iron. Or the spouses that feud relentlessly with one another, poisoning the ground water, leaving their children with no faith that love ever existed between them.

Opening our hearts and keeping them open is an enormous gamble. For some, the bet is a $2 dog race. For others, it can be losing an  ancestral fortune in a bear market, despite having limited risk by sticking with the low risk  blue chips. It all depends on how much you have at stake, how far “in” you have gone. To have loved and lost does not mean you can’t love again. It may only mean you have nothing to lay on the table, nothing to bet. If you lost your shirt….no one is gonna spot you a shirt so you can love again. You have to work and wait and get a shirt on your back. You have to reaccumulate a bit of yourself before you can return to the table.

You are your own fortune. You are the treasure. If you have spent everything on a love that was the emotional equivalent to a money pit….you won’t get any return on that risk. Throwing pennies into a water fountain is not gambling…it is wishing. And wishing is fantasy and foolishness. A child can wish on a falling star, toss a penny and cross their fingers and hope that out of the ether will come a great love to sweep them away and take care of everything.

But to love as a mature adult, we have to accept that we can’t get something for nothing.We have to place parts of ourselves on the line. While it is exhilarating to watch someone else roll the dice and win at craps, and we’re even more grateful to be observers when they throw the dice and lose everything…….nothing…NOTHING… beats rolling the dice and hitting the big one (or even the little one). The point is to step up to the table, place a bet and roll the dice. If you win: fantastic. If you lose…or start to lose…consider if you can afford to lose everything? Know your limits and cash out….or be willing to accept bankruptcy.

When I was young, I spent money impulsively. I also loved impulsively. Over time, I learned to loved with caution and timidity, I played it safe, thinking I risked less. But when you put every single bit of yourself on the line…even in what may be a low risk venture….you can lose everything. When you are gambling, you start to buy in that THIS BET WILL BE THE ONE THAT HITS. And you double down. In love, you do it over and over and over, until you are in so deep to the house you can’t get out. It takes courage to not place another bet.

Collect your chips and come back another day.

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