We start of today’s show with Chuck Prophet’s great song “Leave the Window Open.” It combines two thoughts I’ve been working on. The first is about Earth Day, which was yesterday. Earth Day is about respecting our environment, raising consciousness about the air we breathe, the carbon we let loose, the state of our oceans, forests, animals, and of course our health and wellbeing. When Chuck Prophet sings about leaving the window open I’m thinking that I hope the air is clean, the city noise is low, and that the sunshine that comes through the window doesn’t have to fight haze and smog. “Leave the Window Open” is a song about love, but listening to it on Earth Day made me think about love in a much bigger sense. Do we have the love it takes to create a healthy world for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and the generations that will follow?

The second thought was stimulated by the Willie Nile song “Love is a train,” a journey metaphor about love. Many have written that love is a journey. I’ve published articles where the journey of “Love and Marriage” always comes to a crossroads and my unpublished book “Love’s Crossroads” describes this in depth. However, there are so many metaphors, so many ways that love is talked about, and popular music as we all know expresses a multitude of sentiments about love. Willie Nile sings, “Love is a Train.” What do other artists think love is. I did a youtube search and here are a few thoughts about what some artists consider love is:

Love is a gamble
Love is an open door
Love is a battlefield
Love is all around
Love is the drug
Love is strange
Love is a hurtin’ thing
Love is a long road (journey metaphor again)
Love is the eternal sacred light
Love is All you Need
Love is here and now you’re gone
Love is stronger than justice
Love is the seventh wave

Psychologists have a different view. Love is about attraction, about being on the same wavelength. Love is conditional or unconditional. Those with an emotional orientation say love is about feeling, the sensations that stem from the heart. Couple therapists say love is about giving and receiving, about considering the other through empathy and compassion. They say love transcends one’s own needs and loving is to give to others first. But then there are some who say love is about loving oneself before one is able to love another. Perhaps love is all of these things, or because there are so many different conceptions we can’t really put love in a box. The notions of what love are as varied as the people that inhabit this earth.

For me love is a feeling that is more than mere attraction. It comes from the heart and makes me behave in compassionate and caring ways to others. It is always about giving to others but it includes graciously accepting what others give to me, and it starts with loving and caring for myself.

One more thing: If I go deeper into myself I know that I am unable to fully articulate what love is. I can only say that I know it when I feel it and when I see it.
So there’s the topic “Love is…”

What is it for you? Tell Dr. Ike how you experience love. Do you have questions or concerns about the topic that you are willing to share? Send us your music as well.

We start our musical set with Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like A Rock” (interesting love conception), followed by The Supremes and “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone.” Finally “Love Flows Like a River,” Tuck and Patti.


15 thoughts on “Love is…

  1. I’m Barry who responded to your post on the rock and a hard place. I thought about everything you said and also what one of the other participants said andI I decided it was best for me not to be involved with a married woman. I guess you can say that love is something that doesn’t have to be so complicated. But I have to say breaking up with her was very hard to do and it’s even harder to stay away. How can you help me with these feelings for this woman that never seems to subside?

    1. I want to congratulate you on making a choice and one that I hope in the longer run will serve you. Here are ways to help you with your feelings: 1. Remind yourself you will be loved and will be able to love again. 2. Don’t try to make the hurt go away because you feel some kind of internal pressure to make the pain go away. We just can’t get over these kinds of losses easily (as you pointed out breaking up is hard to do and it’s hard because of the grief we feel). 3. When the time feels right begin to date (online, fix-ups by friends, or just going out and meeting someone in a park, while shopping, at a social gathering etc.) 4. Work on learning more about the relationship that put you between a rock and a hard place to see if there is deeper psychological meaning that you may have to resolve. 5. Get support from friends and family. Talk things out with a buddy or a trusted female friend. 6. If you discover a pattern of being in relationships that are difficult, dangerous, unfulfilling for your goals of partnering perhaps a self-help group like love-addicts anonymous might help. 7. Participate here as often as you want. And since you brought it up here’s an oldie “Breaking up is Hard to Do” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQD3At3E7TA

  2. Sorry about that, Dr. Ike. I was referring to Sam Cooke singing “Cupid.” I like your selection of “When I Fall In Love,” BTW. Thanks!

  3. @Spivey – I have been following this interactive music-psych program blog for about one year now and never felt that I wanted to post before. You, on the other hand, are a frequent posting participant. I feel that you could bring a lot to a relationship if you would stop seeing yourself as unlucky and even to a degree unlovable. You’re intelligent and witty, even if in a dark way sometimes. I feel, again I say “feel” as I don’t really know you, is that the reason love is unattainable to you is that you gave up pursuing it. Some people are genuinely lucky and cupid strikes when they least expect him to. My reality has always been that if I don’t get out there are look around me, no one will find me while I am curled up in my cramped studio apartment watching the dust bunnies multiply.

    Ohhhh I just reminded myself of that Sam Cooke song and I can’t get it to stop playing in the Victrola in my mind!

  4. Love is a gamble with unlimited downside and like all gambles it’s purely a matter of luck and the house always wins. I envy those who succeed. I have not, and the upside remains a mystery and very much out of reach for me, for whatever reason. O well…

    Two pieces to ponder and enjoy, both from Donnie Iris: “Injured in the Game of Love” and “Love is Like a Rock.”

    1. Spivey, success in loving begins with success in loving yourself. It’s plain and simple. When you are good to yourself, care for your own emotional needs, make decisions based on self-interst (not selfish interest), encourage yourself to go on a growth journey in which you begin to understand yourself, then engaging in loving relationships (and loving others) becomes easier and more satisfying. The renowned rabbi Hillel wrote “If I am not for me who will be? If I am for myself alone what am I? If not now, when?” Here are the songs your requested: “Injured in the Game of Love,” by Donnie Iris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gIfOtKIhEI and “Love is like a Rock,” also by Donnie Iris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcbndNeCO-s

      1. Dr Ike and April thanks for your replies. My journey of self/examination has revealed a deeply angry and bitter person who has internalized all the gratuitous hurt from people who see me as an easy target. I have until now repressed these feelings and put on a mask that others read to say “kick me.” I doubt I will find peace in this life, but I am shedding the mask and letting ‘er rip, as they say. Couldn’t do much worse than I have to this point! Thanks again!

  5. email from Manny
    When I was in my 20’s, I thought if a chic was always interested in being intimate whenever I initiated a tumble in the hay, she was the one who loved me. I did not feel love for her, just gratitude for not being denied. I was kinda like Hozier singing “Take Me to Church.” It was not until I hit 30 that I started to be interested in what these women had to say and actually enjoyed going to church with them, and I mean real church, plays and art galleries. Hell, I even like going to the laundromat with the lady I am currently in love with. BTW I really like what you are trying to do here. Think I’ll read your book, too.
    from Manny

    1. Thanks for the email Manny. As we mature love looks different– it is different. Glad to see that you have a different outlook on love. You could say love is being with your lady in the laundromat and enjoying those moments together. Here’s Springsteen, just substitute supermarket for laundromat. “Queen of the Supermarket,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_83K8K7QHU

  6. Janine emailed the following:

    “When I was growing up both of my parents at one time or another could not and sometimes would not (the more painful of the two) let me live with them. It was my Grandma who always made sure I had a place to live with her during those times. She would go to the local loan company every year so that I would have a Christmas like the other kids I went to school with. She worked hard long hours in retail for little pay. Somehow she made sure that she had a few extra dollars each week for me to put into a little savings account. When I entered my teen years I became rebellious and did not like the curfew she put on me. I thought we could not get along anymore because she was soooo old and not as cool as my parents (or as I imagined they would be if they were around…..) I wish I could smack my own mouth for the things I said to her in those years because she showed me what real love is. I ran away to New York City at 18 to escape the stifling atmosphere of her little apartment. I know now that the sacrifices she made for me she did not have to. She gave and gave of herself because she loved me. Do you think she can read the internet from heaven? I miss her so much and would give anything to be able to tell her just how much I loved her, too. “

  7. Dear Dr. Ike,

    Just this very morning, the day after my husband’s 65th birthday, across the breakfast table, I told him he is still as handsome as he was when we met. He replied “Thank you, Blue Eyes!” We will be married 25 years in December and not since our courting days has he called me that. This morning and your topic, made me hanker for “Do you love me?” from Fiddler on the Roof. For me, the everyday things that a couple does for each other show true love. I wash his clothes and he is here to give me more dirty ones to wash some more. Yes, he is Domestically Impaired and Culinarily Challenged but he called me “Blue Eyes” again after all these years so I don’t care. He loves me!

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