Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 

You must never give up.

No matter how hopeless it might seem, you must never give up Love’s Dream.

And no, it is not required that living The Dream must hurt. If it
hurts, you are not living The Dream, you are living a nightmare and calling it a dream, hoping that it will become one.

Stop it. Stop the struggling. The Dream has no struggle in it. If you are struggling, you are not living The Dream.

Now "struggle" does not mean the small discomforts or the
once-in-a-while feelings of not-okayness that are encountered by any two
people who have chosen to be together intimately. It does not mean the
little differences that from time to time have to be worked out.
"Struggle" means just that: struggle. Ongoing difficulty. Frequent and recurring and serious , , disagreement.

"Struggle" means that things that ought to be simple become complex,
moments which could easily be serene erupt into turmoil. Nervousness
replaces excitement, sadness replaces bliss, walking on eggshells
replaces walking on clouds.

You are struggling in your
relationship when wariness overcomes eagerness, when pain pushes
happiness out of the room…and when this happens often. Not once in a
while. Not now and then. Often.

One can’t ever fully relax
anymore. Just when it seems like, well, this isn’t so bad, I can make
this work…boom…the door slams, the bomb drops, the sweetness
crashes and reveals itself to be not the stuff of sturdiness that can
be counted on, but an oh-so-fragile thing that cannot withstand even
the gentle touch of intimacy.

I am asked, more than any other single question about relationship: When is it time to leave? When is it time to quit?

I am asked: How do I know I am not supposed to be here, learning
something? How do I know that this is not all for my own good, my own
evolution? How do I know that I am not just "giving up" — again…?

I am asked: What does it take to make "love" work? And I answer, "Love should not be work. Love should be play. It should feel playful and joyful, not stressful."

The intimate relationships in many people’s lives have not been long lasting. Happily Ever After
has not been a universal (or even a common) experience. Indeed, it must
sometimes seem to many that there is just no way to do this thing
called Relationship and do it well.

People look in the mirror
and ask, "Is it only me who has not been given the necessary equipment?
It is only me who lacks sufficient understanding? It is only me who
falls short on willingness or commitment or determination or skill or
patience or selflessness or whatever-in-the-world-it-takes to make Happily Ever After work?"

Or is it that human beings are simply chasing an impossible dream? Is
The Dream of real and lasting and wonderfully joyful love nothing but a
fantasy that can never be fulfilled?

No. I don’t believe that. And I believe that people who have tried and tried and failed
have, at least, the opportunity to learn from their experience. There
is no such thing as a lost cause. Love’s Dream can be lived. That is
God’s promise.

There are couples who have lived it, who have
made it to the Promised Land. Some found each other early in life, some
found each other later, after much trial and error with others. All
has not been perfect on their journey, all has not been smiles and
laughter in every moment. But much of it has been. And all of it has
been worth it. Every minute has been worth it.

There are
those who say you have to "work" at relationship. Anything worth having
is worth working for, the mantra goes. Okay. Fair enough. But this
should be the kind of "work" that feels soooo good to do. Like Barbra
Streisand singing. Like Richard Gere dancing. Like Nancy Kerrigan on
ice. Like Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky and Mikhail Baryshnikov in
ballet shoes. Like Warren Spahn throwing a baseball. Yes, there’s work
involved…but oh, the joy of it, the sheer joy of it!

Yes, love — real love, true love, lasting love — may be "work," but it should be a work of art. It should be something you love to do. A wise person once said, "May you always love the loving you are doing."

Look at your relationship right now. Are you loving the loving you are doing?

If you love the loving you are doing, it is not "work" in the sense of being a struggle. It is a joy. Working to create something is very much different from working to hold something together. Everyone who has done both knows the difference. You can feel the difference, and no one has to tell you what is going on.

It has to do with effort and ease.

You know if, in your relationship, you are at a place of effort or if you are at ease.

Barbra Streisand sings effortlessly. The breathless grace of Nancy
Kerrigan is effortless. That is precisely what makes it breathless
grace. This is not to say that no "work" went into it. Surely it did.
But joy came out of it. Work went in, and joy came out. When work goes
in and joy does not come out, then "work" has become "effort."

This is the state of many relationships.

When is enough enough?

That question cannot be answered by anyone other than the person asking
it. But the question rarely goes without answer. The issue is not
whether the person asking the question knows the answer, but whether the
person heeds it.
© 2010 ReCreation Foundation – – Neale Donald
Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch
the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.