My Dear Readers,
I have never received more thoughtful and essay-length mail on a single article than I did on A Crazy Little Thing Called Compersion. Thank you. Many of you wrote and said that after reading this article, you no longer feel so alone. Well, after reading your mail, I no longer feel so alone, either.
I have posted your letters, with your names removed for privacy, below. In most cases, I have included the whole text, and have not made comments here.
Thank you for taking the time to write and to share your thoughts with the other readers of Planet Waves and Compersion.net.
I have done my best to respond to each of you personally, and if I haven't, it's just been my (rapidly evolving) writing schedule getting the better of me. I welcome continued dialog on this subject, and I would love to stay in touch with you. You may email me at Planet Waves, or at synapse@Compersion.net.
For more articles on the theme of compersion, check out this link. If you really dig the idea of compersion, then you might consider coming to the Loving More magazine east or west coast conferences this summer, where I expect to be presenting workshops on this theme. For more information, take a look at http://www.LoveMore.com. The magazine is fun, too.
-- Eric Francis
Miami, Feb. 29
Above: Elvish Runes, "A star shines on the hour of our meeting." Contents | Horoscopes | The Sex Articles Collection Crazy Little Thing Called Compersion P l a n e t W a v e s D i g i t a l M e d i a
Compersion Letters from Readers
Your article on compersion is the most amazing thing I have read. I have felt that way for years and never knew there was a name for it. Now that I've read your article, I will be able to explain what I am feeling much more clearly. Thank you so much for putting it out there. I am so glad I was led to it.
Thanks for the many insights. Here's one more thought about "compersion." About a year ago, I realized that love is more natural for me when it radiates out in a circle and not in a straight line between two hearts. Of course, anyone standing by my side will be the recipient of the vibe no matter who or what has inspired the "buzz" and vice versa. Knowing this has helped me mellow my need to be the center of attention, if someone I'm near is feeling love all I have to do is be there to get my share. Thanks again for your page.
I think your article is great and I'm sure it makes many people, including me, feel much better about themselves.
A friend referred me to your site. While she is interested in polyamory, and I'm pretty monogamous (I think), I like what I have read so far. I often have intense feelings of betrayal when friends' lives change, be it new relationships, moving, etc., and I hope that I find the ability to redirect this energy into something positive that can maintain my friendships with them. Thank you.
Thank you. You've given me a lot to think about. I have been delving (deeply) into the nature of committed relationships. How much is just abject fear of being alone? And how much denial of self is involved? I don't think my (dissipating 11- year) relationship is ready for compersion. Technically, it's not compersion when there's no longer any sex in the "primary" relationship, right? I'm not sure.
I'm tired of my fears and find myself making changes. I find myself being very honest and candid. Not easy, definitely liberating. All very new. It's interesting to read this stuff; it came along for me at a good time. I think I may be capable of incorporating some of it into my life. It seems like if I continue down the path I'm going -- of honesty as well as open-heartedness -- compersion may be part of the result? Thanks again, it's all great.
I have visited the Compersion site many times and I am so glad that it exists. Thank you. I feel like I am no longer alone. I feel that I do not need to fight with myself anymore. Because of this site I can breathe again. I realized that I have been sticking my sexuality into a very small box all of my life and because of your site and some people in my life right now, all coming together at the same time, I can see this box and deal with disassembly of the walls that have existed my entire life. You cannot imagine what a relief and what a revolution is occurring in me. I am not sure what will happen but its OK. I am grateful.
I read your recent article with great interest. It was, I have to say, the biggest load of poetic pulp that I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. I feel sorry for you since you have obviously never experienced real love in your entire life.
There is a freedom in love. The freedom to be in love with one person and to give yourself to that person. What you have described in great length is pure lust. There is nothing wrong with feeling lust for other people or to be lustful with as many people as you want but don't be fooled into thinking that it is love.
When you truly love someone there is no need mentally or physically to yearn the involvement of others.
I only wish that some day you will experience the joy of wanting to be with one person so much that it hurts. That you can know what it feels like to only want one person.
My friend, your article was a very sad piece of literature and I can only hope that you learn by experience. In the meantime, please don't try to pass your very 'sixties' attitude on to the modern world.
You are telling us all how you want to be and I suspect, also in the guise of how good it would be if we did the same. Sounds like a new religion you are expounding this month. In a perfect of world of no AIDS, vague sexual histories and mortgagees, free love is just great. However, it's when women want it too that brings up the rear end of the problem. They go and have other men's babies. Hard to live with that one, especially socially and definitely financially. It isn't anything to do with feeling abandoned or losing control I'm quite sure. It's so much more practical than that. Cultures come and go. You are expounding on Change. Fine, just as long as you realize that that in itself will perhaps be out of fashion in another decade for a totally different reason again. Besides, what's this about needing to actually live with someone. Such a bother when there is always the joy of discovering new partners if you don't. A partnership is like a business merger; better with two than each on it's own.
Both parties agree to get outside involvement to "subcontract." What you suggest sadly is just self interest.
And it isn't even new.
It is impossible to dispute the concepts you're describing. It is wonderful in theory, but to put it into practice can result in incurred losses. The problem -- always, in any relationship, is standing up for yourself and clearly defining your boundaries. (first you have to be clear with yourself about your boundaries, and know your heart's desire) By standing up for ourselves, I mean making it clear that whatever may be taken away from us as a punishment will not bully us into submission or force us to compromise or question that what we're standing up for is our own inner truth, and firm about that we will not sacrifice the yearnings of our soul whether that be painting, or playing sports, or having a meaningful relationship that may piss someone off. Bondage is our own frame of mind. The only person that can keep us in submission is ourselves, but it's easier said than done. Start practicing with the little truths first. Stand up for yourself whenever you don't quite feel you truly fit the role your partner expects you to play in his life's drama. Make it clear his projections are a deviation of who you are and who you are willing to be even if you risk facing his disapproval, with the little things first. Just like body building your growing strength (of character) will surprise you. This is what I am working on and it does make you sweat.
I just read your February article on compersion, and I really enjoyed it. Beautiful. Just a thought that came up while reading it: Isn't "compersion" truly what the highest spiritual masters were all about (Jesus, Buddha, Meyer Baba, Papaji, Ramadan, even Ghandi at the end of his life)? They are taught to us as being celibate (no proof, no proof!), but really their sense of 'compersion' was so immense that it allowed them to live with, what we would consider, supreme sacrifices of the flesh. Of course, I realize you are speaking from more of a sexual bent, but isn't it important to remind ourselves how inextricable spirituality and sexuality really are? I think to (these) masters they may have been the same thing. Just a thought! Can't wait to read more!
I almost never respond to stuff like this but I've really liked some of your articles, especially the very compassionate piece on loneliness during the holidays. I have thought a lot about the issue of open vs. exclusive relationships and in my personal experience with relationships it is a very personal, relationship-specific issue.
Each relationship is like a child that has a unique spirit. That child can be nurtured to grow into itself or pressured to become what we think it should be. In my opinion, relationship philosophies are like religion, health, work and everything else in life -- the only way to freedom (and, for that matter, love) is self-acceptance. Yes, the fear of loss can prevent us from finding out who we really are. But you can be just as afraid of losing freedom as you can be of losing love. Fear of losing freedom causes us to avoid the kinds of intimacy that can be obtained in certain relationships when they are kept exclusive for a while.
And I am not in any way one of those traditional, pro-marriage people offering a lecture on commitment! I mourn the silences and barriers in our society that prevent us from freely loving more than one person, and it's my goal to live more and more in love and eventually to integrate the people I love within my own inner and outer worlds in an honest and truthful way. But everyone's path is different, and I object to your tendency to oppose exclusivity in relationships to the experience of true freedom and love. True, a 'commitment' can become a prison of lies. But since this is about learning to love yourself and not being addicted to a relationship, it is just as important to pay close attention to your desires to merge with other people.
It's great if you're clear on why you want to follow up on those desires, it's great if polyamorous relationship suits you and your time in life. I totally believe in the secret joys and spiritual benefits of that experience. But for some people it is pretty hard to separate these philosophical thoughts, which are very powerful observations, from the enormous compulsion to feed off of the energy you find in others - as a replacement for going deeper into yourself or your current relationship.
I think I've been to both places, and I'm glad I was forced by circumstances to let it be complicated and to let it teach me about myself (and others) as well as about society's pressures. My inner spiritual guide tells me over and over to trust in that ever-changing complexity and to trust in myself -- even to honor the feelings of jealousy and insecurity and the imperfections of each relationship path. It tells me most of all never to be dogmatic and always to look for the hidden reason to respect another person's choice.
While I think that we're desperately in need of relationship models that open us up to the world of possibilities beyond the outdated rules and patterns of traditional marriage, I also think that we shouldn't let our inspiration about what works for us make us so certain of others' lives that we lose compassion for their complex struggle to accept their true selves. Sometimes a relationship needs to be a closed circle on some levels, and this can be a very spiritually positive thing.
Interesting read. Given that love's most noble expression is freedom, then the highest purpose of a one-on-one relationship would be to enhance another's freedom. Is there a balance point, however, between sampling life's varieties and commitment to a single human being? In other words, does a point of ultimate freedom exist when the woman becomes all women and the man all men? The Buddha pointed out the pitfalls of "trishna" desire, the succumbing to every rush of lust that enters our lives, as guaranteed way of causing suffering not only to others but to ourselves. Changing relationships alters our perception of the experience of relationships, but not necessarily our wisdom to love another in freedom. If freedom of love causes another human being to suffer, then it is questionable whether such conditioned freedom can enhance another's depth of love. Nice wordsmithing.
What a gorgeous concept -- I do believe, however, that people will have a hard time putting it into practice. Look at the envy, jealousy and competition in our world. It drives our economy and the whole 'American dream' that you too can be like the Jones'. I'm trying to imagine the hungry sharks in suits sleeping with the Joneses. Still, it is a liberating idea and one I hope will open some minds to allow other people to really be free.
I found this article very interesting and helpful. My husband of 23 years is a very jealous person. As an alcoholic, this jealousy became a nastiness he used to control everything around him and most of all me. I didn't see most of his actions as jealousy. I interrupted them as mean, controlling, domineering and irrational. Being raised by this type of father it was what I knew and became a sick security to me. Almost needless to say I became lost and didn't even realize it. I was unhappy, depressed, full of guilt and had no self esteem. Through fate I met what I felt was a soul mate online. Through ordinary conversation and a genuine interest in me he awoken a person I didn't know -- Me.
Many things have happened since then and I am now in the process of finding myself and trying to over come my co-dependent personality. It has been a long hard process that is still evolving. My husband has stopped drinking and we are both working with a psychologist independently to free ourselves and become individuals. Communication has always been lacking in our relationship and is the one thing I crave that my soul mate gave to me. My husband and I are together now -- but very much apart in most ways. I have not gotten to a point where I truly do not want to work on our marriage yet. I must pretend everyday. Financial independence is the one thing you did not discuss and it is basic survival for many of us who can not be open in our relationships. I do feel much better and normal after reading your article and wish I could be so open and honest. My soul mate is also married and our relationship has suffered and I know find myself hiding my true feelings from him much of the time out of insecurity. I fear in both relationships -- fear and need is what really keeps most people dishonest and in unfulfilling relationships. I thank you for the help and good feelings your writing has given me.
Hmm, very interesting article on compersion. I must say that I enjoy reading your horoscopes every Friday, and am amazed at the accuracy and integrity of them. The article on compersion is another example of the connection I make with the musings on your pages. I am in a strange relationship place--an ex-boyfriend who I am still having sex with, and a lover, who rejected me a couple months ago, but has since been cryptic about his desires. He and I also are physical together. This is a new experience for me. I am not sure what love means anymore, other than the idea that if I am happy and enjoy being around someone, in the NOW, then that is loving. I feel jealous at times, but through mindful intention, I have allowed myself to let those feelings go.
FYI, the Leo scopes have been too eerie and real. : ) Love and blessings.
As per your usual, this is a wonderfully written and conveyed essay. Your thinking and feeling is so healthy and on target. Continue on.
Hello I have been surfing through Planet Waves and your Compersion pages. I have been an avid reader and believer in astrology for the past 10 years. Over the years two astrologers have impressed me; Jonathan Cainer and Eric Francis.
Jonathan, because of his down to earth analogies of how the celestial sky influences our lives, but Eric because he touches something deeper with in me with his no-nonsense (straight-from-the-hip) truth. Having just getting internet service again I happened upon (very happily) Eric's Webster and consequently, the compersion pages.
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy, appreciate and learn (by way of thinking and self-examination) from your websites. Bookmarked they are!!
I just finished visiting the Pennell Rock article, Jealousy and the Abyss -- wonderful!
I have loved erroneously and unconditionally, tried to fill in the role of societey's expectations within the confines of marriage, was addicted to and ridiculously jealous of a lover, spent lonely years being very single, and when I thought I found true love, what I really found was obsessive jealously, possessiveness and lies, a psychotic episode I don't care to ever experience again. Needless to say, it has left me somewhat jaded, hurt, baffled and so on... But, I do believe in "true love" for lack of better words. But my wants, needs and expectations are certainly not "conventional" I am currently "single" and really want to expand and grow my own self. But I do not wish to be alone or not experience "love" with a partner. Hence, why I'm so pleased to read your articles and know that, thank goodness, their are people out there, wiser and compassionate who see things the way I am starting to realize (through dent of error et al) is the way to enlightenment and true love, of all humans. Thank you, bless you, and keep up your wonderful writings.++
Contents | Horoscopes | The Sex Articles Collection Crazy Little Thing Called Compersion P l a n e t W a v e s D i g i t a l M e d i a