Jill Joy - LOVE - oil on canvas - 72x48"


When you are dealing with love
you are dealing with an element out of your control.
You can rationalize and you can fight it
or you can welcome it and surrender

It really doesn’t matter.
because you don’t do love,
Love does you.

Love is a harsh and powerful master
bent as it is on shaping you
to be egoless and open.
The more you resist the more painful it is.

But once you recognize you are in love
(whether or not it is reciprocated)
you are set free from the pain of heartbreak.
Because all of the beauty and power of the universe
resides in your chest & beats through you
with the heat of your heart.

How small a price to pay
are the needs and demands of the ego.
For to love someone and welcome the helplessness
is to be set free.

(c) Jill Joy


4 thoughts on “LOVE

  1. I love the painting, and the words, but maybe you could explain to me how ” once you recognize you are in love you are set free from the pain of heartbreak “. I know I am in love with my wife of 18 years, but we are now getting divorced and I know the pain of heartbreak oh so well. It seems to be the other way around, that once you recognize you are in love it is inevitable that the pain of heartbreak will capture you. Buddha said ” He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes ” . I wish I understood love but I guess it isn’t meant to be understood.


  2. Hi Jim,

    I’ve been thinking about your comment over the last few days and about how to reply.

    This poem is about my experience of unrequited love. And I think has its basis in acceptance. The key lines for me are I think:

    But once you recognize you are in love
    (whether or not it is reciprocated)
    you are set free from the pain of heartbreak.

    I think that experiencing any human emotion comes at a price. For every up there is a down. But I’ve also found that in completely accepting whatever I am experiencing, I find some freedom despite the painful emotion. Almost a momentary joy when I realized I was helpless in the face of love, of how I felt, despite the fact it would never be reciprocated. I think there is power in allowing ourselves to love even when things are breaking apart or will never come together.

    Acceptance would apply too when love changes form. That was a lesson I learned during my divorce. I still loved my husband, but it was clear the marriage was no longer working for either one of us. And I did find and still do that recognizing and accepting that I still loved him and probably always will gave me some peace even though I couldn’t control our circumstances.

    I’m no expert on Buddhism (I believe the main teaching is non-attachment?) but I suppose if you could avoid love, you would avoid heartbreak. You’d also avoid joy and ecstasy as well. But when you already love someone, what choice do you have? I think it would be impossible to un-love them. So I vote for acceptance. Acceptance of love, of change, of pain.

    Not sure if this helps at all. I feel for your in your circumstance having experienced something similar. It’s a profound question that you raise.


    • Hi Jill,

      Thanks so much for replying. I first wanted to say that I was not intending to be critical of you’re work in any way. I am a huge fan.

      I completely agree with you about acceptance, and I too have accepted that I will always love my wife even though we can’t be together. I am sure with more time, more peace and less pain will follow.

      I would never have chosen not to have loved over not to have hurt. Love has changed my life for the better no matter what the outcome of a relationship.

      Pain is as much a part of life as love and I accept that fact every time I open myself up to love or to be loved but it doesn’t make it any easier.

      What would life be without an up for every down? I think pretty mundane and boring. I really appreciate the kind words, and this does help with my question.


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