Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

May 30, 20236 min read

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I really enjoyed this book, and it had many kernels of wisdom, interwoven with a deeply personal story of Natasha’s experience of love - spanning romantic relationships, friendships and familial ties, as well as grief. Moving from each engaging interview to interview we explore the multiplicity of love and learn how it’s everywhere we choose to notice the details in our life, from the simplest of interactions like keeping a door open for a stranger, to being honest and vulnerable with your loved ones. We learn from experience the best ways to find love (hint it’s not a dating guide!), sustain love, and survive the loss of love.

We learn the technique of being okay with unknowingness the future holds by grounding ourself in gratitude for what we have right now. It’s often easier to think of love as a feeling, but we learn through many conversations that instead it is an action, and isn’t something that is static and unchanging. Relationships and love can take so many forms, some growing stronger with distance, some fading away as your life stages mismatch, but at the end of the day realising that since love is an action, we are empowered to be the change we seek - life and love is happening all around us all the time.

A beautiful analogy I read in the book was in thinking of a relationship as a living thing like a plant, “we couldn’t just pour the whole watering can on it at once and hope that it survived for ever. We had to take turns to water it, frequently, in order to nourish its roots. As it grew it would change shape. And if we neglected it for too long, it would wilt and die.”

Read on 24th May 2023

A few quotes I love are:

  • When you like who you are with another person, you realise how important it is to be around people who make you feel that way

  • Growing together is mutual impact not adaption (one person changing for another), like 2 stones rubbing together

  • Uglier shade of unhappiness comes not directly from what you lack, but from wanting a different life to the one you’re living.

  • But to be understood without having to explain everything all the time has been a precious thing

  • what is your thing might be blocking love and leading you back to those negative emotions? Could be not exercising and you think you should, or you don’t call people but you should, how can you make space in your life for love to thrive.

  • I think that the search for love as I understand a lot of my life and work to be is also the search to see that I already have it

  • Who are all the people who add joy in our lives? Whose voice on the other end of the phone reminds us go have faith? Whose company reminds us of our best qualities when we’ve forgotten them? Who makes is laugh when were on the edge of tears? And then how can we hold on to these people? This surely is the most important choice we do have every day

  • When you understand love in this way - as an action, not a feeling - its easier to see why its unhelpful to view the absence of one form as a complete lack of it. Love is the intention and choice to consciously focus on it, like deep listening.

  • This is what we do when we begin a relationship: we commit to something unknowable

  • We are each responsible for tiny pieces of each others hearts and happiness

  • instead of asking will I ever find love, I needed to ask a better question how could I love better. This first part of finding love had been to look inside myself. The second was to practice looking out.

  • Our relationship became a living thing like a plant, we couldn’t just pour the whole watering can on it at once and hope that it survived for ever. We had to take turns to water it, frequently, in order to nourish its roots. As it grew it would change shape. And if we neglected it for too long, it would wilt and die.

  • Marriage is about saying yes we’ve already committed, but now were gonna make vows to each other in front of our friends and our family, and they’re going to hold us accountable for those vows . were going to hold each other accountable for them too. Were going to try stay together no matter what. Were going to stick it out. Were not going to run away when it gets too hard or too scary, and were going to try to always see the best in each other: today, tomorrow, and twenty years from now.

  • Romance is about finding ways to show that the other person is appreciated

  • I can pretend I have all sorts of things together, but when I am at my most broken, he is still the person I turn to

  • The fragility of old love might seem like a negative thing, but I find it to be a positive part of love

  • the truth is you don’t ever really choose a person because they change, and your lives do too. So when you’re choosing a partner what you’re really choosing is how a person weathers change. You’re choosing how you weather change with and alongside them.

  • Distance is necessary for kindness in a relationship

  • Old friendship is one of those things that helps you remember who you are in this world

  • In five words, a world was taken

  • women who miscarry experience inside them the bookends of our existence: the beginning of a life and the end of it.

  • Easy narratives drive out hard ones

  • Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real by Iris Murdoch

  • When people die they take their stories with them, unless we make time to ask about them.

  • We’re all textured by the gaping holes that are left by the death of people close to us. Gently, over time, the emptiness softens.

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