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I had the privilege to live the most wonderful love story with a beautiful man named Richard. We were basically children when we met (18 years old), and somehow, I knew he was “the one.” When I got home, even my mother recognized that something was different and new. That a connection had been made. It was the same with her and my dad. With my grandmother and my grandfather. We dated. I went to college. We dated other people. But we always laughed, had much to say to each other, went on adventures, and started to grow up together. We were still basically children when we got married (22 years old). I have three very best days of my life, and my wedding day has always been number one. Our marriage wasn’t all butterflies and bells, but we were always best friends, even during those times we weren’t really lovers. We did everything together, and Richards wonderful, gregarious nature was my shield and confidence in those social situations I would normally preferred to have avoided. As long as he was there with me, I was fine. Richard never met a stranger. Then, one day, 13+ years ago, he dropped dead. Too young. Too soon. I didn’t just lose a husband, I lost my very best friend who had been by my side for 30 years from the time we met. I know no other relationship will come close to what we had.

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Jan 8Liked by Susan Cain

I took many notes from this post...notes for my own writing work, on the obsessions that linger and spark stories. Normal People by Sally Rooney is a recent example of a love story with hands I could not pry myself out of (the Hulu series was incredible, also).

Another line that came to me, after reading the C.S. Lewis quote, was something my dad read aloud to me in the cab of his tiny pickup truck on a weekend when we visited him, for our custody agreement. He had transcribed this and given it to me as a card with a gift (which I don't remember, but it was probably a book): 'Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.'

Thank you so much.

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Jan 6Liked by Susan Cain

Thank you for this , it was so beautiful❤️

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Jan 1Liked by Susan Cain

"Our favorite love stories, then, are about the moments when you glimpse your Eden; they’re about the transience of these sightings, and why they mean more than anything else that might ever happen to you. And so we must treasure these moments; they are the pathway back to your own heart." I LOVE THIS!

Susan, I interviewed for Metro and Psychologies a while back, and I have to tell you that Bittersweet helped me through a painful breakup and also helped me find the pathway back to my own heart.

Thank you. I love your work.

The purest love I have ever felt is for my own son, a giant 20-year-old now who just passed his driving test this holiday. My pride, my joy, my terror, and my grief as he drives away to his final term at university and builds a life for himself feel overwhelming at times.

I know his every eyelash, but when this giant who says he's my child puts the car into gear and revs the engine ready to take off, I wonder—who is this man?

I long for my son even though he is right in front of me. I long for the cheeky chap strapped into the car seat, but I celebrate as this big human finds his way to drive and thrive.

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Yes at moments my struggle with longing and the fear of nothingness is quieted and answered by pure love and beauty... like incredible moments of music, unexplainable giggling over the phone, or learning something that starts to shake a problem loose. And then they go away again and I'm not sure what to do except have faith that another moment will come.

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My experience of pure love is found in the split second between uncontrollable belly-laughing with old friends and our collective breath in before a contented sigh and united smiles.

Goosebumps flutter over me when standing under dark starry skies wondering about everyone and everything out there that is, that was and that will be.

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I too, find moments of pure love in my work as a therapist. But...the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your question about goosebumps was sitting quietly on a mountain at the start of COVID during lock down. We had driven to Palomar Mountain and my family was off running the dog around. I was sitting still, alone, and a large crow flew over me. I could hear the wind in its feathers, something I had never experienced before. It truly took my breath away. I don’t even think I shared my experience. I think I kept it to myself.

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This week I read some of my old journal entries from last year and I wrote about how I love my boyfriend but there are still small things I dislike, and I was worried if this will change or what the future will hold.

Now I can say I overthought it way too much, and some things just need time to sort themselves out.

And I'm more happy than ever with my life and him.

I'm not giving up so easily anymore and I'm working on judging and making him change less.

Thanks for your newsletter! Love to read it every week!

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Dec 29, 2023Liked by Susan Cain

I have felt the tug of longing all my life--something out there I felt I needed and couldn't find. I deeply connect with the writing of C.S. Lewis, and the beautiful way that he draws me into myself, encouraging me to experience the quiet moments and the beautiful moments, to embrace my spirituality in my own way, having a personal relationship with God. My Catholic upbringing was hard on me--I feared the priests, the nuns, the Church, and even God. I think what I most longed for was to be close to God, to embrace my spirituality without fear, but with love and with gratitude. It completely changed how I see the world, and now I feel more like my true self and am better able to see and appreciate the beauty around me.

As for the moment I felt complete and pure love? The moments my babies were placed in my arms after birth, including my first, who was stillborn. That was the deepest, most painful love I've ever felt. The pain of that loss was immense, and I know it was the longing for all that I would never experience with her, a longing to know her, but never would beyond what I knew of her for nearly 9 months.

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I am awestruck when visiting Muir Woods (or the giant sequoias in Yosemite). When the sunlight filters through the branches of those huge trees, I feel as if I am in God's house. Noisy visitors tend to annoy me because they spoil the peaceful, sacred feeling. Certain pieces of music can bring me deep joy as can playing with/reading to our grandsons. And oh... the laughter of a baby! Best thing ever!

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The place where those goosebumps moments happen most frequently for me is actually my therapy room. The moments of raw, intimate connection and witnessing glimpses of transformation unfolding move me to tears on a regular basis. I am deeply privileged to be able to call this work. It's the closest I come to the divine in my life (not every moment of every day of course, but often enough to feed and sustain me)

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I’ve read that depression is grieving for a life unlived and perhaps longing is a synonym of sorts to this experience.

I’m lifted on mountain trails and swimming in ponds, but on the ice in the middle of a lake on a sunny day in winter. Something like God comes to me. I am lifted.

Also playing with young children.

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I wish I knew. All I have known of love is horror.

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The film, “Past Lives” by Celine Song perfectly illustrates that longing you spoke of in this piece. I was so moved to tears that the feeling lingered on for a few more days. It’s a beautiful, quiet, deeply moving film that I think you would like: https://youtu.be/kA244xewjcI?feature=shared

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Dec 27, 2023Liked by Susan Cain

When I was 20, I was hopelessly in love with a girl at a company I used to. Because I was so shy back then, I never had the courage to confess my feelings for her. Still, I was happy about every minute I could spend with her, every chance I got to talk to her, every chance I had to be with her.

During that time, just out of pure coincidence, when listening to a local radio station, I heard the song "The Day After Tomorrow" from the Danish band Saybia.

I was immediately thunderstruck by the text of the song. It describes how a person is deeply and secretly in love with another person. Not being able to confess that love, the person postpones to confess "the day after tomorrow" and keeps longing for the loved person, which is so close but so far away at the same time.

The song gave me goosebumps and immersing into it, I felt so understood, so close to my inner world and feelings that I was close to tears.

Now, twenty years later, I still love listening to that song. It still evokes so many of the emotions and feelings I had back then. It reminds me of how deep I am able to feel and how sensitive and open I am to the joys and pains of life.

In the end, I am glad that it did not work out with the girl back then. In hindsight we were not really compatible and the she would probably never have felt the same for me as I did for her. But that's OK. What always remains is the beautiful, bittersweet song I got to know back then and the memories embedded into it 😊.

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Pure beauty is when I travel. The quiet moments where I'm alone and I realize how much I love my life. Absolute joy happens often but most recently at a party I hosted with nearly everyone I love in the same room. The magic happens in the unexpected moments and I look for them often. I'm lucky enough to experience many. Or maybe my eyes are just open to and my heart is aware of them all.

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