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Harvesting Love Out Of Loneliness

Agave nectar is harvested from the agave plant, which thrives in the hot, dry, and hostile environment of the desert and can survive on very little water. It is sometimes called the “century plant” because it takes years, as many as 25 years, before the plant matures and then it dies after producing a single flower. The nectar is difficult to harvest and must be timed perfectly at the moment the plant matures. The branches have spiked edges that are so sharp and tough they can be used as needles. They must be cut away and then you must dig down to get to the center bulb in order to collect the juice. That juice is the source of the sweetener we can use in our daily lives and, famously, for the tequila we can drink in celebration. Agave nectar is an apt metaphor for a deep truth: that we can harvest the sweetness of life out of great difficulty, that loneliness is not an impoverished condition, but the vehicle through which we nourish our love.  One stanza in the poem sums this up: 

Announcing the release of Agave Nectar, my 5th book of love poems written for Valentine's Day. This collection explores how we see and feel the Beloved in life through the perception of Beauty, through an attitude of Reverence, and through a state of Wonder; and holds out the promise that we can harvest love out of great difficulty, even out of the loneliness that we mistakenly believe means we are unlovable. 

Nothing surpasses poetry for a Valentine's Day gift. 
Available only as an e-book here:

I want my love like agave nectar, 
the sweet we harvest out of endurance; 
and the desert blossom that reminds us, 
no matter how thick and thorny our skin, 
we can still show our beauty.  

Love is my mojo, the pantry of my life, the soil for my garden. I see it in the stars, in the steam rising from a mountain lake,  hear it in rain patter on the window, feel it in the sway of a hammock shaded under a palm tree in tropic heat. But I live alone, isolated in my own bubble, off in my own Walter Mitty world, the lone ranger of my life. I love my freedom, but it comes with a cost, at least one I have paid whether or not it is due. Now, as I cross the threshold of 65 as a single man, I find myself living in the gap between desire and reality. I spent years on the mend, travelled miles, mostly in my mind, to find the queen of my dreams. But, truth be told, I’ve taken almost no action to find real love. I have not even dated for years. Mostly, I worked an inside job as if I could make myself an attractor of miracles, a partner to stars, a home where love flourishes based on the hope and dream that that alone would bring a lover into my life. 

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I have no regret about the work I have done on myself. I live in a technicolor world. I am a splash-happy boy on a grand adventure called life. It seems magical even when I am swimming in the doldrums in the dark side of the sea because a state of wonder does not need the light of day to leaven the bread of life. And I know it is the deep and the dark that serve as breeding ground for future blossoms. My happiness does not depend on smiles and sunny days, does not need another new gadget, and does not require an extra notch on the status pole. I do, however, fear my foothold in the widening gap with fewer years on the road ahead to share. 

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Although I am often alone, I rarely feel lonely. Perhaps all the years as a solo traveler have habituated me. I feel OK eating at restaurants by myself, going to movies or plays by myself, being out in the world on my own. I use this time to people watch and ponder things, to bear witness to the world as it unfolds before me, and to write. I often find myself steeped in wonder at the inexplicable mystery of it all, stunned into reverence at this miraculous world, and smitten by beauty in life, in love, in people, and in performance. As the urge for sexual love softens with age, the value of these experiences strengthens. Beauty, Reverence, and Wonder share a sense of being swept up and away, of being carried beyond oneself, of falling in love with life in the moment. But now, I set a new course to serve love rather than seeking love to serve me. This is a radical change. Instead of walking the perimeter of my life with a wish, I stand in the center of my life as a light. Now I look to whom and to what I may give my heart. This is the year of my devotion in the world, the year I take care as my calling.

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Sample Poems

No Greater Love

My heart is big enough
for you to roam
where ever you wish
and feel you loved. 

My patience is deeper
than the canyon
where my voice echoes
in your absence because 

I am here for you
whispering these words
into your dreaming ears,
which are timeless
and know no boundaries:

“Go. Live out your Self.” 

And do so without apology
because, no matter how far
or how long you wander,
I know that we all must take
the steps on our own path,

and there is no greater love
than the love that gives you 
to your Self.  

 

© Nick LeForce
All Rights Reserved

The Shore

I am pulled from the sea, 
lifted on Aphrodite’s shell, 
salt water forced from my lungs
by your CPR, your kiss awakening
my heart, pumping this life into being.

Call it a birth, born into
an exact copy of the old world,
everything the same except me: 

I am just now beginning
to remember who I am,
why I walked into that desperate ocean
and what I hoped to find there.

Now awakened in this body, looking
into your eyes, I can honestly say: 

“It’s alright if the stars fall into our laps, 
it’s alright is the sea sweeps
all our sand dollars away, 
it’s alright if it all ends right here,” 

because loss is just another doorway
into longing for this life 

and I will walk again into that ocean, 
the salt water will again fill my lungs, 
drowning me again in this longing
to be lifted, to be pulled
onto the shore of a new life
and awakened by your kiss…


Carlos Castaneda, in his work with the Toltec shaman, Don Juan, is given the task of facing a “worthy opponent,” an enemy that actually serves in one's personal evolution. Solitude, and its twin, loneliness, brings us face to face with our own “demons.” In solitude, there is nothing to drown out the voice of our own violence, nowhere to hide from our own self-abuse. The greatest of worthy opponents is actually our own mind and all the tricks it plays on us that keep us from sending our taproot into life. The goal is not to defeat a worthy opponent, but to transform oneself in the face of the enemy. Solitude becomes genuine renewal the moment you enter the deep quiet, the moment you step into the wilderness in you as a place of belonging. This is the ultimate gift of loneliness: the deep and abiding sense of belonging to life.  --Excerpted from "Solitude" in the Addendum: On Loneliness

Contents:

Introduction
Confession
The  Perception of Beauty
The Attitude of Reverence
The State of Wonder
Penance
Closing
Addendum: On Loneliness
Epilogue

Book Length: 90 Pages. 
Includes prose and 32 poems