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Excerpted from Loving Each Other by Leo Buscaglia. Copyright © 1984 by Leo Buscaglia. Excerpted by permission of Fawcett, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Like everyone I know, my life, too, has been a long series of interwoven relationships, both good and bad. I value them all."

Leo Buscaglia, Loving Each Other, Part 2

Emotional detachment, maintaining our distance from others, is being prescribed as a solution for avoiding pain. Neglect and abuse of children and the aged is a growing problem. Social and religious institutions, which in the past helped to set standards of behavior and brought people together in companionship, are actively downgraded. Individualism, independence, and personal freedom are valued above love, commitment, and cooperation.

Examining the complex nature involved in loving each other (the dynamic and everchanging nature of two or more unique and whole individuals agreeing to emerge and blend in a long-term commitment) is not an easy task. Nevertheless, that is the purpose of this book. It seems to me vital and necessary, since material dealing with the dynamics of loving each other is rare. Without this knowledge we end only by living together in hate, fear, loneliness, and continuing to hurt each other in ignorance. Happily, the choice is still ours to make.

Like everyone I know, my life, too, has been a long series of interwoven relationships, both good and bad. I value them all. For it was mainly through these relationships that I survived my infancy, completed my childhood, ended my adolescence and moved toward a dynamic state of growing to maturity. They have been living lessons in meeting defeat, letting go and overcoming fear. They have helped to free my spirit and irradicate my fear of loving. My relationships are still my major source of stimulation, causing me to remain open, curious, eager to learn and challenged by change. Now I understand more than ever the poet W.H. Audenís remark, "We must love one another or die!"

Isnít it time that we forget our petty egos, give up our fear of appearing sentimental or naÔve and come together in our universal need, one for the other? Why is it so difficult for us to embrace each other fearlessly and with passion and say, "Human being, take my human hand?"

There is a wonderful fable that tells of a young girl who is walking through a meadow when she sees a butterfly impaled upon a thorn. Very carefully she releases it and the butterfly starts to fly away. Then it comes back and changes into a beautiful good fairy. "For your kindness," she tells the little girl, "I will grant you your fondest wish." The little girl thinks for a moment and replies, "I want to be happy." The fairy leans toward her and whispers in her ear and then suddenly vanishes.

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