Time for Rediscovery: In the Jungles of Life and of Love?

The-emeralds-green-disc-o-002 king bird of paradise tail

So you thought you had seen everything. You knew it all. Nothing could surprise you. And then one day you  met someone new and wow. Where did that come from? Maybe you forgot that it was possible to feel so alive again. So intrigued or inspired. Or maybe you looked across the room at your partner and realized that there was still more to discover, still more to learn about each other and be surprised about. Or maybe you’re in another place, wondering if you still want to discover more with that person. All of these are possibilities. And if we live long enough, love long enough, and take enough risks, we will all likely find ourselves in each of these at different times.  

Discovery is central to so much about love and sex. New or potential partners discover each others’ bodies, boundaries, fears, hopes, vulnerabilities and expectations. They have to challenge assumptions from time to time and communicate if they are ever to discover much about themselves, others or, I think, the nature of love. People who are in established couples have to do the same if they’re to sustain their relationship – to keep on looking into each other’s eyes, to hope that there’s more, to have faith that there’s more, to enjoy the “more” that they find, and sometimes to press on through hard times. The hope of discovering, of learning new things, keeps all of us going throughout life. Otherwise we would just give up, I suppose.

I thought about all of this in an instant – a rich instant, but just one instant – when I clicked on a link passed on by a friend on Twitter, for totally different reasons. He was intrigued by a report in the Guardian that scientists had discovered a “lost world” in Papua New Guinea full of animals that are old in time but new to us. And some weren’t even afraid of humans. The adventurer and nature lover in me had to see for herself.

There is a beautiful photo gallery of some of their findings (see the link below) – some species that are old discoveries, others that are new. Above is the green feathered tail of a king bird of paradise. The tail apparently plays an essential role in the male’s courtship strategies and thus seemed relevant here. Plus, I just thought that it – and the caterpillars, too – was a thing of beauty and wonderment.

black-and-yellow-noctuid--008

So, enjoy the images. And enjoy your path of discovery, whether you find paths that go on and on or paths that come to a close earlier than you expected. But as they say, as one door closes another one opens. And then there is the chance for even more and more discovery. Have fun exploring this amazing world of people, plants, animals and love. And stop and check out the caterpillars from time to time or smell the jasmine, magnolias, peonies or roses. I still do.

[The Guardian]

Related MSP articles:
- Embracing joy in life and in sex
- On heartbreak, loss and sex
- Stephen Hawking teaches me about love

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About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.