The Ice Age Challenge 
a social political romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 2A of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 19
Chapter 3 - Self-Love.

      "That's an incredible story," I said, and I meant it. "You didn't talk to yourself, though, I hope."

      "Of course not. The dialog was all mental. But then, we are always in a dialog with ourselves whenever we think about anything. And this includes you too. No doubt, you had quite an interesting dialog going on with yourself when you had treated yourself to that sexual experience that you had in the auditorium earlier, during the concert."

      I blushed.

      "Don't worry my friend," she said and smiled. "Remember, I am the champion when it comes to treating oneself! But be honest, was it a beautiful experience?"

      I nodded and said, "thank you," quietly. "Thank you for giving me the opportunity."

      "No thanks are needed," she replied. "I felt enriched by it as much as you were, just by knowing that I am not the only freak who finds a great peace in embracing oneself. You found in me an echo of that embrace of yourself. Evidently you found no need to go further with this. Am I right?"

      I nodded and closed my eyes momentarily as if this would keep the mental vision alive, and engrave her lovely smile into my mind. I wanted to keep that vision alive.

      "Isn't it amazing in how many ways it is possible to treat oneself with all those wonderful aspects of our humanity?" said the woman when I opened my eyes again. Her smile had become a grin.

      "It is also amazing how much we need this," she added moments later, "and how easily this need is satisfied. It appears to me that it took you a great deal of courage," said the woman, "when you approached me against all those voices crying within that would hold you back, right to the very last moment. But you overruled their crying. Do you remember what you said? 'Would you kindly allow me to invite you for a cup of coffee?' That was as much a request to yourself as to me. Your face lit up like a sun, when I said yes. Those small things are sometimes the most beautiful treats that we give to ourselves."

      "And to one-another," I added.

      "How could I have possibly said no," she replied, "if my part in this is such a small one? The impetus for it was all your own. It came out of the great heart of our humanity in which all love is rooted that we all share universally and are able to acknowledge with joy. Isn't life beautiful when this happens?"

      "I agree. It is beautiful if we aren't too scared to embrace it," I replied. "You must have had beautiful experiences then, treating your friend," I said a while later while embracing her in my thoughts, including her smile that was so honest and so penetrating to the very heart of the Love..

      "I was never really indulging myself," she said moments later. "I was treating myself with the same loving and consideration with which I would have gladly treated the dearest friend. I also realized right from the beginning that I didn't step into a fairy tale world by doing this. I am convinced that all people are naturally generous and loving. They just don't give themselves a chance to experience it."

      "What caused you to realize that?" I asked when she almost blushed for some reason.

      "I learned this from a businessman," she said quietly. Then she really blushed as if she said something that is hard to believe. "He wasn't a stock broker or something like that," she added. "He was a small-scale manufacturer. His experience in selling his product has been that people are more than willing to be helpful. He said to me, 'just go into any store and ask for direction to somewhere, and people will help you. They may even draw you a map.' He made this process into be a two way street. He found that no high-pressure sales pitches were needed to sell his products, because he saw himself as the bringer of goods that would enrich their life. He didn't come to them to get, but with an opportunity to enrich their world. In this environment people came to him and asked for his products. He told me that he always endeavors to give a portion of his success back to humanity in order to keep the process alive that enriches the world on which his business is built.

      "I have merely adopted this process towards myself," said the Swedish woman named Astrid, according to her nametag. She said that if people are naturally loving and generous then I can be so to myself, to me, to Astrid. "And you know, that means a great deal to me now. So you see my friend, what I did wasn't done out of pity as it might have been done, but out of love. I am always careful not to waste my emotions on pity, either for myself or for anyone else. Life is too precious for it to be wasted like that."

      She said that the results that came out of this alertness have always been amazing. "I can recommend it to anyone. I have never looked back to the olden days, once I began to love in this fashion," she said. "The dark ages have ended. Of course, it wouldn't make any sense looking back, because I have pulled myself up onto a higher level of living in which the Old World is no longer relevant."

      She told me that she never felt lonely again after her healing that day in the Everglades. She told me that this single experience of that day in the Everglades totally changed her life. She said, it brought into focus what she had somehow always believed, but had never lived up to. She added with a smile that this process of living up to a wider reality is still unfolding. She urged me to be alert of the fact that there is always something new to be discovered in the wide world of loving oneself and of embracing the whole world in that love.

      When the end of our meeting came, as the end always does, long after the coffee was gone and we were leaving the coffee shop, I asked her in my exuberance if we could possibly meet again.

      "What for?" she asked and embraced me. "What good would that do? If you love yourself fully, as I know you will in time, what more could I possibly add to that fulfillment? If anything, I would be a hindrance. The world is full of beautiful people with interesting faces and loving hearts that you might want to treat yourself to meeting. We are all a part of the same humanity, are we not? I think it is the greatest treat in the world to give ourselves the chance to find this out and experience the boundless riches we find there."

      On the way out I dared to ask her to reconsider. "Why shouldn't we be able to meet over coffee again, or perhaps for dinner?" I asked.

      She smiled. "I hear what you are saying, but these things won't stop there, will they? They tend to become private, and intimate, and narrow."

      I hesitated answering. "Self-love is a wonderful thing," I said cautiously, as we came near to the door, "but it doesn't need to lead to self-isolation. I fear there is something missing if it does. I feel that there is something spiritually lacking in self-isolation. No universal principle that I know supports self-isolation. I think you may be cheating yourself along this route, by not taking the next step. My friend Steve in East Germany told me that universal Love isn't a duty, by which one is duty-bound to love universally, but is a Principle that forges wide and universal bonds. He suggested that the reality of self-loving unfolds the other way around, than loving in self-isolation. He said that universal Love is the environment in which we live, that surrounds us, that we cannot get away from, like the air that we breathe. He says it rests on everything; the grass; the trees; the birds in the air; the fish in the rivers; and on men and women and children. He said we find its substance in every smile, every hug, every kind thought and deed, in every kiss, every intimacy, also in sex, in joy, and in building great works that enrich our world, as well as in art that brings beauty to it, and in music, and laughter, and poetry, and all the other wonderful things that we do as human beings. Universal Love is the universal human environment, which he says, it is our privilege to open ourselves up to, a wonder for us to experience. I think this would be the kind of playground on which we could safely meet again, you and I, not as beggars begging each other, but as fellow travelers, who are mutually enriched by life's riches. Why would you want to close the door to all of that? I fear that you might choose self-isolation into an empty world."

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