I used to think of love in the typical ways that we all do: the love between a parent and child, romantic love between two individuals, love as admiration and dedication to a certain practice or cause. But I’m seeing it differently now, just as a thing that IS. Everywhere.
For the month of January, I participated in a journaling experience led by my yoga teacher, Denise Druce. She called it Miracles in Action, designed to help set your intentions for the year 2015. On one day, we were instructed to recognize love in even the mundane things. This was a non workday for me, so it wasn’t as easy as noticing the love between patients, family members, caregivers, etc. as people are whisked to and from the operating room. Instead, I saw love in our kitchen as we dilligently prepared nutritious food for the day. I saw it in a neighbor’s yard, where neatly piled leaves sat waiting for removal in hopes to improve the landscape for the spring. There was love in the small consignment store where I shopped, as the clerk proudly and carefully displayed the items “given up for adoption” (as opposed to being discarded) by consigners in hopes that another person would come along and love them again. I saw love for myself as I stared into the mirror that night, performing my ritual of cleaning and preparing my body for sleep.
One of the other journaling participants shared her “loves” on the Facebook page: “I am measuring my year 2015 in LOVE! In sunsets, in sunrises, in yoga practices, full moons, and friendships… Sharing my love for nature, my family, and our global connection to each other.” This is the kind of love I’m talking about. With Valentine’s Day coming, people feel compelled to demonstrate love, most often the romantic type, and most often through material means. But I’d argue that the important thing to remember on Valentine’s Day and every day is that true love is innately within all of us. We are alive, so we are love. And if we do not show ourselves love, we cannot truly give it to others in any form. Fellow blogger Sara T MD discussed the consequences of not loving yourself here.
The late Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the popular medical prose How We Die and The Wisdom of the Body, so he was kind of an expert on existential questions and things that matter in life. In an interview with On Being’s Krista Tippet, Nuland said:
“Everybody needs to be understood. And out of that comes every form of love. If someone truly feels that you understand them, an awful lot of neurotic behavior just disappears — disappears on your part, disappears on their part. So if you’re talking about what motivates this world to continue existing as a community, you’ve got to talk about love….”
Where are you seeing love? Happy Love Day!