Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Love is where it all begins.
I look into my heart and find that without love none of the rest is possible.
I decided several years ago that I wanted to live from a place of love. I wanted my actions and my words to be guided by love. It's not always easy, but my life is so much more peaceful and hopeful and... well, alive when I live from a place of love.
When I saw Mimi Lenox's choice of Peace and the Power of Love for the theme of this year's blog blast for peace, I did a little cheer sitting at my desk. Perfect...
Then I saw her announcement about the 30 Days of Love Challenge leading up to the blog blast, and I smiled. I thought, easy enough. After all, I already live my life from a place of love. I've got this... Then I completely zoned it and missed the first two days...
I took a deep breath, loved myself a minute and forgave myself for my imperfection. In the past I would've spent days berating myself. I would've lost sleep. I would've... Well, let's just say, I wouldn't have exactly treated myself with love. But by choosing love, I started participating on that third day with peace in my heart.
As I went through the month knowing each day I needed to post something about love, I found myself more open to seeing love in the world around me, sometimes to the point I felt overwhelmed by it. There is so much love in the world when we're open to it. Things we take for granted. Things we dismiss as everyday things. Things we even misinterpret. It's a bit amazing.
Even trying to live from a place of love, I'm not always tuned in to the love around me.
Take a moment, close your eyes, concentrate on love. Then open your eyes and look around you. I urge you to open to seeing expressions of love in interactions that cross your path. I've discovered that when I look at the world with love, I often find solutions I never would have considered or I see something from a point of view I never imagined or I feel more at peace about the decisions I make.
Love by definition is feeling a sense of affection for another, but I'd say love is more than and less than that. Love is feeling a connection to self and to others. Love is seeking common ground when there appears to be none. Love is wanting what's best for another even when what's best for them doesn't fit your desires. Love is simply listening and really hearing. Love is offering support and encouragement and inspiration. Love allows us to share knowledge and goals and achievements.
We put so much pressure on the concept of love to be this romantic game changer that we've lost sight of the simplicity of seeking connection and showing compassion as sources of love. We watch movies and read books and see advertisements that elevate love to a fairy tale that just isn't achievable. Then when someone falls short, and we all will fall short of the fairy tale, we declare love the enemy.
Love is never the enemy. The expression of love is only as perfect as the imperfect beings who express it.
The day I stopped seeing love as demanding perfection from me and from those I loved, I discovered the true power of love. The power of love lies in its ability to allow us to see one another as being connected instead of divided. The power of love provides the opportunity for us to embrace our differences and to see our similarities. The power of love gives us the chance to celebrate what each of us contributes to our world. The power of love teaches us that we don't all need to be the same to be valued and effective. The power of love shows us that underneath all the superficiality of everything we think divides us, we have so much more in common than not. That is what drove me to write the poem Underneath for International Peace Day in September.
I sincerely believe love has the power to cultivate peace in a way nothing else does because love is the foundation for every possible way for us to find unity. Peace needs a foundation of love upon which to place all the components of coming together, of ending cruelty toward other beings, of respecting and caring for the Earth. Love is where peace begins because love is where connection begins.
That is why we must cultivate love in order to grow peace...
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted and four books of poetry. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.