When we thank someone, we are delivering a blessing. No matter our faith or belief system, “thank you” is our way of showing appreciation and good wishes. It’s a way of letting someone know you love them for what they did. Is it important that we know that we love and appreciate each other? We believe that it is. Over the years, I’ve become quite good at giving thanks and expressing gratitude but it’s a different story when someone is expressing their thanks to me. Read More
When we find something we believe to be true we enter into a kind of relationship with that truth. In a very real way, we fall in love with that truth. We honor it by accepting it into our hearts. We consult it when making our judgments and decisions. We defend its virtues vigorously and forgive it’s faults generously. Because we consider truth to be good, we are proud of ourselves for finding it. We consider ourselves fortunate for knowing it and pity those that do not. Sometimes we do more than pity those that don’t share the same truth. We condemn, belittle and stifle all voices contrary to our beloved truth. The love affair continues until we are wooed by an even larger truth that we find is undeniable. When this happens, it’s just like ending any intense love affair. Denial, anger, confusion and then, the messy break up. In many cases, we will look back at the old discarded truth with resentment. Lamenting the time spent believing as a waste and that we are fools for loving such an incomplete truth. “How foolish we were to believe in Santa Claus.” It is this love affair that makes honest, civil discourse and debate so challenging. It often takes on the desperate tone of fighting for your deepest loved one instead of opening ourselves to finding greater, deeper levels of truth and therefore, of love.
Let us loosen our desperate grip on what we think is true to make way for new possibilities. Who knows what we could learn? Who knows what we could love?
“We need more love in the world.” I’ve heard it said time and time again but what does it mean? Is the government hiding vast quantities of love in a warehouse somewhere in Area 51? Are wealthy people buying up all the love and storing it in offshore bank accounts? No, love is a state of mind and, as such, is subject to our will and our choice. This means I have some good news and some bad news about love. I always like to get the bad news out of the way first so, let’s have it.
The bad news about love is that there simply isn’t any more to be found. That’s right, there’s no new love out there to be found and there will never be more love in the world than there is today. The love we have now is all the love that will ever be available. “What about the condition of the world today?” you ask, “If there’s no more love to be found, we’re doomed!” Yes, it would seem so, but wait, I haven’t gotten to the good news yet.
The good news is that our current supply of love is infinite and inexhaustible. Our problem with love is not of supply but of demand. When our conditions for love are met, we demand that the gates to our heart be opened and the order is obeyed without exception. When we love someone or something, the feeling is so powerful and all-consuming that we are fooled into thinking that it’s automatic and involuntary but this isn’t so. As powerful as the experience of love is, we only feel it after a certain set of conditions is met. Over time, we identify and choose which conditions meet our love criteria, like becoming a parent or adopting a puppy. What is the love criteria? It’s different for everyone depending on our experience but rest assured, we ALL have conditions for love. Love appears to be in short supply because our criteria has become so narrow. We only love those in our family, or religious group. We only love those in our city, town or country. Some people love animals but hate other people.
If we want to bring more love into the world, all we as individuals need to do is broaden our criteria for love to include more people and more conditions. Start small by replacing indifference with love. If you’re walking down the street and you see someone walking in the opposite direction, regardless of their appearance, say to your self “I love you.” You can do this anywhere. As you’re driving. At a party. At work. It’s virtually painless and requires no physical action on your part. You’re simply acknowledging a love that’s always been there, waiting for your command.
Today, I said a final good bye to my beloved…well, I don’t exactly know what to call her. For the past 20 years, she was my father’s closest friend, confidant and companion. Both widowed after long, loving marriages, neither wanted to get married but yet, they spent every day together. They took vacations together and loved each others company. She accepted and loved my wife and I as son and daughter. My children as her grandchildren, indeed, they are the only grandma they have ever really known. She was in every sense that mattered, a mother to me. To say that she was my dad’s “girlfriend” seemed to minimize the immense role she played in our lives. They weren’t married but they spent more time together and shared more with each other than many “official” marriages I’ve seen. So, in this, the time of her passing, I struggle to name the role of a person who’s place was vital in my life but undefined in our culture. Why do I find a need to name her place at all?
Names, containers, boundaries and limitations. It’s seems to be human nature to classify everything and it’s a good practice for objects but, as time goes on, I find it rather limiting when it comes to people. As I look back on the beginnings of our relationship, I waisted time closing my feelings off to her because I placed her in the role of intruder. I simply didn’t know where she would fit in my life so, I went with my default love setting: off. Of course, this didn’t stop her from loving me. Eventually, her love proved to be stronger than my resistance and I was freed to experience one of the most wonderful relationships of my life.
So, Virgia Currin, as I say good bye to your vessel and you live on in my heart, what title should you hold? Since there is no familial designation that fits everything you are to me, I shall simply remember you as my beloved.
Rest in peace and love, Virgia. You will be missed.
A simple office move turns into a battle between loathing and loving. Which side will emerge victorious? I suppose it’s up to me.
After several years in the same place, my department at work is moving from the first floor to the second floor. In keeping with the intent of this blog and the intent of my life view, I’m generally an upbeat person but, in this case, I’ve found a sense of dread creeping upon me. Quietly and completely. It started when our new cube configuration was posted on the wall this week. To be honest, I hate my new location. It’s not just that I hate moving, which I do, but I have several valid reasons for hating this new location. It’s just outside my boss’ office just off a main walkway. Now, I love my boss but she’s got a lot of traffic going in and out of her office and people love to stand and talk in main walkways. I’m as social as anybody but I do enjoy quiet especially when I’m working on a tough project. I don’t want to have to listen to the endless conference calls and meetings and all the other hubbub. Soon, I noticed another feeling creeping up on me to accompany my dread: envy! I started to look at the cubes of my friends who were “better situated” than I. Cubes in low-traffic locations next to windows and the gentle breeze of perfectly positioned and regulated air conditioning vents. I began to calculate how they might have acquired such prime real estate. Perhaps they are more valued than I. Maybe they were secretly given a choice of the best spots. The negativity spread in my mind like wildfire and soon, I not only suspected I would hate where I was sitting, I knew I would. Also, my envy would progress into resentment of my workmates and potentially sour my relationships. The funny thing is that this would all occur in my mind before moving even a shred of paper.
Life is good. I choose to believe that this is true with no exceptions. Life is change. You can’t have one without the other. So, if life is good and life is change then, change is good.
No matter how things appear to me and my limited view, there is an overarching goodness to life that can be enjoyed at all times. There have been countless occasions where an event that I originally judged as bad transformed over time to something I would not only consider to be good but would be grateful for. What lies in that space between that original judgment and eventual gratitude? Misery, discord and confusion. Is it possible to cut out the middle-man of misery and go straight to “Thank you!” for everything that happens in my life knowing that it is all for my good? Knowing that each change in my life only affirms life itself.
I’m changing my thoughts about this move. Contrary to all the evidence I have previously detailed, I choose to see and experience this move as a blessing that is only occurring to bring me more good. When I have thoughts to the contrary, I will remind myself that this is simply not true based on what I know about the nature of life. I expect the Universe rise and support my beliefs. I will feel this support in a decrease and eventual disappearance of my dread, hatred, envy and resentment. These feelings will be replaced by love and gratitude of the present moment. That’s my theory, anyway.
As this is Part 1 of this topic, I plan to check in with periodic updates and let you know how this is going and what feelings are coming up. In the meantime, feel free to experiment along with me and choose a seemingly negative event in your own life and cut out your middle-man of misery.
Alysse is my step-daughter. In recent years, I have started to choke on the word “step”. To me, its a word that separates a person from the “normal” family situation. If I say someone is my daughter, that comes with certain expectations of love, loyalty and support. Now, when I say that a person is my step-daughter, those expectations are somewhat diminished. It’s understood that I won’t love her quite as much as my biological children. It’s also expected that she shouldn’t love me as much as her biological dad. There will always be a line of love and devotion there that, everyone seems to agree, will never be crossed. At the very least, difficult to cross. I have to admit that personally, it was very hard to let anyone into my heart as much as my biological children. I felt that, if I loved anyone as much as them, I would be betraying them somehow. So, I kept my distance. Alysse, on the other hand, didn’t have these hang ups. She was around 7 years old when her mom and I got married and, like many children, had no barriers to the free flow of love. She accepted me into her heart quickly and also accepted the clunkiness that was my balancing act of carefully measured love that I was trying to give. I knew she was allowing herself to love more than I was but I just wrote that off to the ignorance of children. She just didn’t know that she SHOULD love me less.
Over the years, I have learned that there is no official rule book that defines how much you can or should love someone. Parents get this much. Children get that much. Love is infinite and is therefore immeasurable. The ONLY limitation to the amount of love we share exists in our own minds. To test this theory, I simply started to let myself love. Love by choice, not by the random circumstance of relationship. On the contrary, I can love people I haven’t even met. I can love who I want, as much as I want. Interestingly, the side effect is the experience of more love in my life.
The uncommon love of a young lady that I now simply refer to as my daughter helped me to realize that. Thank you, Alysse. I love you, too.