I have written much on the theme of love these past few months, which I think has been leading to this. I do believe I should like to begin with an image of my view of love as the centre of the lovely deliciousness that is life, the cherry, if you will.
My business consultant said to me, many years ago: “You really love your employees.” Given the context of our conversation, it took me a minute or two to respond to him, but the short answer was – yes, and perhaps this was when my inner journey to expand my thoughts and beliefs on love began. Recently my blogger friend Teenage Introvert also wrote a post which contained the line: “Now the struggle is not about ‘trying to love’, it’s more like ‘allowing Love to pour out’, something I cannot explain.” Between these two points of time lies an immense ocean of immersing myself in the ethos of love.
For all its endless portrayals of happy-ever-after love, western culture decidedly does not celebrate love so much as objectify it…this kind of love, that looks this way, is acceptable; others: suspect. The range of templates for love is narrow…and then there are those of us who believe that love pours out of us, and that this is a natural and desired state of being. The idea does defy explanation, and my attempts to illuminate it will necessarily fall short, but I shall take up the challenge.
As infants, our love begins with parents, and physical reality – being warm, cuddled, soothed, fed, engaged – and expands outwards, slowly but surely, to siblings, home, playmates, teachers, and on. We recognize that not all infants are born into loving circumstances, and this is problematic for learning love; but most of us experience enough, if not ideal love. Does love stop expanding outward for some people, or is it merely the expression of love in the wider world that is curtailed? Perhaps a bit of both.
I find it easy enough to imagine a world where work and work places are so much more satisfying and creative because love imbues co-workers for one another, and for the recipients of their goods and/or services…yes, I hear the sneers and snickers back there. I can easily imagine a world where hospitals and clinics are true healing places because love informs the practice and practitioners of medicine. I can easily imagine a world where friends and acquaintances are not a closed set of like-minded people, but an ever-expanding group of many, because love is the principle of listening and respect for difference. I can easily imagine a world that is more civil, because love acknowledges that people make mistakes, or lack courtesy, but have not lost all value as human beings. I do so hope, my imaginary friend, that you will not construe this as some new age cult of positivism: Be Happy!!!!! , said with too many exclamation marks, and often no acknowledgement that people must grieve, sometimes. Or that it is some version of “turn the other cheek”, for we must stand up to wrongs strongly and ensure our voices are heard. Or that we must accept some boorish behaviour, for the sake of social niceties. I think, I believe that we are born to put love at the centre of our lives, not the periphery, and that this love will pour out of us if we let it. That it is, in fact, the most powerful force in the universe, by whichever name you should wish to call it…
If our love be clouded, or contained, if it does not reach to the stars and beyond, if our love does not shine as surely as the glory of the night skies; why, some integral, essential piece of our human nature is muted. There are other truths about human nature, of course, but it seems to me that this piece, the ability to live in love is the piece most lacking in the puzzle of our current lives. It is not the form and outline of our loves that define us: it is that love pours out of us. To be in love is to be, to really be, at the heart of the deliciousness of life. Romantic notions of love say that some special ‘other’ completes us, makes us whole…I say that the love that completes us and makes us whole is already there, waiting to be let out.