I Love you. If I could only ever say one thing to you or anyone else, even strangers or “enemies”, it would be that. As you are, for no reason, requirement, or expectation, I LOVE YOU!!!
A few weeks ago, while listening to Seane Corn’s book Revolution of the Soul, I heard her share a mantra I’ve been meditating on and overjoyed by ever since: Love Al(l)ways, as in Love Always and Love All Ways. Isn’t that beautiful? It strikes me as a sweet summary of what Jesus says life is all about: Love God, and Love others as you Love yourself. To Love Al(l)ways is to think, feel, and embody togetherness and givingness for oneself, others, and the Spirit that creates, enlivens, and nourishes us at the deepest levels. Togetherness and givingness, as I’ve grown to understand them, are hallmarks of Love (I capitalize it when I’m referring to Big Love, Divine Love, or what some name agape).
While togetherness is a disposition of unity and connection, givingness is the active giving of our energies and materials for collective thriving and flourishing. In contemplating what this looks like, five words/phrases came to me: Look & Listen, Lean, Learn, Lavish, and Let Go. So, let’s explore those a bit!
Look & Listen – Loving Al(l)ways begins by seeing and hearing a person deeply. It starts when we realize everyone fundamentally and inherently belongs, is precious, is Loved, and is born with an original goodness. In my experience, the more I embrace these as Truths, the more connected, alive, whole, free, and Loving I become, and I don’t think I’m alone. It equips us to witness one another, and ourselves, in our fullness. Through the eyes of Love, we perceive a person’s gifts, faults, and wounds, which allows us to sit, speak, and engage with one another with a spirit of transformative tender oneness, understanding, and healing.
Lean – Love is a contact sport, in that the closer relationally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually we are, in healthy ways, the more easily and naturally togetherness and givingness flow. When we lean in relationships, we do so by leaning in, on, and with people. In other words, we move toward one another with vulnerability, curiosity, and courage. We humbly let others support and carry us when we’re struggling or unable. Above all, we do life together, as a team, carrying one another’s burdens, celebrations, hurts, joys, and everything in between!
Learn – A key attribute of Big Love is mutuality, meaning we view each other as coequals who can learn from, be changed by, and grow with one another. My fifteen-year-old daughter, for instance, frequently teaches me what effortless kindness and meaningful, nonpartisan engagement with our nation’s and world’s issues look like. Loving Al(l)ways means our hearts are wide open, which both allows us to fully receive the blessings of wisdom, understanding, beliefs, and more from others, as well as the gifts that can come from heartache/break, sadness, hurt, and so on.
Lavish – Love is endless. It has no beginning or end. We’re all swept up in a never-ending tidal wave of Love from the Divine. I think this is why I often find myself more alive and energized after giving of myself for the benefit of another. I’m stoked the word “lavish” came to me for this, because it brilliantly captures the heart of what Love does. Love goes the extra mile. Love is extravagant. Love creates, gives, nourishes, and heals life. Love is excessive. Love meets people where they’re at and joyously elevates them.
Let Go – This is an important partner to lavish. Similar to how a person can get addicted to a prescription drug that originally healed them, a substance (like alcohol) that can increase joy, or any number of other things that began as blessings, a person can become addicted to and disempowered by only being given to, coddled, and such. All I’m saying is: Give a person a “fish” and you feed her/him for a day; teach a person “to fish” and you feed her/him for a lifetime. Loving Al(l)ways means both lavishly giving to and being with a person, and lavishly empowering him/her to rise to new levels of wholeness and fullness! When the time is right, this is what Love does!
The Big Love we’re being invited to is like a snowball rolling down a hill of snow, in that while it starts small, our acts of togetherness and givingness will increasingly inspire others and grow kindness, compassion, and understanding at an exponential rate! As always, I’m curious what you make of my musings? Did anything bless you? Challenge you? Regardless, I Love YOU!
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