Love, love, love

As Valentine's Day is approaching it seems appropriate to ask - what does LOVE mean to you? How do you show love, receive love, give love - [and why] -  and to who? Does Valentine's Day mean anything to you?  Besides the "Hallmark holiday" comment - what does it bring up for you?  Is it a deepness or is it more superficial niceties. Do you secretly hope that you have an admirer that let's their feelings known, will you plan a special day for a person you're interested in, or will you feel a longing or aching in your heart for something you don't currently have? Does seeing and hearing the advertisements, the chocolates, the flowers, the jewelry, the restaurant advertisements -  phase you in some way?  

Perhaps we could take a moment and contemplate ::  What does love mean to me and what does it look like?  Have you ever felt truly loved in your life? Did you return the love?  Is it possible to love without expecting something in return or getting love in return?  Do you feel loved in your life at this very moment?  When you are thinking about the people that love you and the people that you love - are they the same people or different people?  Could you love deeper, more fully, more presently?

A big question I have is this - Why are we so stingy with love?  There are so many sayings everywhere that talk about great gifts like hope, and laughter, and that the greatest is love - is love the greatest because it is the most difficult for us or because it can truly save and heal us on the deepest most intimate level?  

So often I meet people that not only don't love themselves, but in many ways they judge and despise who they are somewhere in their core - and because of this they are constantly afraid they are UNLOVABLE (makes sense because if they cannot love themselves they are afraid others wont be able to) and because of this they are unable to fully love others.  How can one come from a place of love when they do not have love inside for the beauty they are and all they have to give to the world.  

Let's think about time; do you spend time thinking about the people in your life rather than the things in your life.  Do you spend more energy on work or play than you do on love and relationships?  Where do you invest your energy.  The old adage about relationships being work is absolutely correct and it seems to me that when the work part comes along we are afraid that oh- this might not actually be "right" (the illusive "right") person/time/relationship so I am going to withdraw, concede, do anything I can to protect myself and my heart because this is SCARY.  I don't like feeling vulnerable, I don't like someone having so much effect on me, I better flee [physically/emotionally/mentally/spiritually].

Is FEAR the bottom line - the piece that holds us back from fully surrendering to the beauty and glory of love? 

Perhaps the growing multi-billion $ pet industry is so successful because we would prefer to give our love away without the fear of rejection, so we give our love to our pets.  Let's face it, giving love to our pets feels safe, it feels good, and honestly we like sharing our hearts and giving love to a living creature.

In a relationship we must be able to mutually effect each other.

Are we in a constant state of fear and therefore our love has fear surrounding it --- maybe it's fear showing up as thoughts of being afraid it's the wrong relationship ... or maybe the right relationship. Perhaps we are afraid they won't like us ... or that they will.  We might be afraid of being truly seen and heard and 'found out' or we are afraid to truly see and love another person and give up our 'power'.  In a relationship we must be able to mutually effect each other [super scary because we might get HURT.... we also might be deeply fulfilled] - is that what happens in your relationships or do you try to either a) hold all the power or b) give all your power away?  

Is love all about what my partner can do for me or is it more about what I can do for them?  How I can love them .... how I can serve them .... how I can better their life.  When I am loving towards my partner do I in turn feel a warmth in my heart?  Can we love people and allow them the space needed for them to be who they are and continue to grow and transform daily?  Are we afraid to love others in this way because we are in a "competitive" society living a capitalistic mentality?  What if we give our love away and we don't get anything back? Does this make us weak or does it make us strong?

We can easily say things like I love that restaurant/store/movie but when it comes to the people in our life how often do we tell them {and show them} that we love them?  Are we afraid to tell someone that we have love in your heart for them?  Are we able to feel love in our heart for others?  Can we feel the sense of wanting the best for others?  Do we ultimately want Love, Connection, Empathy OR the safety of being unharmed, not putting ourselves out there, and superficially connected to others?

Maybe this year we could choose to give more love rather than trying to attain love or focusing so much on being someone that is lovable rather than being who we are.  In giving we might find more depth, more compassion, more empathy, and ultimately a deeper and stronger connection.

Here's to you on your journey of surrendering to love - on giving giving giving from your strong and bold heart.  Giving love doesn't need to mean we stay in a partnership relationship with a person for the rest of our lives but it can make the difference in changing someone's life - and who knows, the person's life that it might change could be YOURS.

Sending you love - from my heart to yours - xoxo