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Showing posts from February, 2014

Some Last Thoughts on Love

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"In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go?" --Buddha

Day 28. Here we are at the end of our month-long focus on love and I find myself with two weeks' worth of quotes still to go. A lot has been written about love. A LOT. And yet, it eludes many of us in one form or another.

Some of us have romantic love, but not self-love. Some have self-love, but have yet to find their life partner. Others have the love of many friends, but long for the love of a family. Some of us could use more of all of the above.

Whatever your situation, I hope that 28 Days of Love has helped you to deepen, grow and expand the love in your life.

Before I call it good, I would like to share with you a few favorites among those quotes that didn't make it onto the blog before now. (Links to old posts, where available, are included.)

"Kindness is love in action." --The Universe, to me, while writing this blog po…

I don't know you, but I love you.

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"I love you. I don't know you, but I love you." --Lydia at Unity of Burbank

The Universe is always giving us opportunities to learn and to grow and to "walk our talk," which is why it should have come to no surprise that this month has been full of opportunities for me to love when that was not my first instinct.

Last Sunday at church for instance.

As I approached the pews there was a woman standing in the aisle waiting for someone to join her before she sat down. I chose one of three or four empty pews nearby and sat down.

When her friend had joined her, she slid into the aisle right next to me and sat down.

"Ugh. Doesn't she know the empty bus seat rule?" I thought to myself.

It got worse a few seconds later when I realized she had a cold. Ah-choo!

She was sneezing and sucking on cough drops and smelled like menthol from - I assume - some vapor rub. And I was off.

Oh, great. Now I'm going to have to shake her hand and then I'll get sick an…

Ways of Practicing - Emanate Love

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"She truly loved herself and therefore had no reason to hate anyone else." --The Universe to me in an old blog post, reprinted below.

December 17, 2010

"Emanate love to all in your sphere without distinction or prejudice."  --Sunyata Satchitananda from the website www.mythiclove.net
I went to a Holiday concert this week that a friend of mine and her children were performing in. It was a lovely performance; the director was enthusiastic, the songs were uplifting and everyone seemed to be having a great time.
There was one woman in the choir who particularly stood out for me. She was standing in the back, not doing anything special, but as she sang she just radiated love.
I watched her closely throughout the whole concert, trying to figure out her secret. I studied her face to try and see what was different.
Physically, there was nothing special about her face. It was more attractive then some, less attractive than others, but a pretty basic human face. Still, th…

Love is All Around

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"Love really is all around." --From the opening scene of Love Actually

Have you ever had one of those days when love really is all around? For me it was Saturday. All day, everywhere I looked, the Universe was sending me reminders to love, love, love.

At my yoga class I parked my mat in the first row (which I never do) and there in the floor was a little heart formed from the whorls and swirls of the wood.

As I came inside the house after class, I stopped at our Little Free Library and there, staring out at me, was a small hardback volume of a book entitled How to Love.

And later, when I sat down to relax with a cup of tea, I picked up a coffee table book we have had for years (Monet: Water Lilies)and came across this quote, "Everyone discusses [my art] and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love." (Claude Monet)

This strikes me as a profound statement about life as well as art. It is not necessary to under…

Amrit Desai on Love

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"Love begins with yourself. The moment you accept what you are, you awaken your capacity to [give and to] receive love."  --Amrit Desai

Kind of like all forgiveness is self-forgiveness, all love is self-love. If we don't love ourselves, how can we love others?

After my first ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I came home and wrote these three rules on my fridge:

Three Rules for Life

1) Be kind to yourself

2) Do not harm others

3) Purify your mind

According to Vipassana teacher SN Goenka, being kind to yourself comes first because if you are not kind to yourself, you cannot be truly kind to others. You can try to be kind to others and you can pretend to be kind to others, but you cannot be truly kind to others if you are feeling angry, dissatisfied or stressed out.

I think about this a lot when I am feeling tense or annoyed or angry. I try and ask myself: How can I be kind to myself? Which is kind of like asking: How can I love myself?

So, how can you love yourself to…

Ellen Page on Love

Heart. Broken.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken."CS Lewis

My heart was broken tonight by seven kids with a basketball.

I am the assistant coach of my son's basketball team and the head coach (my dad) was out of town which meant I was in the hot seat. 
Let me interject here, in the interest of full disclosure, that I have never coached anything before and only played basketball in a very casually organized way on a club team in England. England! Where basketball is like cricket is to us. Most people have heard of it, but no one really knows the rules and certainly not the fundamentals.
Because the kids are just finishing up mid-winter break and many families are out of town,  I knew we were going to be down a few players. 
Earlier this afternoon I got an offer from a boy one grade above our league to sub for us tonight. I was torn - if we had this player we would have a much better chance of winning the game -…

Loving the Fool

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Me, looking foolish
"I must learn to love the fool in me - the one who feels too much, talks to much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool." ~Theodore I. Rubin, M.D.

The other day while swimming laps I made a complete and utter fool of myself.

The pool was crowded that day, there were four people in my lane alone and our rhythm was totally off. As soon as one swimmer let someone go ahead of them, that person would switch to breast stroke and be holding everyone else up. Then someone else would drop out for a few minutes to adjust the timing and another swimmer would drop their kick board and start sprinting.It was a mess and a very frustrating way to get my exercise.

I was abo…

Cheryl Strayed on Love

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"Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It's the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It's worthy of all the hullabaloo." --Cheryl Strayed from her book Tiny Beautiful Things

I love this idea, that love is our essential nutrient. It implies that, like vitamins, we can do something about increasing our intake.

We don't just wait around for the Universe to send food from the sky like in Cloudy, with a chance of Meatballs, we go out and get what our bodies need. And our bodies tell us, in the form of cravings, what nutrients it needs. So do our hearts if we listen.

What does your heart need today? What essential nutrients are missing? Maybe some quiet alone time? Maybe a night out with your sweetie? Maybe a massage or other body work? Maybe some chocolate???

Whatever love you need, whether you need to give it or receive it, make the time to do it today. It's essential.

Remembering Love (Ways of Practicing)

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I had a dream the other night about an old boyfriend. In the dream we were the same age we are now, but we were together. Even in my dream state I knew subconsciously that something was wrong with this picture, that in reality we each had different partners, but what really stuck out for me was the love that I felt between us.

Ours was a summer love and in that way it was almost completely unencumbered. We were free to sit out under the stars, take long walks, and spend hours talking over burgers and fries at our favorite diner.

He was an awesome boyfriend - kind, generous, affectionate, attentive, patient and understanding - which really came across in the dream. I remembered what it felt like to be loved in this way and it sparked something inside of me.

I walked around all day the next day feeling loved. No matter what anyone did or didn't do, said or didn't say, I felt loved. It made me want to recapture that feeling and to share it with others so I asked The Universe fo…

Loving what is.

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"Love what IS." --The Universe (inspired by the work of Byron Katie)

We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our internet today so this is what I am practicing - loving what is. And that includes Mercury in retrograde
This is one of those practices that feels essential, like if I could master it, I would have mastered everything else almost automatically. 
If I were loving what is I would be living in the moment, I would be forgiving in the moment, I would be working towards peace and spreading love and so on....
So I invite you to love what is today, even if that includes some technological snafus! (This also works well on other homo sapiens :)

[Thanks for this post goes to my sister, Jennifer Alhasa, who introduced me to the work of Byron Katie and who is always there for me with a reminder to Love what IS!]

A Course in Miracles on Love (Ways of Practicing)

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"What is not love is always fear and nothing else." --A Course in Miracles

I have been thinking a lot about fear as I explore the topic of love.

So much of what stands in the way of love is fear. Fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of intimacy, fear of joy.

We have been taught - in so many ways - to fear love that we can be paralyzed in the face of it. In the face of expressing it: telling someone how we feel, asking someone out, or even letting someone we are in relationship with know how important they are to us and in the face of receiving it: allowing someone to do something for us, graciously accepting a gift, or feeling worthy of the relationship that we really want.

If you believe, as I do, that all fear is at its core a fear of death, you can see why we are all so afraid of love. If we believe that the lack of love leads to death, that makes the stakes pretty high and many of us would rather circumnavigate this fear rather than face it, hoping to come up…

Thomas Merton on Love

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"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." --Thomas Merton

UPDATE TO THIS POST:

Sunday night my husband and I had a bit of a fight and Monday night we had a great talk about it.

What I realized during our talk was that our fight was exactly because I was not doing the above. I was asking him to be more like me. To think like me, to act like me, to have preferences about travel and family time that were just like me. I was trying to twist him to fit my own image and it was NOT working.

No matter how much I tried to argue him into being like me he just couldn't do it. Because he's not me.

I think we finally came to that realization by the end of our talk on Monday and it was both enlightening and a bit scary.

In order to truly love him, I have to let go of my delusions about who he is, some of which I really quite like. It feels b…

Father Jim Coyne on Love

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"Love is to will the good of the other FOR the other." --Father Jim Coyne 
I heard this quote at a wedding I went to last year, in the Priest's remarks to the couple, and I thought it was brilliant. I wonder how many married couples share this kind of love?

It is so easy when you get married to let the good of the whole over shadow the good of the individual and to lose yourselves in the relationship and in the family. I know this happened to me for far too many years, and I am only beginning to see how willing the good of my husband is good for me and how willing my own good is good for all of us.

I think we could all use a little more freedom in our love relationships - freedom to be who we are, freedom to be who we used to be, freedom to be who we want to be - and this seems like a good place to start.

Ted Mosby on Love

"...[T]here is a word for that, it's love. I'm in love with her. Okay? If you're looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, it's love. And when you love someone you just...you...you don't stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy. Even then. Especially then. You just... you don't give up. Because if I could give up, if I could just take the whole world's advice and, and, move on and find someone else, that wouldn't be love. That would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But that is not what this is." --Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother, Season 9 Episode 17

As you know, I am a big fan of How I Met Your Mother, not in the least because it acknowledges The Universe and its mysterious ways, but it also contains more than its fair share of quotable moments, usually thanks to the loveable -…

Krishnamurti on Love

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"Love implies generosity, care, not to hurt another, not to make them feel guilty, to be generous, courteous, and behave in such a manner that your words and thoughts are born of compassion." --Krishnamurti

What is love anyway?

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"Patience. Understanding. A hot cup of tea. A salt water bath. The wing (what we call it when I crawl in underneath my husband's arm and snuggle up next to him). Passionate kisses. An ache in my heart. Chocolate. Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate caramels from Trader Joe's. Kindness in the face of my anger. Receiving exactly what I need without having to ask. A heart-felt card. A good book. A sappy movie. Twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep. My son's smile. My son's hair. My son's energy. The way my son smells. The sun on my skin. Writing, when it's going well. Helping someone in need. Right now." --My answer to the question, "What is love?"

Love is squirrelly, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I am having a much harder time with love than I did with forgiveness. Forgiveness seemed pretty straight-forward to me. Feel wronged (or that you have wronged someone), write a Forgiveness Letter, Let It Go, Repeat. Love has been trickier fo…

Presence=Love

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"When we are present to our loved ones, LOVE shows up." --Karen Lindvig, Senior Minister at Seattle Unity Church

Yesterday was one of those days that I was fully aware of how very difficult it is to be fully present. All day, no matter what I was doing it seemed, I was thinking of something else.

While making breakfast, I was thinking about writing my blog post. While writing my blog post, I was thinking about watching a movie. While shopping, I was thinking about taking a bath before dinner. While meditating before bed, I was thinking about what I wanted to get done the next day. It was a seemingly never-ending cycle of not being present.

Except for after dinner; after dinner I got it right for a little while. 

The kids had been fighting since about five o'clock. Dinner is usually at six, but I could tell they were getting hungry so I tried to push things up a bit and after dinner things got better almost immediately, but there were still remnants of hard feelings betw…

Crazy for Love

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"The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love." --Donald Barthelme

[This photograph was taken at Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island.]

We are Citizens of the World!

"The truest religion is love." --Citizens of the World (With thanks to Jonathan Marshall)

Love Wisdom from Alexandra Jaye Johnson

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"Let love guide you." -Alexandra Jaye Johnson

May love be your guide today and every day. Namaste. 
[Photo of my son letting love guide him on the beach at Grayland, WA]

Love means letting those you love off the hook...

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“Tell everyone you know: 'My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook.' And then demonstrate it. Be happy no matter what they're doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel – and then, you'll love them all because the only reason you don't love them is because you're using them as your excuse not to feel good.” --Esther Hicks

For those of us prone to over-responsibility this can be a tricky one. Over-responsibility is how we have kept ourselves safe. If we take too much responsibility how can anyone be mad at us? Or disappointed in us? Or fail to love us?

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way because we can never fully anticipate the needs of another so over-responsibility does not work one hundred percent of the time. AND it keeps us from developing the true intimacy with another person that comes from giving and receiving. It can also lead to rese…

Open Your Eyes!

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"Love lives in everything. Little or big. Open your eyes." --Unknown

Someone wrote this in the guestbook in the ladies restroom at one of my favorite restaurants and it has become one of my favorite quotes, maybe ever.

Not only is it a beautiful sentiment, beautifully worded, but the thought that someone came up with it in between peeing and washing their hands delights and astounds me.

This person was not thinking about the food in her teeth or how she'd like to change her hair or what she was rushing off to do next, she was thinking about love and how to share it with the next person that walked in that door, sat down and picked up this book.

Want to see love in everything? Open your eyes!

[This little lady shared our table at an outdoor restaurant we ate at this summer. I took this picture to text to the kids who were back at home with the babysitter.]

Love Wisdom from Anodea Judith

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"Love is not a matter of getting connected. It is a matter of seeing that we already ARE connected within an intricate web of relationships that extends throughout all life. It is a realization of 'no boundary' -- that we are all made of the same stuff, riding through time on the same spaceship, faced with the same problems in the world, the same hopes and fears. It is a connection at the core, that makes irrelevant skin color, age, sex, looks or money." --Anodea Judith
Addendum to the Post:

I found this video on Facebook today that seems to illustrate the above quote as well as anything. Click here to be amazed. 

[This photograph was taken on the beach at Salt Creek Campground on the Olympic Peninsula. I loved the way this seaweed formed a circle on the beach. It felt like the Universe's way of reminding me that we are all one.]

Eyes of Love (Ways of Practicing)

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"L ☺ ☺ K with eyes of love." -- The Universe 
I have no idea where this quote came from - did I hear it somewhere and forget to write it down? - but it sprang to mind, fully formed, this morning as I was talking to a friend. 
She wasn't feeling so attractive and was lamenting how her body had changed over the years, how she was aging and feeling just plain ugly. 
I empathized and commiserated and finally advised her to look upon herself with "eyes of love." And then I made her say three things she liked about her body before we hung up.
Because that's the key isn't it? How we look. 
We can look with eyes of judgment. We can look with eyes of guilt. We can look with eyes of hatred or even with eyes of lust, but none of these give us the clearest picture of ourselves or others. It is only when we look with eyes of love that we see as God sees, as we truly are. 
So I challenge you today to look with eyes of love upon all that is around y…

Love Wisdom from Coleman Barks

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"Whatever you love is your path." --Coleman Barks, Rumi translator in The Sun magazine

Last week I wrote about feeling lost, not knowing what I want to do with my life or where I am headed right now. Over the weekend I got a little clarity when I sat down to write my final post for 30 Days of Forgiveness and I realized I didn't want it to end.

I really enjoyed sharing my favorite quotes and my experiences of forgiveness with you. I enjoyed finding just the right photograph to go with that day's post. And I enjoyed connecting with all of you on Facebook and Twitter around the topic of forgiveness. And that's when I knew I didn't have to search for what I wanted to do, I am already doing it.

I felt the same way when I sat down today to get started on 28 Days of Love.

Since I didn't know I was doing this until a couple of days ago, I am a bit behind in my preparation. I didn't have any quotes picked out, no themes identified, no plan in place, just a vag…

WWLD?

WWLD? "What would love do?" --The Universe

The exercise for this month is simple: every time you encounter a situation which is difficult, painful, or confusing, simply STOP. Breathe. And ask yourself, "What would love do?" Then wait for the answer.

If this feels too vague, here are some alternate questions to try:
• What is the highest good for all concerned in this situation? 
• How could this situation be win-win? 
• How can I show love to myself/this person right now?
You might also come up with a question that works for you. 
If the answer doesn't come right away, continue to breathe until you feel you have more clarity. Or, if you need to make a decision right away, make the best decision you can make in the moment, knowing you are doing your very best at this time. 
Later you can go back and reflect on your decision; was that what love would have done? If not, what do you think love would have done? Can you try that next time?
The idea here isn't to …

All You Need Is (28 Days of) LOVE!

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 "Love, Love, Love. Love, Love, Love. Love, Love, Love....All you need is love. All you need is love. Love is all you need." --The Beatles

Now that January is over and we have completed 30 Days of Forgiveness, I find myself asking, "What's next?"

And while a part of me wants to answer, "A big old rest," there is another part that wants to keep the momentum of this thirty day experiment going. And that voice is the loudest right now so I am going to listen to it.

The theme for February - LOVE - may seem obvious with Valentine's Day just around the corner, but it also seems to follow naturally from forgiveness. By opening our hearts to the possibility of forgiveness, we open to the possibility of love.

The format for this month will be a little bit different, and less comprehensive, but I hope you will stick with me. Come back tomorrow and I will talk about the exercise I am going to be practicing this month to try and find more love in every corner…