This column was written quite a few weeks ago as the Freedom Convoy crossed Canada. It was truly written from my heart, as I considered my own efforts and those of my friends to keep our heads above water.
A friend and I were sitting in my car yesterday with the winter sun streaming in, enjoying a Starbuck’s Latte, warming up from our walk on a -32C winter morning and discussing the state of the world. In fact, we were bemoaning the growing animosity among family members and colleagues, the result of a too long pandemic, political upheaval and individual decision-making regarding vaccination. We have evolved into a world of opinion holders and intolerance, a world where hatred and fear are propagated by a manipulative few with very loud voices and growing audiences.
As we discussed our concerns regarding where all of this will lead, I remembered something that Marianne Williamson said in a talk we attended many years ago. Simply said, she stated that ‘love talk is not loud enough, that is why hate speech takes over’. Isn’t this truer than ever?
I do not believe for a moment that the haters and the fear mongers outnumber the lovers and the peace makers. I think they just have louder voices. Their voices in fact have become so loud that sometimes it is hard to think for oneself.
As I pondered this today in my morning meditation, I began to wonder if there is something each of us can do and be differently. How can we elevate the loving and kind actions occurring around us daily? How can we build a stronger platform for peace? How can we grow compassion and kindness? And most importantly, how do we raise our voices so that we become LOUD?
We need more real love. Gritty, , dangerous, wild-eyed, justice seeking love.
Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart
Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson describes love as “the preoccupying and strong desire for further connection, the powerful bonds people hold with a select few, and the intimacy that grows between them, the commitments of loyalty and faithfulness”.
While this adequately describes love in the context of relationships, we are truly missing the boat if we believe that this is the limitation of love. It is only, in my view, a partial definition of what love is.
When I wrote the words, ‘A Quiver Full Of Love”, I was imagining a quiver full of arrows, each arrow representing one of the many forms that love embodies. Love is no small thing; it is a universal energy that binds us together, that is divinely guided, that represents God, the Universe, Mother Earth.
Love is communion in the truest sense, a place where all beings can meet free of any fear. It is peace, compassion, kindness, understanding, community, reverence, authenticity and more. It is sanctuary, a safe place to land and be embraced. It is, I believe, something we all crave.
Love conquers all; love trumps hate, God is love. This is what we are taught and, in my case, what I want to believe. And yet I am left with the question, if these quotes are true, where is love these days?
Cultivating a Culture of Love
Where to begin? I have learned that when a problem seems too big to solve because I am only one person, a person who feels very small, that the answer is to go within.
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect kindness and affection. Brene Brown
So, what does that mean? Essentially to cultivate a culture of love within myself. You cannot give to others or radiate love without loving yourself.
Damn, I know, we land here once again.
And by love, I mean the unconditional variety, not the type that is predicated upon you learning or achieving certain things. This is the love that accepts you as you are, with your imperfections and flaws, and which exercises self-compassion when you fall, screw-up or do something you do not approve of. That kind of love is rare and if you are honest with yourself, takes a lifetime to develop. I know, I embarked on this journey at least 40 years ago and I continue to work on unconditional self-love everyday.
I have often said that this work, which I call ME FIRST, is the only true work of this lifetime. It is the WORK that gives you power, an authentic and bold voice, that allows you to be seen by others, and which radiates an energy field that can influence your world. And it is the work that then allows us to cultivate a culture of love.
Making love LOUD: Lively, Open, Undisputed, Determined
Back to LOUD Love. As I write this, I am wondering what it would take for a group of truckers, and other protesters, to have a LOVE Convoy, a ride that celebrates the freedoms that already exist, that crosses the country performing random acts of kindness for health care workers or the homeless. Can you imagine how much more meaningful and uplifting that might be compared to what has evolved in Ottawa.
So how do we become LOUD with our love, to amplify love to the same volume as all the hate and fear speak. Perhaps we need to be LOUD:
Lively– Jazz LOVE up, make it compelling and desirable, start a movement
Open, Outspoken even Outrageous in our expression of LOVE
Undisputed and Understood– that LOVE is the answer to healing, community building, moving forward
Determined– that LOVE does trump fear and hate, conquers all!
Where to begin? Today, in this moment by
1. Doing your own work daily and speaking from a platform of love.
2. Be mindful of your communication with others and what you post on social media.
3. Do not engage in disputes over COVID, vaccinations and other such dilemmas; simply bless people who see things differently than you.
4. Envision love expanding in the world and bringing us to healing and moving forward together as one
Speak of love (compassion, kindness, or whatever word you prefer) openly and often.
6. Be LOUD
I really am talking out LOUD here with my readers and endeavoring to understand how to shift my own feelings to a more positive thought field and outcome. Please join in, suggestions and action ideas are most appreciated!
Until Next Time,
Betty Healey, MEd. CAPP
Your thoughts and strategies are always welcome and if you care to share you can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org