Friday, December 18, 2009


"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." ~ H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Today I've been thinking about love. It's become somewhat banal and even corny to say we all seek love, or that love makes the world a better place... more inhabitable and more meaningful. But this morning I was struck by how integral our sense of love, our capacity to love, and the meaning we make of love is to the way we experience our lives, others, and our selves.

The holidays can be a time of great stress and worry. I feel like I see more sadness around the holidays: head-down, inner-thinking turmoil; fretful and angry interactions. Certainly there is kindness too, but the holidays and our inherent attachments, expectations, and fantasies surrounding them become a time of heightened emotions - some good... some not so good.

This morning I realized many of the sadnesses I have witnessed in the last few weeks seem to stem from an issue surrounding love. And not necessarily romantic love - that's a whole other system of desires, fears, and truths. I mean instead, love that translates to acceptance, kinship, connection, belonging.

Those things, I believe, are some of what we yearn for most strongly - desire most deeply. I think this connects to Adler's emphasis of inferiority and superiority, which is ultimately an experience of "out" versus "in" - "belonging" versus "not belonging." We seek an identity straddling independent strength and interdependent interconnection. And our experience of them shapes our perception of everything around us. It impacts the narrative we weave and our concept of ourselves and our place within our multiple contexts (check out Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory).

In a moment of clarity this morning, I realized I struggle with accepting and truly reveling in the love others show me. I struggle to consistently and freely show my love to others. And I really struggle to love myself.

This colors my perception of life. It impacts the narrative I write, the memories I collect, the thoughts I think, the actions I take, and the meaning I make of myself, my purpose, and my relationships.

Today I feel deeply loved. And I am immensely grateful. I am determined to open myself up to it, smile and glow in it, and then pass it on as best I can to everyone else.

May you feel a deep sense of love today - for yourself and others. May you remember how incredibly special and valuable you are.

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