What is love?

Is it just romance or a feeling of endearment?

Perhaps it is a cute word we put at the end of emails to family and friends.

Maybe it’s that stepping stone declaration we make when we cross over from just dating into a real relationship.

Love is not just a word.

Love is a way. Love is a state. Love is an expression of who we all are as human beings.

Too often we only refer to being in love or out of love when in relationships with others.  The word is a no go territory for anything else.

There are exceptions. These include late night alcohol infused expressions of endearment to mates. Also in this category are our effusive expressions of love for favourite foods, movies etc.  But is this love?  

I recall a good friend of mine’s dad joking with me about love.  I remarked how much I loved the dinner he cooked. In his quirky sense of humour he said back to me ‘so are you going to marry it?’.  I reflect back on this statement as the essence of what we have done with the word love. We have isolated it and categorised it, almost made love light of meaning.

I also remember the eternally mortifying embarrassment of being a seven year old discovering the word love. Yes 7! I had a crush on a boy in my class. It was Valentine’s Day. So in the spirit of all good commercially evolved holidays in America I had my pack of Valentine’s Day cards to sign seal and deliver to my friends at school. Only for this one boy I wanted his to be special. Of course cards from kids don’t say love even if covered in hearts. So I carefully and painstakingly took to the card with pen and pencil to artfully inscribe the word love as if in the original.  Well you know what happened right?  Everyone, yes everyone in the class could tell I hand wrote the word love. This was the beginning and end of my dance with love until much later.  I was slammed for my genuine sincere expression.

How many other times in life have we all taken the risk to express love and been slammed? I imagine many. In our world today it is easier to say we hate or don’t like someone or something than it is to love. As a culture we are critics, deniers, barrier creators. Love is too scary. Love is too risky. So we play it safe. We play it cool.

The effect these love boundaries have on each one of us is we close down to a feeling that could carry us through crisis and calamity. We miss out on what could lift us into joy and happiness on a daily basis.  We are conditional with ourselves on when we let love into our life and even more conditional with how we let it out.

Love is a gift we are all given. We have it within us at a deep level. We encounter experiences, people and yes things that help us unlock this feeling.  We are born with love. We have it and then somewhere along the way we let it shut down.  It is up to each one of us INDIVIDUALLY to create the opportunity to open up.

So I would like to bring love into the fore. I would like to suggest you invite love into your life on every level in every place, NOT JUST ROMANCE. Yes. Love at work. Love at the shopping centre. Love in the cafe. Love out walking your dog. Love in a meeting. Love on the train. Love anywhere and everywhere. I would like to see us sharing love not fear, sharing love, not criticism, sharing love not cynicism, sharing love.

When we love we leave fear behind. When we love we lift ourselves and others up.

The potential for us as both individuals and groups to positively shift the world we live in is infinitely unending. For you see love expands. Love is contagious. Love is a feeling and state that expands us. We are more when we are love. Not in love but BEING love.

Imagine a world where each of us individually shifts from fear to love. Then imagine us collectively shifting from fear to love. Then imagine if you were to step away and look down on Earth you would see love beaming from us all like a light to the universe. This is our potential. But it takes each and every one of us to start with ourselves. To start small. To start now.

So here’s the challenge I put to you. How can you at least once at day connect to a place in you that IS love?  Even more so how can you do this in the most unlikely of places and contexts?  How can you carry this with you throughout your day?  This is where love is needed most, where we least expect it.

So the next time you are on the bus, in a meeting, doing your errands pause. Pause and remember what it feels like to BE LOVE. Then smile and go about your task with this feeling charging your energy. Watch what happens!

(PS...This message is sent with love ♥ )


Jenn Shallvey