My daughter is getting married.
I didn’t think that marrying off a daughter would be such a big deal. But, in spite of my bravado, it seems to be sneaking up on me. I have visions of my daughter in white making a life-long commitment to my soon-to-be-son-in-law, and I find myself all choked up.
My daughter asked me to give the toast at the dinner after her wedding. I’ve been composing it in my head for a while and I thought I’d share parts of it with you. (I’ll spare you the blubbering and sniffing parts…)
I want to talk to my daughter about what it means to love.
As a mother, I feel like there are places in my life where I have become an expert. I’m an expert at cooking. I’m an expert at juggling all the crazy things in my life. I’m pretty good at mothering a small child…still learning how to parent teenagers. I’m an expert at working the internet.
In spite of my 47 years on the planet there remains a lot I have to learn about love.
I haven’t always gotten the love thing right. I’ve been divorced and had several relationships, and even friendships, that didn’t work out. I’ve wrestled with love for most of my life, even as a child.
I have come to, what I believe, are some important conclusions about love that I’d like to share.
I think that in our culture we are somewhat “love-challenged”. Just go to your local book store and check out the personal growth section. How many books about love are there?
Look at the magazines when you check out of the grocery store. How many stories are there about divorce, rejections, cheating, getting your man into bed, looking hot for your man or strange, unbalanced photo images of women leaning over their men as their men pump iron or stroke their motorcycles.
I’m not even going to talk about what we see on TV…
Somehow we are fed this idea that love is this zingy, hot, once-I-saw-Him/Her-I-just-knew, kind of emotional high that is supposed to sustain us for a lifetime.
We think love is a feeling.
But if you look up the word love in the dictionary, you’ll find that love is, in addition to being a profound feeling, also a verb.
When we love someone, we are usually in a relationship with them. Notice that the root of the word relationship doesn’t contain the word “love”. It contains the word “relate”.
Love is the foundation of relating. Love can be just a feeling or even an attraction, but it’s also the verb form of love that creates a relationship. I believe that you have to have three key elements to create a strong relationship; feeling, words and action.
Some of our confusion about love lies in our lack of awareness of some of the basic “mechanics” of what love truly is. I’m either a brave soul or a crazy woman for attempting to define this.
Of course, it all has to start with the feeling. Nature is pretty smart. Without that initial attraction that draws you to someone, we might not be so eager to leap into the mess that is love.
I find it pretty interesting that in Human Design, attraction is purely mechanical. That energy that creates in us the need to blend our aura with another is usually just the dynamics of complementary energies connecting. We often feel that people with whom we share these complementary energies “complete” us and, in a way, they do. The more you share electro-magnetic connections with someone, the more attracted you may feel.
If you want to make it a little more interesting, attraction is also your aura recognizing energy that you are familiar with, like the energies of your father and mother, and that familiarity draws you from across the room. If you run the charts of all of your previous loves, you’ll probably find that you’ve been dating the energies of your parents for a good bit of your life. (Yikes, right?!!)
Electromagnetic attraction is the first place where we get bungled up in love. Truth is, you can be wildly and electrically attracted to someone and they can be completely “wrong” for you. They can be your electro-magnetic soulmate but married or dysfunctional or gay or…you get the idea…
While that “zing, zip, zap” of attraction is nice and it DOES pull people together from across the room, it’s not the only thing that makes a relationship. It’s just the initiating spark and, good or bad, it’s not even personal. It’s just mechanics. You can have that same attraction with anyone who shares that same energy.
(Now before I get all kinds of people who talk about souls recognizing each other and just “knowing” he/she is The One, etc., please note that I’m talking purely about the mundane aspects of attraction. Of course, I do believe in soul mates, destiny, twin flames and all those things, too.
I’m not so jaded as to think that there isn’t a bit of magic associated with love.)
But, usually I find that what people define as “soul mate” partnerships are often bound by strong electro-magnetics. These are the energies that keep us engaged and circling in each other’s orbits until with time we get to go deeper…)
The second key element of love is what I will call the Language of Love. The words we speak create the template for our intention in the material world.
In Hebrew the word dvar is the word for “word” and it is also the word for “thing”. In many ancient stories of origin, the world begins when G-d makes sounds which eventually give rise to the words which differentiate and define The Creation. The words we use set the stage for the things and the experiences we intend to have.
One of the reasons why I believe that marriage is such a sacred covenant is because the words we speak during a wedding ceremony set the stage for what we intend to bring into form in our relationship.
Of course you don’t have to be married to create the intention for love in your life. The simple words, “I love you”, sets a relationship up for loving action. “I love you” says that you intend to act lovingly in your relationship. It opens up the heart and raises a level of expectation that creates safety and acceptance.
A relationship rooted in the words, “I love you”, is deeper, stronger and creates a foundation for growth.
Many years ago I worked as a psychic medium. It was a deeply humbling experience and taught me more about love than I’ll ever be able to put into words. When I connected with crossed-over loved ones, they always had a very simple message for their grieving loved one:
- I’m sorry for anything I ever did to hurt you. Please forgive me.
- Don’t be sad. Enjoy life.
- I’m okay. Don’t worry about me.
- I love you.
It was always the words, “I love you”, that brought healing to my grieving clients. Those words were the final reassurance that what they had shared was deep, real and rooted in the heart. That final “I love you” often gave my clients the will to continue their lives with the knowingness that they are loved eternally.
It’s not only the words, “I love you”, that carry that incredible power…ALL of the words we choose with our loved ones sets the tone for our experience of love. True love calls for words that empowering, loving, uplifting, nurturing, inspiring, accepting, consoling, honest and deliberate.
I doubt anyone ever gets it “perfect”. That’s why we also have the words, “I’m sorry”, and, “Please forgive me”.
I wonder how many souls on the Other Side wish they had had the courage to give words to the love they feel?
The third key element is, of course, taking loving action.
Now, let me again remind you that I am not an expert on love. I have made a lot of mistakes with love in my life and I am certainly not going to tell you how love should act.
Personally, I don’t think this can be an absolute thing. There are seven billion plus expressions of love on this planet and I think the big Adventure of Life is learning how to love all of them and, more personally, discovering how you can act lovingly with the people in your life.
And, as you know, life and love get messy sometimes. People change, grow apart, grow closer together, walk around sleep-deprived with babies at their breast, worry about money, health, career, struggle with independent teenagers, struggle with aging parents and so, so many unscripted Life Adventures.
Staying rooted in love during challenges is hard. No matter how much love you feel. You will make mistakes. (See above for the “magic” words.)
I have raised five children full-time on my own for the last 12 years. I have also run my own business out of my house for the last 12 years so that I could be home for my kids. I figured out very quickly that stress, fear and exhaustion combined with too much caffeine made for some very un-loving mothering.
For me to show up in my children’s lives, I had to have a map to show me, in the midst of chaos, how I wanted to express love in their lives. It was too easy for me to parent in the moment and then be riddled with guilt later…which, by the way, didn’t make my parenting get any better.
I figured out that if I had a written long-term parenting plan, I would have a reference point for my parenting actions in those moments when I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. I sat down and wrote out all the qualities that I wanted my children to express and experience in life and posted it on my fridge so that I could check in with my goals daily and make sure that my mother-love-in-action was in alignment with the love in my heart.
If I ever get married again, I plan on writing a long-term plan for my marriage, too.
I’m kind of chuckling at my hubris here…I have distilled love down into a few little steps…feel love, speak love, express love. I’m pretty sure a lightning bolt is going to hit me any minute now…
So, just in case I can’t scramble under my desk fast enough to avoid being hit, I have to add one more very important key to good lovin’. I mention this one last, but, it truly is an element that has to come first and has a category all on it’s own.
In order to live love and give love, you have to love yourself first.
In Human Design, the seat of the soul is located in the G-Center. The G-Center is also the center for love and direction. We are hard-wired to be taken by life in the direction of Love.
What we see in the G-Center is that when we love ourselves, our soul guides us into a life direction that is rooted in leadership, allowing us to make a unique contribution to the world and empowering us to take the lessons from the past and turn them into blessings. When we love ourselves, by design, we can act only with love for others, a love that is rooted in the Love of Spirit. When we love ourselves, we are designed to be healthy and to be able to fully express Spirit in form, to have all the resources we need to fulfill our life direction and, ultimately, to be driven by a love for humanity.
When we don’t love ourselves, our life takes us in a direction that helps us master self-love. (And sometimes we learn best when we’re face down on the concrete contemplating how to get up again…)
Sometimes acting in a loving way, means taking action that demonstrates your love for yourself. Love yourself as you do others. You can’t give to others what you aren’t giving to yourself. If you try to, all kinds of messy things will happen.
So, just to review, here are the simple steps to living Love:
Feel love. Speak love. Live love.
And finally, since the G-Center is the center for identity…Be love.
May you always remember that you came from Love and that you are infinitely and deeply loved. May you feel, speak and act with love and may the love you are and the love you give return to you tenfold.