Ok, it had to be the cover picture that drew you in. It worked! Yes!
Flowers. Chocolates. Cheesy greeting cards. Everything filled with red, pink, or purple. February 14th. Love.
Yep, that’s Valentine’s Day. It was the day that became associated with romantic love in the 14th century and evolved a few centuries later to a day where that love came in the form of exchanging flowers and greeting cards known as valentines. Valentine’s Day has become the day that symbolizes love. “Nothing says love like a box of chocolates.” Love is written everywhere. The day is love.
Well, isn’t that a load of crap…
About four years ago I was offered some last minute tickets to go see a soccer game in Denver, Colorado featuring the United States versus Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier. The game happened during a blizzard and I was truly not equipped to handle the weather. Or course I proceeded on because the opportunity seemed so rare and my pride for my country was at an all-time high at the time. The U.S. would go onto win that game as a critical part of their qualification and I had a great time with a bunch of friends amongst the thick spectacle of snow. However, the thing that sticks with me most about that experience was not all that. It was an act of love, but not in the primary way we look at love, the romantic love. It was being love.
The snow is blowing and coming down thick. It’s wet so if it hits your skin it’s going to be cold. My hands were freezing! The group was mingling before the event and having a good time. I’m trying not to think of how cold my hands were. I’m meeting some new people. I meet this young woman who is visiting a friend of mine. She is vibrant and enjoying herself amongst the group of strangers she had just met. She is very pretty. I’m a bit attracted to her. We proceed to head into the game and she notices me uncomfortable without gloves. She didn’t know me. Our encounter was very brief. She then offered me her extra pair of gloves. It was candid and it was who she was. I accepted and couldn’t have been more thankful because those gloves changed the experience completely around for me.
That exchange enlightened me. It made me conscious about love in a whole new way. My relationship with her would change and turn into a friendship over time but that moment paved a way for my personal development for the years to come. We all have those encounters, moments, or exchanges in our lives that shake us. They make us think. They make us dive deeper into things. They may be completely out of the ordinary or against the norm. That’s how I viewed this. In its purest form, it was simply being love.
What I’m getting at here is that to say love is a day or a type is an injustice to what love is. If you were to look up love in the dictionary the first thing it would describe love as being would be about affection for another or attachment or something held dear. It describes love as something between two beings or being connected to something. Love is so so so much more than that. It truly can’t be summed up in a simple definition. Love is infinite.
The ancient Greeks tried to break love down into seven different forms; love of the body, love of the soul, playful love, love of the mind, longstanding love, love of the self, and love of the child. It was an effort that gives something understand and focus on. Each of those types of love can be studied and conscientiously incorporated into our lives. However, they still sell love short because they focus around another.
Love comprises all the virtues that the religions of the world teach those who follow those faiths. Hinduism speaks of Dharma which is right conduct, righteousness, and morality, to do the right thing. Christianity speaks of loving thy neighbor, forgiveness, and not committing sins like theft, murder, or adultery. Islam speaks of learning and seeking knowledge and also encourages qualities like honesty, tolerance and generosity. Buddhism speaks of the “eightfold path” of what is right. All of these faiths bring light to all that love is. It is peace. It is what is good.
Once again it doesn’t stop there. Spirituality does not simply come in the form of religion as a context to study from but through other avenues and alleyways as well. Some study astrology, numerology, cosmology and learn about the connectedness of the universe. That universe is filled with energy. How that energy flows amongst all beings and the world is another love. It’s one that harmonizes and binds all. It is vast. Love is part of everything.
Love can be divided and multiplied and added and subtracted to the smallest or biggest degree. Love is so complex yet so simple but the point being is that it does not stop at one kind. Think of a time when you were asked to describe the taste of something in words. No matter how hard you try you can never give another person that taste through words. Love is the same way. It can’t be described through words. It must be tasted. It must be lived.
Through this enlightenment or understanding of all that love is a better grip on the concept of love in an effort to be love. It could be simply sitting on a grassy hill tuning into everything around you. It could be making your voice heard for a righteous cause. It could be seeking knowledge to better understand something about the world. It could be playing that sweet melody on your favorite instrument. It could be feeding a llama and apple with your mouth. It could be giving your pair of gloves to a stranger because they seemed to need them more. Being love is immeasurable and unlimited.
The act of giving those delicious chocolates on Valentine’s Day is being love. So is the creation of those chocolates by someone in a shop as well as the nurturing of the soil where the cocoa beans were planted to yield chocolate. Appreciating that moment when that chocolate hits the lips is also being love.
So “what isn’t love” may be the better question. Love can’t be boxed into something. Love cannot be pursued, manipulated, or commanded. Love is a force but it can’t be forced. Just like the sun can’t be directed to shine brighter, love cannot and must be continuously understood. That is why to be love is the only way. For each one of us that can be in so many different ways and it is each of our own responsibility to find that way.
Being love is something that is within all of us and around all of us. It’s ever changing and it’s ever connecting. While love can be so overwhelming in all of this insight, it can also be easily brought forth in many other ways than the “Hallmark” way that has become the standard we come to know love as.
Gaining an understanding of what love is as whole and finding the ways to grasp it is hard in and of itself. I know being love and figuring out how is even harder. That seems to be the true and purest beauty of it. I’m writing this trying to share what I have gathered on love in enough but not too many words so others can read and hopefully look at love differently. It’s an example of me being love in a way I know how. I’m thinking of the day where I’ll hopefully have a genuine offering of my gloves to someone. Everything and everyone around me will develop my being love. It will do the same for many others in many different ways.
As the day of romantic love comes and goes perhaps we will look at love in a much larger sense, one not limited to a dozen or a color or another sole person. May it carry past the day of February 14th. Imagine if we begin to recognize the power of love. As the late and great Jimi Hendrix once said, “When the power of love overcomes love of power the world will know peace.” Being love and finding its possibilities aside from a specific kind of love is exponential. Being love fits all. Just as my still-developing comprehension of what that means started as simply putting a glove on, others too can maybe find their way to being love the best they can. For the sake of the cheesy and catchy day that inspired this, it will be them “putting a glove on love.”
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