No doubt, there are different kinds of love (storge(family); phileo (brotherly/friend); eros (sexual attraction); agape(unconditional/”divine”) that we all can experience. And, while many of us recognize that love is a verb, enacted with demonstrations that go beyond our feelings, I love the quote by Clarke because it invites us to experience the less sexy part of love, which includes looking and seeing things as they are, sometimes the less beautiful parts of ourselves or another.
This way of seeing stretches the heart muscle to love more fully. It expands our capacity to take in breath (life force) with the more it sees, acknowledges, soothes, and the more it learns to release/forgive, and integrate the full spectrum of our experiences in this life we’re living.
In mindfulness practices, we open a space to see more broadly what might be more challenging in ourselves, in others, and our world. When we are able to see what’s inside ourselves (perhaps the sadness, the wounds, individual and/or ancestral traumas, doubts) and be with what is (perhaps listen, receive her message, acknowledge her attempts to protect and find her way), we begin to see self/others/society with greater nuance, greater wholeness to the totality of being. We see that loving means loving all parts, understanding that these other parts can dissolve, be transformed and become a spark within us that brings forth our greatest character traits, sees it and magnifies it in others and recognizes that moments of discord are just that-we have the next moment to see, listen to the discord and the message it’s trying to give us, for ourselves, our relationships and our society.
Once we see-and listen- as much as possible, we may understand and uncover the needs…We may find that things may go away on their own, and/or insights on what might be needed will emerge naturally.
As we approach Valentine’s Day, what might the beloved within self, in your relationship, or in society desire to be seen…to be held with dignity, curiosity and care? Will you give this Valentine’s gift to yourself and get curious about what might happen?