Love is something I strive to cultivate in myself and the world around me. It means being grateful for each day without expectations or demands, never losing sight of the magic and beauty in the world. It’s acknowledging my good fortune in the face of physical and emotional discomfort. It’s trusting in the big picture, knowing it’s a part of my journey.
Love is accepting everything about myself that I wish I could change – every thought and feeling I wish I could erase. It’s sitting with negative voices that take hold when I’m navigating the world; the envy that stirs when I see others who are more creative, charismatic, more confident than I’ll ever be.
It’s letting go of the past and forgiving those who I think have done me wrong – so we can heal and live life more fully. It’s being aware of why I attract these people into my life. It’s taking responsibility. It’s understanding that everyone’s doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. Love is letting go of my judgments of another because I’ve never walked in their shoes.
Love is never kicking anyone when they’re down. It’s encouraging them to grow and seize their potential. It’s wanting the best for everyone. It’s seeing where people are coming from and meeting them halfway. It’s bringing harmony to my interactions without compromising my integrity. It’s showing people respect no matter who they are.
Love is also about being gentle with myself when I fall short of this. It’s accepting that I can’t always think and feel and be the ideal person. Love is giving myself time and space to live and learn. It’s taking it easy on myself when I screw up and giving myself another chance. It’s loving what I am here and now. Love is compassion. Love is the only way forward.
I sense this more than ever in recent times. Whenever my thoughts and feelings stray from love, I see signs of it to steer me back on track. I see its presence in the smile of a child, a kind gesture of a stranger, a beautiful bird soaring through the sky. I think of it when I smell the sweet fragrance of a garden. I see it in advertising, hear it in music as I step into shops. I read it in graffiti scribbled on walls in the city. Love is living in the moment. Love is everywhere.
Its message has become all-pervasive in my reality, ever since a brush with death a few years back. It was a confronting experience but I learned the most valuable lesson – that one cannot exist without love. It’s the foundation of physical and emotional well-being. In these uncertain times, it’s not possible to thrive without it. It’s not possible to rise above the fears and doubts. Love is the only way to create a better world. It’s the only way to turn things around.
James May is a freelance and creative writer from Melbourne. He is widely published in the areas of health and personal development including mental health, drugs and alcohol and HIV/AIDS.
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