Love: More than a feeling

As much as I love being in love, I don’t want to speak of love exclusively as a feeling.

I want to keep reminding myself that love is an action.

And it is easy to take the love action when the love feeling is abundant and circumstances are ideal.

It’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish when they’re not. And this is where love, as an action, is so important.

Because love, as a feeling, is very hard to come by at those times.

Here are some things I have done, or wished I had done, or still hope to do, in order to love:

  • put aside my pre-judgments about who I think someone is so that I can experience who they really are
  • not respond in anger when I feel attacked
  • believe that we are all doing the best we can, especially on the Monday morning subway ride downtown
  • allow myself to believe that people change, even when my experience with them has been less that salutatory
  • allow myself to believe that I change
  • make room to hear that the other person has been hurt by me, as much, or more, than I have been hurt by them
  • take a deep breath and move away from the email
  • believe that the other person may want the same things that I do: respect, tenderness, someone to listen
  • act as if we are all imperfect, including (and, here’s the shocker) me.
  • modify my expectations (see the point, above)
  • not believe that I am right and they are wrong (again, see above)
  • not believe that I am in control; that there is “space for grace”

Touchy-feely this ain’t.

It means putting the ego in it’s proper place.

It means surrender. And not the kind of “I am your doormat” surrender. I have had my share of loving, but difficult, conversations in which I have spoken my truth, but in a way that could, I think, be heard. In a way that invited more conversation.

And sometimes, as a result, it’s gotten me to a new level of understanding, or relationship. Even more, to a new level of love, the feeling. Sometimes where it hardly existed before.

That, I think, is a miracle.

About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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1 Response to Love: More than a feeling

  1. Paul, I really like what you’re doing with this blog. Please check out my chosen last blog. It is another attempt to get the conversation going about healing from childhood rejection. Feel free to comment anytime, and even join me as a host if you want to post there.

    Judy K

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