This year I decided it would be cathartic if I wrote my blog on my birthday – I’m not sure why that felt important… but I knew that writing for me is empowering and, as we head into Love Month, February, the month that holds Valentine’s Day, this would be profound for me. This would be profound for anyone who does their own empowering reflection of Love. This past year has been one that we will all remember. Between the virus that took over the world, people’s reactions towards it and the confinements that we all had to endure; to the ridiculousness (and drama-laden) Presidential election; we will remember the year 2020. What about 2021? Here in Toronto we are in yet another high level lockdown that lightly began, again, November 23rd and then even more seriously, more heavily, on Dec 26th and then another more serious revision starting up on Jan 14th. It has become the most challenging issue in most of our lives due to the length we have had to tolerate this and the untold damage to our society, especially with small businesses taking the brunt of the government-forced economic downturn. But if we come from a place of Acceptance and Love – we can find a Peace during this time. And THIS is essential to all of us. ALL of us!
I wonder each year what the outcome will be for the next 365 or so days; I certainly didn’t expect what happened last year when I was pondering 2020 at the same time a year ago. Last year I wrote about Love 2.0: about being open to unconditional Love in all aspects of our lives. This is still true today as it was when I wrote about it but with the challenges of this year I want to ‘up the ante’ a little and write about “faith” – and I expect some of us will require more faith than others in facing the world of 2021. Great opportunity to practice!
What does faith have to do with our upcoming Love Month? No matter who you are or whether you are in a relationship or not – Love Matters. And since 2020 we have all had to make compromises with some of us making more compromises than others. Staying at home meant, for single people, a lonely existence. Although for married couples there were other challenges and I seem to have read somewhere that 2020 was the year of the most divorces ever. Yet no one could say that Love doesn’t matter!
We all need to be Loved and to Love. For many people a smile and a hug would change their day. With the New Normal – a smile is all we can give and under a mask? It just isn’t the same. And in most cases, unless the eyes twinkle, there is no awareness that a smile has even been given. Social distancing and social isolation has been incredibly difficult; especially with all the fear and conspiracy theories that have been popping up on a daily basis. So how do we Give Love? How do we experience Love in our lives with the limitations and conditions that have been placed on us?
People have a variety of different ways that they give Love. Oh sure, yes, most of it is conditional yet we still give with our hearts and whole-heartedly believe this is Love. The problem arises when our typical way of showing and giving Love has been restricted. Men often show their Love through providing for their family. Most men never had to spend so much time at home as they have during this pandemic. They probably have a better understanding of what it takes to be a mom now that most men are locked away at home due to the nature of society.
However we all have different ways to give and receive Love – through our own Love Language. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are the four main categories through which people experience Love. Within each category there are numerous ways through which we show our Love. We need to uncover and appreciate everyone’s Love Language. We are not all the same when it comes to Love. I believe “Love is a Many-layered Thing” (as apposed to ‘splendored’). No Love is the same; therefore, no one Love can be expressed the same. As with our learning, intuition and Love – we experience life through these four different categories and usually we have a primary and a secondary category that is preferred or more natural for us to experience. For me I am a mental experiencer primarily and spiritual experiencer secondarily. And for me that means I ponder, imagine and review everything first; while I open up to the spiritual way everything impacts my life. Yet when it comes to Love – ultimately I believe that we all would want a balance between all four areas. That may require balancing the different areas in our lives or finding a partner who complements the areas we are missing. Therefore it would be me looking for someone who is primarily physical and emotional.
Physical: This type of expression of Love is different for everyone. We may like physical shows of Love like romantic gestures, flowers, chocolate and of course there is also the need for physical touch like going dancing and walking hand in hand that many people enjoy on the physical side. Some people “do” practical things (acts of kindness) to show Love: like mowing the lawn, making dinner, and doing the laundry etc. When you are physically motivated you expect others to show Love the same way. But interestingly it is our differences that make our lives more full so if we are looking for a balance in a relationship and we are physically oriented then our being motivated by someone who shows Love the same way instead maybe we should consider balancing things a bit better by finding and accepting a partner who is more emotional. The physical ways we express Love will vary from our upbringing and our learning. What we can all find, in Loving, is through Accepting that everyone and every expression of Love is exactly that – a unique expression of Love. Those who express Love physically – no matter what it looks like – are still expressing Love. And we should recognize it for what it is. Love! Sure, a physical expression of Love … but it is still Love!
Mental: This category of Love is often done through expressing our Love in words but can also be expressed through playing games together or reading and writing together. Some people will satisfy this category of expressing Love by even reading how to be Better for their partners, the person toward whom they address their Love. Planning activities together can be how mental Love can be shown. Finding ways to talk about individual and partner problems and imagining the future together are other ways of showing Love if we are primarily a mental person. For me: I contemplate, ponder and find acceptance in my thoughts about Love and those I Love. I tend to be more of an observer when it comes to Love. I take responsibility for my own triggers that contribute to how I see Love. I meditate and write to allow me to mentally understand my world and my relationship to Love. I express it similarly – through my own reflections. To me meditating together is a Blissful way to connect. And even the more physical seeming act of sex can become a mental activity if I can connect through my senses – especially through visualization and imagination.
Emotional: This expression of Love, for some, is very difficult. Emotions require for one to be in touch with one’s emotions and many people just aren’t so inclined. Plus not everyone expresses themselves emotionally. How one ‘feels’ isn’t in everyone’s safe or comfort zone. Spending quality time together may require opening up emotionally and becoming vulnerable or even just holding space for the other person while they are emotional. How Love feels is how we express Love around us. We want others to express their emotions when expression is important to us. Especially when there is so much to ‘feel’ and at different levels … we want others to share this kind of Love, this kind of feeling with us. This isn’t always effective however as everyone expresses Love their own way. Connecting emotionally is a powerful way to express Love; feeling Love and staying Open is the challenge – especially if we are not feeling safe and comfortable in such a situation. Is that because we may have been hurt before and are not looking forward to the possibility of being hurt again? To BE open with Love means we must understand our own emotional garden and find ways to explore the ‘garden of Love’ without trampling down anyone else’s garden – a.k.a. loving emotional experiences. Staying Open, Opening our Heart and BEing there for another’s Heart is one of lives most precious gifts.
Spiritual: This is often an individual experience where we become conscious of Love. Unfortunately it is often thrown back at us and becomes an exercise in how the ‘other’ should be more conscious (this is our ego talking) of how to express Love. Having awareness of self and one’s partner can be empowering and this leads to us being authentic and celebrating our differences and being aware of how we communicate to our partner – as well as understanding each other’s Love Language (the differences mentioned above). And this also entails accepting responsibility for how we express Love Spiritually. BEing authentic is difficult – like understanding our emotions. So how do we know when we are ‘there’? Some signs might be: When we are Spiritually expressing Love we are Present and Open. When we see things from a Higher Perspective and tackle our differences from a Place of Acceptance we are close and we know that Spiritual Love just IS. And we find a way to incorporate Love within everything. True Spiritual Love is Unconditional – in fact Love, really, is always Unconditional and we know that from a deeper place. It isn’t always easy – and often it can be very challenging – but as long as we come from a place of consciousness we can be aware of how Love is expressed and shared. And we do not need to put conditions on it. And THAT is a great Love to experience and well worth striving for! So at this time we should all ponder how Love Matters to us and find ways to express this Love to others – in a way that is authentic to us. It would be wise to contemplate what our Love Language is and how we can take steps to Share Love. And let’s examine how Love has been showing up for us and what tweaks we can make so that we can show others how Love Matters to us and to those we express our Love to. Let’s learn to Accept everyone for who they are – not who we want them to BE, no, for who they are. And during these times of change and isolation – let’s find ways to show that Love Matters by acknowledging other’s needs to express Love in their own unique and special ways. Let’s compromise to this New Normal and express Love by BEing who we ARE. This is a momentous time to observe ourselves and uncover our Love Language Expression and Accept the Love Language of others. Join me in this journey of discovery in how Love Matters. Happy Love Month!