Can We Talk About Love for a Minute?

by Belinda Munoz on March 1, 2010

heart

It’s another gorgeous evening in San Francisco.  The sky is clear.  The moon is full.  It’s the perfect time to talk about love.  So, let’s do it, shall we?

Love is the topic.  What say you?

GOOGLE LOVE

If you were to Google (or Bing or Cuil, etc.) love, it would pull up pages and pages about romantic love.  That’s right, romantic as in between two people.  Links upon links of love songs, dating strategies and romance advice overflow from these search engines, ensuring those suffering from OCD many hours of repetitive clicking.

This suggests three things:

  1. It appears that romantic love is in demand.
  2. A lot of people seek romantic love more than any other kind.
  3. Love is a big topic.

Here’s my take on these three suggestions:

  1. Romantic love is but one facet of this wondrous gift.  We are capable of many other kinds.  Other love territories where we boldly venture are: love of self, parental love, friendships, love of animals and nature, love of other human beings not in our circle of family and friends, etc.
  2. This is interesting to me because romantic love is a multi-billion dollar industry and it makes me wonder how much of that money is wasted (yes, the economy makes me view all expenses quizzically).  I question what kind of society we’ve become if something as natural as “falling in love” has become so costly.
  3. The abundance of online offerings about love is a calming reminder that most if not all of us know about love, think about love, seek love and hopefully find love.

I love Google as much as the next person, but, seriously, Google doesn’t know love, does it?

OF HIPPIES AND HIPSTERS

Love finds everyone.  Hippies and hipsters alike, and everyone beyond and between, can’t hide from the hooks of love.

Many hippies who survived Charles Manson, drugs, the sexual revolution and tie-dye fashion are either still wandering the streets of my fair city or sipping Starbucks as they drive around in their Volvos, always with love in their blood, sometimes with flowers in their hair.  I can’t thank them enough for popularizing “Make love, not war”, a slogan many peaceniks still take to heart today.

As for snarky hipsters, as much as their knee-jerk rulebook dictates to deny it, I doubt that even they are immune to love.  Again, I have my home city to thank for proof that they, too, are familiar with love.  I see them cluttering the hippest joints, intimate, sipping whatever hipsters sip, while updating each other about the latest antics of Amy Sedaris or Sarah Silverman.  Thanks to them, I celebrate my casual style and dial down the sarcasm.

I poke fun fondly but the point remains, if we’re open, we shall receive love.

REPLACING LOVE

Love is the most amazing thing there is, said the non-snarky non-hipster with hippie leanings.  It’s a tremendous gift that teaches us about joy, connectedness, community, similarity, mystery, eternity, etc.

But sometimes, love is a bit unwieldly.  It is standalone and self-contained in its potency and yet its true manifestation is anything but standalone or self-contained.  Exclusive yet inclusive.  Personal yet universal.

Surely, its immense power is a staggering challenge to grasp.  So, we often replace it with less challenging things that we can comprehend such as: a multi-million dollar money-making scheme, a muscle car, a status symbol, a trust fund, an all-you-can-eat buffet or whatever feels right at the time.

We dabble and delight in matters of less staggering value because love is just so darn intense.

But sooner or later, we will encounter something profound and undeniably real that will remind us that love is so much more than the things with which we replace it.

QUESTIONING LOVE

And when we become better acquainted with love and all its richness, bigness and fullness, what do we do?

How do we roll with it?

How do we, if we do, go about allowing its colossal capacity to transform us, others, the world?

Do we, once we’re squared away with our MRS, sit around in our backyards, slathering our aging skin with suntan lotion, luring nubile teens to stand in for love (remember Patrick Dempsey in the movie Lover Boy?) while we wonder and ponder what happens next?  Actually, a few of us do.

Do we let love die and instead, long for the silly and simple days when we’re not required to be mature about anything?  Again, some of us do.

Do we choose not to respond and let opportunity slide when we could’ve made a difference in someone else’s life?  Once again, many of us do.

I’m not judging.

However, I am always drawn to asking questions like these.  Because, let’s face it, it’s a safe way to examine the sharp edges that cut the neatness wide open, to reveal the magnificent mess beneath the facade of perfection.  Questions are a great way to peer into deep, ugly traps figuratively without falling in.  Questions allow us to dip our toes in  pools of squishy truths, trample on perpetuating lies, and mine gems of wisdom in the dark pits of dirt.

LIVING LOVE

And after all this questioning, we find that there are those who cower at love, we also discover that many among us know quite a bit about how to live love.

Everyday, ordinary people — who never become the best, who never get to own the biggest, who never get to flaunt the brightest — embody love in the best way possible.  Healing the wounded.  Soothing the distressed.  Freeing the captive.  Sewing the frayed fabrics that have unfurled.

In their simple, everyday, imperfect ways, they perpetuate the gorgeous, mysterious balance that keeps the earth on its axis.

PRIORITIZING LOVE

As my musings and meanderings come to an end, I close with what I hope is at least a niggling nugget of insight.

Love, for all the maladroit ways our bush-league selves respond to it, knows no bounds.

At its feet, tyrrany falls.

By its silent whisper, the deafened hears.

Through its steady flame, a cold heart warms.

In its gentle embrace, the embattled finds solace.

In its perfection, the imperfect thrives.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Love is the topic.  What say you? Is there ever a time or a reason not to prioritize love? Does love leave you puzzled?  Inspired?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Image by Niffty..

{ 1 trackback }

Operation Hide Love Less — the halfway point
August 9, 2010 at 2:47 am

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zengirl @happy heart and mind March 1, 2010 at 5:27 am

Belinda,

Sure, we can talk and read about love for more than 1 minute as I think it is most important aspects of our lives. Like you mentioned most of us think love as an romantic aspects but love can be for your parents, siblings, spouse, kids, friends, garden, your books, movies, all various types and shades of love. Don;t you agree?

Reply

2 Justin Dixon March 1, 2010 at 6:22 am

Love is definitely meant to be a lifestyle. It is curious that we have made it a commodity, especially since its one of those things that the more you give the more you will have.

Reply

3 zmajeva March 1, 2010 at 7:03 am

For me “romantic love” is pleonasm. The word romantic means much more then people really know, and YES!, it doesn’t have anything to do with multi-billion dollar industry!!!

Reply

4 Nadia - Happy Lotus March 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

Hi Belinda,

I love love. The hippie in me thinks that love is what rules the world even though it seems that fear has a more powerful hold over people. Like Justin said, it is a lifestyle. We can either spread love or spread fear.

The interesting thing about love is that many people have a mixed up view of it. We have movies and a whole bunch of other stuff to thank for that.

Love is meant to be unconditional. Love is not when someone does exactly what you want when you want. And since when is Valentine’s day a single event? Every day is a day to celebrate love.

Reply

5 Fatibony{self help Motivation} March 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

I love to see Love as peace, harmony, joy, happiness, understanding among families, friends and nations. And Romantic love to me is more like a special relationship btw two people who truly care for each other always. Lovely Post Belinda

Reply

6 Eva March 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Belinda, thanks for this thought-provoking post. Your last three lines really speak to me offering reassurance and hope. I’m writing these down in my journal right now!
“Through its steady flame, a cold heart warms.
In its gentle embrace, the embattled finds solace.
In its perfection, the imperfect thrives.”

Reply

7 Patty - Why Not Start Now? March 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Ah ha! I suspected you were a hippie-leaning chick Belinda! No wonder I like you so much. Once I was taking a class and the teacher summed it all up by saying the Beatles had it right. Then she played “All You Need is Love.” Her point was that love is at the core of what we do as professional counselors. Carl Rogers called it unconditional positive regard. And the older I get, the more I realize that love carries me farther than anything else. Thanks for the delightful post.

Reply

8 Belinda Munoz March 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm

@ZenGirl, sounds good to me! Thanks for your comment.

@Justin, beautiful! It is a lifestyle and I agree that the more of it we give, the more we receive.

@zmajeva, welcome to The Halfway Point! I do happen to agree with you that the word romantic means more than just strictly between two lovers. Thank you for your comment and you’re welcome here anytime.

@Nadia, oh yes, what is it about us hippie-types who just can’t help believing in love? I agree with what you say about spreading love versus spreading fear. Both move us to act though one is decidedly more life-giving while the other soul-killing. Once again, this brings me back to freedom of choice. When we allow ourselves to be motivated by fear, we relinquish our right to reject it. Do we give in to fear because it’s hard to fight it? Maybe, but it’s not impossible. Do we forget that we have within our power to be motivated by love because we are constantly bombarded by mass-produced fear-based, fear-inducing products, philosphy and tactics? Maybe, but again, it’s not impossible to make that switch. Thank you for infusing this space with your beautiful spirit.

@Fatibony, it’s wonderful that you see love as peace, harmony, joy, happiness, understanding among families, friends and nations. All good things rolled into one. This brings home my point. Thank you. Why would we ever turn that down? T

@Eva, great to see you again! I’m so happy to hear that this post has offered you reassurance and hope. Many thanks for the feedback.

@Patty, yeah, hippies unite! Feels great to be found out like that! I actually listened to that song when I wrote this post and think the Beatles are often right especially about us all needing love. You put that so beautifully — love carries me farther than anything else. We’re led to believe there are other things that will carry us far, and it’s all so convincing and maybe even feel real for a period of time. But we learn eventually that there’s nothing else if there’s no love. Thanks.

Reply

9 Nicki March 2, 2010 at 4:21 am

Well, Belinda, you stumbled over to my place today and discovered what I think about love! We have to have it. We crave it – which is sometimes detrimental. We can’t live without it!

Reply

10 Tracy Todd March 2, 2010 at 6:26 am

Although I feel trapped inside of an imperfect body, I had the privilege of finding love one more time and yes, I did thrive. It’s amazing how something as simple (or as complicated) as love can be a catalyst to making one feel on top of the world. I believe that to love and to be loved is a basic human need which everyone yearns for.

Although I have lost love (and more) I continue to crave it and I hope that someday I will have the privilege of being in love again. Besides, what would life be without hope?

Thank you for your very real insight into a very real human emotion.

Tracy

Reply

11 Phil - Less Ordinary Living March 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

Love is all around us, Belinda – and this is a typically gorgeous post. My take on love is that it is the currency of the universe. We are all interconnected and made up of energy. I happen to believe that this energy vibrates on the frequency of love. When we witness the beauty of nature, the compassion of people we don’t even know, the magnificence of all creation, what else can be concluded. I love your observation that love manifests everywhere and is often overlooked. I we can best show love for others by encouraging their light of love to burn brighter. Thanks for the inspiration as always.

Phil

Reply

12 Fr. Michael March 2, 2010 at 8:17 am

Belinda,

As always, thanks for your thought provoking post. Love is one of the most overused and misunderstood words in our language. St. Thomas Aquinas defined it as “willing the good to another.” Love is really about self-giving, not self-seeking. It’s sacrificial. It hurts. But that’s what makes it feel good as well. The more we give of ourselves, the more we find our true selves. Love is not about feeling; it’s about willing.

Peace!

P.S. I don’t think I have a hippie bone in my body : )

Reply

13 Belinda Munoz March 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

@Nicki, great to be in synch with you. It’s in the air, doncha know. Thanks for stopping by.

@Tracy, I ask that question all the time when I read the news: What would life be without hope? Thank you for your perspective, a valuable source of insight and inspiration for those of us who take many things for granted, and for all that you do.

@Phil, “…and so the feeling goes”. Thanks to you for putting The Troggs’ song in my head. What you wrote is simply beautiful. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say and that energy is meant to be shared freely. Thank you for your love-filled energy.

@Fr. Michael, always great to see you here. Your comment may be inspiring me to do a follow up post because you bring up some things that I didn’t touch on. And this: “The more we give of ourselves, the more we find our true selves” — I agree and I wonder if we’re born knowing this, then lose it along the way, and then re-learn it in our later years, or at least after we’ve lived a little. Thank you, as always, for your friendship and insight. Oh, and re: your hippie quip, sure, if you say so : )

Reply

14 Marc Winitz March 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Hi Belinda,

I love Pizza, does that count?

Marc

PS – I enjoyed the length of your post. It took awhile to read and was serious and thought provoking. Hopefully you will “love” my humor above (which is my real form of love).

Reply

15 Belinda Munoz March 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

@Marc, I love pizza, too, and of course, humor is always welcome around here. Since you’re in the area, what are your favorite pizza joints? My son and husband love Giorgio’s, my favorites are Pizza Antica in SJ and Delfina Pizzeria here in the city.

@Tony, ahhh, I like that. A moment to moment choice and not to be taken for granted. How much better off would we all be if we thought that way. Thank you for sending positive vibes this way.

@BigLittleWolf, lovely to have you here. Merci beaucoup for the compliments and thank you for all the beautiful writing and thought-provoking subjects you tackle on your fine blog.

Reply

16 Tony Single March 3, 2010 at 5:16 am

I am not a wise man, so there’s nothing I can add to your wonderful article on my favourite topic ever. 🙂

For me, love has always been a moment to moment choice, so it’s something that I’ve never been able to take for granted.

Reply

17 BigLittleWolf March 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Loved it. Truly.

And yes, asking questions allows us to dip a toe in, and not fall. You put it beautifully.

Reply

18 BK March 4, 2010 at 3:16 am

Love – “In my life there is an infinite supply of love, it is inexhaustible, i can never use it all in this lifetime so I don’t have to be sparing with it!” – Louise Hay.

Reply

19 Lauren March 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Belinda,

What amazes me most, I think, is to recognize – and get it in my bones – that love permeates this earth life we are living. How outrageous is that! How did THAT come to be?

I’m not saying the opposite of love does not exist as well. As a criminal psychologist I see the fallout of dis-connection and it can be fierce and dangerous. Best not to pretend that “evil” doesn’t exist (irregardless of how we choose to label it – absence of light, whatever, move out of the way). Oddly, even the most hardened “criminal” holds a sentimentality toward family and seeks connections.

There is nothing sadder to me than to sit with an “inmate” or any person who has not one person in their lives. I cannot imagine life without love in it. I believe the outer is a reflection of the inner and still it is heart-wrenching to be in the presence of a life without love. Sometimes the most you can do is sit with that soul and be present to hear their story.

It makes me appreciate all the love that flows in my own life, the relationships I have cultivated. There is always more room for love!

Love is generated from the inside out. Love is everywhere. There is no lack of love. It is not reserved for the thin, the wealthy, the educated. I like to say that love is always present and awaiting our arrival.

How awesome that love seems to be the thread that weaves itself through our life experiences. I cannot imagine a world in which this were not the case. I love life and I love that love abounds!

I also love your posts! 😉

P.S. Oh, right, romantic love! I’ve been baptized in that fire as well! Your final statements re: love are beautiful.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: