i’ve stumbled onto a website recently that has tons of great articles. elephant journal is “dedicated to the mindful life.” it’s full of inspiring, thought-provoking articles that always make me slow down and ponder just a little bit. to me, many of the articles are a bit like an inspiring, informative meditation. clearly, that’s stuff that’s right up my alley.
today i ran across one that talks about ways to show your love. after the earthquake in nepal this weekend, and the refugee deaths off the coast of italy/sicily last week, and the police violence in the states that seems to be never-ending, i thought that a meditation on loving each other would be just perfect today.
so, i’m going to share with you those six ways to show love, with the hope that we all find a way to spread a little peace and love and encouragement to someone today. if we feel overwhelmed by the pain + suffering in the world, and feel that we can’t make a difference in the places that there is great suffering + violence, at least we can make a difference in the midst of our life.
how often do we give for just the sake of giving, expecting nothing in return? generosity is an offering, a sacrifice, a completely selfless act in the hopes of simply doing something for another. not expecting a gift in return or even an expectation of how things should be. we let go of our egos, put away our pride, and rely on the sacred place within us to guide us to just give love. no take backs. or perks. or rewards. just love.
in other words mindfulness. yes, living a mindful life is one that shows love to others, though we usually think of mindfulness as a private act. practicing loving mindfulness means that we are present, aware, and completely at peace with who we are + where we are. we give full attention to the present moment, and all of those who are around us. once again, there is no egoistic need to be the center of everything, but we simply, slowly, lovingly experience what it is happening right now. we discipline ourselves to just be.
how well do we control our emotions? that is, we feel them and sit with them, but we don’t fly off the handle at any moment. patience allows us to slow down + take a breath. it means that we don’t need to be right, that we listen, that we meet people where they are, even if we don’t agree with them. when we can give someone else space and allow them to be exactly who they are, then we are willing to wait a bit. we may not understand, but we accept. and when that safe place is created, then we can be of influence and help to someone. but, not, as the ones who know what is best, only as one who cares to journey with someone. patience doesn’t mean that we are right and someone else is wrong. it simply means having an accepting, loving, and calming nature. only when there is patience, can we begin to have meaningful discussion.
this is where the rubber hits the road. this is where we acknowledge that reality sometimes sucks. but, instead of staying in that place of sucky-ness, we realize that there is work to be done. diligence means that we show up, we dig in, we do the work that has to be done. and we do it with a positive, grateful attitude. or at least not an attitude of “poor me”, “this sucks”, “why me?”, or “look at how hard i work”. no, diligence is once again, a selfless, determined way of living. of knowing that not everything is rainbows and puppy dogs, but of trusting in the knowledge that there is world to be done, and that we have a higher purpose: to co-work to make our lives + this world a better place. so, with power + strength from within, we get to work. and we do not give up.
again, we tend to think that this is a selfish, internal act. but, meditation is the foundation of learning how to live a life of love. the benefits of going inward every single day allow us to take care of our selves, our mind and our soul. and, when we feel peace, then we spread peace. it’s as simple as that. of course it’s great to meditate for 10-20 minutes every day, but even a minute or two here or there brings us back to our center – a great thing to do when we feel stress, fear, confusion, sadness. you know, if we do not create a safe, calm space for ourselves, then we will definitely not be able to create that space for others. if we pull ourselves inward, breathe deeply, chant, pray, or just sit; and if we do it on a regular basis, then the love will naturally flow.
all of life is connected. and how we treat others is how we treat ourselves, and vice versa. compassion + love isn’t just being kind and friendly and accepting everyone and everything. it’s much more than that. it’s about truth.
when we are open, we are able to be truthful. we lovingly stand up for what is right, even if it is hard to do. we say the tough things, but we say them in love. we create harmony, but we create really harmony, not just a “if we don’t don’t about it everyone will be happy” kind of harmony. i mean deep, true, real harmony. we don’t avoid, but face head on what is really going on. and we ar able to do that without losing hope because we are grounded and secure and have let go of our need for attachment and ego-stroking. real love is telling the truth, casting a vision, believing in hope, and doing it all with warmth + kindness flowing from your soul.
this is the love that heals, and transforms, and brings peace.
i know that some of these 6 things i am way better at than others. i have more to learn + work to do. but, it is my hope, my desire to dig deeper and to discover new ways that i can spread love in my own special way, using the passions and experiences and gifts that i have been given. in this messed up, crazy world, we need all the love we can get.
here’s to wishing you a beautiful week, friends.
onwards + upwards!
you can find the original article from elephant journal –> here.