What is Love?
You know the song “All about the Bass?“ Well, I am all about the LOVE, about the love, about the love.
As 2015 arrived I realized that what I desired the most for this year was to live in love. I declared to walk, talk and BE love all year round. What does that mean exactly? I know I fall in love with each client. I love my husband, my children, my family and my friends and I try my best to extend it to strangers. As a coach I have my clients dissect their words to get to the “essence” of what a word really means for them. So, of course being me I got REALLY curious on what other people think of love and what it means to them.
With February, the big month -o- love, quickly approaching I decided to reach out and ask a wide variety of people I know in different areas in the US what love means to them. I asked three questions along with a request for a favorite quote or poem about love.
I was not sure what I would receive back… would our retail culture dominate with the sticky sentiments of a hallmark card? Would there be negativity from those not in a romantic relationship? I had no idea what I was starting… I was excited, but I had no clue what awaited me.
Fast forward to today and I feel as though I was given treasures more precious than any worldly riches with the replies I received. With reading each response my heart soared. A sense of euphoria descended upon me and has remained while I write this. Though romantic love did show up in answers it had a different quality than what is normally spoken about love in our culture. Something deeper and more universal was in every answer I received.
I will get on with it and share the findings of my L*O*V*E project in 3 parts over the next month with you.
So here goes: Part 1 of the L*O*V*E project!
The first question asked was “What is your definition of love?”
It is a big question: WHAT is love exactly?
Elusive to pin down yes, but we all know it when it is present. With the respondents there are a few common themes that arose from this question. The first one that many addressed is that there are many different kinds of love. Dorothy wrote “I’ve always found love to be elusive and difficult to define, and there are many types depending on the relationship.” Keri also commented in the same vein: “My definition of love is really different for each and every situation.”
A few of the participants pointed to the Greeks, who had words specifically for at least 6 types of love. Valorie wrote: “I like the Greek definition(s) of love. To the Greeks there was more than one type of love. I have had all these types of love in my life, some more when I was younger and other types more as I grow older.” Reflecting on this made me curious again. Were those Greeks of old simply greater lovers than we are since they were able to notice the nuances of love and distill those nuances into language? Did they value love more than we modern-day westerners… we who have only one word for love?
If you wish to delve deeper into these questions, Valorie shared a link:
Oh, those Greeks. There is such a sense of wonder to defining love.
I think we can agree that we do love differently at different times, with different people and circumstances. There is always a slightly different intensity to our love relationships. Which segues into the second theme that arose from the question “What is your definition of love?”
Connection. Connection was in every answer about love. “Love is a connection between two beings (human or animal) that has a positive flow of energy between each other.“ wrote Shannon. Dana also wrote about connection in her answer “I think of love as the soul connection we feel with all things living, the collective.”
Aimee shared a blog post she wrote as she felt love stirring in her when she and her husband were in the beginning of their story:
Peter wrote: ”Love is an amazingly deep and PASSIONATE connection to another being or to something bigger than ourselves”. In his answer it is possible that we can connect to something larger than us, and Dana’s answer hinted at this as well. Truly our souls can be connected to all of nature as well as other people and animals.
I personally “love” this because it means we can connect to the infinite and the possibilities are endless. Linda’s answer points at this also: “I reference love in my life by referencing The Divine, The Source of all love…..It is intending & manifesting the highest and best good for all involved. It is an action word for all that is beautiful, peaceful, joyful, thoughtful and intuitive. THAT is a precursor for the warm gooey feelings that envelope me after I have sensed and responded to the essence of someone or something.“ So love is elusive to define, but it is always about connection in some way.
Linda’s answer also takes me to the next common theme in this part of love. She used the word “action”. One of the surprises for me in reading each answer is seeing that love is not static. It is a feeling, it is an emotion, yes, but in the answers I see more… I see how there is a movement of energy – a force. I will add here that when there is a connection there is an energetic force taking place. It may be between people, with a pet, with nature, with oneself or with the Divine, but it is a flow of energy. For example: Dolores defined love as “unmerited grace”. That sounds like a force and an energy to extend unmerited grace. Keri wrote of movement “ebb and flow of feelings and emotions that are constantly in motion”. Sue answered with “Open not closed, unlimited not limited.”
See what I mean? Can you feel it in Emily’s response: “Love is the place where your heart expands fully allowing yourself to love and be loved freely with no expectations or limitations”? Peter also said …”it comes with an intimacy where I feel I am truly seeing the object of my love with the clearest eyes and purest heart.” That is anything but static. In fact, it is the opposite – it is expansive and alive.
Boy oh boy love is something isn’t it?
It is elusive to define exactly, it is about connection and it is a flow of energy that opens us and creates an aliveness within us.
Tell me, what is your personal definition of love?