“Love is free, free is love,
Love is living, living love,
Love is needing to be loved.”
– John Lennon
Much has been said about what love is, but no single definition captures it all. What we can tell is of our experiences in love – how it changes us, pushes us past boundaries, makes us suffer and then lifts us high on cresting waves of joy, shocks us with its brilliance and humbles us with its power.
Love comes into our lives in so many different ways. There is the love of a parent, sibling, child, friend or pet, even the compassionate love one can feel for a total stranger. Much of our lives center around the search for love. In our quest, we learn to give love and receive it. As importantly, we learn to love ourselves.
We asked a few people, “What has been the most surprising thing you have felt/experienced/realized in relation to love?” We were stunned by their amazing answers. We hope these accounts will inspire you to ask yourself the same question, and let your answer be a joyful touchstone this holiday season and beyond.
“When I was a kid, I sang loudly and badly around the house. Knowing how terrible I was, I couldn’t imagine ever singing in front of my friends, let alone someone I was dating. I just couldn’t imagine not always trying to put my best foot forward — yet I also couldn’t imagine a life without singing. So it was a pleasant discovery to fall in love and reach a level of comfort I never thought possible: I sing plenty around my girlfriend, and not so long ago we even practiced singing a song from a movie together, deluding ourselves that we were harmonizing. In our own way, I guess we were.” – Lucinda, Novelist
“You can spend a lifetime with someone and still be surprised by them. I’m not talking about something shocking and destructive, like an affair. I’m talking about those small, quiet moments when you’re sitting across from the person you’ve lived with for 30 years and some part of you realizes, ‘I’ve never seen this person before!’ It’s as if I’ve just woken from a deep sleep to find myself face to face with a beautiful stranger. Or some part of her has just awakened to reveal a new facet of her light. It’s both surprising and reaffirming; unnerving and reassuring.” – Alan, Tai Chi teacher
Big Baby Love
“It’s so massive. I am shocked that I am able to care about someone so much. I’m his everything, and it’s overwhelming. I gave birth to him and felt the fear of responsibility, but as each day goes by, I realize that I have what it takes to raise him.” – Kelly, Entrepreneur
“To a child you are their entire world. It renews your role in the Universe in a way that you can’t ever revise.” – Moira, Singer-songwriter
Fluffy Friends Forever
“I have an overwhelming love for animals, and the affection given by them usually makes my heart want to burst in fuzzy gushes. The most surprising moment was when I was taking care of an African grey parrot. I was used to being amazed by the constant stream of words, sentences, spot-on car alarms, dog barks, cat meows, squeaky door hinges and more. But I had never been more surprised than on the day the bird called out to me, ‘I love you, birdy-bird!’ That will stay in my heart forever.” – Lauren, Account Executive
“In my Reiki practice, I strive to be unlimited, unconditional, compassionate love. What surprises me is that every time I give healing to someone, I am not drained in any way, but energized!” – Dylan, Healer
“The most surprising thing I learned is that it’s not necessarily what you feel about the other person, but rather how you feel about yourself that enables you to love them deeply: When you have unconditional love for yourself, you can truly love someone else unconditionally. This was a huge moment for me!” – Claire, Acupuncturist
“In a National Geographic magazine I saw a picture of stars. The caption explained the picture was a spot in space the size of a pin point. That one pin point contained thousands and thousands of galaxies like our own. To me, this is like love. Just when you think you couldn’t possibly love someone any more than you already do, your love multiplies. When I experienced this, I realized the human capacity for love might be boundless. If we continue to love each other well, we might be able to take that love beyond individuals and out to the rest of humanity, the earth, the animals – everything. It sounds grandiose, but it was truly humbling.” – Veronica, Poet
Love, the master teacher, takes us on a voyage, sometimes stormy and passionate, at other times balmy and serene. Opening ourselves to love, we are challenged to grow as individuals, to feel in new ways (not always the most pleasant ones) and to push beyond the limits we have set until we see there are no limits – not in love or in life. Bon voyage!
What does love have in store for you? Call 1.800.573.4830
or click here