On Love

What is love?

“In recognizing that you’re here only to love, you realize that as long as you do that, you’re already a success. And love doesn’t have to be something grand. As Mother Teresa said, ‘There are no great deeds; there are just small deeds done with great love….The point isn’t just what you give when you love, but also what you open yourself to receive. As you send out love, the universe will send love back.’” – Marianne Williamson, The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles

I think it took me a long time to grasp that love doesn’t cause pain.

And it took me a long time to realize that love doesn’t ask me to sacrifice who I am.

Love – in the pure, divine sense of that word – is unconditional and loves you back. It doesn’t make you smaller. It doesn’t contract your world. This love expands your world.

Love is contained in the small gestures as much as in the big pronouncements. In the context of a romantic relationship, I have come to recognize that I much prefer (and trust) love in the form of regular, reliable and consistent acts of consideration and kindness than the occasional and dramatic gestures. To me, it’s the difference between being given flowers on a random day because someone is thinking of you and want to express appreciation and love versus being given flowers because of some holiday when flowers are expected.

Of course, the love that is referred to in the Marianne Williamson quote above is about a much bigger, deeper love than romantic love. It is love in the fuller, more expansive sense of the word – love beyond that which exists between two individuals (or a family), love that speaks to the human condition, love that is the divine. That love transforms, heals, and contributes to making the world a better place.

To be in the flow of love, to be a being of love, an ambassador of that bigger love – that love has as much to do with how I carry myself in the world (what I think, how I act, the decisions I make, how I express myself, how I conduct myself when I interact with strangers) as how I relate to those close to me. And to embrace that kind of love means that every moment of every day is an opportunity to give and receive love.  

How are you showing up as a being of love?

A Celebrity Surprise

Part of my job as a real estate professional is to be familiar with the inventory, which means I go see lots of houses.  And, this being LA, I have found myself in the homes of actors, directors, writers and others connected to the entertainment industry.  I don’t seek out these homes; most of the time I discover the Hollywood connection because of something that is hanging on the wall, on the mantle or through a conversation with the agent.  It doesn’t really change my assessment of a home, although it can occasionally shift how I perceive someone in the public eye.

For example, I fell in love with a house today.  I loved the decor, I loved the floor plan, I loved the feel and flow of the entire place.  It felt warm and cared for and inviting.  It was just a house with really wonderful energy.  You could sense that the inhabitants were happy there and that this had been a good home for them.  As I was looking around the child’s bedroom, I saw on the wall a little drawing the child had made.  Written on the drawing was, “I am grateful for my parents.”  That just floored me.  To me, that just speaks to how there was some very good parenting going on in that household.

I still didn’t know whose home it was.  As I continued to tour the house, I happened to see something that revealed who the owner was.  And in that moment, I noticed a subtle shift in what I thought of this person. I had been pretty indifferent to this person’s work (just not my taste) and I doubt I will rush to see their next project simply because of what I saw today.  It’s more that I was so impressed that a younger actor with some success is raising such a wonderful kid in this town that I feel this respect for them, from a distance.  With so much of the media focused on the individuals who make their mistakes in public, it’s nice to come across someone who has achieved some success (and who seems to continue to be succeeding in the industry) to be so grounded and loving in their private life.

Indulgence or Self-Kindness?

I just read a post on 40 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Kindness over on the kindness blog and it reminded me of how simple, yet important, it is to practice self-kindness. And how easy it is for me to forget or fall out of practice.

When things are hectic, when there are a lot of demands on my time or energy, those are the times that acts of self-kindness are especially critical and necessary. Those times when it feels super indulgent to take the time to breath and meditate?  Those are exactly the times when I absolutely benefit from slowing down and taking a minute (or five or ten) to breathe.

I am amazed at how easily I can slide into thinking that self-care and self-kindness are indulgent. For example, one self-kindness I often think of as an indulgence is sleep. I know I need a lot of sleep. I am someone who needs at least eight hours of sleep a night. When I was younger, I didn’t think much about pulling all-nighters or functioning on just a few hours of sleep a night for long stretches of time. I really can’t say with much objectivity how functional I really was back then. Basically I was powered by a lot caffeine and those years are now a bit of a blur.

Over the years I’ve come to learn that I am a much happier, healthier and more balanced person when I get my seven or eight hours a night consistently. I know that. I have experienced its impact on my mind and body. I have no doubt of its necessity. And still I think it’s indulgent when I get those eight hours! So I like that the post framed getting enough sleep as an act of self-kindness.

Have you noticed any thought patterns in which acts of self-kindness are framed as indulgences?  If so, what do you do to re-frame?

Share Your Beauty

Beauty matters.

True beauty can inspire action, bring joy, give hope and lift our spirits.

I’m not talking about artifice passing as beauty.  I’m talking about real, authentic beauty.  The kind of beauty that has nothing to do with the application of make up or having the perfect body.

I’m talking about the beauty you experience when in the presence of nature.  Or an incredible piece of artwork.  Or musical performance.  Or a meal cooked with love.  That kind of beauty.

And I’m talking about the kind of beauty we can infuse into our daily interactions.  This is the beauty of our presence when we show up as our authentic selves, when we act mindfully, when we speak with kindness, when we show respect for each other and recognize the humanity in the other.

It doesn’t really matter what it is that we may be doing or where we are, we can always bring more beauty into the moment.  We just have to set that intention and act accordingly.

Which may be easier said than done sometimes.  Like when I am sitting in traffic.  And yet, being angry isn’t going to get me to my destination any faster.  Me sitting in my car being frustrated by the situation isn’t going to change anything other than give me more wrinkles and up my stress level. Stewing in all that negativity just makes me less attractive.  Generally speaking, don’t you think people who are pleasant, happy, smiley, kind and nice are just more attractive?

Will you be bringing more beauty into your daily life?  How do you bring beauty into your life?