I always ask people, “What is your definition of love?” I would describe it as, “to feel deep affection, admiration, respect, and overwhelming desire and compassion toward another.”
The words “unconditional love” often are mentioned when speaking of the love between a parent and child. It is very hard to practice this type of love but can come with ease when you least expect it.
What does love look like? The way a parent loves a child. This is a deep and strong feeling of love that’s hard to describe. Even lovers can practice this type of love when they don’t even know it, letting that person do and behave however they wish. You have a deep love for them knowing in your heart of hearts that this person’s behavior is not acceptable, yet you still love them. I would describe true love as “ loving another person without expectation, simply loving another human being.”
Love can occur between two complete strangers when brought together in unusual circumstances. As a hospice nurse, I have walked into people’s homes in complete crisis and brought comfort and reassurance just by my presence. I can honestly say I feel great love for these patients and their families when I am there. I am present and willing to accept the feelings that come at such an honored time. I truly feel love for these people and want more than anything to give them the compassion and understanding they so deeply need and desire at this time. Sometimes there are no words to describe how you feel.
To practice loving people is easy. Love can be words, a gesture, a kind act or a smile. You may not realize it but a smile to a complete stranger can make their day. Why not try once a day to share your smile with someone? Feel a connection and be in that moment with that person?
As mentioned earlier, the love between a parent and child can be very strong, powerful, and beautiful. My dear friend, Eric, from my childhood, lost his father earlier this year. His father was a kind, loving and wonderful soul. Through his love for his children he bestowed on them the ability to love and accept others. When I saw this photo (above) I was overcome with happiness and joy! You can truly see the love and energy exchange between this father and son. I wanted to share this with you because I found it so moving. Sometimes a picture is really worth a thousand words. Thanks for sharing Eric!
Loving with an open heart and being present with those you love will have a strong impact on your relationship with others. Being present with the people you meet along life’s path will bring a strong connection.
In late July, I was able to attend my 30th high school reunion in West Virginia. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones! What a joy to be with my old school mates and rekindle memories that still make me laugh even 30 years later.
In an earlier blog post I mentioned living with the spirit of travel. I was able to practice this on my way home from my reunion. My friend, Eric, his partner Michael and I all rode to Charlotte, NC together. On the way, we stopped at a historic mansion in Southwestern Virginia. This historic landmark is named “The Mansion at Fort Chiswell.” You must visit this lovely place if you are ever passing through. (www.fortchiswellmansion.com)
We spent our whole afternoon touring the grounds, The Mansion, and enjoying the delicious foods prepared in the farm to table restaurant located within The Mansion. Beyond yummy!! Plus we split 3 desserts! It was an afternoon I will always remember because I so present and so focused on everything going on around me the fresh air, the sunshine, the flowers, the breathtaking grounds and the people. The server ended up being one of my classmates from high school that I have not seen for 30 years. What a wonderful surprise! It was an afternoon filled with love, wonder, excitement and learning. I cherished that visit and every minute of my ride home with Eric and Michael!
Turning everyday into an adventure is easy to do when you appreciate EVERYTHING in your life even the sun shining on your face! Really connecting with people around you by being present in each and every moment of your life will change the way you live. Every day will truly become an adventure if this is your demeanor. Your energy will be contagious and people will let you know. Be that person that can see the good and positive in every situation. Love always with all your heart. Truly living with an open heart, with no expectations, only brings joy and more love into your life! If you live this way, I promise you, more love will come into your life from the most unexpected places and circumstances!
There are many types of love but, in the end, love is love.
Peace and joy to you always.
Wow, awesome article Cathy!!!