I’m not talking about sexy love or family love. Those kinds of love are acceptable.
No, I’m talking about deep, heart-felt, now-you-know-for-sure-that-you’re-enough-in-my-eyes love. Spiritual love. Holy love. Love that resides within and never ends.
We have the capacity, the longing, the heart-stopping need to love and be loved. Without limits. Without guidelines. Unfettered, unabashed, unfiltered love. And yet we hold back.
Over my lifetime I’ve had several relationships in which I wanted to pour out my very heart and soul (and secretly part of me still longs to). But I didn’t. I didn’t allow myself because I’m only supposed to give my love to my children, to my parents, to my lover. And these unspoken boundaries limit our capability to express what’s inherent inside each of us.
Who designed this cramped box labeled “Love is…”?
Love is in our blood, in our bones. It courses through us despite lifetimes of suppression. It is who we are—just waiting to be released, expressed, exposed…for the mind-exploding, soul-healing, heart-opening act that it is.
To share love is raw, it is opening. It is holy pain and joy lodged in the deepest cracks of our being. It is the ultimate act of connection and healing. And we have a gaping love deficit in this world.
Marianne Williamson once said, “Our real job is to love the world back to health.” Let’s start with honoring the love we all hold in our hearts. Let’s start with encouraging each other to give that love away to anyone we wish. Not just acceptable love, but love that denies and expands the boundaries. Love that makes the mundane holy. Love that says “f*ck you” to the unspoken rules and “come hither” to the hearts of our fellow man.
Let’s love like the Great Ones loved. Love without abandon, with our hearts on the table ready to be broken at any moment, yet still offered up as a sacrifice to the greater good. Let’s love men and women, friends and strangers, lovers of all forms.
Let’s say “I love you” to anyone we want, simply because we feel that way. Let’s deny the internal pressure to hide our feelings because they’re somehow inappropriate. How can love ever be inappropriate? The expression of love doesn’t bind us to entering into a relationship. We simply must love because it’s in our nature, it’s who we are, deep on the inside.
How do we help the world?
Love our neighbor.
Love our enemy.
Love the fortunate.
Love the less fortunate.
Love the dictators.
Love the soldiers.
Love the hateful.
Love the lovers.
Love the animals (all of them, even the very tiny ones).
Love the plants and trees and water.
Did I mention to love ourselves?
We love with the heart of the Creator.
The spirit of angels.
The vastness of the universe orbiting within our souls.
I love you. Each and every one of you. Let’s go love the world back to health: one lover, one parent, one child, one stranger, one love-starved being at a time.
Author: Ashley Barnes
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Amanda Bowman/Flickr