What is this thing called love? I didn’t have a clue in my youth. Like many, I confused it with lust. Embarrassed not to know, I was determined to find out. While still a work in progress, I did discover a powerful truth: the ultimate form of healing is learning how to love.
It turns out love is deeply wired and nourished by connection. It’s in our DNA. We literally need it to survive. Love blossoms when the warmth of two or more people is reflected back and forth. In that moment, we expand in joy and become larger than ourselves. These are powerful, energizing moments that our body and spirit were designed to harness. It eventually fades, as feelings do, but this ephemeral quality is what allows it to be a renewable resource. Not only can love be recreated throughout the day, it must be.
Our ability to understand, empathize, and connect with others depends heavily on our ability to cultivate positive interactions. It’s not random, either. There is a special recipe that calls for equal parts: safety, presence and contact. The brain is unconsciously tuned into threat, so first and foremost we have to feel safe. Naturally, there needs to be an “other” present to mirror. And the best method of reflection is through the eyes, for love is not blind.
The experience of love can be as simple as a shared smile with a stranger. By tuning into and seeking out mini moments of positive connection, we nourish ourselves from the inside out. Love is not a feeling reserved for friends and family alone. It is a way of being.