When I hear this phrase, I see the ageless rock star, Tina Turner, looking sassy, sexy, and in charge of her feelings. She is strutting across the stage and singing about being joyful while avoiding life's vulnerabilities. What we know about her own personal story is a long history of physical and emotional abuse by someone who claimed to love her. Her rock star image shows her coming out of that experience tough and hard. She is almost daring anyone to ever again try to hurt her. In her life story, we find that she eventually embraced Buddhism, learned forgiveness, practiced meditation and mindfulness and was able to find a place of inner peace.
As we approach Valentine's Day, I wanted to stop and explore what has love got to do with who we are in our own lives in this week’s blog? How can we use Tina's example to overcome difficulties and have more success, happiness and love for ourselves?
What is love anyway? Leo Buscaglia said, "Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life." He described love as a choice to a given set of behaviors and stimuli that could be taught. If love is a learned phenomenon, having the experience of being loved helps us to demonstrate this quality in our own lives. In his classes, he taught that we are unable to love others if we do not love ourselves. The first step is to learn to understand, appreciate, accept and love who we already are. We may choose to change some things about ourselves and as we grow and develop, however, it needs to be done from a place of self-love instead of self-hate.
Felicia Blanco Searcy, in her book Do Greater Things, identifies spiritual practices that Jesus Christ demonstrated to express his love. These practices represent the ways that we imitate "the God of our understanding" in our personal and professional lives through patterns of behavior that we could learn to do. These behaviors showed us how to live by the principles evident in the life of Christ. I studied her writings to answer the question "What would Jesus do?" for myself. Because of some of my personal challenges and aspirations, I focused on the areas of faith, gratitude, forgiveness and service. Actions I took involved accepting new positions of responsibility in my church and in other community organizations. I gave more time and attention to members of my family and to personal friends. I was grateful to have these people in my life and I wanted them to know that. I consciously sought to let go of judgment and old resentments that created barriers to forgiveness and my expression of love for them. I became more regular with my practices of prayer and meditation in my effort to "let go and let God." I believe that these actions have led to new possibilities for growth for me – I am healthier, happier, and finding life more fulfilling. I saw the new actions I took to answer the question "what Jesus would do" as the ultimate expression of Love.
What actions do you (or could you) take to express and experience love in your life? What benefits have you realized in your relationships and achieving a rich, abundant life for yourself? Take a moment and post a comment to share with us so we can spread more love in our lives!
What's love got to do with it? Everything!