The Power of Love All of us – young or old, poor or rich, salt of the earth or intellectual, battling grave illness or enjoying phenomenal health – all of us want the same things in our lives. We must take care of our survival needs by providing shelter from the elements, food and sustenance for our bodies, and protection from dangers. Because we are social in nature, we need to connect with others in various ways. We need to belong, to be part of something larger than ourselves. Most of all we need love, and the more there is in our lives to enjoy, the better off we are in all ways. In a very real sense, love is what powers the universe. Love is behind the benevolence of the creator(s) in our stories about where we came from. Love is the one uplifting force that empowers us and allows our consciousness to grow. Our culture recognizes and honors the power of love in thousands of ways, each with endless permutations: Nothing stands in the way of a mother’s love for her children Spiritual love is the highest power of all Because of love, I am made whole Love me, love my (parrot, car, crooked smile, kids, etc.) Love makes the world go round. Can’t buy me love I’m a fool in love The Music of Love Where would Etta James, the Beatles or nearly every country western singer be without love to sing about? The lack of same, the loss, the regaining, the denial, the requited and the unrequited. Indeed, where would music itself be without love? It is love, after all, that stirs the heart to passion and the voice to sing. The Do-Re-Mi of love is equally qualified to express our sweetest feelings to our children as it is to let our mates know in no uncertain terms just how deeply felt our biological imperatives are on Saturday night after the kids have gone to bed. Love is such a complex and ubiquitous subject that our civilization, just as all the thousands before us and the millions more yet to come, our thoughts and feelings are filled with the artifacts of our discussions, songs and images about its various manifestations. Love is. And yet, love is not, also. In fact, love, so freely and unself-consciously given and received through all our connections, is the one thing we often lack for ourselves at our core level of being. We often do not love ourselves. How amazing! The Dance of Love A lack of self-love is first felt in very similar ways to that ballroom dance class you were forced into as a teenager in which you pretended to actually enjoy a kind of rhythmic spasm that could loosely pass for dancing. The shaky feet, the sweaty palms, the cracking voice. When it comes to self-love, there you are, quivering with your partner on the dance floor, ready to accept death as a suitable alternative to the foxtrot or the waltz. Despite your best intentions, your two left feet probably goofed you up socially for years, if not forever. You’ve compensated by finding other ways to appease and delight your dance partners. You’ve proven to each of them that they are indeed the objects of your affections and worthy of your most undying love. Just so, you’ve never really come to grips with what it takes to feel your own love of self. The most glaring way a lack of self-love shows up in someone’s life is in the failure of one’s intentions to manifest in desired ways. Nothing seems to work. Despite all the books and CDs on self-improvement, all the workshops, all the inner work, all the best intentions – your life is still not where you want it to be. Maybe your job really bites. Perhaps your relations have become stagnant and uninspiring. Maybe you’re just tired of the day-to-day routine that you’ve grown accustomed to over the past twenty years or so. Where Are You? Your best intentions seem to have proven to in fact be your most mediocre ones. What happened? The answer is incredibly simple after all. It’s been staring you in the face like the one that looks back at you every morning in the mirror. The answer is you! You need to fall in love with yourself! You need to quit shaking and sweating, forget about your quivering voice and your two left feet and begin to glide and swoop like your life depended upon it. Because it does. Your life – at least the one you’ve dreamed about – depends upon your spirit soaring to every greater and greater heights, something it cannot do if you cannot love yourself. The Feathers of Intention Intentions are the feathers that allow you to catch life’s thermals. Love buoys them up and makes them defy the earth as they waft ever higher and higher on the currents of your life. Trying to set an intention loose upon even the most gentle breezes, let alone the mighty gales of your at times tumultuous life, without the mastery and awareness that self-love brings, is simply an exercise in futility. Without self-love, your intentions won’t fly. They remain undirected and unmoving, stuck to earth like so much fluff plastered to a rock in a rainstorm. Fluff yourself up. Dry yourself out. Become as light and airy as the most ethereal down you can imagine. Prepare for takeoff. You are ready to launch your beautiful intentions into the glorious great beyond. You’re cleared for take-off. Have a good flight. Still here? Ah, yes. There’s that issue of self-love. Let’s take a moment to recap. What do we know for sure? We know that love empowers the entire world We know that self-love empowers us personally We know that intentions need empowerment to manifest Self-love Empowers Your Intentions We must quickly come to the conclusion that given that the above statements are true, the most surefire way (actually, the only way) for us to manifest our intentions is to tune into our love. If, however, our love is only a one-way affair, if we can only effectively give love to others but not to ourselves, no matter how hard we try, we’ll never be able to empower our intentions enough to create the vision we have for our life. I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating at this point: The most glaring way a lack of self-love shows up in someone’s life is in the failure of one’s intentions to manifest in desired ways. We all know how to visualize. We’ve been to all those workshops and read all those books, right? Some of us have accumulated many, many hours meditating and visualizing and praying and intending and sincerely trying to be worthy of having a good life. It’s all about self-love. It’s simple, really. Love yourself. Treat yourself at least as well as you would any other lover. Coddle it and cuddle it. Give yourself a big hug! Show your self that you care! Empower yourself and your intentions will start to float about as they were meant to. A beautiful, fluffy life is the life you’re really after, and you can’t get that kind of life being harsh with yourself. Lighten up! Let the feathers of your intentions land where they may.