Mary Oliver has said “My work is loving the world.”
I daresay that’s my work as well, and I imagine it might be said for all of us.
Thinking about love as a spiritual principle is different than how we often think about it in a more mundane way. What we often define as love can more likely be called conditional love – sentimental or emotional attachment to a person or thing. And while we say I love you unconditionally, there often really are conditions – I’ll continue to love you if you don’t change, or I don’t change, or if you bend yourself more into this shape I would prefer, or a myriad of other permutations that are really conditions.
In the more spiritual sense of the word I believe Love surpasses our ability to understand it. That it is the force from which all springs forth and what we are ever trying to allow our human selves to align more perfectly with.
There is a French proverb that says “To be loved is the best way to be useful.”
While I’m not sure everyone would take the interpretation of that proverb in this direction, I personally think it’s a wonderful invitation to deep dance. I don’t believe it asks us to be anything less than who we are. Rather it is asking us to be exactly who we are and shine that brightly. To be anything less is not to be authentic. But holding our wholeness, our authenticity, our true soul selfness is exactly what we’re all called to do. And when we can do that, even if only briefly before we slip into something less, that is a true gift we give not only to ourselves but each other. Just showing up as true soul selves is as useful as it gets.
I quite like this vintage needleworked piece I’ve got hanging on one of my walls: “There is only one joy – to love and be loved.”
What if today we let ourselves give and receive love in every moment? How magical might that be?