Dear Adult, JTLYK about Forgiveness

 

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When we focus on sorry and forgiveness as simply words expressed, we are somewhat misled into believing that the act of forgiveness can only happen in a physical and literal sense. We must say sorry out loud, someone must say sorry to us (preferably with witness) and we must announce the acceptance or non-acceptance of an apology through an act of forgiveness, commonly in the form of a hand shake. Emphasis is placed on the physical act of apology and forgiveness. Our widely accepted and expected practise of forgiveness suggests that we cannot forgive a person who has done wrong unless they first apologize for their wrong. But what if they never apologize? How long must we wait? Do we spend our entire lives full of anger and resent, believing that we cannot free ourselves from such heaviness unless the person (who hurt us so badly in the first place) actually does say “sorry” What if the cause of our anger and resent isn’t even a person, but a thing, a place, an institution, a government, an event or a situation. How does it say sorry? What if sorry appears in the form of an action instead of a word and we totally miss it because we were expecting a word? What if sorry arrives as a more complex emotional cue beckoning us, likened to espressivo in a musical context, where musicians must closely watch and feel the intent of the composer in order to intuitively express that feeling through their music?

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Forgiveness is the action or process that releases a feeling of anger or resent towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake. I wonder if the someone in this definition may be the reason why so many of us rarely consider the need to forgive the things that cannot say sorry. For example; the storm, the loss, the injustice, the prejudice, the bad timing and so many other things in life that make us angry and resentful because they are the things in life that we label as unfair. Also, this definition of forgiveness involves another person, someone other than self. More often we need to actually forgive ourselves for our flaws and our errors in order to truly be free. It’s not hard to see that forgiveness is much more than just a verbal tennis match between I’m sorry and you’re forgiven. It is actually a process of letting go, releasing and freeing ourselves from a feeling of anger and resent. Forgiveness can and should take place without the presence of an ‘external’ sorry. It is not something owned and controlled by another person who did wrong. Forgiveness is a virtue available to us all.

 

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In my experience as a holistic health practitioner I have found that the topic of forgiveness always brings up the greatest amount of emotion. People’s views regarding forgiveness are so diverse and so intense, that it can quickly divide a group of otherwise like-minded humans. The thing about forgiveness is that we confuse it with justice.   I have asked myself many times, how did this misconception about forgiveness become such a deep-seated belief within so many of us? More importantly, how do we change this belief in order to model to our children that forgiveness is actually the act of letting go of emotional baggage such as; anger, resentment, revenge and disappointment. Feelings that only make us bitter and sick the longer we hold onto them. There is an expression in the metaphysical context that goes something like this; don’t bother asking someone what is wrong with you, you may as well ask who is wrong with you?’ (The Wisdom of Florens Shovel Shinn) This connection between holding onto emotional pain which then shows up as physical discomfort, physical pain and dis-ease, has been made over and over again, yet we still hold onto things that keep us locked in the past or worse still, make us really sick. Why do we do that? Could it really be due to a belief that forgiveness should make things right again and in right, what we really mean is fair.

Our focus should be on owning the act of forgiveness as a tool, a path, a method and our right to release and let go of emotional pain. We cannot expect forgiveness to magically emerge through some sort of righteous and entitled life that we have imagined, waiting for fairness to be made visible through external expressions of heartfelt apologies for all our suffering. To say this is delusional is an understatement at best. This sort of fantasy does more harm than good, waiting for the grand fairytale apology that will release the chains of anger and resent and allow us to finally live happily ever after.

Forgiveness should be embedded within our daily rituals through really being able to forgive ourselves for our human flaws and errors. The act of forgiveness should always belong to the individual because it is an action by the individual and can only live within the individual. No amount of forgiveness will ever make things fair but it will make us free.

 

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Learning to forgive through mind and body techniques such as meditation and tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) takes us away from all the physical expectations we have about forgiveness and empowers us to really be able to let go of harmful emotional attachment. It doesn’t excuse the wrongs or make them right, it doesn’t make things fair and it isn’t about allowing the person who did the wrong to be free of consequence. Forgiveness without an external apology releases the toxic feeling of anger and resent and it frees us up to experience more LOVE.

I do have to mention though, if you’ve worked out a way to forgive in your life, please don’t shout it out as though it is the easiest thing to do. Forgiveness is not a public competition, it is personal and for some of us it is a very private journey. We have no right telling others that they must forgive when we have no idea what they have experienced. If I have learned anything while working with so many people over the years, it’s that no matter how hard you think your life has been and no matter how many challenges you have overcome and wrongs you have forgiven, there is always someone who has experienced more. Respect that. When you truly know the value of forgiveness you will simply be it and in being it you will light the path for others to begin their journey of forgiveness, however that journey should ‘be’ for them.

 

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Dear Adult, JTLYK about Forgiveness,

I forgave you the moment I met you. I had to, for my own inner peace. You are human after all and it was not your fault you were doing so many things wrong through your fear-driven human habits. I noticed a lot of the human things you did because they were so obvious to me at that time. You had been human much longer. I was in a different place. I wasn’t quite human yet. That’s all.

You had learned and experienced all the unfairness and harshness of being human. I arrived as a complete being; body, mind and soul. I was full of intent, unconditional LOVE and compassion. Forgiveness came naturally to me because I was still able to see and honour the complete being within you.

Making a mistake, hurting somebody or being disrespectful can happen to anyone. Saying sorry is an action and the right thing to do when this happens. Being sorry is a feeling, for children it’s mostly a sad feeling because we are sad that we hurt someone or sad that we made a mistake. Showing that we are sorry is like providing evidence that we really were sorry by making sure that we don’t do it again. It all sounds pretty simple in this very physical and human form, but even when we follow all the steps and do all the right things on the outside, the damage has still been done on the inside. The focus on words instead of feelings is hard for children to fully understand and it separates us from our early emotional instinct to simply know what feels good and everything else that doesn’t.

So as I got older I too distanced my human self from my complete, intuitive self and I became more human like you. I learned forgiveness in the form of a human act of saying sorry and expecting to be forgiven because I said sorry. I noticed that sometimes I could say sorry even without really being sorry. It made me wonder if people were saying sorry to me even when they were not really being sorry on the inside. I often forgave a lot of things and people that I didn’t really want to forgive. Things that were unfair, things that hurt my feelings, things that made me angry inside. I learned that if someone said sorry, I should forgive them and then everything would be okay again. But it wasn’t. The feelings were bigger than words and so the words were not enough to really be sorry or to really forgive.

I noticed that hiding feelings inside of us is a human speciality, as long as you stick to showing the right feelings on the outside. You can hide a lot of things on the inside but eventually the inside shows up on the outside. For children, the inside usually shows up on the outside when we are not children any more. By then we have forgotten what we actually hid on the inside and so when it shows up on the outside we don’t even know what it’s about. If we don’t know what it’s about then it is really difficult to make things better.

Being a child is really our time to practise being a person, being human and eventually being an adult. Childhood is short and it’s not really necessary for adults to be telling us how to be children. No offence, but when an adult tells a child how to be a child, it’s like telling an astronaut how to be an astronaut when you are not an astronaut. Instead of assuming the job of telling children how to be children, adults are more suited to the position of showing children how to be good adults, since they are already adults themselves.

As for forgiveness, it really is quite simple when you recognize that the act of forgiveness is more about feelings than words.

When I LOVE, value and respect myself enough to let go of feelings that harm me I will choose FORGIVENESS.

When I LOVE, value and respect myself enough to know when it’s time to move on I will choose FORGIVENESS.

When I LOVE, value and respect others enough to give them another chance to show that they LOVE, value and respect me, I will choose FORGIVENESS.

When I know that by forgiving I am letting go and in letting go I am free, I will choose FORGIVENESS.

Forgiveness is so easy for young children. I just wish the adults could show us that we can choose FORGIVENESS when we are adults too.

YW

 

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Dear Adult JTLYK about Gratitude

 

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As many of us move through life searching for meaning and purpose and often looking for grand experiences worthy of such definition, it could be argued that the meaning of life and our purpose here exists within one simple virtue –gratitude. Could gratitude really be the true meaning and purpose of our entire human experience? You have to admit that gratitude is quite diverse in it’s expression and it does steer us into the direction of being at peace with our own reality, yet in a somewhat gentle way. Considering that what we are, what we create and how we experience life depends on our own ability to either be grateful or resentful, I think gratitude could be the most important path towards our human realisation of happiness. That is, if we could just fine-tune and master our ability to be grateful. Life purpose achieved. Happiness attained. Harmony experienced. How easy was that! But there’s a catch, being grateful is not as easy as it sounds, especially in the reality of living.

I’m relieved that the concept of gratitude has finally reached the mainstream platform. It was always a little ‘socially awkward’ when responding to expressions of compassion for some of the storms that appeared in my life by stating, “I’m grateful for the experience”. I discovered that when I expressed gratitude for events commonly known as problems, people were often shocked and didn’t know what to say. I can see now that in my own way of dealing with life’s storms through yoga, meditation and other holistic techniques, I was really only grateful for it after I had processed and released the emotions brought up by the storm. Now, I tend to express my gratitude for such things with a disclaimer; I am grateful for the experience, however, I wasn’t grateful when I was in the middle of it. Only after I did the work to process and release the anger, disappointment, frustration etc. I want to help people realise that none of us are born superior masters of emotion and life, always happy, always positive, always grateful. We learn it, over and over again and eventually we become it.

While on the topic of gratitude, it is also worth mentioning the importance of acquiring enough common sense and emotional intelligence to simply know, without instruction that while our best friend is deeply overcome by anger and rage due to a cheating partner for instance, the last thing they need to hear is, ‘be grateful for the experience.’ Yes, eventually gratitude leads us to forgiveness and is indeed the only way to truly make peace with life’s tricky situations, but that only comes after the trauma and emotions have been processed and released. Having a constant expectation of gratitude puts people in danger of being publicly grateful while privately resentful and can actually create much bigger problems. It could possibly be one of our biggest human challenges that needs to be overcome in order to truly achieve authentic human collaboration and wellbeing. In our quest to win the game of life and overcome all it’s challenges, we have somehow created an unspoken consensus of taking on all of life with a sense of positivity that may be more of a mask than we are prepared to admit. Personally, I would rather experience a world where our image of self has reached such a point of authenticity and non-judgement that our public, private and virtual image of ‘self’ are identical.

 

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Throughout our travels, we have met people in faraway places who have not been influenced by the global narrative of fear. They truly understand that life is a journey and the journey will one day come to an end. They know this because they never really disconnected themselves from the infinite cycle of life. I am fortunate to have just enough linguistic ability in some of Europe’s ‘other’ languages to have heard stories that may have otherwise gone unheard. Stories that have helped shape my understanding of life’s greatest mysteries. These languages that I can understand and speak a little of, don’t look impressive on a CV and in fact other than being able to communicate with the elderly in remote villages that the world barely even knows exist, my ‘other language’ credentials are more often not worthy of a mention. However, the gratitude I have for the words that enabled me to connect with people who understand the true secrets of life is enormous. People, who have little, yet still give more than they take and have faith in the certainty that after everything planted, sown, reaped and learned, the only way to make peace with life’s storms is not by focussing on what was taken by the storm, but through gratitude for what the storm left behind.

After returning from these isolated villages I always make time to reflect on the whole experience. What did I learn, what did I gain, which beliefs within me have changed, which part of my own reality did I lose? Over the years and through all the people I have met, I have come to realise one very consistent theme; learning from this organic and slower pace of life is actually the easy part. Taking that learning back home and creating a way for it to be expressed in daily life, in a completely different context is the real challenge. And so, this led me to here, to question whether teaching our children empathy and gratitude through comparing to others who have less or face greater adversity is actually enough.

 

 

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As we unpacked these experiences as a family (my husband and our 8 year-old son) we agreed that it did help us to be more grateful for the little things in our lives but there was also another side to the experience. Although we learned a great deal from the simplicity of the people living ‘off the grid’ in remote villages and have immeasurable respect for their resilience and longevity in simply existing, we felt that by focussing exclusively on such examples whilst on our own journey of understanding life can create a false or temporary sense of gratitude. We noticed that we were somewhat glorifying those who stayed in their villages and had dealt with the harshness of nature and life. It made us a bit critical of ourselves as we compared their experience of life to our own and in doing so we were not recognising our own resilience by acknowledging the difficulties we had overcome in our own context of life. “Look how simple their life is, look how grateful they are for the rain, the sun, the harvest. Why can’t we just be grateful for everything and live happily ever after?” It seems easy and logical enough in order to secure a path of happiness and inner peace. However, it is a bit like comparing apples with oranges. The people in remote villages have actually lived their whole lives within their own secluded context. On the other hand, in our modern and more complex life we are processing information and experiences at a much faster pace than those living in remote villages, yet also unpacking the layers of life and the storms, searching for the things that define our existence and our reason for being. To except the same outcome of understanding the complexity of life, through such diverse experiences of life is somewhat unrealistic.

The other thing that this sort of gratitude can ignite is a feeling of guilt. “I’m so lucky, look what I have in comparison but why aren’t I happy?” Not easy for someone dealing with mental health issues and also the reason why I think we need to be careful about using this sort of comparison which demands gratitude, inadvertently dismissing one’s emotional reality instead of reaching out to help them. I am not saying that we shouldn’t use this form of gratitude as it is a powerful way of understanding ourselves through  empathy and compassion for others, therefore, indeed it has it’s place. However, we realised that comparing ourselves to people with less or people who were facing adversity moved us emotionally and made us temporarily grateful for our own situation but true gratitude only flowed through daily practise within our own reality. And so I would argue that in our fast paced 21st century context, developing habits of gratitude as early as possible and within our own life experience is not just a recommendation, it is a matter of necessity because it really does make us happier.

 

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Dear Adult, JTLYK about Gratitude

In this physical world, we learn to be grateful for the material things we get. Thanks (more like ta – try saying ‘th’ when you’re 2) is one of the first words we learn other than mum, dad, yes and no. It forms a pattern, we get something and we say thank you. We mostly say thank you when we get material things, but life gives us a lot more than that to be grateful for.

When I learn to be grateful not just for the thing I see in front of me but for all that happened in order for that thing to exist, then I learn more than ‘thank-you’. I learn that everything in this physical world is somehow connected. I also learn that the little things are just as important as the BIG finished product. In doing so, I become grateful for everything because I understand that without ALL of it, there would be NONE of it.

When I learn to be grateful, I learn to understand the bigger picture and focus on the things I have, the things I am and the things I give. It doesn’t make my problems go away, but it helps me to realise that when I have problems, they are not ALL that I have and they are not ALL that I am.

When I learn to be grateful I understand more about what makes me happy and so then I can think about things that make others happy too. This helps me to be a better friend and to help others, my family, my community and the world.

When I learn to be grateful I understand the true value of things, not just what they cost with money. I can make a connection with the love, time and energy that someone has given in order to make that thing possible, visible, available, to make it exist. This also allows me to learn how to look after what I have, with a sense of responsibility, respect and LOVE.

When I learn to be grateful for experiences, feelings, people and nature, not just material things, I understand that even if I have little, I still have something to give and as long as I have something to give, I will always have a reason to be.

With a reason to be, I have a much better chance of happiness.

YW

 

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Dear Adult, JTLYK about LOVE

 

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Exactly 10 years ago today, I discovered the meaning of an entire universe conspiring to bring two people together.

It’s a long story but in short, I was travelling, I followed an illy coffee sign into a bar, I ordered a coffee and then took a liking to a retro Campari ashtray on my table. I pretended to smoke a cigarette as I tried to steal the ashtray and then erupted into a coughing fit causing the button on my jeans to pop off and roll all the way down the stairs. I tried to retrieve the button and then bumped into the man who I now share my life with. There’s no doubt in my mind that people and situations come into our life exactly when they are meant to. Just imagine if one small event did not take place then the moment we met would never have occurred. For example; if I hadn’t been introduced to illy coffee and Campari by my Italian friend Rosa, if my friend Wendy had not booked the bus trip from Venice to Switzerland for me (with a stopover in Innsbruck that I had no idea about- I really should have read the itinerary she sent me) if the guy all the way across the other side of the world in Preston, Melbourne Australia, actually repaired the button on my jeans properly as he was supposed to.

Obviously I’m telling the story from a very non-romantic point of view. Use the same facts and add a dreamy tone, you have yourself a fairy tale love story. I didn’t choose to write about it in that way because to me, that is not LOVE, it’s just a story dressed up in fancy words. Words that feed our human habit of wanting and longing for something. Instead of ‘forever wanting’ what if we simply aimed to find peace with where we are, with what we have and allow life to unfold more naturally, as it did that night for me and for him. Neither of us should have been at that bar on that particular night but for reasons unknown and situations unplanned, we were.

I purposely did not write about finding the greatest LOVE of all time in one of the most romantic ‘looking’ places on earth because that would be misleading. I didn’t find LOVE that night. I found him. Two average people who simply met and chose to share with one another some of the LOVE that already existed within them. I wasn’t saved from an imagined misery of being without a partner brought upon by popular culture perspective. I certainly wasn’t rescued by a man, finally finding the LOVE of my life. The LOVE of my life is life itself because without a life what’s there to LOVE anyway? A relationship does not fulfil our need for LOVE because LOVE does not need, it simply exists.

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Our understanding of LOVE depends on the lens with which we choose to see through. I can’t help but think that during this physical human experience, our own inner lens have been blurred by images of what we think LOVE and other things in life should look like. We dress up the idea of some grand, life-changing moment and wait for an exclusive event to arrive, which never does and then with disappointment and often bitterness in our hearts, we surrender to the misery of daily life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things and of course keeping our eye on our goals and the bigger picture, but we must keep in mind that life is mostly a series of small events and gratitude for all of it, not some of it, is key to long lasting happiness and LOVE.

Teaching our children an animated and glorified version of LOVE is dangerous and only leads to disappointment and confusion later in life. We need to show them LOVE instead of presenting them with a brochure about LOVE. After all, LOVE certainly doesn’t look anything like the brochure. In fact, life doesn’t look anything like the brochure. I once had the pleasure of being present in a school office when a student came along demanding to see the principal. His problem, in his words, “this school is shit, it’s nothing like the brochure”. He went on to point to a poster on the wall of some happy children and stated, “who even looks like that anyway!” Bless him, that dear boy, for his bravery and honesty at a time where he was clearly feeling the frustration of not being able to measure up to the happy children in the brochure. Contrary to popular belief or should I say popular judgement, the boy was not horrible and disrespectful. He was unhappy and longing to find LOVE and comfort in his experience of school life. Yes, a conversation about how to express ourselves in a more gentle and appropriate way was indeed necessary with that particular student, followed by an apology to anyone he may have offended through his choice of somewhat harsh vocabulary and a promise to choose better words and better ways in the future. However and more to the point, to have approached the situation with anything other than LOVE would only have escalated it. Luckily, the principal was open to the student’s feedback and most importantly, the situation was met with LOVE and therefore it was quickly resolved.

To say I learned something that day is an understatement. I used that experience to transform my own habit of high expectations followed by disappointment and claimed, “this brochure is shit, it’s nothing like the real thing”. Thus, the real thing isn’t so bad after all. It’s just that when you compare it to the brochure, well . . . I think you get the point here.

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When it comes to LOVE, adults tend to dream a little and view LOVE through an invisible, inner telescope at a safe distance from it instead of actually feeling it the way that children naturally and intuitively experience LOVE . We talk about LOVE instead of opening ourselves up to experience it. We search for LOVE in all the wrong places and then we are met with unnecessary levels of an absence of LOVE. This is generally the reason why so many people are unhappy. We think that love is about finding the right partner, having the perfect life, the latest fashion, car, house etc. but LOVE is so much more than that.

 

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What scares us most about love is that we are actually aware of the fact that the only real choice we have other than fully embracing the complexity of LOVE is to live a life in opposition of LOVE. The opposite of LOVE is fear and fear brings with it enormous regret. Regret for the LOVE that we couldn’t feel, regret for the things we never said, (or the things we did say) regret for the things we didn’t do (as well as some of the things we did do) and ultimately, regret for the life we didn’t live.

I would argue that the whole tone of the past decade to just ‘be positive’ all the time is actually exhausting and somewhat delusional. Again, another brochure that does not live up to it’s promise in real life. Please don’t judge me when I say this but when I hear warm and fuzzy stories about LOVE it makes me cringe. When I hear up beat positive mantras I run in the opposite direction. However, show me LOVE when the shit hits the fan and I’m all yours ready to learn! The turning point in helping our children become resilient adults will not happen by showing them that life is perfect. Rather than trying to be perfect we should be aiming for real and authentic. Raising children who have a deep understanding of themselves, their strengths as well as their vulnerabilities so that they can be better prepared for life’s ups and downs. In addition to this, giving them tools such as mindfulness in order to take action and get through life’s challenges in a healthy, nurturing and loving way.

We should stop the constant judgement of our current generation of children and young adults and we really need to stop the nostalgic ‘good ol days’ and ‘back in my day’ mantra. To say that the current generation of teenagers are weak compared to generations before them is totally ignorant and irresponsible. I challenge any adult out there to turn back the clock and return as a teenager in this current world we live in. I don’t think we would last a day in their shoes, constantly being compared to images of perfection. Having our most vulnerable and confusing young, adult lives played out under the watchful and often harshly judging eye of social media is not something I would willingly sign up for.

In order to really understand what is going on in our child or teenager’s life, we should  just listen to their favourite songs instead of following them around on social media. I guarantee that the words of those songs resonate with some, if not all of their own inner dialogue. Artists are the real therapists of the world as they willingly throw their pain and stories into the wind so that we may hear, feel and understand our own vulnerabilities.

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In his book, Conversations with God, An Uncommon Dialogue, 1995, Neale Donald Walsch points out something very simple yet powerful regarding how we approach every situation in our lives. He presents this question. “In every situation ask yourself; what would love do now?” I’ve worked with this concept for many years and I have to warn you that this is where I really learned about the less romantic side of of LOVE. It makes you do some difficult things and you need to embrace the unknown, the unpredictable, the mystery of letting life unfold without being in full control. When we choose LOVE, it can take us to some pretty scary places, but I can confirm through my own experience that the concept of taking action from a place of LOVE instead of a place of FEAR is the only way to get through this life alive!

For now, my current understanding of LOVE is that LOVE is either present or it’s not present. It is either everywhere or nowhere. It is either forever or for a certain time. Wherever, whenever and however depends on whoever. Whoever chooses to feel LOVE will. Whoever chooses not to feel LOVE will not. And so, LOVE depends on me and only me. It’s that simple. As adults, we just need to choose LOVE and our children will practically raise themselves because LOVE makes better choices than FEAR ever will.

 

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I once overheard a group of children asking each other questions about their favourite things. The children asked the most common ‘favourite thing’ question; what is your favourite colour? The playful giggling and chatting that had accompanied the previous questions was silenced abruptly as one of the boys in the group proudly announced his favourite colour.”Pink!” he exclaimed. The silence was then met with loud laughter and the boy looked at one child, then another, searching for clues that could help him work out what had gone wrong. Up until that moment they were freely expressing their favourite things, they were connecting, they were all but one and then in just one random and unexpected moment he was on the outer. “Pink is for girls” shouted out one of the other children. No doubt this story has happened many times before and in many places but it wasn’t the story itself that captured my attention, it was the way the boy handled it. After thinking for a moment he cheerfully yet with a hint of a newly developed self-doubt proclaimed; “but pink is the colour of LOVE”. Oh how I savoured that moment, I breathed it in as though it was the last bit of fresh air I may have access to for the rest of my days on earth. He knew it, he felt it, he lived it and he owned it. He saw pink and connected the feeling of LOVE with it. Sadly, he learned that day that the world he lived in had claimed the colour pink as a colour for girls. His favourite colour of all the colours visible in his physical world was taken away from him in just one moment. The hidden messages that the colour pink is a colour for girls would slowly reveal themselves to him throughout his life and he would learn that only girls LOVE, boys need to be tough, boys need to be strong and LOVE is a weakness. In one context the world would be telling him that it is safe to be himself and in another context he would learn that he is only free to be himself when it fits in with popular culture.

Imagine if children could learn to choose colours based on how the colour made them feel instead of what the colour represents in this physical, consumer-driven world. They would have access to yet another tool to manage themselves and their emotional wellbeing throughout their whole lives. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.

 

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Our biggest problem with LOVE in our consumer-driven world is that we have fallen in love with things. It’s hard to know if we really LOVE things or whether we just feel like we need them, either way we have fallen in LOVE with wanting and having. LOVE doesn’t live in wanting and it certainly doesn’t exist is needing. LOVE is present in ‘being’ because it is energy, a feeling, emotion that we can only feel as it moves through us, through all living things.

If we keep searching for LOVE in things, instead of allowing ourselves to feel it within us, we will never be able to create anything truly satisfying in our lives.

We’ve been playing a little game with my family at the beach every day. It’s called the generation game. We noticed that the older a person was, the less ‘things’ they carried with them to the beach. It has been a real eye opener to see how ‘things’ have been accumulated at such a rapid pace. Through our daily observations we discovered a massive difference between the 60+ generation and the 40’s. It seems that in just one generation, the whole consumer addictive cycle reached full bloom. As for the 30’s group, they totally win the prize for most beach accessories, loaded with carts full of  toys, inflatable giant floating unicorns, snorkels, flippers, tents, sun lounges, umbrellas, the list goes on. Yet, only one or two generations before them, other ‘humans’ sit humbly under a tree, with a towel, newspaper and sun hat. Totally owning the moment without having to attend to all their accessories and in sync with the simplicity of the sea before them.

 

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Another thing we learn about LOVE from our current world is that real LOVE is rare, so it is hard to find. If we do find it we must hold on tight and never share it. As though LOVE is a singular expression from one person to one other person only. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I saw a young couple walking through the old medieval town where I live. It is a very charming and romantic place, easy to experience feeling nostalgic and dreamy. The man (really a boy no more than 20 years old) stopped to take a photo. As he positioned the camera (really a phone – I refuse to tell a story where a phone takes a picture because the meaning of a phone is to make calls and the meaning of a camera is to take pictures and I just cannot get past that, semantically that is) Anyway, back to the man (boy) positioning the camera (phone) as he did this, his girlfriend aligned herself in front of the building, flicking her hair back, creating the correct angle for her face, shoulders, hips and feet and then smiling in preparation for the soon to be taken picture. However, there was a sudden an unexpected twist, the man (boy) turned to another building and took a picture of it without even realising that his girlfriend had been posing in preparation for that moment when her beloved would capture his LOVE for her in a photograph that would last forever. There was a feeling of slight awkwardness once she realised that the LOVE and admiration was not being directed towards her. Similar to when you try to shake someone’s hand but they don’t know you’re trying to shake their hand so your hand is just there all alone as you attempt to figure out a creative way to move your hand back towards the rest of yourself. The girlfriend was awkwardly attempting to position her body back as though she had just been walking casually the whole time. The boyfriend unaware of what had just happened.

Just a few minutes later the young couple were long gone and the beauty of the building photographed by the man (boy) stood tall, it’s historic charm on full display. I stared at the building for a brief moment and couldn’t help but wonder if the young girl would spend the rest of their romantic summer holiday doubting the depth of his love and comparing herself to a heritage listed building. I wanted to run down the street and tell her it’s not you it’s the building! LOVE is everywhere and LOVE is so abundant for those who choose and those who can feel it that your boyfriend can LOVE the beautiful building without using up any of the LOVE he has for you. The fact that he noticed a beautiful building and stopped to capture it is evidence of the LOVE that resides within him. That is wonderful, it will enable him to LOVE you more because the more LOVE he has within him the more LOVE he will have for you. It is only when the LOVE within is overwhelmed by other emotions such as fear, anger, jealousy, frustration, disappointment, bitterness, grief and despair that we forget how to LOVE. It’s not that love is rare and hard to find. It’s just that the other feelings get louder and stronger.

 

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Dear Adult, JTLYK about LOVE,

This will be brief.

I really hope you get it.

I have nothing to say about LOVE because children don’t talk about LOVE.

We just show it.

The problem is adults often cannot see LOVE because it may not look the way adults think LOVE should look.

That’s all I can tell you about LOVE.

You really need to work the rest out for yourself.

I will give you a hint though.

Don’t share your soul with the likes of Lord Voldermort.

YW

 

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