Love is a verb
Steven Covey, in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, tells the story from one of his lectures. A man came up to him concerned about his marriage.
“I’m really worried.” He said. “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her any more and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling just isn’t there anymore?” Steven asked.
“That’s right, and we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don‘t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling of love just isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But, then how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love, – the feeling- is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.”
A new look on love, is it not? A different perception of love.
A Course in Miracles tells us we need to change our perceptions, because they are our perceptions, and only we can change them. We’ve discussed this often. And that is what Steven Covey was suggesting to the man in the previous story. To change the perception of just what Love is.
The Bible, one of many spiritual references we use for our life’s journey, mentions LOVE often, and appropriately so, since love is a major theme in the teachings of Jesus.
In first John, 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
And from “The Twelve Powers” by Charles Fillmore: “Unselfish love is of greater value to soul unfoldment than any college course.”
Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. As Eric Butterworth states in “Life is for Loving” – love consists not in finding the right person, but in becoming the right person. Haven’t you heard, when one is seeking a partner, become the partner you wish to have?
In Unity Magazine May/June 2010 issue, in the article East meets West, Rev. Joan Gattuso asks the question – where does the erosion of love begin? And responds with…in the mind of the individual who is not loving self or the partner in a way that can sustain the relationship over time, over the ups and downs, over the highs and lows along the pathway of life.
Starting from an early age, we saw that our value was determined by how those around us behaved or reacted to us. We grew to think of our value as external, not internal. This is our Domestication.
However, there is nothing more important to our emotional, psychological, or spiritual well-being than love. It is a vital part of any growth process. And, we need to have a healthy dose of self-love so that we can, in turn, love the world and those in it. And this must come forth in LOVING ways.
Did you know, the love you create and experience in your life will be in direct relation to the amount you love yourself? If you do not love yourself, then how can you ever believe that anyone else can love you?
1 Corinthians 13:3-13 gives us the familiar: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. … 8Love never fails. … 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Even Professor Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows said, “Do not pity the dead, pity those living without love.”
You see, Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell. And you first dwell in it with yourself, by being LOVING toward yourself, so you can be LOVING toward others.
Butterworth again, states “Love is a process through which you touch and express your own deeper nature…it is the action of divine law”; love is the reality of our total self which we can either frustrate or express”.
SO how can we express love as a verb? Jesus said “This is my commandment, that you love one another (John 15:12) which means ‘that you are loving towards one another’.
We know we can’t make someone love us, but we can always be loving; to them and to ourselves.
There’s the story of an Egyptian ruler who was criticized because he did not destroy his enemies taken prisoner in battle. He said “Do I not destroy my enemies when I love them?” He was practicing the universal principle of love, acting lovingly towards his enemies. Now apply that to yourself. Don’t you eliminate any “enemy” in yourself by loving yourself? Have you eliminated an enemy lately by loving them or it?
Did you know you can rewire your brain for higher consciousness by focusing on love? Isn’t this what we are all intending to do-reach higher consciousness?
And in first Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” We spoke the other week about sin-which is really “missing the mark.” A mistake. And love forgives mistakes.
I often listen to Unity FM and the program host for this particular show was discussing relationships and how to maintain them; how to enhance them. The host and his guests were discussing VELCRO APPRECIATION. Ah, you say, what could Velcro Appreciation mean? Think what Velcro is. It sticks. So, if you were practicing Velcro Appreciation, you would be showing appreciation that sticks.
How would we do that? What is appreciation? Is there a difference between appreciation and say, a compliment?
Isn’t a compliment something like “I like your hair;”or “That’s a nice hat;” or “That’s a good color for you”? It is defined as an admiring remark.
Appreciation is something much more; defined as an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude; an increase in value.
So how do we go about showing appreciation that sticks, that ‘increases in value’? First, look for the good, in yourself, in relationships, in your world, and bless it, (bless means to increase the good). Too often we remember the negative situations in our relationships, in ourselves. Keep the negative in proper prospective. Try to not over react to something that is small in relation to the real things in the world and in your life. Do you know what’s REAL in your life? Or is it just the story you are telling yourself?
When giving or showing appreciation, let it come from your heart, not your head. This is the very question I put to those wonderful people who stepped in to help me when I could not help myself in so many ways after the accident, “Are you doing this from your heart or is it because you think it is something you ‘should’ do?
When love comes from the heart, it is the motivator, energizer and strengthener that gives you the power to speak boldly and act courageously – all the while respecting the people and conditions you find yourself in. The head comes into play when you are thinking of what you want to say. The heart adds the emotion to the act, to the words. The feeling should be authentic and sincere, and that’s what makes it APPRECIATION. This works on yourself too.
We can think of it this way: The American Indian defines appreciation as “sweet water”. If we are being authentic in our showing of appreciation, we are sweetening our physical water, the fluids that help provide life to our physical bodies. And we have seen the effects of what our words do to water, (water book) our bodies are mostly water….think about it.
You may have heard or received a salutation, “Love Always”. We could take the phrase love always and expand it to the perspective of love all ways. In fact, this is an email address for a friend of mine. This is what happens when love is internalized and becomes a state of being rather than a peripheral emotion or a reaction to an external event or person. We love because it is our nature to be loving rather than something that emerges based upon certain conditions or a reaction to what someone else says or does. Love moves from the conditional world to the unconditional realm, to the level of no exceptions.
So when we internalize the thought; “Love is a verb” and make our life a state of being of love, in all ways, thought, word, deed. Truly a verb in our lives.
Again from Unity Magazine “we are not here to create a hell out of God’s holy ground. We are here to love each other to create heaven here together.”
First John 4:8 reminds us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is Love.”
We can take this advice as a model for our consideration: Zig Ziglar was approached by someone in the audience after a lecture, who said: “Zig, it was a great speech, but…motivation doesn’t last.” Zig said, “Bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily!”
Let’s paraphrase it to Be loving daily.
Have a love in all ways day