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Remembrance Day

Today we remember…some with sadness in their hearts, some with smiles. And more often, both….

Lets start with a story…
It was a busy morning at the clinic, and at approximately 8:30 a.m., an elderly gentleman arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 a.m. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before a doctor would be able to see him.

He was looking at his watch and, since I was not busy with another patient at the moment, I decided to evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redressed his wound.

While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentlemen told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she had Alzheimer Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he were a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know who I am, but I still know who she is.”

Remembrance means many things….

We come to know who God is through relationships. Spirit’s basic method of communicating It’s self is not the “saved” individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that Mystery initiates in community: in marriages, families, friends, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, churches and centers who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.

Our relationships are the bond that hold us together, in all times…the good and the not-so-good.

Peacemaking, forgiveness, and reconciliation are not some kind of ticket to heaven later. They are the price of peoplehood—the signature of heaven—now.
We have been talking about relationships in many forms these past weeks, with the 10 ‘words’, with the 5 love languages…all relationship stuff. Did you notice?

Our Wayshower, Jesus, taught us, by example, the importance of relationships. His first vision of church is so simple we missed it: where “two or three are gathered in my name” (Matthew 18:20), I am with you.
We are forming relationships right here, in this Community of like-minded people. And these same relationships help us in unspoken ways through the days and weeks. We may not know it or even realize how the family we have here aids us on the journey. But they do….we do!

Relationships…..

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness and relationship on ever new levels. We may begin by making connections with family and friends, with nature and animals, and then grow into deeper connectedness.
That’s what all this talk about getting to know who you are, you-yourself, is about. For as you know yourself, you are better equipted to know, really know, others.
And as we connect with others, we can and will experience this full connectedness as union with God.
For some it starts the other way around: they experience union with God—and then find it easy to unite with everything else. I would venture that addiction recovery works like that.

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected. No one can possibly go to heaven alone—or it would not be heaven.
And that’s the whole point, we are creating heaven here and now, so, the relationships we have and form helps us all create that heaven on earth.

But sometimes, those that have been helping us create heaven on earth, leave earth a little too early, in our minds anyway. We all have loved ones who have transitioned to divine energy. I have family and friends, beloved four legged ‘family’ too.

This, from Unity Minister Joy Wyler, may help:
“You have to learn to go on with your life without her.” This was the advice I kept getting when my infant daughter Sarah, died. Every fiber of my being shouted, “No!” I quietly wondered how many of those giving this advice had lost a child.

Yet I knew many others have experienced the loss of someone significant in their lives; a loss that feels like part of their heart has gone as well. As I processed the loss of Sarah, I became more aware of spiritual teachings about love, and I experienced a very real sense of the eternal nature of love.

Specifically, I became more attuned to experiencing in my everyday activities the love of Sarah and others I had lost. My response to the advice, “Go on with your life without her,” shifted from just “No!” to “No, I have to find a way to go on without her in my arms but always in my heart.”

We carry in our hearts the loved ones who are no longer physically with us every day— particularly on special occasions. The holidays are a poignant time of celebrating love while inevitably remembering the empty spaces where a beloved once lived and loved.

We can share poignant memories of those who are no longer on this earthly plane, that continue to live in us and through us. Our memories are more than mental monuments. They are expressions of our love for those who have passed.

As we pay homage to loved ones, we revive the feelings of family and unity. We know there is no separation in spirit. We are united in a spirit of oneness that can never be divided. As we live in the present, we prepare for a future of loving expression and fulfillment.

I remember the anniversaries of the passing of my own loved ones. I give thanks for their wit and wisdom, their help and love. I am who I am because of their part in my life. I honor who they were and their contribution to the world. How blessed I am for family, friends, teachers, mentors—for all of those who have helped me grow. I remember them today with heartfelt gratitude and love.

“How someone dies does not make them special. Anyone can do it. It’s how they lived that matters because not everyone lives even while they’re alive.”

Believe it or not, this quote is from one of my Dragons and wizards books….

We are reminded to live our lives daily…the Daily Word tells us every day of opportunities to appreciate what God has presented to us to learn from and enjoy.

Too often we fail at that…at living while we are still here in the flesh. And by living while we are still here, we honor those we love who are not.

In his book “Lee: The Last Years,” author Charles Flood reports that after the Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Yankee artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.

After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, cut it down and let it go!” He knew that as long as she continued to recount her losses, she’d never get over them. She had to release the North in order to move on to healthy living.

Many of us do tend to hold on to the pain of loss, whatever loss it is. We like to wallow in the sorrow, in the ‘poor me’ sympathy we receive while we feel sorry for ourselves.

We fail to realize the benefit of letting go of all that and getting out of the “Valley of the Shadow” to bask in the sunshine of release.

There is a parable about Krishna saying to the people, “Here, I have a very special gift for you, the gift of immortality. Won’t you reach out and take it?”

“Thank you,” they say, “but we can’t, you see. Our hands are full of these sweet mangoes.”

Krishna smiles, “Let go of the mangoes,” he explains patiently, “then your hands will be free.”

“But Lord”, they protest. “We like mangoes. Why don’t you give us your present first, then we promise we’ll let go of the mangoes.”

What’s the Lesson there? We hold onto something, maybe even fearful of what’s available to come to us…kind of afraid of what just might be even better than those luscious mangos??? Or cutting down a tree destroyed by cannon fire…

Sometimes we just have to have faith. Faith that our intuition is right; that it won’t lead us astray. Faith that there IS a Higher Power that knows what we, superior human that we are, do not know.

“Every beginning starts with an ending. One must be ready to let go of the old before the new can be embraced.”

So, let’s prepare to let go, to move forward. Let’s honor those who have blessed us with their time, their love, their wisdom.

Let’s thank those who have gone before us…discovering the way, finding the Light.

Let’s recognize and give thanks to all who served a higher good. Sacred service is an expression of God’s eternal good, which blesses our hearts, lives, and the world forever.
Let’s remember them all…
AT THE RISING of the sun, and at its going down, lets remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, lets remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, lets remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, lets remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, lets remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, lets remember them.
As long as we live, they, too, will live; for they are now a part of us as we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, lets remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, lets remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share, lets remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs, lets remember them.
As long as we live, they, too, will live; for they are now a part of us as we remember them.

And I finish with this story that I’ve shared before but think it deserves repeating:
It is told that in 1862 during the Civil War, Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of a narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who was severely wounded on the field.

Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, Captain Ellicombe decided to risk being captured to bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach to avoid being noticed, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward the encampment.

When the Captain finally reached his own line, he discovered the soldier was actually a Confederate soldier, but that he was dead.

The Captain lit the lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light he saw the face of the soldier, and it was the face of his own son! It seems the boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out and, without telling his father, he enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status and asked if he could have a group of Army band members play at the service.

The request was denied since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say he could have a small funeral with one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper stuffed in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform.

Those notes became known as “Taps.” We are all familiar with the melody, but do we know the words?

Day is done… Gone the sun… From the lakes…From the hills…From the sky…
All is well… Safely rest…. God is nigh.

Fading light… Dims the sight… And a star… Gems the sky… gleaming bright…
From afar…Drawing nigh… Falls the night.

Thanks and praise…For our days…Neath the sun…Neath the stars…Neath the sky…
As we go…This we know…God is nigh.
Lwt’s take those thoughts into meditation…

Similar Features – UNity of Rehoboth Beach, May 20, 2018

Similar Features

Here’s a quote from Kahlil Gibran
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
Any thoughts on what that might mean to you?

Is it some kind of predestination? Are we setting ourselves up for our experiences? Do we see things in current happenings similar to past experiences?

In the book, “Point of Power” by Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck, He writes, “What I look for and what I think I will find is what I tend to find, not because it is inherently in the event or situation but because it is in my mind. I see, perceive, and experience my world through my thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.”

We see what we expect to see. Does it make you wonder what you were thinking!!??!!

Stepping into a Unity Church or Center is a good example. If all you have experienced is traditional Christion Churches, Unity is not what you would expect…especially when we get into the Service! It takes a bit to understand that we are not your Traditional Church…we don’t even like to use the word CHURCH because of the emotions involved.

There is a Hindu metaphor about a man who goes into his house just at dusk and sees a large snake coiled on the floor.

He reacts, of course, with panic and shock. His heart races, adrenalin pumps, and his reflexes kick in at once. He jumps back and instinctively reaches to turn on the light.
In the brighter light, he can see that what he had thought to be a snake is in fact a coiled rope.

We see what we expect. We talk about bringing the light to situations to see the truth many times. It’s a great practice and it avoids a lot of panic responses.

I’m a big fan of Melissa Ethridge

– she’s so talented – she sings, plays different instruments, and writes her own songs – that really impresses me.
One of the songs on her very first CD is called “Similar Features”. The song is about the break-up of a relationship and the new love interest of the person she’s singing about; seems this person has “similar features” to the one that just left.

Often, if we are distressed about someone who has left a relationship, we could see them in others. I recall ‘seeing’ my friend Fred’s face on many others after he was killed in a motorcycle accident. I guess it’s the disbelief that the person is no longer around physically. It’s that wish to see them one more time, wherever and however it may be.

It got me thinking about the people we see day-to-day. I have noticed that as I move along on my spiritual journey, I can see similar features on the people I pass by walking down the street, at the mall or grocery store. Someone I see very often reminds me of someone I know; could be family, friends, co-workers.
When this happens, I am reminded that we are all one. And it reminds me that the love we have for each other can be found in each and every one of us. It’s the Christ presence within, the God Source within us all and within everything in the universe.

And, according to Rev. Hasselback, it’s what we expect to see in others. IF we expect love and acceptance, that can be what we will experience. If we expect something less, we can experience that also. Our choice.

You have heard the story of a man entering a town and meet a man at the entrance…he asks him what kind of people lived there and the response is a question, “What kind of people where there where you came from?”

The man says, “They were unfriendly and selfish, never helping others.”

“That’s the same kind of people you will find here.”

A bit later another man comes up to the town and asks the same question and is asked the same question in return.
So, this time the response is, “Oh they were great, friendly and helpful.”

“Well, that’s the same kind of people you will find here too.”

Another example of you see what you expect.

Fear is a learned emotion. We react based upon someone else’s experience, such as a child being afraid of a thunder storm because their parent was afraid and showed their fear around their children. The children then expect to be afraid even tho they might not know why they are afraid.

I saw this same reaction in my dogs, now passed on over the Rainbow Bridge. One was afraid of thunderstorms and soon both were, even tho the younger one was not afraid initially. With both of them shaking in their paws, I didn’t know which to cuddle with first.

I’m thankful Zoe is not afraid…unfortunately, of anything…but people until she gets to know them.

Back to the Lesson…

Paul Hasselbeck says that when something happens, we would be better off asking ourselves’ what are we going to do about the situation instead of asking why it happened.’ Asking why, he states, keeps us in a victim role. But by asking what can I do about it takes us away from feeling helpless and turning to action.

So, for my dogs, I gave them Rescue Remedy to ease their stress about the storm and spend the time comforting them as the storm goes on outside.

And when so called disasters strike, whether they are floods, tornadoes, a tsunami, instead of asking WHY, we can go into action, whatever it is that we are capable of doing. It could be saying a prayer, sending funds or help packages, or actually traveling to the site to help. Anything positive will help the situation.

Putting action, the what in place instead of why, keeps us in a positive frame of mind instead of negative.
Hasselbeck says, “the good news is that we create our own reality, our own life experiences through our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. The bad news is that we create our own reality our own life experiences through our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. Knowing this we can assume our power, the power God always intended us to be.”

Assume your power…we fail, maybe are afraid to step into our power. Isn’t that the essence of Marianne Williamson’s quote about “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….”

And we are reminded of the 12 Powers we ALL have and just need to bring into consciousness.

That song leads me into another thread of thinking….being so alike as Melissa states in her song, why are we so against each other?

I’ve been focusing on using my Powers to resolve my prejudices. Yes, I have prejudices….everyone does. Take a moment and look into your heart, being ‘brutally honest’ as Dr. Phil would say, with yourself.

Prejudice is defined as – preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience
Can you honestly say you are not prejudice, at least a little?

Here are a few items that might stimulate your thinking…
• Some people will not buy a Japanese car because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
• After 9/11, anyone who looked Middle Eastern was looked at suspiciously and was often the victim of prejudice.
• Some landlords will not rent to a gay couple. And we now know some bakers will not bake for them either.
• Hallmark, the card company, has swapped the word ‘gay’ for ‘fun’ in the song ‘Deck the Halls.’
• Some people assume someone is gay because of the way they act.
• The hobby retailer Hobby Lobby has been known to not sell Jewish menorahs.
• Some parents will not approve their offspring marrying anyone of a different religion.
• Some corporations hire women but do not promote any of them to supervisory positions.
• It is sometimes assumed that someone who is physically disabled is also mentally disabled.
• White people don’t think White Privilege exists.

Got anyone thinking?

“The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self – to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.” Barbara Brown Taylor

Another way to check yourself is to be conscious of your reactions to people and situations. We are attempting to be more conscious anyway, so why not add checking our prejudices at the door along with all the other things we are working on.

Carolyne Mathlin suggests we should ask, “How can I love more?”

What is typically underneath that question is a desire to understand more. Love doesn’t change. It is something that is the very essence of who and what we are.

Understanding is a bridge to living love. The more we understand, the more we are able to feel and express the love that is already present.

We can and DO make up many stories based on limited, external information, from all parts of our lives. Our call is to go deeper. The more we understand, the more we can feel the love that connects us all.

There are many ways to inquire as a way to develop understanding and ultimately love. When you are seeking to build understanding, the important starting point is to be pure in your intention. Start with the awareness that this is a soul in human form that has a story, with hopes and dreams, challenges and struggles. When you start with that, you start from a place of connection with them that is beyond personal beliefs.

Mathlin then suggests we, be curious. Ask questions in a welcoming, open tone; welcoming because you want to be invited into their world; open because there is room in your awareness for what they have to share.

“Tell me more?” is a great way to encourage someone to let you into their story. The more curious we are, the more we can stay open to viewpoints outside our own worldview, ultimately building understanding and an ability to love more.

We live in a world where we can become isolated, limiting our connection with anyone different from ourselves. The more we see each other in the various expressions of humanity, including all the different reasons people believe what they do, the more we will love. The more we feel understood, the less we need to defend and attack the other.

Learning more about someone else and why they believe what they do doesn’t take away your power or your voice. It simply informs you more. Understanding another doesn’t mean agreeing; it means you care enough about someone’s intrinsic value to see from their perspective.

It’s not about understanding with an agenda to change them. It’s about the intention to love them wholeheartedly.

As you venture out into the world or even sit down to a family meal and find yourself struggling to love someone, stop. Take a few cleansing breaths. Connect with them and then seek to understand. Prepare to be open to, even surprised by, the possibility of loving more right then and there.

And thus we can know, from Robert Frost “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

And knowing this, we can also know, It’s not the world that needs changed its what we think about the world that needs changed. And then life goes on.

The 5 Love Languages – Physical Touch, Unity of Rehoboth Beach, May 6, 2018

The 5 Love Languages – Physical Touch

That wasn’t a very appropriate joke for the conclusion of our discussion on the 5 love languages, was it? Or, maybe for some, it was….

We’ve discussed four of the 5 languages…..Affirmative Words, Quality Time/Conversations, Receiving Gifts, and last week, Acts of Service.

I’m guessing many of you have figured out what your language is as well as your secondary language. Yes, most of us have a secondary language, like speaking English and Spanish.

And if you haven’t figured it out after today, there is a quiz, of course, if you just go to the 5 Love Languages webpage.

So, let’s get into today’s Lesson, the Love Language of Physical Touch. You may have noticed. I am a touchy person, I tend to make contact when speaking with someone and do not hesitate to lay a hand on someone’s shoulder as I pass by. I haven’t had my hand slapped yet but please let me know if this is offensive to you.

Studies have shown that babies that are held, cuddled and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those without physical touch. In fact, the babies and children can develop ‘attachment disorder’ if they do not receive attention from a loving person. Maybe one reason a parent is encouraged to take a year off to bond with the baby is an effort to prevent that condition.

All societies have some form of physical touching as a means of social greeting…European bear hug & the two-cheek kiss by the French, for example.

Touching among friends is determined by what is acceptable. My friends hug when we see each other, but some people shake hands, or even kiss. When we do Hugs & Handshakes here at Unity, there is a choice on purpose. There are people who do not care for hugging…so we remind everyone that handshakes are just as acceptable.

Refusing to shake hands, tho, can communicate that something is not ‘right’ in that relationship, however causal it is.

Physical touch, done in a loving, tender way, is a way of communicating emotional love. It can make or break a relationship; it can communicate love or hate.

“Almost instinctively, in a time of crisis, we hug one another…physical touch is so powerful a communicator of love.”

Dr. Chapman states, “The most important thing we can do for our loved ones in a time of crisis is to love them….words may mean little, physical touch will communicate that you care.”

This is another easy love language to learn. It can be as simple as touching as you pass each other, holding hands while taking a walk, back rubs (or my fav, rubbing my feet), and of course, with the appropriate person, sexual intercourse.

But this is not all about sex!

Holding hands, kissing, embracing, a touch on an arm as you pass by each other are all ways of expressing emotional love to your spouse or partner or friend.

Unlike smell or sight, touch is not limited to one area. The body has tactile receptors throughout, some more sensitive than others

There are nonsexual touches that mean as much if not more than sexual touches.

Casual touches as you are traveling in the car, laying together on the couch while watching a movie, a light touch in passing….all messages of love and caring.

Other ways to ‘touch’, if your friend or partner is tactile oriented…purchase gifts that relate to that…fluffy slippers, plush pillows, soft sweaters….

Plant a tactile garden that has a variety of different leaves and flowers that are enjoyable to the touch.
They will think of you every time they run their fingers over the different leaves and flowers….

Of course, there are appropriate & inappropriate ways to touch others. The ‘Me too’ movement has finally brought sexual harassment and physical abuse into public knowledge, if not understanding.

And knowledge of our love Language may help us understand why a woman could ‘stand by her man’ when finding out he was cheating. Maybe physical touch is not her language….
It’s a thought.

If one finds a certain touch uncomfortable or irritating, they should speak up. And if you are the one doing it, do not insist on continuing to do it—that is insensitive to their needs & doesn’t communicate love. That is more like bullying.

Fr. Richard Rohr tells us, “Modern culture’s preoccupation with the physical body and the exploitation of the body as soulless matter reflects the deep human disconnect from self, neighbor, earth, and God. Sex has become more like a video game with the goal of winning rather than part of the deep religious core of cosmic evolution.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin tells us “The physical structure of the universe is love.”

Awareness of our desires and attention to our deepest longings must orient us toward a unified heart and consciousness. Love is more than a survival mechanism; it is the fire breathed into the fabric of the cosmos that enkindles life, rendering life more than biological function. Love turns passion into transformative power.
According to de Chardin, Two things happen in any loving relationship. First, a new being—the relationship—is born with its own unique potentials and purpose. Second, the relationship—this new being—enhances and develops the individuals within it, each with their own unique potentials and purpose. Both effects, when recognized and developed, foster evolution. . . .

Louis Savary and Patricia Berne remind us, “Love is the most powerful force or energy in the universe. That power is multiplied in relationships. Love’s potency is released most powerfully among people who have formed a relationship (a union). People who truly unite for a purpose beyond themselves become “differentiated” as they unite and work together in a shared consciousness to achieve their larger purpose.”

That holds true for any relationship…even the ones we form here at Unity.

Again, Fr. Richard Rohr states, “Spirituality and sexuality are two sides of one coin. They are both a gift. One without the other might be mistrusted. But together they give us the capacity, not just to make love to another person, but to make love to God, no matter which relationship comes first. Sexuality and spirituality emerge from the same foundation and have the same goal: universal love.”

Sex is not a mere continuation of the species; it is the energy of love by which this universe is in the process of personalization, becoming more spiritualized, energized, and conscious.

So, we are creatures of choice…poor or good. Choice is our God given gift…a very precious gift. And, meeting the needs of another is a choice we make daily.

So, we choose to live from love…. or not.

We choose to use our knowledge of the love languages in a positive way or not.

Chapman reminds us, “Negative use of love languages…ignoring a love language is like ignoring the needs of a garden…it dies if we do not tend to… watering, weeding & fertilizing.”

Each of the love languages are vulnerable to insincere manipulation. Withholding any language from a loved one when you know that is their ‘language’ can be hurtful. ….like doing something just for the praise you would receive.

Or using sarcastic words towards someone who’s love language is Affirmative Words, or even the ‘silent treatment’ is a deeper wound, …it can be devastating.

Whether it’s not doing a service or not being present, whatever, the negative effect of withholding a love language can be what leads to a division in the relationship.

SO….

What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved? What do you desire above all else?

Physical touch is not necessarily your Love language just because you like sexual intercourse. Males sexual desire is physically based because of the build-up of sperm cells and fluid.

Women’s sexual desire is more emotionally based.

So, if men do not have a desire for physical touch outside of sexual intercourse, physical touch is probably not their Love Language.

Here’s a few questions that may help if you have not discovered your love language yet…

To discover your primary love language:
1. What does your spouse or partner do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.

2. What have you most often requested of your spouse or partner? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.

3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse or partner? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

Remember: Love is something you do for someone else, not yourself

Cynthia Bourgeault gives us some relationship wisdom, using scripture to help us along: here’s the scripture….

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).

“Love bears all things.” This does not mean a dreary sort of putting-up-with or victimization. There are two meanings of the word bear, and they both apply. The first means “to hold up, to sustain”—like a bearing wall, which carries the weight of the house. . . . To bear [also] means “to give birth, to be fruitful.” So love is that which in any situation is the most life-giving and fruitful.

“Love believes all things.”. . . . [This] does not mean to be gullible, to refuse to face up to the truth. Rather, it means that in every possible circumstance of life, there is . . . a way of perceiving that leads to cynicism and divisiveness, a closing off of possibility; and there is a way that leads to higher faith and love, to a higher and more fruitful outcome. To “believe all things” means always to orient yourselves toward the highest possible outcome in any situation and strive for its actualization.

“Love hopes all things.”. . . In the practice of conscious love you begin to discover . . . a hope that is related not to outcome but to a wellspring . . . a source of strength that wells up from deep within you independent of all outcomes. . . . It is a hope that can never be taken away from you because it is love itself working in you, conferring the strength to stay present to that “highest possible outcome” that can be believed and aspired to.

Finally, “love endures all things.” . . . Everything that is tough and brittle shatters; everything that is cynical rots. The only way to endure is to forgive, over and over, to give back that openness and possibility for new beginning which is the very essence of love itself. And in such a way love comes full circle and can fully “sustain and make fruitful,” and the cycle begins again, at a deeper place. And conscious love deepens and becomes more and more rooted. . . .

In case you are curious, according to Dr. Chapman, the Love Languages for most men are – physical touch & words of affirmation; for women – quality time & receiving gifts