Find a Penny, Pick It Up
Think of your favorite love story ever…
Maybe it’s actually, “Love Story.”
Maybe it’s “Love Actually” 🙂
Maybe it’s “The Way We Were,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “The Princess Bride,” “The Notebook,” “A Star is Born,” “Titanic,” “Casablanca,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Dirty Dancing,” …
I could go on and on because there are thousands of them…mostly because we love our love stories; don’t we?
I call these tales hundred dollar love stories because they’re all about a very big, rich love. They have drama and heroism, sacrifice and sometimes death. Unfortunately what I’ve discovered is that many people actually don’t feel this kind of love very often, if at all. Instead, a lot of people feel quite poor in love.
Recently, in Writing Your Way Home writing workshop, we’ve been exploring this idea of what love feels like: How do we feel it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? And the time-worn question how do we make it stay? Then we narrowed our attention down to examine the actual flow of love – the love we can feel coming in and the love that we have going out. We determined that in order to feel comfortable giving love, we also need to feel loved.
Well, It may come as a surprise to you, or not, that a lot of people do not feel loved enough. A lot of people, people you meet on the street, at work, school, church, and the store, do not feel deserving of real love. This situation creates a lot of tension in our culture because our greatest desire is: to love and be loved in return.
Deepak Chopra in his book, The Path to Love tells us:
You were created to be completely loved and completely lovable for your whole life. In a way, it is amazing that you do not realize this, because underneath everything you think and feel, innocence is still intact. Time cannot blemish your essence, your portion of spirit. But if you lose sight of this essence, you will mistake yourselves for your experience, and there is no doubt that experience can do much to obliterate love. In an often hostile and brutal world, maintaining innocence seems impossible. Therefore, you find yourself experiencing only so much love and only so much lovability.
This can change
Although you perceive yourself in limited terms, as a mind and body confined to time and space, there is a wealth of spiritual teaching that says otherwise. In Spirit, you are unbounded by time and space, untouched by experience. In Spirit, you are pure love. The reason you do not feel completely loved and completely lovable is that you do not identify with your spiritual nature.
At least not all of the time. And this is the awareness we must all work to sharpen if we are to love fully and be loved in return. Chopra goes on to explain that becoming love is the spiritual goal of life. As a people, we’re so goal-oriented you wouldn’t think this would be a problem for any of us, at all. Right?
He says the aching need created by lack of love can only be filled by learning anew to love and be loved. All of us must discover (in our own way) that love is a force as real as gravity, and that being upheld in love every day, every hour, every minute is not a fantasy – it is intended as our natural state.
So if love is the highest expression of the divine, (and I think it is) then it only makes sense that love is never in short supply in the world around us. However, sometimes our awareness of love gets blocked. Sometimes our understanding of love gets distorted. This is actually more common than you might think because we are bombarded on all fronts by very limited definitions of love.
Most of us are walking around with these high tower expectations about what love must look like. It’s as if the only love we believe in is the Hollywood version – the big heroic acts of love, the high impact, music building to a crescendo kind. We have it that love is this $100 bill we’re all searching for it on the sidewalk of life. And everywhere we go, we never seem to stumble upon it.
But love could just as easily be a penny.
And, let me tell you, there are hundreds of pennies lying around, just waiting for us to notice them.
Our Hollywood expectations of love cause us to overlook all of the tiny cumulative acts of caring and kindness that have the potential to make us feel very loved. Love is never in short supply. It never stops flowing… through us, swirling all around us like water. Love is everywhere, you simply have to train yourself to notice it:
The intoxicating scent of lilac, a dog wagging its tail, a sunset bursting into glorious color, the sweet uncertain smile of a stranger. Who are these for?
Only for the one standing there, ready to witness, You. Love shows up for you in ways you can’t even imagine.
In our writing workshop, I asked the others to write for 3 minutes on the following writing prompt: My love shows up in the world in the following ways:
And these are just a few of the things they wrote:
- Taking care of my grandchildren
- Being a good neighbor by mowing my grass
- Encouraging and supporting my children in having what they want
- In my blogs as I try to help others live more purposeful passionate lives
- Cooking healthy for my family
- In the way I lead the IPS kids in my classes
- In how I participate with my bible study group
- In taking Bronwym (dog) for her walk
- In caring for the Earth in small ways
- In the way I try to stay positive even when I don’t want to.
- When I let go of being right
- Walking my kids to the bus stop
- In the paintings I make
- Teaching yoga
- When I smile or say hello to strangers
- When I make a point to be nice to someone who I don’t really like that well
- In the way I try to acknowledge people on the street or in the store
- In taking care of myself so I’m not a burden on others
- When I try to do my best at work
- Volunteering at the shelter
- Picking up trash on the sidewalk
And that’s only a partial and condensed list…
Is there any way any of us can say, there’s not enough love in the world? Or are we just missing it most of the time?
I can tell you, Love isn’t something that comes and goes. We don’t get love and give love, we are love, each and every one of us. Chopra tells us,
Love is the only blessing, and that means all love. If love is the ultimate reality (and I feel so deeply that it is) the slightest gesture of connection is a gesture of love. To reach across the wall of separation, whether to a friend, lover, family, or stranger, is to act in the name of love, whether we consciously realize it or not.
Love is real. It can be held, nurtured, felt, learned from, and depended upon. Stop wishing and hoping and turn your efforts to what is real. In our imagination, we believe that love is apart from us. Actually, there is nothing but love, once we are ready to accept it.
Let us be champions for this love – collecting evidence and building a strong case for love’s universal presence. Wherever we go, whatever we may be doing, let us call it out. Let us look for opportunities to share the love. Let us notice and then grasp hold of every teeny-tiny expression of love, holding it in gratitude until it expands. Until we expand with it.
Thanks for reading…share with someone who needs to feel a little more love today, perhaps they just can’t find it.