(Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.)
The first night I got to Kripalu, I took a workshop on love. For the first exercise,the instructor drew a line down a big sheet of paper, and told us we were coming up with words for two different kinds of people: the Lovable ones and the Unlovable ones.
We then spent some time listing all the characteristics that make up lovable people – and she wrote these down as we called them out to her. It had words like funny, thoughtful, giving, kind, happy, smart on it.
Then we spent some more time listing all the characteristics that make up the unlovable people, calling them out loud. This list had words like sarcastic, insecure, egotistical, selfish, scrooge on it.
And then she pointed out that all the words we wrote down – the good and the bad – had one common thread: They were conditions.
Because we are human, we place conditions on our love all the time – even to the people who are closest to us. I’m guilty of this every day, even with my son – who I love more unconditionally than I have ever loved another being.
But there have been times when he’s angry and fighting me and yelling and I yell back and then he gets mad and upset, and he’s standing there yelling at me, I NEED A HUG!
And I have had moments where, because I am mad and hurt and don’t like how selfish he’s being, I have withheld that hug. Because I have placed conditions on giving my love to someone.
At Kripalu, in this workshop, the instructor told us about a different way of being. She told us that Swami Kripalu used to do what he called “experiments” with love. He’d experiment loving someone when they are unlovable – doing the opposite of what he wanted to do.
I’ve been working with that idea – practicing small love experiments – at home. With my husband, with my son. I hug Owen when he’s mad at me and when I’m mad at him. I tell my husband I love him no matter what. I tell my friends I love them. I practice sending people good thoughts on social media. I even send love to strangers I read about in the news.
It’s hard. I can’t tell if it’s just media, but right now the world seems to be filled with so much hate and judgment.
So when I read about yet another mass shooting… I feel overwhelmed, like I’m swimming against the tide. My tiny efforts are a waste. What’s the point of putting more love in the world?
Last night, I watched a portion of the Tonys, because Broadway is my escape, and I love Hamilton and I KNEW I’d get to see my favorite people win.
And then I watched Lin-Manuel Miranda accept his award… and it was exactly right.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is LOVE. Without condition, without boundaries.
We need love and art and happiness and beauty more than ever.