One rainy San Francisco afternoon, I was enjoying a glass of wine with someone I’d met through a mutual friend. When he mentioned that person, warmth filled my chest, and a feeling of affinity and kinship quickened in me. “I love that guy,” I said.
The two of them had a long history together and had shared years of formative and transformational experiences. I had heard some of their stories, but I was relatively new to the picture.
“You don’t even know him,” he replied. “I hate it when people use the word ‘love’ so casually. It cheapens it.”
I was floored. I felt shamed, hurt, and really confused. What in the world was this guy talking about? At the time, I couldn’t think of a question that would help me get clarity. His indictment of my expression of Love as something unworthy left me feeling slimed. How in the world can Love be casual?
After a lot of processing, I came to understand that for him, Love was an award given to someone who had gone through a filtering process. It was reserved for those select few. In his world, Love was something to be earned or developed over time. Now, I have no idea what kind of criteria he used, but clearly, it was a scarce commodity, not to be wasted on the unworthy.
That is not at all how I experience Love. From my perspective, Love exists everywhere and between everyone. It’s the magnetic force that holds the universe together, an eternal sacred quality that can be called forth by naming it.
By speaking lovingly about someone who is not present, we invite others to sing their praises with us, to share stories about what they bring to our world, their quirks and contributions, and why they mean so much to us. Through this conversation, Love expands in intensity and scope. We all benefit from its visit, our hearts filled.
Sharing Love doesn’t diminish it. Love doesn’t thin out as it spreads. Love’s nature is to become more abundant as it is shared.
That’s the paradox of Love — the more we give, the more we have. By letting Love flow freely, we attune to its rhythm and frequency. We learn to dance with its familiar song that strengthens the heart and moves the soul.
When we inhibit Love’s flow, when we dam it up and hold it in reserve, it stagnates. We may feel a sense of ownership or dominion over it, and feel safe from its wildness, but it loses its vibrancy and the transformational power that comes when it rushes freely through the world.
If Love remains blocked for too long, we may lose our ability to channel its energy. We forget what it feels like to let it course through us unbridled.
Allowing it to flow again might be painful at first, frightening us with the knowledge that it could break our hearts — but when it does move freely, it nourishes everyone and everything it touches. Letting Love flow is at once the most generous and selfish thing we can do.
Some say a person exists not within a body, but inside a conversation. When we bring Love to the discussion of someone, even when they are not physically present, we give them Love in a meaningful, concrete way. When I say I love someone, and you that person later, you bring my expression of Love into your interaction with them.
When we feel sad, isolated, or lonely, calling to mind the people we love is like opening a boarded-up window to let in the light. What’s even better is calling these people to tell them that we love them.
I’ve never regretted telling someone I love them, but I’ve regretted not doing so. Loving people is so much easier, more empowering and life-affirming than withholding Love. It makes life better — for everyone.