"Love is a practice, not something that just happens to you or that you get from others."
-Marci Shimoff, Love For No Reason
“Love is a practice…” I jotted down this quote when I first read it and came across it again on a day when I was attending a bridal shower. I thought, that’s great advice for newlyweds. And for the longtime wedded. And single people. And every other person in the world.
We’re often taught that love is something that falls into your lap or strikes you like a thunderbolt; that it’s between two people and, if you’re lucky, involves clothes-ripping sex. It can be those things, sure. And it is a practice—like yoga, writing, or anything we do regularly that tamps down the demons and stirs up peace and happiness.
Love is a way of life. The more you make it a practice, the more love you will have in your life.
The practice starts with an open heart, free from preconceived notions and fears. I visualize my open heart as a wide-open field under a clear blue sky, a place so warm and inviting, how could anyone resist the sunshine?
It continues with kindness. Just being kind. Listening. Recognizing that everybody’s just trying to make their way in this world.
And acceptance. Letting go of judgment, letting people be who they are. There are plenty of judgers in the world—doesn’t need to be you.
And loving yourself—that’s huge. When you nurture your soul, take care of that person inside you who is sad, freaking out, angry, or lonely, when you comfort that self with soothing talk, a hot bath, a walk in the woods, or a really good dinner, your insides kind of glow with a warmth that radiates and comforts everyone in your path.
Colleen Newquist writes, doodles, plays outside, and cooks in Three Oaks, Michigan. To read more of her musings in Stop and Smell the Butter, visit colleennewquist.com
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