Do you believe in the power of love? The fact you have found yourself on the Cygnus Books blog leads me to assume that you do. I also imagine that your heart goes out to the rest of the world, as a part of the One Love that unites us and leads us to do right by each other.
Who do you love?
There are certain times and places when it is easy to send out love and blessings, in particular from our homes or maybe at a friends’. When in the company of a certain type of person, someone receptive, someone like minded, gentle and approachable … then it is easy. But what about someone we would never ordinarily spend time with, someone outside of our comfort zone? Would your love and kindness come as easily for them?
My unconditional love was tested this week. I was walking home and had to pass a group of builders. I have to admit that, despite my father having been a builder, everytime I pass a whole bunch of them, I’m anticipating chauvinistic jibes. So I did as I always do in that circumstance … I looked at my feet, at the road, anywhere but in the direction of the builders. I sensed one of the men eyeing me, which made me feel even more self conscious to the point that I was concentrating on keeping a neutral facial expression, so as not to encourage him. Then I heard some words that made me stop in my tracks. ‘You’re okay to smile’ he yelled across the street. I looked up at the man and he looked a lot like my Uncle David – a round man with rosy cheeks and a gentle smile. Shouting that out at me might be considered rude by some – not everyone wants to smile and we’re not all extrovert – but he really didn’t appear to be of ill intention. There was no swearing or whistling; he just looked as though he deeply needed some kind acknowledgement from someone. I gave the best I could offer – a polite smile and an awkward greeting.
What if he had looked like the Dalai Lama?
I asked myself this later on. What if he had looked like the Dalai Lama, or good ol’ Gandalf? When he shouted ‘you’re okay to smile’ it would more likely be considered a wise and bold gesture. My smile would have been natural and my greeting warm and heartfelt. My double standards didn’t sit easy with me but I realised that I was learning in practice something that I had always believed in principle:
One Love goes beyond the intention, it goes beyond candles and incense and meditation. One Love is shared in our actions and requires us to feel the fear and do it anyway. There is always the risk of an unpleasant interaction but we will honour our inner strength and our souls plan by holding our head up and keeping our hearts and our minds open. The more we do this, the less we will see the sort of sad incident that this following video so shockingly illustrates.
We’re not saints and some of us seriously struggle in social situations. We’re living the human experience and it is in our nature to have defensive survival instincts … living from the heart isn’t always easy. Our guards go up against certain ‘types’ of people – this might not be anything to do personally with that individual, maybe they just remind us of somebody who has hurt us in the past or maybe we are unwittingly influenced by social conditioning and media influence and all it’s stereotyping. There is no shame in feeling this way, all relationships take work and that includes those with strangers and with ourselves.
You’re okay to smile
The good news is that love is always there, it is a part of us and nothing can change that. In ‘Daring Greatly’, Brené Brown teaches us how with courage and integrity we can see passed our insecurities to an authentic, all encompassing love.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly.
The thing to remember, when we find ourselves looking away, is that although we all come from different backgrounds and maybe share different cultures and express ourselves in different ways, we are all made the same and the same energy flows through each of us. Love flows through each of us. You’re okay to smile.
To finish on a really positive note here is another video, this time about the beauty of getting to know a stranger. Enjoy!
With one love,
Louisa and the Cygnus Team