How to speak of love in 2017, inundated as we are with the images we receive from the media, the daily news of war and people fleeing their homes, and on a smaller scale the “hook up” culture brought to us by online dating and the rise of loneliness in a social network world. What then does it mean to love amidst all this suffering and hardship? And the bigger question, how can the love we all have inside of us, the love we all want, be a source of healing?
Intuitively, we know love when we feel it, in language we express it through metaphor - love is 2 hearts beating as one, love is a journey, a fire, love is stars aligning, love is the spice of life, an essential nutrient, the song in my heart!
When we feel love, when we touch the skin of our beloved, when we create social bonds, oxytocin is released in our brain. Researchers sum up the reproductive importance of this so called love hormone by saying it "serves the continued propagation of a species," adding that through evolution its "repertoire has expanded to maintain a central role in more complicated aspects of reproductive behavior. For these reasons, we call oxytocin the great facilitator of life.”
That certainly simplifies things!
Without love - we are nothing
With love - we feel that we can conquer the world.
Many thinkers have weighed in on love. Deepak Chopra wrote being whole, love knows no opposite. Holding a slightly different view, the great writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
Economics says when you give something away you have less for yourself. Love says when you give something away, you have more. That is its magic. Love is expansive.
The writer James Baldwin, speaking at the height of the civil rights movement, defines love as the lifting of the veil, of no longer living in ignorance, in indifference:
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
Maybe love is as simple as a wish expressed in a song, “what the world needs now, is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
We wish everyone love, love that is whole, that knows no opposite, that is fueled with such daring that we no longer remain indifferent to the suffering of the people, and animals we share this beautiful planet with.
That is our valentine wish!
And if “93% of the mass in our body is stardust. Just think, long ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.”
With love, Rejuice xo