Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
It’s the lovey dovey month of February! And like every year, the Valentine’s Day fever is back again! Today, I cannot help but realize how vital this four letter word is to the existence of our mundane lives.
Yes, this dirty, bitter-sweet yet magically liberating and exhilarating potion called Love. Love is to the soul much like what chocolate is for the body. Love is a good fatty antioxidant for the soul. Period!
In my world, when my little daughter spontaneously crashes into my arms and declares out of nowhere cheerily, “I wuvvv you, Mommy”, everything seems right and so fine. All of a sudden. Just like that. In fact, a few months back, right after she watched Frozen, she asked me point-blank, ‘Mama, What is True Love?’ Right there, she got me frozen in a flash.
Love would mean different things to different people at different points of time in their lives. For me, it meant my mother and father’s loving touch and protection at one point of time. It meant my brother’s companionship at one point of time. It meant my first crush at seven (and the ones after that) at one point of time. It meant a handsome Prince Charming waiting to sweep me off my feet at one point of time. It meant all the fun and camaraderie amongst friends at one point of time.
It meant that very first moment my heart skipped a beat or three when I first laid my eyes on my husband at one point of time. It meant that moment when I found out that I was pregnant for the very first time. It meant that moment when I held my daughter in my arms for the very first time and all the subsequent hugs and kisses thereafter. It meant going to a new country and falling in love with the foreign landscape and sights. It meant looking dreamily out of the window and admiring the the first snowfall of the season. It meant seeing my heart break into a zillion pieces and jump in excitement, both at the same time, when it was my daughter’s first day at school.
Love meant a kaleidoscope of random things ranging from people, activities and places that blew my mind and took my heart away. Be it those glorious romantic hues of yesterday’s sunset that my husband and I saw on our drive back home yesterday or that sweet tangy taste of Orange Chicken that melted in my mouth. And each of those times, I have experienced and felt Love in its various manifestations. That’s probably why Love is defined and quoted in so many ways. Its interpretations and expressions are multifold. Be it religious, scientific or artistic…
I thought it would interesting if I were to embark on this really risky and adventurous mission to decode this four letter word. So, here goes my humble crumble (read take/portion) of this gigantic sweet pot of pie called LOVE.
Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When we come into this world, we begin with the Mother and the Father. Being a parent myself today, I truly fathom what it means to be one. It’s all sinking in now and I am reminded of my parents every single day when I run my home and take care of my child along with my husband. The love that a parent has for a child is undoubtedly immense and beyond measure. Think of all the sacrifices that parents willingly undertake for the joy and the pleasure of their child. Parental love is unconditional and timeless. Their expectations for themselves, something back in return, is more often than not nil. The only expectation they honestly hold is the genuine well-being and happiness of their children. Because of the selfless nature of parents’ love, they are akin to being ‘God on earth’ for us. And they ought to be given the highest honour and respect there ever is.
My father once told me, ‘Love is protective, not possessive‘. The former trait he added was positive and good for the flourishing of Love, the latter could choke Love. That was his way of looking at Love. And in the larger scheme of life, his words ring true. We have parents, siblings,spouse, kids…but we are never truly in possession of anyone.
Knowing your parents is knowing Love enough. And if you are tad luckier, you get hugged and kissed by Love in the form of siblings, extended family and friends. As you grow, so you love.
As you grow, so you love. Strangers turned acquaintances turned friends turned to that special someone. It’s the dawn of a brand new love affair. And the game of Love gets a tad more challenging. While the odds are odder and the risks higher in this whole new level, the stakes are definitely more nobler. This relationship holds more ground, more water and more meaning than the earlier familial ones because it calls and asks for so much more out of oneself. It’s taking Love to a higher level. Blood is more thicker than water they say. And to make two water bodies merge to form one Blood requires a solid foundation of love, trust, faith, loyalty, respect, patience, hope,kindness, forgiveness and understanding. Much like the most fragile but most beautiful piece of artwork, or a tender budding plant which holds the promise of off-springing into a gigantic tree, this love relationship needs constant attention, care and maintenance.
When played and danced well in tune with one another’s heartbeats, this relationship would be that rock solid fortress you both build together tirelessly and persistently; all while fighting back life’s challenges thrown your way alongside sipping in all of life’s sweetness together. The ‘You’ and ‘I’ merges into that beauteous zone of ‘Us’. You realize that Love is beautiful when you can share and confide everything to each other. When your joys become his or his tears, yours. When you melt in one another’s arms or kiss each other’s troubles away a big ‘Goodbye’. When you love doing everything together and for each other. When he holds those missing puzzle pieces of you while you hold his. When he mirrors you and you him. And when you have children together, he sees ‘You’ and you see ‘Him’ in them. Truly I tell you, what goes around does comes around. And so here we are as one united force till death does us apart!
Finally, Love makes a complete circle when we forge and work towards the most important relationship which we will ever have. That with our Creator. The paradox is that the most intimate relationship of our lives is with the Unseen. Unseen but most indefinitely felt and perceived. Yes, he is right here, next to us, if only we want to experience Him. He is the greatest Mother the world will ever know, the greater Father the world has ever seen, the greatest brother or sister anyone can ever have, the greatest lover that History has ever witnessed, the greatest Spouse anyone can espouse. He is the source of love and hope for the countless orphans, widows, the weariest, poorest and most unloved souls. He may be Unseen but His Love is unmistakably manifested in various forms all around us. They who have listened carefully to His subtlest callings and His softest of murmurs in His most unique ways have come to realize and firmly proclaim that there is no greater Love or force in the world other than that of our Creator.
God’s love is like no other. It is the highest of the highest levels in this game of Love. It is the most toughest and challenging kind of love, demanding you to love your enemies as much as you love yourself. It is the most benevolent and gracious, demanding you to forgive the brother who stabbed you in the back not once but seventy times seven. It is the most exclusive, demanding that nothing or no one comes first between you and Him. It is the most hurtful demanding you to give up on worldly pleasures and pursuits and gladly embrace austerity and a life of suffering for the benefit of others. It is the meekest, demanding you to turn your other cheek when people slap you in His name. It is the most fearless demanding you to willingly give up your life when people persecute and kill you in His name. It is also the most committed, promising, hopeful and loving of all the relationships there ever was/is. From Him, we originate! And back to him, we merge in unison at the end.
From loving and living harmoniously with your parents and siblings to living, loving and sharing your life with your beloved soul-mate, Love makes its complete circle when you decide to rediscover love in its truest and purest form, with the Unseen but All-known Creator.
‘As it is, these remain: Faith, Hope and Love, the three of them. And the greatest of them is Love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Love needs no reason, explanation, justification and no disguise. It never stops loving. Love is God and God is Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Top image via Pixabay
First published at author’s blog
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is an award-winning author, poet,
I agree with you a lot of what you say Tina the concept of “love” gives us reason to celebrate life and humanity. Love is as much about “getting” joy as it is about “giving” of our sacrifice. As I said in another comment on womensweb- love between partners is possibly the one type of love that has the highest potential of being as much about giving as about receiving- thus the fairness in this equation can make it the most wholesome and empowering type of love. On the other hand – love of parents towards their children(especially when they are small and dependent) is unequal in that parents give more than get for a long duration of time and this may get reversed when parents grow old and children give more than get. There is also a compassionate love that we give to those who cannot return it ever- for random strangers who are down and out and “less” (in any way) than us, who we give to, in time and effort (even money- but this giving is less of a sacrifice, in my opinion) to help them through a dark time with no expectation of any returns. All these types of love are also meaningful and satisfying because they bring us closer to who we are and how much more humane we can become. The love for God however is complicated. At one level it can often be subconsciously nothing more than an intangible “show” of allegiance to a “Super Power” in the hope of an unacknowledged but clearly anticipated gain-so it can be a “get” type of love. At another level the love for God – can instead be manifested as the compassion by way of sacrifice one shows in a tangible way to another less fortunate soul in a dark time. So this would be a “give” type of love. Somewhere in the midst of the rituals and practices relating to the concept of God we often forget about the philosophy or the principle behind the concept of God and we even cease to introspect about the details of the why and how of this concept of “God”. The purpose of us learning that “God is Love” is really to drive home the concept of altruism. All religions exhort this to push humanity to not always and only think of their own individual survival (like wild animals instinctually do). Man is thus pushed to go beyond his animal instinct of survival and feeding himself first and instead think of helping out another. But yeah! I’m all for “Love” too in all its different forms. It makes humanity less animal and makes human societies more pleasant places to survive and thrive in!!
Hi Sonia! When it comes to loving God or spirituality, it truly is a case of ´Love is Blind´. Even if one is a skeptic, there are so many unanswered questions that even Science fails to answer. Being religious or spiritual are essentially two sides of the coin for me. The modes of expression is different but both believe in a higher power. The religious would go to church every Sunday,recite the Rosary and novenas, perform pujas and yagna, recite the shlokas, perform the salah, namaaz, salat, visit Haj, etc. The spiritual folks would probably skip all the traditional forms of worship and come up their own ´God bonding´ techniques…practise Yoga everyday to forge a connection with the higher power, use the ´Law of Attraction´ principle to connect with the Universe etc. I agree with you, that the rituals mean nothing if it does´t translate to a change in heart and action. And essentially, the purpose of mankind is to love. Whether it is religion or spirituality, the underlying theme is to love. A world without love, is an ugly place to live in. That is something, we both agree.
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